My Last Day at SAP

In case anyone noticed, I have been 1) blogging less these last few weeks, and 2) increasingly difficult to get in touch with. The reason is that I resigned from SAP a couple of weeks ago and Thursday will be my last official day as an employee of the company; I’ve been busy cleaning up loose ends and decompressing.

I do have a new gig, one that I can’t wait to tell you about, but this post is dedicated to saying goodbye to a company that I have been proud to be associated with for 9 years (damn, 1 more year of service and I would have received a crystal lamp… really).

There will be some things about SAP that I won’t miss but this post is not about that, it is about reflecting on the things that I have been privileged to be a part of and to express my gratitude to a company who gave me a great opportunity in the most productive part of my career and also gave me a lot of latitude to do things that interested me simply on my word that it would be productive.

I’ll never forget the time I sat down in Hasso Plattner’s office to interview for the SAP Ventures position that Howard Lau recruited me for, making me the #2 person in Ventures. Hasso sat me down and without the benefit of a resume asked me a couple of questions about me and what I was all about, which was the first 5 minutes of the interview, the remaining 45 minutes was consumed talking about surfing in South Africa, sailing, and what my favorite windsurfing spots in the Bay were. It was only some time later that I realized he wasn’t’ assessing my capabilities but rather my character. He concluded with a rather terse “I’ll support you in this role” and off I went to figure out how to be a VC. Plattner was always supportive, making time when I asked for it and displaying both a breadth of knowledge and command of detail that to this day leaves me convinced he is one of the smartest people in this business. Loyalty… I’ll always have it for Hasso but I also understand that leaving SAP means I am violating it in his eyes.

SAP Ventures was a phenomenal experience that left me with two “life marks” that I will carry forward professionally everywhere I go. The first being that I developed the confidence that I really knew what the hell I was talking about; confidence that was born out of having to argue and debate with Howard and everyone else at SAP Labs at a time when we really did value heated debates. The second learning I experienced was really a maturation process that gave me the right perspective and attitude to sit side-by-side with experienced investors and entrepreneurs. Without my time at SAP I am quite positive that I would not have developed into what I have become. Gratitude, serious gratitude.

I wrote earlier that SAP also gave me a lot of latitude, allow me to explain. When I started blogging over 4 years ago there were no other bloggers inside of SAP, except maybe Mark, to model myself on. So I wrote about what interested me, what I was seeing, and why I thought things that seemed important were so. In the process I really pissed off some people in our marketing and communications groups who saw my activities as a usurping of their authority. I am quite sure that were it not for a couple of key executives (and you know who you are) there would have been the dreaded cease-and-desist-or-find-a-new-job email, but that never happened and eventually those same people who resisted what I was doing embraced it and we now have bloggers at SAPPHIRE and more recently at TechEd (jeez, we even had Scoble vcasting the event).

My last year in Apollo has been extraordinary and I’m grateful for it. I’ve managed a great team, had the opportunity to deploy some technologies that I am an ardent believer in, and once again been exposed to some amazingly smart people at all levels of the company. One of the best qualities of SAP is that we have a knack for hiring extraordinary people.

A year ago I wrote a post about my leaving SAP Ventures to go back to the operations side of the business. A lot of people asked me what the hell I was doing… the answer will be revealed when I write about what I am doing next. This next step on my path would not have been possible were it not for the last year spent doing my Apollo business, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks before I am ready to talk about it. Needless to say, this is something really really exciting and right in the sweet spot for the things that I find interesting and exciting about enterprise software (and consumer for that matter).

Thanks for 9 great years (and I’m really going to miss the espresso machine, my 12 minute commute, and all the friends I have worked with here… but not in that order). I no longer have email, so if you want to ping me please email me at my address.

58 thoughts on My Last Day at SAP

  1. sorry to hear it Jeff,

    I do enjoy your SAP enterprise perspective mixed with the ‘New IT’ business models that are emerging.

    I’m sure your blog will contine in a slightly new vein now.

    best of luck

  2. Brilliant post Jeff and thanks for sharing that – character – that’s the unspoken requirement and I know you’ve got that in spades. All the very best.

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  4. Really really sorry to hear that, Jeff – but best of luck with your new ventures anyway, I’m sure we’ll stay in touch.
    Let’s hope we’ll find someone to fill the empty spaces you’re leaving behind, and I don’t mean your official position. These are some pretty big boots to fill…

  5. Congrats on the new role Jeff and for a successful 9 years at SAP. I look forward to seeing how your vision for the future is turned into a reality. Best of Luck.

  6. Jeff, you have changed SAP in many ways…and kudos to the company in the middle of asparagus fields to allow a flame thrower like you to yank the chain early and often…

    Many of us are grateful to you for helping launch the Irregulars – much as you cringe at that moniker…

    Look forward to more debates and dinners…

  7. Wow – well best of luck with whatever your up to next. Hopefully you’ll keep blogging – as a sailor, I’d like to hear some of your sailing and wind surfing experiences!

  8. Jeff,
    Congrats on the big decision. You have a lot to be proud of there at SAP. Can’t wait to here the official news. Lets do a podcast and video on the news 🙂

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  10. I have enjoyed reading your blog. As an MBS VAR, I wish Microsoft had someone of your position blogging as well.

  11. Jeff… its been a wonderful experience. I’m glad you decided to become operational with Apollo. You made it easier for me and the team to have an impact. its much appreciated. I’m gonna miss you buddy!


  12. Dude, about time! Looking back I am grateful for all the good years I spent at Reuters, but I should have kicked myself to leave much earlier. Congrats for the decision, and I look forward to hearing more about the new gig when I see you tomorrow for our panel at the Computer History Museum.

  13. Jeff,

    Supreme congratulations for all you’ve accomplished inside and out of SAP. On a personal note, you’ve become a friend despite being all the way across the country, and have played an enormous role in my own embrace of social software and the power, collaboration, and sense of community it enables.

    Looking forward to learning more about your new gig, and yet hopeful that someone else steps into your big shoes at SAP as an advocate for social computing.


  14. Sorry to see you go Jeff. I’ll be missing the debates over lunch, altough I am sure we can find a way to continue those…


  15. Congratulations Jeff. However, sorry to see you leave.. You have been a great influence over here at SAP and will be dearly missed. Best of luck and I look forward to hearing about your next venture..


  16. Congratulations, Jeffrey. You made an impact on me both personally and professionally, as I know you did so many others. Your contributions in and outside of SAP will not be forgotten and you can be proud of the legacy you leave behind.

    Your future is waiting…all the best.

  17. Jeff, I am sorry to hear that you are leaving SAP. We had a lot of fun in SAP Ventures, our CEO Summit was especially memorable. All the best in your new adventure.

  18. Jeff … great year working with you – we definitely moved the SAP needle. I know what you are going to miss most … those 2×2’s that so succinctly clarify any corporate problem ; ) Best of luck on the next adventure and look forward to hearing details. Thanks for a great year. – Rob

  19. Jeff…Thank you for your effort to ‘open’ SAP to new ideas and technologies…Keep in touch…E.T.
    (PS – I’m using a Mac…)

  20. Jeff……It was always a blast and I do have to say it will always be more the memories of the discussions regarding cars and bikes than tech that will be remembered. Nevertheless, that is not to say the tech didn’t play a huge role. It was fun working together at SAP Ventures and I can feel some of your thoughts directly as having just left SAP I too look back very fondly on the 6 years I spent there and all the great things I was allowed to do. Best of luck in your new gig…..I am sure it’s the right move for you and it’ll be a great success……Paul

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  23. Best wishes for the new venture. A pleasure working with you on the T3Ci BOD.

  24. Bye Jeff. It was a pleasure to work with you. You taught me alot. I know you will do a great job in your new role. I’ll be watching…..

  25. Congratulations Jeff! Thanks for sharing your learning experiences with SAP. Good luck with your next chapter. I’m excited to hear about it.

  26. All the best Jeff. I have only just started reading you recently but moving on is a good thing even if tinged with some sweet sorrow. Look forward about hearing of the new gig.

  27. Sorry to hear you are leaving, Jeff. I enjoyed working with you, and look forward to doing more of that in your new role. Keep us posted, here at SAP!


  28. Jeff, I am eager to read about your new gig. SAP is a great company, but I’ve found that leaving the corporate world to pursue your own vision is ultimately much more rewarding. Many thanks for inspiring me to take up blogging. If your experience is anything like mine, however, your new venture will consume so much time that you won’t be posting as often as before. Good luck; I will keep on reading.

  29. wld be interested in yr insights into the telco vertical, Jeff. Why did u never push that space in SAP?

  30. Its sad to hear that you’re leaving.
    Congratulations and best wishes…it was great working with you. Keep us posted.

  31. Classy departure, Jeff!

    Thank you for helping us at SAP think more out of the box. You set a different standard for us in how we accept change, expand into new communities and to embrace critical thinking in new ways. You will be missed.

    Best wishes and happy blogs!


  32. Jeff,
    you’ve done a great job at SAP and I’m sure your next gig will be even more rewarding. Keep in touch!


  33. Hi Jeff,

    Was too busy with further opening up SAP during the SDN Day 😉 this is why I only now get to post ferwell.

    Not sure how much you realize what a difference you made. From holding up the Blogging flag with me when most people didn’t understand the power of it, to only a couple of weeks ago when you said in a side comment that Scoble may come to the SDN Day in Vegas. Today he opened his ScobleShow with the Shai interview shot when visiting.

    Very grateful for all that. So much more can be done and I miss your input and the keeping me on my toes already.

    Good luck in your new job, Mark.

  34. Hi Jeff,

    a voice from the past… Good luck on your new endeavours. As a occasional visitor to your blog I only noticed your career change now.
    I wish you all the best and will check in here soon to see where you landed.

    Achim (former member of the “what’s the best Internet achitecture” debate society….)

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