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Its Not The Money Its What You Know[Baseball] Commissioner Bud Selig found a “dramatic” correlation between money and winning and warned that the league risked irreparable damage if it didn’t address the payroll disparity between teams.

That turned out to be wrong, as the panel’s lone skeptic, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, delights in pointing out. “Look at all the money the Yankees have been spending without much success,” he says. “There’s more to baseball competitiveness than money. The Red Sox are an example of how better management drawing upon advanced statistical methods will enhance success.”  John Henry And The Making Of A Baseball Dynasty, Bloomberg Businessweek, Apr 28, 2014.

Two things seem to conspire to keep us in a state of confusion.  One is that there are many people saying “this is the way to do it!” and the other is that someone, regardless of merit, has to come out on top.  Neither are very useful for figuring out what to do.  But who is going to ignore someone who became a fortune 100 CEO or a billionaire?  Clearly they just got to know something! Clearly, there is insight to be found.

Also consider A Successful Manager But Never A Successful Project

One day in 1985, he lost 10 percent of clients’ money when the dollar plunged, prompting a fund name Iroquois to ditch him for a rival.  The fund later went bust, while Henry thrived and bought a 164-foot yacht that he name Iroquois.  John Henry And The Making Of A Baseball Dynasty, Bloomberg Businessweek, Apr 28, 2014.

How do we do it?  Get smart enough to do well enough?

“It made me realize that trading by the seat of your pants probably wasn’t the best idea,” he says. To rectify this, Henry embarked on a manic study of commodity price patterns, disappearing into the library for days at a time.  … With little more than a calculator and a scratch pad, he build a mathematical model to profit from futures trading.   John Henry And The Making Of A Baseball Dynasty, Bloomberg Businessweek, Apr 28, 2014.

See Being Objective Is Hard And How To Succeed Anyway

Few things beat knowing and understanding what we are doing.  Getting a lot of VC money to work on a great idea sure looks good, but it won’t accomplish anything if we don’t know enough. Knowing what we are doing often requires doing a lot of research.  Sam Walton in his book admitted that he would get caught in competitor’s grocery stores looking around and recording information on pricing and their presentation of food.

Compare with Why We Don’t Need All Those Experts

Getting smart is about immersing oneself in what one is doing.  So go be a geek.  Get smart, then go take a risk and do something.

What aspect of your project or industry have you recently deep dived into to better understand what it is all about?

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