Friday, October 1, 2010

SAS, Hockey and Prairie Life

What do these three things have to do with each other? Hockey fans are definitely awaiting the onset of the new NHL season, and the Winnipeg and Sasktoon user groups are rapidly approaching: but other than that, what's the connection? Speaking personally, these words trigger one of the earliest memories I have of my early days here at SAS Canada.

My colleague Tim Trussell - who formerly occupied my role - is a pretty amazing guy. Sharp as a knife and young as our sun, Tim shines just as brightly in the SAS universe. In my early days, I looked up to him immensely for his ability to offer presentations to user groups of a slightly different flavour. It's great to have case studies. Insight into how SAS is used in banks, universities, health organizations and government branches is always valuable and interesting. But Tim added an interesting wrinkle, one which I've tried to adopt in my day-to-day work here at SAS: fun.

Yes, fun. It's fun to play with data. It's even more fun to analyze and derive insight from it! True, this is my technical side talking, but I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a thrill of electric excitement run up my spine when opening a raw data set for the first time... oh boy, my inner SAS-user is definitely coming out to play!

I bring up the connection with Tim and the prairies because he delivered one of the most interesting presentations I've ever seen a few years ago at the Saskatoon and Winnipeg user groups. Entitled 'Selecting NHL Teams Using Linear Regression With SAS' , this talk married two of Tim's great passions together in one, fun-filled presentation. Tim demonstrated complex statistical processes and models based on actual National Hockey League data . This basically opened the kimono on his hockey pool selection strategy! Given that Tim is always at or near the top of his pools, all of you hockey junkies out there may want to give his presentation a look before the launch of the season next week.

Better still, join us in Saskatoon and Winnipeg on October 13th and 14th respectively for the user group meetings. We have dynamic agendas for each, featuring SAS Canada's Rob Wilson with an updated version of his very popular 'tips & tricks' presentation, and a variety of local presenters. I'd also like to mention that my friend and colleague Jamie Farnell, SAS' Education Program Manager for colleges and universities, will be attending and presenting as well. For all of you University of Saskatchewan and Manitoba readers, I'd highly recommend connecting with Jamie! He will be able to give you good insight into the recent SAS On Demand for Academics initiative, which provides complimentary SAS software to teaching institutions which qualify. He'll also be delivering some great content around how to get the most out of social media as a SAS user, a presentation build by yours truly!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and that you hockey fans are strapped in and excited for the start of a new season. Hopefully, with Tim's help, you'll be able to achieve success in your own hockey pools this year... and if you want to say thank-you, I understand he's very partial to ginger-flavoured beer.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out Matt. One more bit of advice to all you "Poolies". Cheer with your heart, bet on the math :)