Blog it Forward – Pierre Col
First, I wish a very happy 2020 to you and your loved ones!
Let me introduce myself
Who am I?
I am Pierre Col and I live in Lyon, France.
Lyon is a very nice city, big enough to have anything you need, and small enough to let you be in the countryside in 30 min.
I am a white-bearded geek. It all began more than 40 years ago, in 1978, when I was 15yo, after I coded my very first computer program – on a stuff like this:
Yes, really, no joking, it was Z80 8 bits assembler with only 2 kb RAM.
In the early 80s I learned computing science in Toulouse during 3 years, graduating as an engineer. Then I began working as a developer and project manager for a small vendor developing Unix-based software, before moving to pre-sales. I finally fell into the dark side of marketing and communications 😉, with various roles in software & Internet services for the last 25 years.
I am married with 3 children: a daughter adopted in France and a son and a daughter adopted in Colombia 🇨🇴. By the way, I encourage you in visiting this marvelous country.
How did I start in SAP?
I was working as Chief Marketing Officer for Contextor, a small software vendor specialized in Robotic Process Automation. When Contextor was acquired by SAP in November 2018, I naturally took responsibilities in communications and marketing for SAP Intelligent RPA, launched 6 month after.
I never worked for such a huge global company before, and my first year at SAP, participating in a product launch with SAPPHIRE and TechEd events, was a very interesting and intense journey.
I want to express here my gratitude to my colleagues in SAP Intelligent RPA team, because they are exactly the kind of people I love working with.
What are my hobbies?
I like reading books, watching movies and theater plays (many of my brothers and sisters in law are actors and actresses…) and swimming.
But my preferred hobby is riding my motorbike. I do love sports bikes, especially those crafted in Italy by Ducati, and I admit that I ride sometimes a bit fast… I hope to have more time soon to do trackdays!
I also enjoy driving my ‘1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 cabriolet, “moustache in the wind”:
A story about myself that only few people know?
I am a survivor. A double survivor.
In 1988, I was 25 yo, just married and I was diagnosed with a very rare kind of cancer, a rhabdomyosarcoma. Tumor was quickly removed by a surgeon and, as it looked very strange, some of my tissues were sent to a specialist in Boston for the diagnostic. Then my doctor told me: “There are only 8 known cases of this cancer in the world, 6 patients died in less than 6 months and 2 are going well. You are case number 9”. I let you imagine my thoughts… To prevent any metastasis I had additional treatments, then for 10 years I had a blood test every 3 month and an RMI every 6 month. Tough times when expecting the result… but nothing bad happened.
I improved the survival statistics from 2/8 to 3/9, which is quite good. 😉
30 years later, March 19th 2018, right after our Monday morning meeting at Contextor, when going to lunch with colleagues, I felt a huge pain in my chest. Hopefully there was a small hospital near Contextor’s office in Orsay. I went there by foot, entered the emergency service and doctor quickly diagnosed a heart stroke. I went to another hospital where they put 2 stents in my coronarian system, and after 3 weeks I was back to work, without any other consequence than adapting a bit my life habits and calming my pace. If I had chosen to have lunch with my colleagues, I could have been dead in one hour…
Today, I consider what happened to me as the biggest chance in my life. It definitely helped me to grow. I learnt that life can really be short, and I discovered what is really important in a life, whether it is about working life or personal life.
I will now answer Elena’s questions
What is your favorite holiday destination and why?
My favorite destination is Italy, and I do not say that because Elena comes from this wonderful country.
I love Italy because of the diversity of the regions and cities, with amazing landscapes and so beautiful historical monuments and museums. I have to admit that if I love so much Italy, it is also because of the food. I went to Florence, Pisa, Sienna, Parma, Bologna, Roma, Venezia, Torino, Milano, Genova, Cinque Terre, lakes region… and this spring I will discover Palermo, in Sicilia!
How do you balance your life between work and family/personal time?
I manage that with a strict personal discipline, because I am homeworking: when my wife and grown children leave our apartment around 7:30, I only have a stairway to descent from our living room to enter my office. I do not spill time in commuting, which is very convenient: it gives extra time to manage pauses during the workday. I usually stop working around 18:30 to have cool time with my wife and children. So I can do a lot of things in a day, with a good balance between work and personal time.
If you were given by your work a full day every week to do whatever you feel like, what would it be?
Good question! I do not think that I would like to do the same activities every week. Considering 4 days in a month to do what I like, it would be a mix of one day per month at home, reading a book and cooking, one day exploring Alps, Burgundy and Auvergne on my bike, one or two days per month to volunteer in a non-profit organization helping people, for instance teaching mathematics to kids.
I nominate to the Blog It Forward Challenge
Dear colleagues, please pick 3 questions you would like to answer in your post from that list:
- What is the most fun project you’ve ever participated in, and why was it fun?
- If you were 20 again, what would you study?
- How did you start in SAP?
- Describe in one short sentence: “what need does your SAP solution meet”
Thank you for reading me, and have a good day!