James ‘Jim’ Goodnight is one of the wealthiest American’s and is popularly known as the cofounder of the software giant SAS, one of world’s leading business intelligence vendor. Originally created by Jim along with fellow North Carolina State alum John Sall to analyze agricultural-research data, the company had overseen an unbroken chain of revenue growth since the company’s incorporation in 1976. SAS sifts massive mountains of data for Fortune 500 companies; whereas Insurance companies use SAS to flag fraudulent claims and financial institutions use SAS to detect money laundering. As per Goodnight ‘Innovation is the key to success in this business, and creativity fuels innovation’. Jim business strategy has made SAS renowned for its corporate culture, worker-friendly policies, wellness programs, and making it listed as a ‘Best Places to Work’. He achieved success by following his distinctive philosophy of running company, and by ignoring mainstream business ideologies. Inspired by Goodnight’s unconventional methods, his 11,000 employees and customers holds utmost loyalty towards him.
Jim holds doctorate in statistics, and is a keen basketball player with a height of 6 feet 4 inches. Even his company grew and fortune climbed, he still considers himself a computer programmer. Goodnight’s consideration of education as a critical element to the success of people and organizations led him to endow several NCSU professorships and make education the focus of SAS’ philanthropy. With his business partner Sall, Jim opened Cary Academy and launched SAS inSchool, an educational software that helps schools extend use of technology as learning tool. Jim Goodnight is an active speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum, and is also named as ‘20th Century Great American Business Leaders’ by Harvard Business School.