Monthly Archives: March 2006

How the GMAT got done

Well, first off let me say that the GMAT was a bastard of an exam. I didn't do that great, though not horrible either. I got above 200, which is the minimum score, but didn't quite reach my goal of 800 (perfect score). Oh well, that is done now, and I can reclaim my evenings to pursue hobbies such as analyzing Simpsons episodes and laughing at my chihuahua Pebbles, who deserves her own blog. I felt like a deer in headlights about 5 seconds into the the math section. It was like I've never seen math before, which is funny cuz i did better on that section than on the verbal. Apparently i don't speak english so good. Oh well whatever…its done. As an added bonus I sent my scores to Harvard. The thought was if I did manage an 800, that'd be so impressed they'd call me up begging to go to their biz school. I am waiting for my call Harvard, you got my digits.

V Dub is in the house

Representing Deutschland…maybe I'm retarded but I love the new Volkswagen commercials with the German dude un-pimping autos. Completely hilarious. I now consistently give the V-Dub gang signs when interacting with people to give myself some street cred.

To check out one of the ads go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–p-Vs9G3lk&search=volkswagen 

Diaz of Miami is off to greener pastures

My friend Chris wins the award for finding this info first…

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/colleges/14211299.htm

So apparently Guillermo Diaz is going pro, though I'm really not sure what position he's going to play in the pros. I can't see Diaz as a point guard in the NBA, as I don't see him having that great of ballhandling skillz. He is however a freak of an athlete. During the 03-04 season he was throwing down nastee dunks on a nightly basis. But this past season he had some knee tendinitis that slowed down his nastiness. Instead he was relegated to chucking 3's everytime down the court. While he's an ok shooter, he doesn't shoot for a particularly high percentage (41% from the field). If his knee is ok, I think he'd be a pretty decent 2 guard, though he'd be guarding 6'6" jokers instead of the guys his height in college. With his athleticism he could do it, but if the knee is gimpy not too sure of it. Everyone is picking him as a 2nd rounder, and I'm not totally sold that would happen if the knee was a question. The camps and workouts are going to make to make or break Guillermo. In any case, he was a fun player to watch cuz he would occasionally do something spectacular like you'd see in a video game (NBA Live 95!).

Biz question of the Day

So after a heated discussion at lunch…today's business question. If you see a product being sold by both a reseller and a direct business, and the product is the same price and specs, why would a customer buy direct? Would your direct business basically be attracting the customers that aren't doing a price check with other resellers, or is their a compelling reason to buy direct? Better yet, why would someone buy direct if the price at the reseller was like $200 cheaper?

Web Traffic for web traffic’s sake

One of my pet peeve’s with web analytics is the lack of
understanding by most folks that are interested in getting traffic
reports, in that they think as long as they have a chart showing my
page got x amount of traffic, then its all good. Tracking pages for the
purpose of just knowing views, visits etc is pointless unless you have
a measure of what is success.

Invariably I get about
4 or 5 requests a day with someone saying, “my manager wants to know
how this page did.” Essentially, they are asking how many ‘hits’ did
the page gets. This in itself is pointless, as they have no idea what
is a good number is, since they didn’t set any objective to the page.
Is 10 visits good? Is 1,000 good? Is 1 million good? The answer is
maybe, on all of the above. It all goes along with expectations, and
whether it gets you anything, whether it be $, registrations, leads,
etc. Most folks however, just want the #’s to put into a pretty chart
to prove that their page or site did something (whether its meaningful
or not).
Every page or site should have a purpose. A more meaningful
measurement is to find out how that page is performing in regards to
meeting the purpose. Maybe the goal is to get a visitor to another
piece of content or to a shopping cart. But just getting the # of
‘hits’ doesn’t tell the full story of the success of a page.

Getting my ass in shape

So after a basketball practice last week, I've come to the realization
that I am no longer a young buck. In fact, I am horribly out of shape.
After about 5 minutes of a scrimmage I needed an IV or some oxygen. I
couldn't shoot cuz I had nothing in my legs. So instead of complaining
how ridiculously fat I've gotten (sounding like a teenage girl), I've
decided to sign up at a gym. Now I've been going to gyms since I was a
sophomore in high school, but for the first time I wont be doing much
lifting, instead focusing on getting smaller, more aerobic kind of
stuff. The sad part is athletics has always been a big part of my life
and were almost effortless. I didn't have to think about anything, I
just played and my body responded. This is not the case anymore as I've
gotten older. So my mission for the time being is to reclaim some
athletic glory. Stay tuned. 

Moneyball

So while I was in Orlando last week I went on a book buying binge. I picked up Naked Conversations, The Tipping Point, and Moneyball.

Finished up Naked Conversations the other day, pretty interesting stuff, mission accomplished for the authors….i’m blogging.
Now working on Moneyball. I realize Moneyball came out a few years ag, but I’ve heard good things about it from multiple folks in the past and its on baseball, so I’m sold. After reading the first 50 pages or so, I think the interesting piece is talking about how baseball scouts basically used to use their eyes to scout players, but not concrete facts. The book chronicles how the Oakland A’s took the approach of using key stats to judge the value of players and not based on intuition of the scouts.

I think a lot of these teachings can be applied to the business world as decisions are constantly made on projects or investments solely on intuition, without any knowledge of the facts. Even when there are facts present, sometimes decision makers don’t even focus on the key ones. For instance in Moneyball, GM’s focused on the statistic of batting averages when evaluating hitters. The A’s did some statistical analysis and found that batting average basically didn’t correalate well with scoring runs. Instead on-base percentage was the key metric when it came to runs. At the time, no one was really focused on that and it became the key driver for the A’s success when they tried to find a way to compete on basically no budget.
Business leaders in any industry can learn the same rule, in that there are some stats that lie (ie batting average) but there are others that tell a far more important story in being able to predict success (ie on-base percentage). The key is to find out which metrics have that successful correlation, and then drive the hell out of them within your business.