Spread over 900 acres, the SAS headquarters at Cary, North Carolina is probably the biggest single-site office location in the world. And if not a data scientist, its CEO Jim Goodnight could have easily been a geologist, given his fascination for collecting rocks. The conference room where we are interviewing him has lots of it neatly named and arranged, his favorite being the deceptively heavy Gibeon Meteorite from Namibia. The collection built over the years now totals 400 and gets added via the annual shopping trip that Goodnight makes to Tucson every February. With revenue of $3.2 billion, SAS which he co-founded in 1976 is one of the world’s biggest privately-owned companies but its private ownership has not prevented it from becoming a highly-rated employer of choice. There is possibly no enterprise of consequence that does not use SAS’ analytical software. Not only are 90% of the Fortune Global 500 companies its clients, the IRS also uses its software to identify fraudulent tax filings. To ensure that its offerings stay cutting edge SAS spends 25% of its revenue on R&D each year and now has its sights on machine learning.