Last week, I had the opportunity to go to SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, Florida. It was such an incredible experience. The entire show floor filled over 30,000 people! Quite frankly, it was a bit overwhelming at first. I went in not knowing what to expect but I left with a tremendous amount of new knowledge and takeaways and here are a few:
1) Get out of bed and listen to the keynotes live
The first keynote started at 8:30AM and I was struggling to get out of my bed early enough to make it but I was so glad to be able to experience the keynote session live. Sitting in a huge audience with peers all around me, the ambiance was totally different. Everyone had their attention focused to the stage or ginormous LCD screen, it wasn't like watching a video online because there was actual engagement and the energy was infectious. When you’re there, the content seemed to be more interesting and it made me feel really proud to be a part of SAP!
2) Take advantage of all the opportunities to learn and take people’s business cards
As an intern, the structure of SAP still confuses me sometimes, I haven’t deciphered all the acronyms yet, and I was far from knowing all the products in the SAP portfolio. I took this chance to go to the different demo pods to learn more about the different products. Most importantly, I learned to start taking business cards from the people I met, especially those that I think I can learn from, because I want to make the most out of the connections I made.
3) Take time out to meet with people you’ve worked with via email
I’m currently a Product Marketing Intern under Analytics, which was comprised of members from all around the world. I realized that it’s only going to be at events like SAPPHIRE that I will get a chance to meet these people in person. When I met with the people I’ve worked with virtually, it strengthened our connection that much more. I can put faces to the different names and voices now! It definitely changed my view on making real life connections because calls and virtual meetings were “normal” in such a big company.
4) Make it fun and buddy up
SAPPHIRE can be content overload but I enjoyed walking around to learn about the other vendors. It can also be a bit intimidating so walking around with a buddy helped a lot. Different companies had different ideas and innovations so it was exciting looking at new tech gadgets. One of my most memorable experiences was trying the Samsung VR Gear. Using the VR Gear, I was able to experience a roller coaster. Crazy, right?! My body wanted to move with the roller coaster because I was so immersed. I must have looked quite silly to a bystander but it was a ton of fun! Augmented reality is definitely a big theme currently and now I can see how the SAP Digital Boardroom, a product that I got to see go live, is relevant in the big picture.
Overall, I met awesome people, made new friends, learned a ton of new information about SAP’s products, SAP’s vision for the future, and current trends in tech. If I were to do SAPPHIRE again, I would do more research on sessions and companies that will be there. Going into SAPPHIRE with an open mind proved to be a rewarding experience. I’m so lucky to have been a part of it all, thank you SAP!
Thank you for reading and feel free to follow me on twitter @itslimei