Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak
Picked this up after hearing Ben Garvey mention it at Data Jawn. Very glad I did – not only was I unaware of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates comeback story, but it was a compelling telling of a few big data insights:
- Warehouse early, warehouse often. This is a principle I’ve wrestled with over the past year – and one that is most true in the enterprise context. Even though we probably won’t lose access to our data, the act of collecting and sanitizing/standardizing data is a nontrivial engineering and computing task. The Pirates’ creation of proprietary database let them extract more novel insights, more quickly.
- Persuasion matters. It’s not enough to devise an insight like “We should shift more frequently.” The insight needed to be contextualized to the players, evangelized, explained. Here’s how we came to the insight, here’s how it will make your life better. Trust was crucial in this process.
- Innovation spreads quickly. In a public enterprise, like baseball or journalism, any innovation is most likely a short-lived competitive advantage. The trick is not generating an insight, but generating a system that generates insights. Always be learning.
If you’re in the technology or publishing fields, or just like a good sports story, check out the link below – and let me know what you take away from the book.