Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Out Top 5 Posts of 2015

Hard to believe, but the year 2015 is already one-third in the books. If nothing else, our big prediction for 2015—be ready for anything, and don’t stop getting ready—has turned out to be fairly prescient. Obviously, few could have predicted the earthquake in Nepal, the riots in Baltimore, the record snowfall in Boston or the New York Mets having the best record in Major League Baseball. But, by the same token, some things we expected to happen didn't. How many economists and Wall Street pundits really predicted that four months into the new year, the Fed still wouldn't have pulled the trigger on interest rates?

Our most popular posts of 2015

1.What We Can Learn from the Costa Ricans

2. The Power of Doing Your Own Research Studies
3. Do You Want Young Hires Well-Educated, Adaptable or Self-Sufficient?

4. I Do My Best Thinking in a Tube

5. Don’t Penalize Intelligence

More importantly, at a time when volatility and disruption is the “new normal,” learn to enjoy life no matter what it throws at you. “Pura Vida” as they say in Costa Rica, where my family and I visited over the Holidays. It’s one of the few places I’ve found that lives up to the hype. Incredibly diverse topography. Endless beaches. Active volcanoes. More species of plants and animals than any country in the world. Adrenalin-pumping zip-lines. Some of the happiest, healthiest and best educated populations in the world despite being far from the wealthiest. Makes you think twice about burning the candle at both ends chasing some elusive number of gross income or retirement “nut” that you and your clients think you need to be happy.

Burnout worries aside, you also showed that you’re highly inquisitive. As we discussed in our #2 ranked post, The Power of Doing Your Own Research Studies, having your own branded research report is one of most powerful weapons you can have in your credibility marketing arsenal. After word of mouth referrals, it’s hard to beat the power of “according to YOU!”

Speaking of inquisitive, now is the time of year that many recent grads are flocking to your door or checking you out online. Do You Want Young Hires Well-Educated, Adaptable or Self-Sufficient? Well, apparently you want adaptability as we discussed in our third most popular post of 2015. Again, we don’t necessarily need people who know everything. We need people who know what they don’t know—and how to fix that--in these highly unpredictable times.

As our No. 4 post (I Do My Best Thinking in a Tube) taught us, great ideas can come to you at any time, any place and anywhere. Just make you’re not hopelessly distracted so you can capture them. Find a way to carve out time every day to do nothing else but think for a few minutes. It’s not easy most days, but you’ll be amazed at what you come up with.

Finally No.5 Don’t Penalize Intelligence. When everyone in a highly competitive marketplace has access to the same information, it’s not about how much you know or how smart you think you are--it’s about how quickly you can adapt to a changing landscape. From baseball to investing, any new edge in intelligence or tools will be fairly quickly absorbed by the wisdom of the crowd. How quickly can you and your organization pivot?


Do your own research, carve out time to think, seek people who are adaptable and most of all enjoy life. That’s it in a nutshell. Have a great second third of 2015.

blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Don’t Penalize Intelligence

Slowly but surely spring is coming to the Northeast. There are no leaves on the trees. It’s raw and rainy most days. But, Major League Baseball is underway and soon high schoolers, Little Leaguers and softball teams will be doing their best to play ball in the cold, mud and slop.

About this time every year, you start to see articles, posts and tweets lamenting how the game has changed. Depending on whom you ask, today’s players are either faster, bigger, stronger and smarter than they used to be. Or, they’re lazier, softer, more coddled and less committed to the game than “back in my day.”

One thing’s for sure—the game’s a lot more measurable. You don’t need to be a sabermetrician (empirical analyst of baseball) to see that since testing for performance-enhancing drugs began in the mid 2000s, home runs and scoring are way down, batting averages are also plummeting and strikeouts are way up.

Getting the edge when everyone’s playing “Money Ball”
Hitters are certainly facing more fresh-armed specialist relief pitchers than they used to. And, thanks to the Big Data revolution of the past 15 years, when hitters do make contact, more of their hits are turning into outs. Just look at their “Babip” (batting average on balls in play). Are the fielders really that much better? Probably not. But players and their coaches have a lot more ways of anticipating where balls will be hit….and batters have fewer opportunities to “hit em where they ain’t.

According to Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), teams in 2011 used fewer than 2,500 “shifts” on balls in play…..Yes, there are folks who’ve made a business out of keeping track of things like that. Last year, BIS said Major League team used more than 13,000, and the company said its software actually “recommended” about 40,000 shifts. So expect to see more.

You’re certainly seeing it in the college game and it’s creeping into the high school game according to my older son who plays at that level. I’ve even seen it used against my 11 year-old’s team—he’s a lefty who likes to go “oppo” on outside pitches and don’t think the other teams don’t notice!. More youth coaches using iPads to keep score with a Game Changer app that can stream kids’ games pitch by pitch, to parents who are caught in traffic or stuck at the office.

As Steve Kettmann observed earlier this week in The New York Times, “as baseball managers get younger and better educated, much of the fresh energy in baseball today comes from putting analytical tools to work in rethinking old assumptions.”

Our take? Substitute the word “portfolio” for “baseball” and “market” for “game” and this argument should start to sound familiar to many of you. As Detroit Tigers president Dave Dombrowski quipped last week, “I don’t think you should penalize intelligence.” The burden is on hitters and their coaches to adjust, he added.


Over the long-term, batting averages like stock market returns, will always regress to the mean (.268 and 8%, respectively if your keeping score). Any new edge in intelligence or tools will be fairly quickly absorbed by the wisdom of the crowd.

Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


TAGS: sabermetrics, Baseball Information Solutions, Dave Dombrowski, Detroit Tiger, Steve Kettmann, don’t penalize intelligence