As a Technical Evangelist/Developer Evangelist/Advocate (whatever you want to choose), I have loved attending events, SAP organised or others, and during those, I have travelled to interesting locations and had a number of chance meetings. I wanted to take a few moments to look back, as hopefully, we return to more face-to-face events. While you’re here you may want to bookmark our SAP Community events calendar here at https://groups.community.sap.com/t5/events/ct-p/events.
Let’s start with locations, well countries in fact, that I have visited for presentations and events… OK, USA and Germany are a given, but I can add… Canada, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia, Greece, UAE, India, Australia, Nigeria and South Africa. It's always great to meet and connect with community members in their backyards.
Check out our location-based Groups to guide you further to connect to your local areas in the SAP Community
My favourite country was Australia, but the most favourite location, and being a techie, you may not be surprised, is California… San Francisco, the Bay Area and the Silicon Valley area to be precise! SAP’s Palo Alto offices are based just up the road to Xerox PARC, HP and VMWare on Hill View Avenue, and at the back of the campus, across the road from Tesla on Deer Creek Road, You could not imagine such a lovely location. A million miles away from the start of my IT career in the City of London, the campus nestles into the hills around the edge of Palo Alto. It was only during the last trip before COVID times, that I found out that building #9 (near Deer Creek Road) on campus was the original NeXT office.
There is technology history everywhere… Downtown Palo Alto has locations that are historic for the first production of an Integrated Circuit (Micro Chip) and lots more, even the Crown Plaza Hotel (where I have stayed a few times) was the location for the creation of the spec for TCP. Yeah, I’m a Geek! :-).
I hope to have opportunities in the future to find out more and if I do I'll be sure to report back.
I have represented SAP at a number of Apple’s WWDC events, when covering the Apple & SAP Partnership as well as the SAP Business Technology Platform SDK for iOS and have even met face-to-face the awesome Craig Federighi, who looked at my SAP lanyard and when I apologised for replacing the plain attendee lanyard with my own, said: "no worries If I weren't at Apple I would probably be wearing one also, I used to work for Ariba".
To keep the Apple link flowing, but going back in time, I attended a small conference called ‘Update’ in Brighton, UK and met Ronald Wayne, the third co-founder of Apple Computer (alongside Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak). Mr Wayne was a very polite and smartly dressed gentleman (suit, waistcoat & a fob watch if my memory is correct), who took time to say hello to everyone.
That event went down in history as up to that point in 2011, Ronald had never owned an Apple Device until Aral Bulkan, the event organiser presented Ronald with a new iPad 2.
Other notable meetings I could mention and probably my most face-palm moment, would be in the Speaker Ready Room at the DR Dobbs Conference in Santa Clara in or around 2007, where I had a chance conversation with a nice guy who was working at a university and was originally from Denmark. We spoke for about 5-10 minutes about Copenhagen, where I had been just a few weeks before and what we both did for a living. I told him that at that time I was covering Sybase’s PowerBuilder & PocketBuilder. When I asked him (yes, I asked him as I was totally unaware of whom I was talking to), he replied that he "taught and did a little bit of C++", so modest and humble. He was in fact Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of C++… DOH! 🤦🏻 #awkward.
Then at SAP Labs in Palo Alto during the summer of 2014, and a few days before that year's SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, I met James Gosling the inventor of JAVA. James was a friend of my SVP at the time, and she asked him to come in and talk to an SAP CodeJam event audience on his latest IoT-based project ‘Wave Glider’ at Liquid Robotics, again a really nice guy!
This year I was also lucky to meet the most awesome Tony Fadell in Cambridge, UK at the launch of his book: "BUILD". If you don't know already Tony started at General Magic, then went on to Apple, & Nest etc. I could write a whole discussion on the stories & advice he had, it was fascinating listening to him, again so humble and down to earth.
Always take time at events to speak to people, even if they are 'your heroes'. Don't be shy! In my experience I have found out is they are happy to have a conversation and are so friendly. I can honestly say that my conversations at our events with our community members are enlightening and memorable.
Thank you for taking a bit of your time on Day 23 with me, and I am looking forward to hearing your comments below and maybe seeing some of your photos.
Ask yourself, whom did you meet at community events? and which countries have you visited while attending a community or SAP event? Do you have an interesting meeting story?
You never know, maybe we will meet at an SAP TechEd and you can feature in my future stories.
Have a wonderful New Year and keep checking out the other days (previous and our last from Thomas Grassl, tomorrow) via the 24 Days of SAP Community Calendar.
I met Steve Wozniak at ASUG Annual Conference a few years back - super nice guy. You can see my picture with him on my other SAP Community Profile at https://people.sap.com/tpowlas
I also met Michael Strahan (NFL, entertainment) at ASUG Annual Conference.
Returning from a SAP meeting in Palo Alto, on the plane, I sat next to former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy; he asked if he could help me with my bags (what a gentleman).