SAP InsideTrack Timisoara – not my last trip to Romania
Timisoara, Romania. I haven’t been there before but enjoyed my recent trip a lot. Surprised? Some might be, because they either haven’t been there yet or somewhat biased about countries in Eastern Europe. I hadn’t thought about it and wanted to take it like it is, so I didn’t have any expectations. And hey, it’s not been a holiday trip…I’m writing this mostly because of my speaking engagement at the SAP InsideTrack in Timisoara. And I’m sure that there’s a huge likelihood that you still don’t know what a SAP InsideTrack (often called SIT) is all about – that said, quoting the SAP InsideTrack page:
“An SAP Inside Track is a local grassroots community organized event where SAP Community Network members come together to share knowledge, expertise and network. […].
It is not too much effort to create your own Inside Track, especially if you compare it to all the benefit you will get from it: Hang out with fellow SAP enthusiasts for a day, share expertise and knowledge with the local community as well as with the world via web-casting. Strengthen your local SAP network.”
So, in a few words. There are a bunch of non-SAP folks organising at least a whole day of talks, usually in a non-SAP venue and in a relaxed atmosphere with food & beverages. Talks and sessions about all kind of SAP stuff, project methodologies, productivity hacks – as long as it helps the participants in any way, everything is welcome. It is also noteworthy that the speakers are predominantly from the community and not employed by SAP. The attendance costs either only a few Euros or is often completely free, thanks to generous sponsors.
So, back to Timisoara. I had to Google the fairly unknown city in advance. And since I have decided to use more of my business trips to visit cities compared to my consulting assignments in recent years, I flew a few days in advance – Wednesday to be precise, although the SAP InsideTrack is only on a Saturday. I was certain that one or the other colleague and friend giggled at me for it, later it will be the other way round.
The airport, lovely and unspectacular. The ride to the city centre… well, not too promising. But I didn’t want to be prejudiced. But once I arrived in the city center, I got a sudden picture that I didn’t expect. Beautiful well-kept parks, flowery city squares and people enjoying the first warm rays of sunshine in the street cafés. When I hurriedly wanted to buy chocolate souvenirs for my friends at the weekly market in the centre, I was noticed as a backpack traveller. This is not the only reason why the storekeeper involved me in a pleasant and interesting conversation and tells me more about his variety of sweets in perfect English. More friendly and courteous, that’s how I perceive it, than to all the other mostly local customers.
(left Timișoara Orthodox Cathedral, right hand side on of the miscelleneous market stalls)
And this “welcome” feeling pervades the whole week. No matter if in the hotel, while dining, photographing sights, jogging or crossing streets. And especially at the SAP InsideTrack.
Saturday is a day off, right?
I may repeat myself across blog posts, but I think each and every one of us is occupied enough to not to want to work on Saturdays. Since the SAP InsideTrack is on a saturday, this statement apprently doesn’t apply to the attendees. About 100(!!) SAP consultants, developers, enthusiasts, nerds and interested people made their way to Timisoara instead of spending their time with families, their partners (nerds do have partners!), partying or whatever sparetime activity. They made their way to Timisoara from Bucharest, Cluj or occasionally from Germany to either share their knowledge or to acquire new knowledge. And there is only one more thing left to me: HOW DAMN HUNGRY FOR KNOWLEDGE CAN PEOPLE BE? You are amazing!
~100 attendees at SIT Timisoara
SAP InsideTracks are as versatile as their attendees
Why would I claim that? If I take a look at the agenda not only of this SAP Inside Track in particular, but in general, one quickly realize that the content is as versatile as the attendees. From ABAP to SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry, Mindfulness in the workplace, Design Driven Development and much more. It is easy to deduce from this that participants do not come solely for a certain presentation, but most likely for various reasons. To break out of their comfort zone and look outside the box, to get inspired and what a SAP InsideTrack should never be lacking: Spending a day with like-minded people and having fun. Have you ever done beer yoga? Have a look! It was my first beer yoga at this SAP InsideTrack 😉
My favorite session was without a doubt “Testing CloudFoundry Apps..without CloudFoundry” by Victor Ionescu. Slides here, Blog post there. 😉
My talk: Serverless technologies
Of course I also wanted to convey something to the participants and I always aspire to tell people something new. (The why and wherefore would be beyond the scope here.) Best in a way that it can also be consumed on a casual Saturday afternoon. That’s why I intended to take the people with me on my journey through the land of serverless fascination. Where and how I started, what is the significance of serverless and all that without having said SAP yet a single time. We briefly implement an Amazon Alexa Skill live and use a simple Microsoft Azure Function in such a exhaustive way that everyone experiences what serverless often is: You don’t have to worry about scaling. That’s what the provider of serverless technology does for you. (Here, “Functions as a Service”, but there is much more than just FaaS)
How I felt in the beginning: clueless about serverless
And of course, since we are on a SAP InsideTrack, the connection to SAP was still missing. Serverless will have its place in the SAP Cloud Platform, especially when it comes to side-by-side extension and event-driven architecture. There should be even more clarity soon at SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, I don’t want to spoil too much.. but: SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory is the key to cloud-native extensions.
And hey, there’s something to already get your hands dirty and your feet wet: SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory is based on kyma, which is open-source.
Thanks to everybody!
I flew there by myself and knew no-one except two SAP colleagues and during my five days stay I was not alone at any time. I was able to experience unbelievable hospitality on my own, which made my first trip to Romania unique. The many respectful discussions at any time of the day, the extensive insights into the culture of the still quite fresh Romanian revolution, the refreshing hospitality from all sides.
inspiring quote goes here..usually
Cordial thanks to to the organisers of the SAP InsideTracks Timisoara Tudor Riscutia und Ovidiu Hancila including their girlfriends 🙂 You went above and beyond! Also to Mircea Romanitan, Victor Ionescu and all the other awesome folks for an incredible week!
Love hearing about this SIT. And I had never heard of the country.
Thanks for sharing, Maxi, and I can only agree to what you wrote about the city: beautiful place, also at the river where the dinner event took place. And very friendly people. Also a big thank you to Mircea Romanitan who took both of us out for a wine and told us a little bit of Timisoara's history. I enjoyed TImisoara and SAP Inside Track #sitTSR very much. Thanks for all organizer "and their girlfriends" (I like this phrase very much!) - I also had a great time! Looking forward to meeting you at one of the next SAP Inside Tracks 😉
Cool write-up Maxi! I'm glad you enjoyed Romania, had a great time at the SIT too. Look forward to having you over in Cluj as well 😉