The dead spot on the front row


Seems I rarely write blog posts unless I'm waiting around for numbers to put in our annual financial-results announcement. Why is that? In the calm before the rush to report revenue, before the new year gets under way, I have time to think. And I start thinking about how great it is to work here.

This time 'round, I'll share something I saw recently at another great workplace. In the main office, which sees a lot of employee traffic, sat a pair of upholstered theater seats. The real thing. They're cushy and flip up when not in use. The placard bolted to them reads:

The front row is supposed to be the best seat in the house. It's not always true. You might get the best view. But you don't always get the best experience.

Sometimes the front row is so close, the sound of the subs thumping and the cymbals crashing flow right over your head. Sometimes, what you hear isn't the fullness of the band, but a secondhand experience that lacks the punch you'd expect.

The dead spot in the front row is real. And if you're not careful, you'll be so close to the action that you miss how great the experience actually is.

Whether you've been at SAS 30 days or 30 years, you know you're part of something special here. Here at headquarters, our friends and neighbors tease us about the gourmet lunches, gym and massages. But they slip us their resumes when they see job openings, right?

The danger of being part of something extraordinary is that, over time, we can become immune to it. We get lost in the daily business of getting things done and forget what makes it special. We're in the middle of something great, but we don't always feel it.

In External Communications, I have a front-row seat for some of SAS' biggest corporate news. Today, we found out SAS' 2011 ranking on the FORTUNE Best Places to Work list in the United States (We're #1 again!). Shortly thereafter, we announced 2010 financial results, revealing that company revenues increased 5.2 percent to $2.43 billion in 2010.

My hope for us in 2011 is that we'll remain mindful, not just of how good we have it as employees, but of the amazing impact SAS is having on the world. If there was any upside to the economic downturn, it may be that more companies now see their data as an asset and analytics as the way to unlock its value.

They're using SAS to cure disease, prevent fraud, catch criminals and sell more stuff. Because of insights SAS surfaced, they're tweaking how they do things and seeing huge ROI. They're creating jobs, cutting waste and saving endangered species.

And we've got a front-row seat.

Photo credit: Jillyboop.


About Author

Beverly Brown

Principal Social Media Specialist

Beverly helps SAS users help themselves and one another through SAS Support Communities. In 1994, she started out in public relations roles that include managing corporate PR and assisting SAS executives with media interviews and speaking engagements. Before that, she was a reporter at North Carolina’s largest daily newspapers, The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer. She has a husband and son and loves to run, which enables her chocolate habit.


  1. Rachel Alt-Simmons on

    Great inspirational post, Beverly! I'm sorry I didn't get to visit the "front row" when I was at the home office this week for our annual sales meeting. As you describe it, it's a great metaphor of what we should appreciate, not just as employees of SAS, but the fact that we're fortunate enough to be employed when so many in the US are in need of jobs.
    It's amazing how many SAS employees are stepping up to comment on this week's great news: strong increase in revenue and a top ranking as best place to work. I've been here three months and it's not just smoke and mirrors - they put their money where their mouth is.

  2. Hey Bev,
    What's the equivalent of a virtual standing ovation? You're getting one now from me.
    What a well written post! In addition to the rich metaphor, I'm in the front row right along with you and you described exactly how I feel. I often catch myself "pinching myself."
    🙂 JB

  3. Chris Hemedinger on

    Great post, Bev.
    And to continue the metaphor, the front row seat is kind of like watching the evening news on HDTV: you can begin notice the blemishes and they can distract you.
    But remember to back up a few rows and look at the big picture. We're the number 1 workplace (times 2) and we've been high in the rankings for all of these years. There is no place better.

  4. Pingback: Why the FORTUNE ‘Best Companies to Work For’ award matters in social media - The Corner Office

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