Friday's Innovation Inspiration: Olesen's Icelandic adventure with SAS

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~Contributed by Martin L. Olesen

I began using SAS 6.04 in 1992 for my own projects and as a teaching assistant. Professionally, I have worked in SAS since 1997, after graduation. I use Base SAS, SAS/STAT and SAS/OR.

I work in an Icelandic bank doing credit risk analysis and rating models – a hot topic today. I am a Danish citizen, but left Denmark in 2006, as I have a son with an Icelandic woman.

Familiarity with program code was a big advantage in the beginning, while I was still struggling with learning Icelandic: If my colleagues and I were not really sure we were getting through to each other, a piece of program code served as our lingua franca. I feel the pain of people in other professions, who are more dependent on a spoken language.

Today I speak Icelandic more or less fluently, although with a lot of errors. I am trying to catch up while at the same time teaching my son Danish – hopefully with fewer errors than my Icelandic.

When I moved from Denmark to Iceland, I knew next to nothing of the real estate market, so I wrote a SAS program to crawl the real estate advertisments on the Web. The program gave me a data set to analyze variables including price, size, age, garage, floor number and time since the location had been put for sale.

The project matured during a month, but I guess real coding time took only about two to three days. I built the system so that I could select the postal codes and price ranges that I wanted to crawl on the Web. I crawled approximately 200 to 300 apartments at a time, but the biggest batch was probably 2,000 at a time.

After all of the analysis, I finally chose the apartment with the best view. But I believe that my models allowed me to get a good bargain.

Taking advantage of the buyer’s market after the financial crisis, I used the same program to get an overview of the market for used Jeeps and found a good offer. I wanted to compare answers to questions like, “How much on average does an automatic transmission cost compared to a manual for a used car?” “How much does a diesel engine cost compared to a gasoline engine?”

When I am not on the keyboard I spend most of my time outdoors, as I believe children should be outdoors and in motion as much as possible: hiking, biking, swimming, playing soccer, climbing mountains and so on. Fishing and hunting will be added to the list when my son gets the patience.

How would you have solved Olesen's problem? Tell me about your innovative ideas with SAS.

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About Author

Waynette Tubbs

Editor, Marketing Editorial

+Waynette Tubbs is the Editor of the Risk Management Knowledge Exchange at SAS, Managing Editor of sascom Magazine and Editor of the SAS Tech Report. Tubbs has developed a comprehensive portfolio of strategic business and marketing communications during her career spanning 15 years of magazine, marketing and agency work.

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