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What Mindset Means To Me: Find, Empower, And Grow Together

Part 1 of a 3-part series on Mindset’s core values, in celebration of 10 years of Mindset. 

Mindset won my heart through jelly beans. Specifically – and this is very important – Jolly Rancher jelly beans.

It all started for me in October 2013 when Gavin reached out through LinkedIn and grabbed my interest with this message.

How could I not be drawn in by a pitch like that? (Little did I know how very small that “small” team was.) In my big-company naiveté, I didn’t regard the enterprise/ERP/SAP space as being even remotely connected to the coolness of startups. So of course I jumped at the chance to talk. I remember getting Caribou coffee in the Minneapolis skyway, and a short post meeting note-to-self email captures some of what I was thinking about at that time.

I remember a little later telling Gavin that sure, I could moonlight-help him stitch together a UI5/Gateway demo for a prospective client. Shortly after that I remember freaking out because I had NO BUSINESS saying I could help. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing – how do you do SAP Gateway stuff? Begin immediate Google search spree.

About a month after that, I accepted an offer to join Mindset. This did nothing to allay my terror. How could a super cool startup use a weenie like me? I wanted the challenge, but was unconvinced that I was up to it. I’d been doing SAP nerdings for about 4 years at that point – did I really believe that I could bring enough horsepower to bear to help a startup take over the world?

My first official day at Mindset was March 10, 2014. We got a solo desk at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange building, where CoCo (now called Fueled Collective) had a co-working facility. Since Gavin was busy crushing it with a client at that time, I spent most days by myself at this desk. I was so excited!

And completely terrified! I didn’t have an Official Mindset Bureaucracy Department Performance Management Plan Form telling me which boxes to check on things. I worried that I wouldn’t cut it for what Mindset wanted.

“But Paul,” you justifiably interject, “what does this have to do with Jolly Rancher jelly beans?”

On April 28, 2014 – the Monday following my birthday – I came in to work to find a jar filled with Jolly Rancher jelly beans on that desk. I mean filled, as in 3 or 4 big bags’ worth. Peggy knew what to get because I sent a goofy aside in an early email. And since I have a serious candy problem, within about a day candy is totally gone.

With this little jar o’ beans gesture, my fear melted. Every step in the process had required me to push through a wall of fear, and that can have a cumulative effect. Eventually that fear seizes up all the gears of your mind.

It wasn’t that jelly beans are the secret antidote to fear (though I would be a willing participant in a study to conclusively prove that one way or the other) – it was that my company actually cared about me. I’d worked in big companies prior to Mindset; and while friends I’d made cared about me as an individual, I never got the sense that the company cared.

This jar of jelly beans proved Mindset was different. The fear that bubbled under everything evaporated because I realized that our small team was behind me. I am not lying when I say that I sat down that very day and absolutely crushed about 3 things I thought I couldn’t do.

So while I connected with Mindset in October 2013, and became an employee in March 2014, the jelly beans are what won my heart. Since then, every step along the way for almost 7 years, Mindset winning my heart has helped me grow. Everything that would have terrified me in the past is now pure opportunity.

All I have to do is imagine a jar of Jolly Rancher jelly beans.


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Paul Modderman loves creating things and sharing them. He has spoken at SAP TechEd, multiple ASUG regional events, ASUG Fall Focus, Google DevFest MN, Google ISV Days, and several webinars and SAP community gatherings. Paul's writing has been featured in SAP Professional Journal, on the SAPinsider blog, and the popular Mindset blog. He believes clear communication is just as important as code, but also has serious developer chops. His tech career has spanned web applications with technologies like .NET, Java, Python, and React to SAP soutions in ABAP, OData and SAPUI5. His work integrating Google, Fiori, and Android was featured at SAP SAPPHIRE. Paul was principal technical architect on Mindset's certified solutions CloudSimple and Analytics for BW. He's an SAP Developer Hero, honored in 2017. Paul is the author of two books: Mindset Perspectives: SAP Development Tips, Tricks, and Projects, and SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori: The Psychology of UX Design. His passion for innovative application architecture and tech evangelism shines through in everything he does.

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