It’s kind of funny – the implicit assumption in the book and the movie Moneyball was that looking at data analytically to avoid natural bias and irrational decisions was standard fare in business. It was sports that needed to catch up.
In actuality, I’ve observed that most businesses actually could do with a lot more moneyball tactics. The post below discusses how HR departments are only now trying to quantify the success of their recruiting and performance of their employees. Other examples where I think Moneyball techniques could prove interesting:
Hollywood – I asked about this on Quora, apparently some are experimenting.
NCAA Brackets – the WSJ showed how “blind” brackets outperform those with named schools.
VC Investing – Chris Dixon wrote an excellent post on how pattern matching may actually be a bad crutch for Venture Capitalists as they discount teams that don’t fit the traditional mold. Not sure how to help solve this other than developing other lenses to look at investment opportunities, akin to OBP in Moneyball.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t value qualitative and “gut” in making decisions, we just need to temper those with quantitative data to eliminate the bias and irrationality we all share.
Other ideas where Moneyball tactics would be helpful?
The human resources department is known for being touchy-feely, but in the age of big data, it’s becoming a bit more cold and analytical. From figuring out what schools to recruit from to what employees should be offered flexible work arrangements, data analytics are helping HR professionals make more informed decisions.