Billy Beane, Baseball, and the Big Data Debate

The real Billy Beane and Brad Pitt, who played him in 2011’s Moneyball

I was the highest-rated amateur player in 1980, alongside Daryl Strawberry because I looked like a baseball player. They rated me based on all the things that got me elected homecoming king but didn’t yield returns on the baseball fields.

So began Billy Beane’s address to a room full of advertising executives. And we listened, attentively, to everything Beane had to say about sports, statistics, and finding a formula for success. What was the takeaway? That there’s a clash between data and culture, even though they inform each other. That if you’re going to play the numbers game, you need someone who can write formulas, not hit baseballs (Billy hired a female assistant scouting director who used to work for Goldman Sachs). That it’s not about how much data, but the quality of the data.

This post continues our series of posts from our “140 Club,” delivering social media insights in a bite-sized 140 words (or less)! Let us know what you think in the comments below.



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