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Former Member
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My trip to Orlando has been a bit last minute. Once I heard the amazing news that I had been chosen to be an SAP Mentor the first thing I did was book my flight to Orlando to be part of Sapphire.

It’s a strange thing really: I have been in the BI space for 15 years now and never once attended one of the big global conferences. They however have always been part of my “nerd bucket list” so to speak. Being based at the Southern tip of Africa these trips don’t come cheap. As all things in our life we always say that we will get there “one day”. It’s a weird thing really as my motto for life in general is “if you don’t go you’ll never know” so I guess in a few days I will know.

I am writing this post on a flight down from Johannesburg (where SAP Africa head office is based) down to my home town of Cape Town. I have about 26 hours with family and then it is back to airport for the gruelling 30 hour commute to Orlando.

The flight details look something like this:

Cape Town – London (12 hours)
4 hour layover
London – Miami ( 9 ½ hours)
2 hour layover
Miami – Orlando ( 1 hour)

If the travel gods are with me then that puts me in Orlando at 5:30pm which should give me enough time to get to the hotel, get freshened up and off to the Mentor induction – I am expecting some surprises here 😉

Those who know me will know that I come from the Sybase world, as a business we cover the full SAP BI space, but it is in the zeros and ones of the database world where my true passion lies. Since SAP acquired Sybase I have been to a few of the SAP events and one thing that’s for sure is that SAP knows how to do events! As Sapphire is the flag ship event of the year (for business users) I am expecting the event to be nothing other than mind blowing. We are fortunate to be staying across the road from the conference so I intend to attend all the sessions I can and meet as many people as possible.

The first time I got exposure to the SAP community was here in South Africa when I got to meet and connect with the great ingo.hilgefort and the new SAP Mentor inductee joshua.fletcher at the Mastering SAP BI conference last year. What never ceases to amaze me about the SAP community, and where I feel the real power lies, is that on various occasions I have reached out to various SAP experts and they have always been willing to assist even with their busy schedules. Looking at the line-up of speakers and content my inner nerd cannot wait to get there!

I guess the question a lot of you are asking by now is ….. well if you are a database guy then what sessions are you attending? The honest answer – I am not too sure yet? I have a few must attend sessions on my list but I am really going to focus my energy on trying to meet and knowledge share with as many people as possible.

When I posed the question to my fellow mentors as “what to expect” for my first Sapphire I got a lot of great advice. One piece of advice struck a chord with me which was something like this: “You can always get access to the presentations after the event but you can never get that face to face time with product owners and members of the community again and that is invaluable”. Thanks martin.english !

Post Sapphire and once we have all Jumped to Van Halen I have got a round of golf lined up for the Thursday, afternoon of course, and then I am off down the coast to Miami where I have lined up a surf or two with some locals. After that it is the long trip home again, via London, and I am pretty sure sleeping tablets won’t be needed then.

If you are going to Sapphire then please connect with me and say hi. I will be on twitter (@biitb) and am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible in the global SAP community, making new friends and most importantly helping and advising where I can.

Travel safe for those going, for those not… have some sleep for me please.


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