Friday, October 12, 2012

Programming, Social Media & JMP: Calgary User Group Covers the Bases

As I sit at the airport in Calgary, I find it very easy to write about the wonderful experience I had at today's user group meeting.  What a great community to visit: a more engaged, inquisitive and knowledgeable SAS group would be hard to find... and I see a lot of them! The Calgary SAS User Group (CSUG) is certainly one in a million.

A special thanks has to go out to our great presenters. Wayne Levin of Predictum once again offered a tremendous talk on JMP software. From demo'ing the capabilities to making fun of me, he had the audience intrigued and in stitches the whole time.  There was clearly a great interest in the power of JMP. Lots of questions around the functionality and the capabilities of the software, and Wayne didn't disappoint.  He delivered on every question quickly and easily, moving between demo and discussion with grace and ease. He was more than a worthy recipient of the SAS lava lamp and static ball I gave him as a 'thank you' gift.  Even more impressive: he was running back and forth between conference calls the entire time. Given his excitement level, I gather those calls went well... fingers crossed, Wayne!

Chuck Mohamed is a name familiar to many 'in the know' SAS users in western Canada. He has done great work for us previously by offering talks in Vancouver along a business analytics theme... and as a former SA employee and long-time SAS consultant, his knowledge certainly runs very deep.  He gave a great talk around some of his most helpful SAS tips and tricks.  With an audience greatly mixed between Enterprise Guide users and traditional SAS programmers, Chuck managed to offer something for everyone: not easy to do at all!  I heard at least three people praising the talk and thanking him for the great work.

I myself delivered a talk around my favourite topic: social media. Yes, I was once again delivering some tips, tricks and insight into how to get the most out of this nebulous space as a SAS user.  I'm always very long winded and would never presume to judge my own talk... but I didn't see anyone throw up or fall asleep, so I guess there's that.

The Executive Team led by Malcolm Macrae has done a tremendous job here. We consistently see new faces out at the meeting and I know that they're all working tirelessly behind the scenes to help ensure that SAS users receive the benefit of attending. I'm thrilled that a few people have stepped up to assist them in continuing to speak on behalf of the SAS community in Calgary.

Although Alberta has been in the news for some unfortunate reasons lately - see the XL meat packing scandal - I'm very pleased to report that my trip to this great province was a rousing success. I made new friends, had many great conversations... and have a couple of projects to work on when I get home. The life of a Community Manager is never boring!

Next up: a busy week with the Toronto Data Mining Forum, Saskatoon and Winnipeg user groups. I'll be feverishly writing to update you all on the highlights of each so do stay tuned for lots more next week.

Until then...

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