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Blog It Forward – Michael Keller

Dear community, Michelle Crapo and Nabheet Madan invited me to the “Blog it forward” challenge. Here is it 🙂

About me

I live with my wife and two-year-old daughter in Germany near the French border. Paris is around 248 miles (400 km) away and Frankfurt am Main is around 111 miles (180 km) away.

The next largest city is “Saarbrücken” (the city name means many bridges over the river “Saar”). Maybe one or the other knows the city because of the “Revision Demo Party” or because of our university (research on IT security topics).

Here are a few impressions from my home country. Because we have seasons, nature looks very different during the year. I really enjoy the summer. If it rains instead of snowing in winter, I would like to escape 😉

“view on my home town”

“sunset over Lake Constance”

“winter walk”

I discovered my interest in technology in my childhood: my cousin played on an Intellivision. That was impressive. A little later my brother bought a Commodore 64 and I was impressed much more. He typed listings in Basic. A lot of work but interesting to see what the machine did when executing. Then I started programming on the Commodore Amiga 500. It became a passion that has never stopped until today.  By the way, It is nice to see that other members like Morten also grew up with such computers.

However, I started with ABAP after different programming languages such as QBasic, Turbo Pascal, Assembler, Visual Basic, Delphi, C and Java. There is a good reason for this: When I saw a SAP ERP R/3 system for the first time in 2002, there was this “wow” effect. You could simply debug the ABAP source code to understand how the application works on technical level. Great!

Over the years I have seen some ideas that have influenced or are still influencing my way of thinking. These are Open source, Crowdsourcing, Design Thinking and Gamification.

In particular, the book “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” by Jane McGonigal shaped my view of the future. I also started blogging some time after reading this book.

Fun fact

I live in Germany only 105 miles (170 km) from the headquarter of SAP AG. Nevertheless it took about 15 years until I was there for the first time 🙂


Because I was invited by Michelle and Nabheet, I try to answer their questions.

What do you do apart from SAP in your free time?

I spend a lot of time with my wife and daughter. It’s nice to rediscover the world with my daughter and it’s a good excuse to play with Lego Duplo bricks and crayons 😉

Then of course I spend time with my friends. I know some of my friends since school.

Since I have a house with a garden, there is always something to work. The author Constantin Gillies wrote in his novel “The Bug”: “He now owns a house … and the house owns him”. That’s true, but it helps to keep moving.

From time to time I also like to play a computer or board game. However, this happens less often today than in the past. In addition, I read a lot, mostly news and technical literature.

Oh, and then I blog from time to time in the SAP Community Network 🙂

How do you balance your life between work and family/personal time?

To be honest, I don’t have a fixed pattern, strict rules or anything like that. Every day is new and different. Sometimes very dynamic, on other days very straightforward. Sometimes one thing prevails, then the other. A little planning definitely helps and talk to each other and coordinate.

What would you choose if given a choice between coffee or tea and why?

I love coffee and tea. Somehow coffee reminds me of a good talk with a friend in a coffee bar. Tea reminds me of of a little break for me. Per day I drink more tea than coffee. Ultimately, I would prefer coffee.

What do you enjoy about the SAP Community?

The many different contributions, the exchange, the mutual support and the easy contact with like-minded people worldwide. I benefit a lot from the experience and knowledge of others. So I can develop my own thoughts and share them.

If you could go to another world with a guarantee that you would be able to come back in a day, would you? Why?

Difficult question. One day is not much. But sometimes a moment is enough to change everything. The other world could be richer by many positive things, but would be poorer by the people you love and who are in this world. I will probably come back as a changed person. Since I am already strongly influenced by vacation travel, it would definitely be that way 😉

If you could have 2 months off of work to study a different culture – which one would you choose?  You would have to either write a thesis or help the culture and publish what you did.

I would like to deal with something contrary to our western culture. Far Eastern philosophy like Daoism for example.

It’s really difficult not to think in “particulars” or “drawers” but in “unity” and “connection”. Please don’t misunderstand: You should research things down to the smallest detail. But after that you should put everything back together and learn to understand the connections.

In my opinion there is nothing to help in this culture, so I could only write a thesis. The thesis, in turn, would not bring much, because Far Eastern culture like Daoist philosophy lives mainly from experience and not from the written word .. as far as I know.

If you were given the time to work on any development project you wanted – even one just for you – what would you work on?

Fun answer: I would write a text adventure (interactive fiction) in ABAP. Designing a little game is very educational. In this context tokenizer and parser play an important role. You can always use this knowledge in other areas. It’s also fun, you can make up your own little world full of puzzles and delight others with it or you drive them crazy if you design illogical puzzles 😉

Serious answer: I would teach myself UI5 and in particular more Java Script. I am also interested in the topic “SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment”. Then there is the big question of how to inspire future generations to use SAP and ABAP because an ecosystem cannot survive without the next generation. I’ve been thinking on this question for a long time with some results, but I don’t have the time to implement my ideas. Misery.


Here are the nominations, please participate if you want and have the time. Check this link with information about the challenge.

  1. Kerem Koseoglu
  2. Jacques Nomssi Nzali
  3. Sandra Rossi

The questions:

  1. What was the most fun project you ever participated in and why?
  2. If you were not in your current position, what/where would you be and why?
  3. Name the person who affected you most in your career/way of thinking and why?
  4. If you were given by your work a full day every week to do whatever you feel like, what would it be?


Best regards, thanks for reading and have a good time.



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  • Hi Michael,

    I'm struck by the fact that you credit Jane McGonigal's book for shaping your view of the future. As you may (or may not) know. I deal in gamification as part of my role here in the community, and I was thrilled to meet her several years ago at gsummit.

    As a follow up to your fun fact: what did actually bring you finally to visit SAP in Walldorf after 15 years?

    • Hi Audrey,

      so now there are at least two people triggered by Michael's reference to the book. I had this book on my Amazon wishlist for a long time. His gentle reminder triggered my to buy it now. 🙂

      • I can recommend the book to everyone. People will have to work together even more in the future. Gamification becomes a key discipline to motivate people to do so.

    • It was certainly an interesting meeting. Nice that you deal with this topic professionally. If we ever meet, you can tell me about your experiences.

      About the visit in Walldorf. I took the wrong exit from the highway ... ok, I was joking 🙂 Serious answer: I was there for a course on ABAP Core Data Services. The training was very good. By the way: The company premises are very nicely laid out.

  • Hi Michael, and welcome to the #blogitforward family!

    Thank you for sharing the lovely photos.  I live in New England - in the northeast of the US - and we have all four seasons as well.  I do love the changes.  I think Autumn is my favorite season.

    Your answer to 'What do you enjoy about the SAP Community' really resonates with me...'The many different contributions, the exchange, the mutual support and the easy contact with like-minded people worldwide. I benefit a lot from the experience and knowledge of others. '  Even if we are *not* so like-minded in some ways, I learn a lot from the diversity here too!

    Those Commodore 64 machines are certainly well-loved around here!

    So... would your interactive fiction start with something like 'You are venturing into this dangerous land in search of wealth and adventure'   🙂



    • Autumn has the most beautiful colors. This is also the case here.

      Nice contribution regarding the diversity. You are absolutely right. Design thinking, for example, lives from different experiences and opinions. Very exciting. What would come out if you got the entire SAP community to a design thinking session on one topic? 🙂

      Someone played Zork? 😉 Some puzzles are good examples of how to drive people crazy when trying to find the right solution.



  • Great post Michael, very inspiring. Could not agree more with tea and coffee.

    I love coffee and tea. Somehow coffee reminds me of a good talk with a friend in a coffee bar. Tea reminds me of of a little break for me. Per day I drink more tea than coffee. Ultimately, I would prefer coffee.

    Keep up the great work and keep inspiring.

    PS: You ABAP posts are awesome and interesting keep them coming!

    • Thank you for the invitation to the challenge 🙂 Honestly, this blog about myself was the most difficult to write.

      About my blogs related to my developer life: Believe me, I would like to write more of them for the community. There are so many thoughts and ideas and so little time but the next blog is already in progress 🙂