Chris Hemedinger, Principal Technical Architect and veritable SAS celebrity, shared observations from his many years participating in SAS Global Forum as well as his favorite moments from this year’s event in a rousing keynote during a packed Closing Session yesterday.
His presentation, “You don’t have to go home … but you can’t stay here,” began with Hemedinger taking the audience through some of his own trepidation in preparing to speak.
He referenced a comment from Annette Harris, Vice President of SAS Technical Support, who mentioned the challenge of speaking after Technology Connection keynoter, legendary NFL quarterback Joe Theismann. Hemedinger argued that the act he had to follow was tougher. “It’s you,” he said gesturing to the audience members, many of whom spoke and presented during the SAS Global Forum festivities. “Hopefully I’ll live up to the challenge.
He found himself asking, “What could I do to make it special and memorable?” Being the technical architect that he is, Hemedinger went so far as to build a diagram of how the standard closing session speech would look.
It was a photo of him, with a bubble above his head and the words “blah blah blah blah” repeating roughly 30 times.
Hemedinger also mentioned SAS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis’ holographic conversation with himself during Sunday night’s Opening Session. “We saw two Jim Davises,” he said. “Or maybe it’s Dav-i?” He said the presentation was so impressive because two Jim Davises could technically deliver twice the content.
It got Hemedinger thinking, what if he could have not two, but 30 holographic images of himself? “I could have a high-performance closing session!” he joked. “Blow through it all, in like 30 seconds, and we can all move on to the next thing.”
Hemedinger then moved on to talk about his experiences with users over the years and how it has changed. It used to be that many SAS employees’ only interactions with users were during SAS Global Forum and that they would go 11 ½ months without talking to users. “Social media has spoiled us,” Hemedinger said. Now, thanks to his blog, The SAS Dummy, Hemedinger is never far from his base of readers.
Hemedinger lauded the event as a whole and thanked users for their unyielding support of SAS over the years. It’s an event that Hemedinger said he becomes a little more involved in every year. “The more you see about how SAS Global Forum is run, the more impressive it becomes. It’s nothing short of amazing to me.”