Last year I attended Mastering SAP Technologies in Sydney Australia. It was my first time at one of these events and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, capturing a lot of high quality video along the way. This year, the event is in Melbourne just a stones throw from the business district. Once again, it is shaping up to be a great show. Why? What differentiates this from other events?
The first thing is that the organizers go out of their way to actively engage participant involvement. That’s not to say commercial sponsors and supporters are discouraged but it is the users who set the agenda. So yesterday for instance, there was a whole afternoon devoted to SIT (SAP Inside Track), a community organized session where the topics are chosen on the day by those who turn up.
This year, rather than have a series of round robin discussion sessions, it was organized on the basis of a series of chats with whomever wanted to get on the stage. It was done fireside chat style. That alone sets a relaxed tone.
But what really struck me was the quality and depth of question and while all those who took the stage have deep expertise in one or more aspects of SAP, they were not afraid to render opinions that would normally be considered ‘off message.’ It is this honesty that makes such a difference and serves to strip away the often marketing led ‘stuff’ that is spoon fed to attendees at other conferences.
This year I reckon there were almost double the number from 2012. That’s a great testament to the vibe this type of event encourages.
This year I was invited to give a presentation which I entitled: I Don’t Give a F%^k About Your Code (video) where I talked about the changing buyer landscape, the rise of LOB buyers and what they care about. I’ve not had time to time stamp the video but I got some great questions which start at around the 20 minute mark.
The slides from that presentation will go up later this week as they include images from an embargoed presentation I was given at the end of last week.
After SIT work, we were entertained by a DemoJam session with five contestants presenting whacky ideas. I like the way they do the voting – via SMS so there is no real room for gaming the voting unless you pack the room with buddies. I’ll produce one or two videos from that part of the day a little later. One includes a cannon. Go figure.
Thanks to the Eventful Group for living up to their moniker: ‘making communities thrive’ and for making the show happen. A special thanks goes to Graham Robinson for asking me to deliver a presentation to developers. It’s a rare privilege.
Endnote – during the presso, I say there was almost no representation from developers at MWC 2013. Apparently, 18 percent self of attendees identified themselves as developers. All I can say is they were thin on the ground.