My day

uncertainty

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Finally back to real work for developers!

As much as I like to hang out with others, discuss, exchange ideas, joke, etc. I can’t do it for very long unless I also find time to do things and implement real stuff.

I spent most of last week between a workshop on SAP HANA and SAP’s Developer Kick Off Meeting (DKOM). Both were fantastic for learning, sharing and networking. I spent last friday catching with emails and preparing my talk for the Evans Data Corporation Developer Relations Conference (EDC DRC). I spent monday at Day 1 of EDC DRC. And today -finally!- I am back to work to do things…

… back to advancing SAP Developer Programs…

We have so much to do! Of course my team is doing most of the work but I want to “do” stuff too.

You may wonder what stuff we are working on. It’s hard to list everything; there is plenty to be done but below are those things that are most important and urgent:

  1. improving the developer experience by making our technologies and platforms -mostly databases, cloud and mobile- more easily accessible and programmable (via APIs!) and by helping developers use the tools of their choice to develop with our software;
  2. improving our content for developers – guides, code samples, video tutorials – by making all of it easily searchable, relevant and supportive of self learning;
  3. re-creating the developer center web site and making it “amazing”, ie better than state of the art, including a simplified the legal framework: minimum number of clicks, minimum number of agreements;
  4. promoting a new SAP, with exciting value for developers, end to end.

Of course this is not simple and a lot or work for my team and development teams. But exciting!

And there is more: we are preparing more exciting things: new developer events, which we will organize, co-organize or sponsor.

I know there is not much details at this point but if you’re a developer reading this, be reassured that SAP takes you seriously and that we are working very hard to serve you.

Stay tuned,  more details to come soon!

 

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Developers, other developers, more developers, and APIs…

For the second year in a row I am attending the Evans Data Corporation Developer Relations Conference. This event is a 2 days event for all developer advocates in marketing or R&D to share best practices about developer programs. The conference is quite small (~100 attendees) but companies like Google, IBM, Salesforce.com, Adobe, Oracle, Intel, Huawei, AT&T, etc. have representatives here. Even John Deere and Mastercard are there!

This year SAP is a sponsor. We have been working with Evans Data Corporation since last July; they have helped us to develop profiles of strategic developer segments for our technologies and platforms. I was invited to give a talk. The title of my talk was “The burgeoning SAP developer community”. Some might wonder why “burgeoning” while we already have more than 1 million developers in our ecosystem. There is a reason: most of those developers who are already in our ecosystem work at SAP customers and partners and few of them are actually independent developers or entrepreneurs, which are typically those we want to recruit. Burgeoning refers to the net new developer ecosystem we are growing for our newest technologies and platforms, e.g. SAP HANA, SAP Mobile Platform, etc.

I filled the room and got tons of questions: I was asked about connection points between our developer and partner programs, about our application certification for developers, about how much support we provided for developers who wanted to sell their applications on our App Store. I really enjoyed the interaction with the audience. I shared what was hard for us at SAP: creating an amazing developer experience, or evolving our brand, or thinking volume and scale instead of just big customers and big partners. Most in the audience were leading or working for Developer Relations for big companies too. It was interesting and reassuring to see how much our struggles were similar to their. A few asked me during the day how we were managing to show results and progress. It is the toughest of all: how do you link developer communities to revenue generation? Of course analytics are a critical part of our job but connecting developer influence to company purchase is often a long stretch…

During and after a panel that touched on the topic of gamification, I got really hooked on a gamified platform that Evans Data Corporation has set up with Influitive. I went from challenge to challenge to win more and more points and make it to the leaderboard. I got so competitive! I got third and I am still third at the time I write this blog. So proud!

Let’s come back to developers…

What I found quite interesting compared to last year is how much there was much more discussions about APIs, Web APIs, Open APIs. A few people I met were actually head of “API Enablement and Developer Relations” or director of “Open API and Developer Programs”.

My favorite talk was actually John Musser’s talk about API Business Models. His talk was different and extremely informative: it came as an avalanche of ideas and information. He said a few things that made me think:

You should think of APIs along a continuum from internal to private to public. Note that you may want internal to be the biggest use of your API.

He recommended that we think very hard about what we wanted to expose via our APIs:

Was it valuable business, like Twilio? Valuable data? Valuable audience? Valuable function? Valuable marketplace? Valuable access?

He spent a long time telling us about the various types of ROIs of API Business Models:

Free: Facebook, yellow pages, PS apis (gov)
Developer pays: Pay as you go(AWS), Tiered pricing (Mailchimp), Freemium (Google maps), Freemium + tiered pricing (Mailchimp), Unit-based pricing (Sprint, Wordstream), Beware-complex-pricing (Orange), Transaction fee (Stripe, Paypal, Braintree, Securely, Chargify)
Developers get paid: CPA-Affiliate revenue share (Amazon product advertising API), CPC-Revenue share (shopping.com), Recurring revenue share (rdio)
Indirect: Content acquisition (eBay), Content syndication (The New York Times), API as Saas upsell (Salesforce.com), APIs the glue of Saas (the Small Business Web, Intuit)

The Business Model part, the “how” part was really quite interesting.

Adam Seligman from Salesforce.com concluded the day with advices for all of us running developer programs at our companies:

A developer is not a developer, ie all developers are different. Look at your data daily. Google is what will bring developers to your developer web site, not your marketing web sites; therefore be smart with google search. Stand for something and make it visible on your developer web site.

I finished day 1 networking around drinks and dinner with sponsors: IBM, Intel, John Deere, Mastercard. Amazing people, amazing stories!

It was one of these days where I would not give up my developer experience job for anything else 🙂

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My mind tricked me…

After having thought about it for several years, I finally signed up for a Marathon: the San Francisco marathon on June 16th. It is still several weeks ahead but as I am no longer in my 20s… and I have never run more than 30k I need to train. Ok I am lucky because my husband Vincent and a few colleagues will run it too; therefore they train with me or besides me. Isn’t it amazing how much easier things get when you know that others are in the same boat as you?
This morning Vincent and I went for a 11miles run by the bay: from North San Antonio Road, Mountain View into trails in the bay of Palo Alto. We left at 8am. The temperature was perfect, the sun was out, the light was silver.
Based on my training plan I had to run 11 miles at an average of between 8:35 and 9:10 minutes per mile. Vincent was supposed to run well ahead of me as his plan told him to run at an average of between 7:40 and 8:10 minutes per mile.
I was proudly able to maintain a pace of 8:46 minutes per miles for half of the course and then my mind jumped in: another 5.5 miles like this? no way! Isn’t it interesting how the mind can trick you into believing that you can’t do things? It took me a few minutes to find a way to escape from my mind’s trap. I scanned my body to check if I had any pain anywhere. I could not find any. There was no good reason for my body to stop running. Why was my mind trying to make me feel tired? I decided to do like I do when meditating: I scanned my body again, observing my feelings without reacting. I spent the rest of the run scanning my body up and down trying to observe how well it was working. Earlier my mind had tricked me into believing that I would not be able to run the second half of the run as fast as I ran the first half. It was all wrong! Why does the mind do that? Why did it trick me?
It seems to be some sort of protection: tell her that it will hurt even if it does not yet… This way she will stop before it does.
Often the result is that it makes us anticipate problems that we don’t have and will never have. The example I gave with running is the same with all. Our mind can make us stop doing those things that may actually be what we need and what we should do. The good news is that we can train our mind into doing less of this policing and reactive control by learning and practicing meditation. While sitting, running, working or anything…
Beware of your mind!

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Aristotle said…

Earlier this week SAP, my employer, held their annual Developer Kick-Off Meeting event. The event took place at all labs all around the world: Walldorf (D), Palo Alto (US), Sofia (BUL), Paris (F), Vancouver (CA), Montreal (CA), Shanghai (CHN), Bangalore (IND), etc.

Before the event I was asked to do a D-talk, ie a short talk, TedTalk like about anything I wanted to talk about. I was given a 6 minutes slot. I decided to make “D” of D-talk mean “different” and I proposed to talk about “Happiness” just because it matters to me and i think we don’t talk enough about it while it affects all of us, including developers.

So on March 14th I stood up in front of the SAP developers of the Bay Area and started my talk about Happiness. I had not openly disclosed what my talk was about. I was unsure about the reception this subject would have. The title of my talk was “Aristotle said…”.

Here is what I said:

More than 2000 years ago Aristotle said that more than anything else, men and women seek happiness. Today, 2000 years later, despite technology progress, the fact that we live older, the material luxuries surrounding us, research shows that we do not understand what happiness is, better than Aristotle did and we don’t know better how to be happy. Why is that?

I am neither a psychologist nor a philosopher, but here are a few things I wanted to share with all of you.

A- The key to happiness is within each of us:

Here is an excerpt from a book by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaliy. The name of the book is “Flow”:

Happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but, rather, on how we interpret them. Happiness, in fact is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.

We can’t find happiness by searching for it and expecting that it will come to us, like that. The secret for happiness is within ourselves. Mihaly in his book explains how the mind works and how we can maximize our chances to attain optimal experiences and therefore feel happy.

I can’t explain how the mind works but I have gathered several tips that I tried myself. Each helped me to attain more of these optimal experiences. Hopefully they will work for you too. 

B- Each of us can create favorable conditions for our happiness by…

  1. Deriving pleasure from the present. Being grateful for what you have helps you to get what you want.
  2. When in pain and starting to judge others or things, trying to change our view on others or things.
  3. Learning to focus our attention and energy. [About 3 years ago is did a 10 days Vipassana meditation retreat; 10 days in silence practicing observation of feelings and sensations; it has a been a life changing experience for me, not only for the learnings but also for the discovery of the limitless power of the human brain. Meditation helped me to focus this immense power on one thing, the thing that I wanted. When our brain is occupied at one thing only, magic and great things happen…]
  4. Taking risks – Mihaly says that 

    Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety.

  5. Involving the most of us (body and mind) in everything we do

C – Each of us can be happy at work

The good news is that even though work varies, we can all change something to make our experiences more enjoyable.

One of our biggest challenges is that whether work is enjoyable or not ranks quite low among the concerns of those who have the power to influence the nature of our jobs. Management has to care for productivity first and foremost. This is regrettable because if all of us enjoyed our jobs we would certainly benefit personally but also produce more efficiently and reach all goals anyway…

Despite management, we can feel happier at work by…

  1. Identifying what we enjoy most doing and trying to do more of it
  2. Finding our pieces –even small- of freedom (where we are the real boss)
  3. Trying to turn our work -especially when boring- into games
  4. Hanging out with others as much as possible. Being alive in latin is hominem esse, which means to be among others.
  5. Trying to use adversity or stress as a learning opportunity that helps us to get better next time.

I have tried and have been practicing all 10 tips. They have been helping me. Meanwhile nothing replaces knowing more about why they work. Therefore I highly recommend reading “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihaliy.

I wish you happiness in life and at work and don’t forget, the key to happiness is in you, not anywhere else!

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