Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Serendipity In the SAS World

I think I've been fairly transparent in my unabashed love for my role here at SAS. For those who know me, I'm a pretty loud person in general: I'm not shy in the least, and one of my favourite things is meeting new and interesting people. And in the SAS world, there's no shortage of interesting people!

I wanted to share two stories which really drive home the amazing reach and reputation of SAS, and to highlight how a fortuitous encounter between strangers can sometimes lead to bigger and better things.

My personal computer recently imploded, necessitating a trip to my phenomenal PC guru. I recalled that about 6 months ago, I had visited the same shop to upgrade my machine. That day, I ended up chatting with the owner as he completed his work. Within the course of our conversation, a wonderful moment of serendipity took place. As I chatted about my career and role at SAS, his eyes lit up. It turned out that his fiancé had recently became SAS certified and was looking for an employment opportunity... and I happened to have a TASS user group meeting the following week! There are few places which are more conducive to making great connections in the SAS world than a user group meeting, particularly TASS, the oldest and largest of them all. Long story short, I was put in touch with the young lady and I met up with her at the user group meeting. After a great conversation, I introduced her to a few people. It was great to hear from my computer guru that less than 6 months later, she was able to connect with someone at the TASS meeting and is now working at a major bank, predicated by an innocent conversation between strangers!

Along a similar vein, last Friday I was braving end-of-week rush hour traffic on our subway system here in Toronto. For those who ride it often, I don't have to describe what an exercise in patience, tolerance and restraint this can be! Rudeness and selfishness seem to be personnified by the average rush hour commuter on the TTC. I happened to have a set of SAS course notes that I was reviewing in my lap: SAS Programming for Experienced EG Users, as I recall. A gentleman tapped me on the shoulder: in rush hour traffic, I instantly put up my conversational defences preparing for a pointed, tense exchange. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the gentleman only wanted to ask about the book I was reading. Within the context of a wonderful 30 minute conversation, I came to connect with him in terms of his skills set, his curiosity around SAS, and his personality. Once again, I was fortunate enough to make a new friend and a possible SAS advocate, just because of my clear public association with the company.

I bring forward these stories not to pat myself on the back: the take-away is not that I'm a gifted conversationalist or an unnaturally charming individual. Rather, it's that the SAS community is larger and more prevalent than we can imagine. It's amazing to see where SAS users can pop up! In this case, I think that the 'The Power to Know' refers to the willingness to take a chance, start a conversation and let nature take its course. It's the promise of relationship-building and being given the opportunity to assist and support SAS users that really motivates me to get out of bed everyday.

This Friday, the TASS meeting is taking place once again. I wonder who I might meet this time? What interesting conversations will I have? What will the ultimate outcome of this be down the road? I'll be sure to update you all in the coming weeks.

I encourage all of you in the Toronto area to come by the SAS offices for the TASS meetings on Friday. As always, it's free to attend, and the agendas are very solid. I hope to see you there: perhaps it's you and I who will be connecting this time!

1 comment:

  1. Matt,
    I think most SAS employees have stories like yours. When it happens, you can't help but to feel a little bit special, so it is OK to take a moment give yourself a small pat on the back.