The Moneyball economy

"A little less talk, a little more action" - Elvis Presley

One of the more interesting fall-outs from the election is a rash of articles about smart data trumping punditry.

According to "Big Data and the Moneyball Economy" at Big Think, the data revolution may be coming to small business.

There is a Moneyball opportunity here for small businesses who may lack traditional financial resources. They just need to get smart about how to out-think their larger rivals. Despite the buzz about Big Data from high-end consulting companies like McKinsey, few small businesses have really figured out what to do with all that data out there.... 

At the recent Tech Crunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, one of the standout companies was SizeUp, which brings business intelligence and competitive analysis to the small business space.

From wearable technology - from the innumerable sensing devices in soil and pavement and oceans - from robots flying around Mercury and Saturn and roving Mars, data is being generated at an ever-increasing pace. Successful businesses have always embraced good data. That's not necessarily new. But one also gets the idea that consulting outfits and advertising firms, organizations used to selling their expertise, had better bring their statistical A-game or risk being displaced by buccaneering number crunchers working at the figurative margins. Intuition and hunch - and certainly, intuition and hunch divorced from the data - is fast losing market value.

"A sophisticated understanding of data and statistics" has certainly propelled people like Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight to national prominence. Having made a name for himself four years ago, Silver and his formidable Brier scores have found a home at the New York Times. While the former baseball sabermetrician's 50 - 0 record calling the Electoral College depended on a record setting number of polls, others play offense. Games, data-driven discovery, are increasingly being used by enterprising organizations. Designers like Jane MgGonigal are in demand for their ability to model a human element.

Like all innovations, the data revolution may take some time to work its way from outfits that can afford to pay for the data collection and analysis to those without the deep pockets. And I certainly don't know if companies like SizeUp will succeed, or what kinds of products and services will win. But in a culture long attuned to rewarding the biggest voices and the so-certain forecast, it seems clear that talk is, indeed, cheap.


Image: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by pursuethepassion