Moneyball: why what we do makes money

August 15th, 2012

I want to draw everyone’s attention to the book, and especially the movie, Moneyball.  It’s the clearest illustration of what I do I’ve ever seen.  The subtitle is “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.”  See, the Oakland Athletics are a small marketteam and lost when they competed with the likes of the Yankees for top talent.  With datamining (baseball being a wonderful metaphor for the economy, and well-documented statistically—a treasure trove of data begging to become information) Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, and the A’s went on to win 20 straight games in 2002.  They paid $.388 million per win; the Yankees paid 3X that.  The Red Sox tried to hire Beane, and when they couldn’t they adopted his methods and won the 2004 World Series.

Now really, what’s unclear about what I do?  I make people money.  I help them avert risks, seize great opportunities.  But those are results.  I help them reconnect the business to their own skills, interests, and standards, which is instrumental in producing the results.  People still ask how.  Well, theory is thorny and abstract and beyond the ability of small businesses to apply—so seem the oft-unspoken thoughts to go.

Practice is simple.  It takes my clients a few years, sometimes, to see just how simple I am.  There’s even a danger in the simplicity, some people forget what goes into making things so simple and they abandon the process, which of course guts the means of producing the results.

Process…it’s one of THE lines in Moneyball [the book]:   “It’s looking at process rather than outcomes.  Too many people make decisions based on outcomes rather than process.”–Paul DePodesta

I am about process; process produces wins for small businesses even when the system is arrayed against you.