Data Optimization, Brad Pitt And Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball, the book, is a business parable.   Moneyball, the movie opens in September.

Moneyball book cover

Moneyball, by Michael Lewis (2003) is about what happened when some unknown computer  geeks managed to put a century’s worth of major league baseball statistics into a coherent data base.

These nerd-geek-baseball lovers, armed with huge amounts of statistically relevant data, started to tell people that some of baseball’s long held wisdom was… well… uh…statistically wrong.

Now remember, we are talking about the ritual and teachings of a century of the American pastime.  Adults taught kids these things as a matter of faith.  Major League Dogma.

Of course, in the traditional hide bound culture of baseball, they were seen as heretics.

Eventually, Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland Athletics decided to systematically use the “new ideas” in the data, to run a major league team.    To make a long and really interesting story short, the result was that the Oakland A’s won as many games as the Yankees did, while spending half the payroll money.

Moneyball is really a great business book.

It’s about finding new meaning in hard data.

It’s about working smarter than the competition.

It’s about trying to do more with less.

It’s about knowing what your key performance indicators really are, and hiring employees who seem ordinary, but are really stars at playing their role.

And the book is ultimately about the risks you have to take to introduce new ideas into old cultures.  (…uh…PPC, SEM, SEO, and social media data in internet marketing comes to mind!)

In September the movie opens.  It stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Wright.

I guess Hollywood thought it was a pretty good story too.

We’ll see about the movie.

But if you like business, baseball, and the bottom line, you’ll love the book.


One Response to Data Optimization, Brad Pitt And Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

  1. I’ll look out for it, Thanks, Mike!

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