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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jim Goodnight, July 22, 1999. Interview I-0073. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Technology speeds up work process

Here, Goodnight describes how his daily work schedule has changed since he began SAS in the 1970s. Mainframe computers took such a long time to process information that he and his colleagues were forced to work very long hours. At the time of the interview, computer technology allowed for must faster information processing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jim Goodnight, July 22, 1999. Interview I-0073. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: How about the issue of how an average work day for you has evolved across time and what that might suggest about how SAS has evolved? JG: In the early days when we first started SAS and even earlier before SAS Institute was founded, our typical workday would be from nine in the morning until about ten at night. Back in the days of mainframe computers, you were very lucky if you got one turn around a night. In other words, you would submit your deck of cards. They would take that along with a thousand other people’s submitted deck of cards and they would run them through the machine one at a time. You just had to wait until your output came back. That usually meant that you were lucky if you got one maybe two turn arounds a day. That meant at five o clock we would go home for dinner, and then we would come back at seven and see if our jobs had run and if so we could change them and correct the problems and resubmit and might get another turn around that same evening. The fact was that the batch computing system of those days just made it almost mandatory, if you were going to get anything done, you really did have to come back for a sort of second partial shift after dinner. Today, as computers have gotten faster and faster, I can get fifty turn arounds a day on my machine, if I want. I just sit there and make changes, do a compile a bill and test it and just keep rolling right along. With today's computing power, that's the one thing we always do is keep the maximum sized machine at each desk so that they've got all the power they need. That's one of the great things of working here at SAS, I believe. We believe in an environment that allows for creativity. Part of that creativity is the latest, greatest computer there on your desk that you can get. Now we don't need to work so many hours. We get so much more work done in a day now than we used to.