There’s so much happening in that high signal space that is the SAP Mentor program and the extended community (aka friendly wolf-pack) that I take it as a good opportunity to wrap-up some of that experience in another episode of my corresponding blog series.
Having been around on SCN for a while and being a regular at the SAP TechEds I could not help, but noticing this group within the SAP ecosystem. For those who know (and maybe follow) them, they look omni-present in the SAP space and especially in the twitterverse. Being a global group of dedicated individuals with a wide range of expertise and skills and a commonly-shared attitude for open communication clearly results in an impressive activity stream. Being a newbie mentor I only now start to realize “how deep the rabbit-hole goes” and the constant flow of incoming tweets talking about the mentor magic is truly fascinating. I knew I’d be in for the ride of my life, but let me tell you – I had no idea!
Here’s my humble attempt to digest some of it by sharing it with you…
The SAP Mentor Webinars
There are regular meetings to bring the group together, the so called SAP Mentor Monday webinars (twitter hashtag: #sapmm). There are internal webinars used to share stories, align on topics and plan ahead. And there are public webinars intended to roll-out information to the entire community and start active discussions on topics that do matter. Mark & Aslan are really taking the “Adobe Connect” features to the limit with featuring multiple webcams, polls and various online collaboration features such as a dedicated panels for submitting questions to the presenter(s) and a chat (and one that truly lives up to the name.) If you have never experienced one yourself, you have no idea… “you have to see it in order to believe it!” There are some really interesting ones scheduled in the near future, so I can only recommend that you check out Mark’s recent blog titled “Monday Mentor Monday …”
Special Guest: @gapingvoid
Yesterday we had the privilege to host a very special webinar featuring Hugh McLeod, cartoonist, author and blogging veteran. How did that come along? Well, the connection was made by Dennis Howlett who’s friends with Hugh. The origin of this story dates back to the Certification 5 (C5) team handing over this print to Bill McDermott at SAPPHIRE NOW this year. At SAP TechEd Mark handed out two prints to each mentor: one to keep and one to give away. But Mark covered all of that already in his great blog mentioned above…
It was really interesting to listen to Hugh telling a little bit about himself as an artist, his way of live and what is driving him. He explained about the background of this particular piece of work and it was obvious that he is really passionate about it. While the typical notion may would be to argue that in enterprise software quality is really Job One… it’s not a message that is inspiring to hear. In my own words (no quotation!), I would summary his views along the lines of:
Cool, so you got quality… fine… (I took that one for granted) What else do you got? Delivering quality software is NOT inspiring… it should be the standard. And who wants to be just standard? We all want to be rockstars and create something – something that matters, ultimately something that is bigger than our own life, something that lasts.
Being totally frickin’ amazing
And I guess it’s exactly that, which resonates with the SAP Mentors (+ wolfpack) and the idea of handing out these prints. Yes, the SAP Mentors may qualify as rock stars (or weirdos) in their own way. While all of the mentors I had the privilege to meet in person are really humble, modest and free from any kind of rock stars attitudes, they hold a very unique position within the ecosystem. Especially when the big events are taking place and there’s a gathering of SAP Mentors, they typically get a lot of attention and exposure. But that’s just a side effect… one that has both pros and cons, yet… once you joined the wolfpack you have to take that as part of the deal. (Whether you are used to it or not.) So, yes… in some ways the SAP Mentors are somewhat the enterprise rock stars (think of enterprise geeks and DemoJam winners.)
Yet, what’s driving them is something completely different: passion! The simple idea that by starting with the (wo)man in the mirror one can instantiate a change for the better. That by getting together a team of equally-minded and motivated peers we can get something started. It’s that drive for not just doing quality work, but taking it to the next level… going the extra mile. Pushing the constraints and doing your own little part is really what makes the difference. In this regard, the entire SAP Mentor program is really shining and it’s very inspiring and motivating to be part of.
What is even more fascinating is how the Mentors do that. They make it look like fun and such an easy and natural thing to do. Well, maybe because it really is that simple? People like Mark, Martin and Thorsten (just to name three that pop to my head immediately) are just rocking in their own way for a simple reason: they are just being themselves. They don’t take themselves too importantly, have the ability to laugh about themselves and don’t think twice about what others may could think of them. They just do their thing and are absolutely authentic in doing so – regardless of who’s listening or even broadcasting what they say/do. And sometimes it is required to be the crazy nut in order for others to feel a little more comfortable and relaxed and more open-minded. This is how it spreads… and this is why I believe that the print just nailed it!
PS: Sorry if that sounded way too fan-boyish for your taste – I’d blame it on me wearing my community shirt as a PJ last night! ;)