When I attend this conference I wear at least two hats. The first is that of a SAS Global Users Group Executive Board member, representing SAS. This board is responsible for planning the content for the conference and is involved in site selection and hotel logistics along with a team of SAS people. The board’s primary function is to plan the annual conference. This year we worked with new conference chair Rick Mitchell from Westat. He had some great new ideas that were implemented at the conference.
For example, Rick wanted to see the Poster session expand and become a more vital part of the conference. That plan worked great and we had almost 100 posters that were displayed in the demo hall. Rick also wanted to have a more robust closing session. That, too, was a huge success. He moved the general session to early Wednesday morning and the room was completely full. He selected a keynote presenter and everyone was very impressed with this revamped event.
These were just two of the more obvious changes that Rick made, but plans are underway for next year’s conference and some new, out-of-the-box thinking. Plan to attend next year in National Harbor, Maryland. Watch support.sas.com this fall for a call for papers and be there or be square!
My other hat is being the head of Publications at SAS. Our booth in the demo area was set up like a bookstore where users could browse our many books. We offered a 20% discount and had a steady stream of attendees window shopping and looking at our online documentation. We also created a game to test users’ SAS programming savvy. That game, with its pirate motif, drew a lot of visitors to the booth.
This year, we announced to our SAS Press authors that we are planning to double the number of published books in 2013. This initiative impacts them because we are adopting a new authoring platform that will allow us to take advantage of XML and all the benefits of using it. Our processes are changing to allow for more automation for quick delivery of books in every format, whether hardcopy or eBook. The authors were excited and that makes us excited.
Speaking of doubling the number of new books, why don’t you consider publishing with us? We would love to discuss any ideas you have for a SAS book. SAS is so broad, and our Publications staff works very hard to provide the software documentation you need to run the software. We love for our loyal SAS users to help us write different kinds of books—how-to guides and example guides are always well received. So think about it. You might be the next SAS bestselling author!