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"""Do you think anyone has a copy of SAP at home that they hack on in their own time for their own pleasure? I suspect not..."""

And what does this has to do with anything? Do you have a copy of the Google search engine to run at home? (the real one, not a plain text indexer like Google desktop).

Hack on Solr. Dabble with the NLTK. Implement a couple of the algorithms in the Collective Intelligence O'Reilly book. There're plenty of interesting opportunities for the hobbyist in the world of information retrieval.

Neither Facebook nor SAP are solving particularly interesting problems. Is it useful to facilitate meaningful human interactions? Yes. Is it valuable to glean insights about the operational structure of a business? Certainly.

Both of these companies do something like this, but emphasizing the wrong aspects of scalability. TechCrunch is still boring, but SAP isn't interesting.

"Neither Facebook nor SAP are solving particularly interesting problems."

Then you have no perspective of the problems SAP is solving.

SAP is solving tons of big data problems with a variety of interesting data modeling and analysis.

These are wildly interesting problems. They are as interesting in a small startup environment as they are in a large company.

There seems to be this real us versus them attitude with people who identify with startups.

People that work in SAP are no different than startups. Many people that work at SAP come from startups.

I've no doubt the engineers at Facebook and SAP find plenty of interesting problems to fill their day. The macroscopic problems that both companies are solving in their respective niches are... What?

It's not a startup versus enterprise thing. It's (partially) a question of whether the interesting propellerhead problems are in aid of an interesting larger goal.

The macroscopic problem that SAP works on is collaboration within large organizations. How to make processes more efficient while reducing bureaucracy. I'm not saying they're doing a good job of it, but that's the task. It's a big, very interesting task.

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