30 Intriguing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About James Goodnight


James Goodnight, the co-founder of the SAS Institue, an American multinational developer of analytics software, and has been at the helm since the inception, when its software was developed to analyze agricultural data. Here are some really interesting things to know about the American billionaire businessman:

  1.  He remained as the CEO of SAS Institute for more than 35 years as the company grew from $138,000 its first year in business, to $420 million in 1993 and $2.43 billion by 2010.
  2.  He is known for creating and defending SAS' corporate culture, and is often described by the media as "utopian."
  3.  He was named a Great American Business Leader by Harvard, and was also named one of America's 25 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine, in the year 2004.
  4.  Goodnight is known to have also been a frequent speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum.
  5.  He has been listed as one among the richest individual in America, and also as one of the most influential persons in the world, since the early 2000s.
  6.  He was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, in the year 1981.
  7.  James Howard Goodnight was born on January 6, 1943, to Albert Goodnight and Dorothy Patterson in Salisbury, North Carolina.
  8.  He first lived in Greensboro until the age of 12, but moved to Wilmington with his family after that. He reportedly worked at his father's hardware store in his youth.
  9.  During his school days, Mathematics and chemistry were considered to be his strongest subjects, which he claims is because of a "wonderful chemistry teacher" at New Hanover High School.
  10.  His career with computers began when he took a computer course his sophomore year at North Carolina State University.
  11.  It was reported that this exposure made him choose this career, and that he is quoted as saying "a light went on, and I fell in love with making machines do things for other people."
  12.  The following summer Goodnight got a job writing software programs for the agricultural economics department.
  13.  During his time there, he is said to have been a member of the Beta-Beta chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon at North Carolina State.
  14.  With contributions from other alumnus, he is known to be responsible for the construction of a new fraternity house for the chapter in 2002.
  15.  He earned a master's degree in statistics in the year 1968. While his time there, his curiosity was piqued over the prospect of a man being sent to the moon.
  16.  With his programming skills, he landed a position at a company building electronic equipment for the ground stations that communicated with the Apollo space capsules.
  17.  It is said that Goodnight had his views on corporate culture shaped while working on the Apollo program, where he experienced a work environment that had an annual turnover rate of approximately 50 percent.
  18.  He returned to North Carolina State University after working on the Apollo project, but earned a PhD in statistics with a thesis titled "Quadratic unbiased estimation of variance components in linear models with an emphasis on the one-way classification."
  19.  He reportedly completed the thesis under the supervision of Robert James Monroe, following which he became a faculty member from 1972 to 1976.
  20.  He reportedly joined another research project, at another faculty at North Carolina State to create a general purpose statistical analysis system (SAS) for analyzing agricultural data.
  21.  After this, he along with another faculty member Anthony James Barr became the project leaders for the development of the early version of SAS.
  22.  The said project was operated by a consortium of eight land-grant universities and was said to have been funded primarily by the USDA.
  23.  Just with the reach of 100 customers, the members left the college to form SAS Institute, in a small office across the street, in the year 1976.
  24.  During his time as the CEO, he is said to have rejected acquisition offers and chose against going public to protect the company's work environment.
  25.  Initially, he reportedly maintained a flat organizational structure with about 27 people who report directly to him and three organizational layers.
  26.  Goodnight's leadership style has been described HSM Global in a framework of three pillars: "help employees do their best work by keeping them intellectually challenged and by removing distractions; Make managers responsible for sparking creativity; eliminate arbitrary distinctions between 'suits' and 'creatives'; Engage customers as creative partners to help deliver superior products."
  27.  He met his wife Ann, during his senior days at North Carolina State University, while she was attending Meredith College. The duo have been married approximately five decades and have three children.
  28.  He and his wife, along with his business partner, John Sall and his wife Ginger, founded an independent prep school Cary Academy, in the year 1996.
  29.  He is always known to have shown an interest in improving the state of education, particularly elementary and secondary education.
  30.  He, along with his partner John Sall, has reportedly founded private school Cary Academy together and co-own the Prestonwood Country Club and The Umstead Hotel and Spa situated on the edge of the SAS campus.
  31.  James Goodnight Net Worth: $10 Billion

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