San Francisco! The Bay Area and Silicon Valley: innovation, the brightest minds, creating, inspiring new technology and style.
This city is known for its healthy food choices. For example, I spotted a homeless man on my way from the Westin St. Francis to the Moscone Conference Center with this never- before-seen sign:
Hungry, will take fruit or granola bar!
If that doesn’t speak to the health of this prosperous town, what else can?
Top it off with the best analytic conference in the world: SAS Global Forum 2013.
Here are a few of my best memories:
Analytics for everyone: Billy Beane set the stage for the conference with a technology keynote that had me (a barely tweeter) tweeting every other minute to share his fantastic insights. Strangers or neighbors often ask me, “What does your company do?” Too often I grapple with the answer on a mission to see how to make it relatable. Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, gave the surprising answer. Analytics are everywhere, not just in the traditional industries of banking, but also in the baseball fields managing and analyzing player statistics. In 1990, Beane resigned from a mediocre career in baseball and began a three-year stint as a baseball scout with the A's. In 1993, Bean was promoted to assistant general manager and in October 1997, Beane became general manager. Soon he became interested in an area of baseball research called sabermetrics, in which statistics are used for decision making in terms of trades, rosters and the like, instead of players' star status or recent success. Billy spoke about how emotional decision making didn’t work completely. It took analytics to take baseball to “Money Ball” heights!
Customers: I appreciated the customer centric focus in this conference. On opening night, customers came up to the podium to share with SAS CEO, Jim Goodnight, and the audience how they’re using SAS in the age of big data. JPMorgan Chase shared that its financial customers are looking for insights to satisfy business problems. Problems such as “how transaction velocities impact customer sentiment," said Chris Gifford, senior vice president of customer analytics for JPMorgan Chase. "Each customer's data footprint continues to grow, and the types of questions we're asked now are much more complex.”
Invited paper: What an honor! It was my first time presenting an invited paper “Know Thy Data” with co-presenter, Andy Kuligowski. 70 + participants! And we hadn’t even promoted our workshop actively. What did the participants get? Quick, easy and powerful ways to get to know your data before analysis. Missed out? Here’s a link.
If you are in the Greater Toronto Area soon -- come hear us share a modified version of this paper at the Toronto Area SAS Society (TASS) by request from the TASS president. (dates to be announced shortly)
A flexible yoga pad: Lenovo showing off their Yoga Pad was probably one of my favorite shares from opening night. It’s a dream come true for a yoga instructor to find a laptop as flexible as her yoga moves, well close anyway. :)
Another fantastic takeaway from this conference was the constant hub of new techniques and technology being shared: SAS 9.4, EG 6.1, DS2, Visual Analytics and Big Data, to name a few.
If you’d like to check out insights shared at SAS Global Forum 2013, check out this link which has all posts tagged on the conference.