Billionaire SAS co-founder keeps on coding

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Development, John Sall, SAS Institute

This emphasis on discovery is why the celebrity guest speaker at JMP's user conference earlier this week was the journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote the popular books Tipping Point and Outliers .

"Journalists are like detectives. A lot of our customers are like that," Sall said. "They don't just want to prove things you already know. That's lawyer stuff. They want to look at statistical outliers and figure out new things."

Although still a desktop software product, JMP is so robust today that the latest, version 8, can display graphically millions of rows of data.

While JMP's core customer remains those researchers and engineers, the product has in the past several years also been touted for mainstream business users as a front-end for SAS users.

An executive vice-president at SAS, Sall remains JMP's chief architect, running a team of 100, including 20 developers -- a sliver of SAS' 11,000-strong workforce.

That's fine by him. "SAS makes all of the money. JMP is the fun product," Sall said.

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