Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP:
- Hey Alex, I hope you’re doing terrific and staying safe in Antarctica! What are you seeing out there that we can all be inspired by to help the world run better and improve people’s lives?
- Thanks for the question, Bill! The stark beauty of the Antarctic seems simple on the surface: cold, flat, abandoned, and nearly colorless; but the truth of the Antarctic is that below the surface, it has a vibrancy and relevance that mysteriously connects us all. What happens here pulls on us, pushes us, shapes our future, and will be the tale of our past without more understanding and multilateral action. Antarctic will lay waste to easy solutions; only global cooperation can work here. What kind of body, what kind of organization has the interconnectedness to be a conduit for this kind of change; certainly governments, certainly individuals heeding the call and picking up the charge. And from my perspective, certainly SAP. If our fast facts have shown us anything it is that we are a glue, a network, and a connector of people, businesses, and cultures around the planet and an element that allows individual actions to scale for global impact. And that is exactly what the Antarctic needs.
Sam Yen, Chief Design Officer, SAP:
- Alex, what are the most impactful things you have seen and learned about our environment and climate in Antarctica that we need to know here in Silicon Valley? What will you do differently when you get back to California?
- I’ve learned so much! There is not one defining moment or thing that stands out amongst others, but for me, the impact and value stems from the personal connection I made with this unique and beautiful part of the world. I saw this pristine land firsthand and was humbled by the vastness of the rugged terrain and wildlife. I got up close and personal with penguins, whales, seals, and birds, and connected with some incredibly inspiring people who are doing great work for the environment. This innate connection to the natural world isn’t easy to transcribe, but when you feel it, you know how imperative it is to protect the environment.
- There are plenty of things we all can be doing. For me, I’m going to cut beef out of my diet for good. It’s something I’ve been slowly working toward and have been fairly successful in doing, but I’ve now received extra inspiration to go all in. I’ll also be looking to buy solar powered tools such as portable chargers, backpacks, and others. There are a lot of great alternative energy options out there, and since we’re in California, it should be easy to find the sun.
Scott Leatherman, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Labs US:
- I am sure you have heard a lot of facts and figures about the large-scale issue of global warming—has anyone discussed any small actions that we can do in our daily lives to help “undo” the damage we have done on a global scale? Something we can do as individuals, families, or teams at work?
- Great question! The main dialog during the expedition has been around this exact topic. Since we have participants representing 32 nations on the expedition, we’ve been able to work together to develop solutions with a global mindset. We’ve curated a list of actionable solutions for individuals, so I plan to share that once it’s finalized amongst the teams. One example would be purchasing climate friendly refrigerators, or air-conditioning units. Climate friendly would mean they are free of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are more damaging than carbon dioxide. These are not always available in stores so it’s important to ask before purchasing.
Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, SAP :
- What do you hope to accomplish with this trip? Are you fishing each day and eating the fish you catch in order to stay alive (like in the movie “Unbroken”)?
- As SAP’s Chief Learning Officer, you know education is powerful. In terms of climate change, it’s a critical foundation for driving awareness, altering our world view, and inspiring people to take action. My wish is to convey the importance of simply preserving this fascinating landscape so other people may experience what I’ve felt. I hope to share all that I’ve learned, as well as the inspiring stories of those who I’ve met along the way. These people are working on some incredible projects to better our environment and I hope to provide a platform to share more stories like theirs.
- Yes, we’ve become quite desperate out here. The buffet meals three times a day have not been sufficient, so Rob’s teaching a course on fishing and preparing meals in the Antarctic. It’s real hardcore stuff! 🙂 All jokes aside, I’ll be returning home with a thicker winter coat. If there’s one thing I learned about this expedition, it’s that you won’t go hungry.
Justin Somaini, Chief Security Officer, SAP:
- Wait, what? She went to the South Pole?
- I’m glad to know I can disappear from society for 15 days and our Chief Security Officer would have zero concerns. Shows you who really cares, huh? Perhaps we can chat about it in the next episode of Between 2 Servers after I return.
Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer, SAP:
- Given your Drake post, were you disappointed the waves weren’t bigger so you would have bragging rights? Claro and Movistar are the two main mobile network operators that have (limited) coverage in Antarctica. Both are customers of SAP Digital Interconnect. Do either of them work on your phone?
- Initially, we were all disappointed. It was the smoothest sailing anyone on the ship, including the crew and captain, had ever experienced. Now, fast forward to this current moment. We’re headed back through the Drake and it’s not quite the same, soothing ride. Last night, there was a massive storm headed our way so we had to navigate west toward the pacific to avoid it. I woke up to a book falling on my head and loud crashing coming from the other side of our room. We failed, to “Drake proof” our belongings, which was advised by Rob and team. Others failed as well, and some people said they were even launched from their beds due to the violent waves. With all that said, we’re told this crossing is only a level three of ten for the Drake. I’m already looking forward to dry land.
- JB, you’ve got all the best facts, I didn’t know that. I didn’t hear of anyone having service while in Antarctica, but one passenger did have a faint signal for only a moment. He is veteran of the Antarctic and knew at which exact time he would have a signal. He used the minute of service to send a selfie to his family and I believe Movistar was the carrier, but don’t quote me on that.
Roger Quinlan, SVP & Global Head, Partner Managed Cloud, SAP:
- I wonder what is the most amazing thing you’ve seen so far? What is the biggest surprise?
- It’s hard to narrow it down, or put into words what I’ve seen and experienced. The most amazing thing for me has been witnessing the Antarctic ecosystem in action. If you sit long enough you can watch the circle of life happening right before your eyes. I’ve watched whales feeding on Krill, penguins feeding their young, leopard seals eating penguins, and birds benefitting from the scraps left over by the seals. It might sound gruesome, but it’s just nature and I found that extremely fascinating.
- The biggest surprise has been how much I’ve altered my way of thinking in such a short amount of time. There are two parts to this. First, it’s directly related to what I’ve seen and experienced in Antarctica. Second, and the larger part, is due to the people. I didn’t expect to be so inspired by a group of individuals I’ve never met. As it turns out, they are all creating massive disruption in their communities when it comes to climate change and climate action. I learned the most from my conversations with these individuals.