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Memorial Day Weekend, 2005. I squirm out of my sleeping bag and peek my head out of the tent. Temporary shelters stretch as far as I can see, but this is no campground. I’m in a friend’s backyard in Speedway, IN. I’m about to experience The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, aka the Indy 500. It’s not all fun and games, however. As a first-timer, I am forced to wear a bright yellow shirt emblazoned with the word “Rookie” on both the front and back. Then, along with the other rookies in our group, I am relegated to cooler duty, responsible for transporting copious quantities of adult beverages to the track. After all, what is a race without an ice cold one and some lukewarm fried chicken?

Next week, I’ll don an imaginary rookie shirt as I suit up for my first SAPPHIRE. There won’t quite be 500,000 people at this event, I certainly won’t be dining on KFC in Madrid, and hopefully rookie hazing isn't involved. In fact, I can’t come up with many similarities at all between SAPPHIRE and the Indy 500, except for a big one that comes to mind - PASSION. At the race, I was amazed by the dedication, enthusiasm, and loyalty radiating from the Indy fans. They knew every bit of minutiae about their favorite drivers (and cars). They live and breathe the event.

As a new guy on the SAP mobile team, I have been just as impressed by the passion that my colleagues have demonstrated as they prepare for SAPPHIRE. An amazing amount of time and effort has gone into conceptualizing and crafting more than 144 mobile sessions that will take place next week. But this isn’t just a forum to highlight SAP’s enthusiasm and experience - the entire conference is structured to harness the passion of our partners and customers as well. I’m particularly excited to check out a number of microforums  – think of these as choose your own adventure discussions where everyone participates and PowerPoints are banned.  

From high level mobile strategy all the way to deep-dive sessions, you are guaranteed to find a demo, panel discussion, keynote or microforum that suits your needs. As the consumer apps guy, here are some of the sessions I’ve highlighted for my agenda – you can build your own schedule using this tool. Can’t make it to Madrid this year? Be sure to catch the fun on SAP’s broadcast channel.

Follow @SAPMobile on Twitter and Facebook for live updates during the conference.