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.

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