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It's about time I introduced you to the classic Russian novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov. This novel is set in the USSR of 1920s and is a brilliant satire that highlights the absurdity and surrealism of the Soviet life. Together with the sequel The Little Golden Calf (which is even better IMHO) I must have read it hundred times instead of the school-mandated Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. No disrespect but those guys should've considered writing some funnier books.

One of the many quirky characters in The Twelve Chairs is a poet Nikifor Lapis who sells his poems to the small trade publications and magazines. What is so special about his poems? You see, all of them are about the same person called Gavrila. The only difference is that Gavrila acquires different skills based on what publication the poem is offered to.

For example, in 'The Last Letter' poem, crafted for the Telegraphist's Week magazine, Gavrila is a postman:

  "Gavrila had a job as postman.
  Gavrila took the letters round..."

For The Cake Worker, Gavrila is reincarnated as a baker:

  "Gavrila had a job as baker.
  Gavrila baked the cakes and bread..."

If Nikifor Lapis wrote in his trademark iambic tetrameter for the SAP Insider Magazine it could be something like this:

  "Gavrila was a HEC consultant.
  Gavrila implemented Cloud..."

The Gavrila Blog

Fast forward almost a century, the omnipresent Gavrila clearly outlived his creators and from the old-fashioned poems moved on to the modern media. Namely, the blogs. See if this piece sounds familiar to you.
"We live in the times when digital innovation is the cutting edge of the sharing economy. The connected devices, empowered by IoT and Cloud, are disrupting our everyday lives. Business needs to catch up, otherwise the trailblazers like Amazon, Google, and Uber will eat your lunch and cake too. 75% of the Fortune 500 companies do not exist anymore. Millennials are entering the workforce and it is a game changer.

What can we learn from the industry leaders to propel digital transformation and delight the customers? Here are the top expert tips.

  1. Buy low, sell high. Cost-efficient, demand-driven, sourcing is the cornerstone of the modern supply chain. Are you providing your buyers with the digital tools they need?

  2. Measure twice, cut once. Governance, transparency and end-to-end visibility, decision-making from the single source of truth in Digital Core. Because, yes!

  3. No pain - no gain. Legacy systems, spaghetti code, redundant ERP landscapes requiring constant attention from IT are replaced by the modern UI, Cloud-based solutions with SaaS, PaaS, YaaS, Big Data, and What'sNoT.

SAP provides innovative solutions for the businesses that seek to increase profitability through digital innovation and disruption while maintaining compliance and achieving customer satisfaction. To learn more, click here."

Did this fill up your Buzzword Bingo card? Did you feel like this blog could have easily appeared on any website, like Forbes or LinkedIn? And even "SAP" here could be replaced by Oracle or Microsoft without making any difference in the content. This, folks, is a bona fide modern day cutting-edge state-of-the-art "Gavrila blog".

But how do you avoid creating one?

Write for Yourself! No, The Other Self

There was an impromptu discussion on SCN recently on what motivates people to blog. One of the reasons brought up was just to "blog for yourself". At first, it seemed a bit selfish and even arrogant. But then I realized that this motivation was simply misunderstood. Clearly, it must have meant to write not for yourself, the writer, but for yourself, the reader.

Before clicking that Publish button, ask yourself: would I enjoy reading what I just wrote? Would I be proud to show it to my parents, my boss or someone I respect? Would a person who doesn't even know anything about SAP still enjoy my writing? If the answer is "no" then reconsider publishing your creation.

Just Say "No"

In the global race to push out the content its quality starts to resemble, err... the other thing we push out. We somehow forget that even a blog is a piece of writing. And writing is an art, a combination of skill and soul. One can build up the skill but if you don't put any passion in it then the result will be lifeless, just like The Gavriliad.

Not everyone can or need to be a writer. And that's OK. I'm a bad singer and can't draw a straight line if my life dependent on it. So I just don't. People have different talents and there must be other ways you can contribute that will make you a happier person. If someone is pushing you to post a blog on SCN when you feel no desire or passion to do so, just say "no".

You see, Gavrila is like a vampire: he needs to be invited to get in. Only if we collectively close the doors on Gavrila he can finally rest in peace. After working so hard as "the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker", doesn't he deserve at least not to be summoned into the SAP world?


P.S. Full text of The Twelve Chairs in English can be found here.

Image credit: Collage by Sergejs Taranenko. SAPInsider graphics used in accordance with fair use license for the purposes of parody.