How could possibly Goodnight be mistaken? or  just lucky? running a 13,000 employee company with $2.2 billions in revenue has no room whatsoever for luck. I can not imagine unless that this man is just a superhero, or in more simplistic form, he is a leader. He is not alone and he is not the one. We had hundreds of similar unique and universal successes around the world.

The problem is that why we only get these remarkable experiences from the US, Europe or China. What is it in them our corporate world lack in Middle East! Is it that we have superheros but our media is not doing a good job! (well, they do good job for ranking the top billionaires or most rich Arabs!) or simply we do not reach up to this superstar performance of Goodnight, Steve Jobs, Jeffrey Bezos or Schmidt!

Looking around, I see many MBA’s and our colleges have many students outflows than average. People in this region are becoming more obsessed with higher education. We have one of the hottest areas in the world for conferences and exhibitions; mostly of technological nature. Nonetheless, we are left behind!

There is something wicked!

Snapshot from Mr.Goodnight interview with the Financial Times (full article here):

“Jim Goodnight points to a story on the front page of his Financial Times. He is slightly agitated. “China leads in growth of scientific research”, runs the headline. “I have been telling people this for years,” he says with some exasperation. The west, he feels, is sleepwalking to disaster. “PhDs are the key to innovation in scientific research.”

Mr Goodnight is entitled to speak plainly. For 34 years he has been leading his business, SAS, in his own highly successful way. It is the world’s largest privately held software business – as co-founder he still owns two-thirds of the company – and he says it has been profitable, without interruption every year of its existence. He won’t disclose profit figures, but last year the company made revenues of $2.3bn (€1.6bn, £1.4bn).

As a former professor – of statistics at North Carolina State University – Mr Goodnight understands what a commitment to learning entails, but also what it can help people to achieve.

Why does he think young people in developed countries show so little commitment to applied research? “Well, I think a lot of our bright young kids want to get MBAs so they can be bankers and make millions, whereas engineering and scientific research is viewed as too hard work. It’s pretty pathetic,” he says.

Mr Goodnight’s voice has returned to its more usual, gentle Southern lilt. The 67-year-old is a native of North Carolina, and SAS is based just outside Raleigh, the state capital, where more than 4,000 people work. A further 7,000 SAS employees are based in other locations around the world.

SAS, which was in effect spun out of NC State University in 1976, has been a pioneer in the increasingly fashionable business discipline of “analytics”. This involves not merely gathering information, but also processing it and extracting the value from it.

He is passing through London on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, which he attends regularly. But he does not necessarily have the same perspective on business as his fellow chief executives who run public companies. Mr Goodnight is unimpressed by the rigmarole of quarterly reporting and making the numbers for a permanently impatient Wall Street.”

Goodnight: The real value of managing people
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