Thoughts on SAS Global Forum (SGF) 2018

Every year the SAS Global Forum attracts exceptional Keynote Speakers, and this year, Peyton Manning’s speech resonated with me a lot, especially in the topics relating to return on Investment (ROI) and leadership. He mentioned that when he played football he wanted to ensure that the club owner was receiving a ROI from his performance, and this is something that I’m going to be fully conscious of now when I’m performing my job. He also mentioned that leadership was the ability to influence people, and again this is something that I’m going to keep in the forefront of my mind as I advance my career.

Peyton Manning also brings up the importance of using data and his opinion is that you can’t get enough data. I’m intrigued in the amount of data that is captured these days – chips are put into Jersey’s to measure player’s steps whilst training, and the results from these measurements help to prevent overtraining. Smart helmets are used to measure collisions and in turn to help prevent head injuries. Scisports, one of the industry leaders in analysing “football” data, also presented and demonstrated the system that they built to analyse every movement on the pitch in 3D and stream it live to the audience. It’s so interesting to see how all this data is being captured and analysed!

It’s always good to meet the attendees at SAS Global Forum and I received some great advice from Stephen OvertonPeter Eberhardt and Jennifer Waller.

One of my aims is to be a better speaker and presenter, and so I reached out to Stephen because he has one many “Best Papers” before, and he mentioned that one trick is to tell a story around the method that you want to present. So simple but effective, so I will work on that this year. Another one of my aims in the future is to do a little more remote working so I can visit more countries, and Peter mentioned that volunteering and presenting at conferences does help you to indirectly get your name out there, which can help you get more remote working opportunities. Finally, another one of my aims is to be a SAS Global Forum Conference Chair, and Jennifer Waller shared her experience with me, and said “Don’t be afraid to reach out”. That simple statement reminded me that no one is an island, and that people are willing to help you out. 🙂

At the conference, Renae Rich’s presentation caught my eye. This showed, how you can perform cluster analysis and I liked the box plots that she produced in the end. I also gave two presentations at the conference. The first presentation was with my co-author Richann Watson and this presentation was a Hands-on Workshop which showed how you can animate your data! The second presentation showed how you can create Venn Diagrams in SAS 9.4.

The SAS Global Forum 2018 was held in Denver and it was a great event, almost 6,000 people attended. Denver is well known for hiking and the picture above was taken at Chautauqua Park in Boulder on the First-Second Flatiron Trail.

I look forward to going to next years event in Dallas! 🙂

Thoughts on SAS Global Forum (SGF) 2017

The theme for SAS Global Forum 2017 was Data Knows No Boundaries, and this is so true, that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith ride, that I am pictured in above goes from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds! No limits!

What particularly moved me about this conference was the GatherIQ initiative. We learned how each one of us can help either by using our analytical skills or just networking skills when crises happens by just interacting with the GatherIQ app or sharing the details of the crisis. It was a fundamental reminder that the world is bigger than us, and we can do so much good in the world, and support others. It’s quite similar to the DataKind project.

At the conference I gave two 45 minutes hands-on workshops on Graph Template Language (GTL). Part A was an introduction to GTL and Part B showed more of the advanced functions of GTL. Sanjay Matange’s presentation on Decorative Infographs using SAS was really impressive. He shows how you can use the SYMBOLIMAGE statement to produce interesting graphics.

Of course, the reason why everybody comes to the SGF is for the kickback party 😉 This year’s kickback party was the best ever! We obtained entry to Disney World Hollywood Studios and so for 3 hours we were able to exclusively go on the rides, get free photos on the rides, meet disney characters, and get free Mickey Mouse ice cream lol. Also food and drinks were included. And the party was phenomenal. The DJ was so entertaining, and everyone was dancing! This was the best ever! Well done to everyone who organised this!! 🙂  I’m looking forward to the SGF in Colorado next year!