Five Things I Learned from ‘Moneyball’

As soon as I got wind of this movie, starring Brad Pitt and recounting the 2002 Oakland A’s pioneering use of sabermetrics, I knew I would get a blog out of it. But I never got to see the movie until last Saturday night.

Let me back up a minute for those of you not familiar with this concept.

According to Wikipedia, “Sabermetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. It was coined by Bill James, who is one of its pioneers and is often considered its most prominent advocate and public face.”

In “Moneyball,” Billy Bean, played by Pitt, travels to visit the Cleveland Indians to try to make some trades. While there, he meets an economics graduate from Yale who introduces Billy to the concept of using statistics to choose which players have the probability to deliver wins to the team.

You know what? Just see the movie, if you haven’t already, because as a girl I’m sure I’m messing up this description. At any rate, here are five lessons I think we can all take away from this story:

1) You need to be willing to listen to unorthodox ideas.

This means we need to get out of our comfort zone, learn new things and be open to new ideas. I talk about this all the time in my blog, so I won’t belabor the point. Open your mind!

2) You need to admit you can’t do it alone.

Billy wanted so badly to win a championship, and even with a payroll five-times smaller than the New York Yankees, he got pretty close. But, his ego didn’t get in his way; he knew that he needed to listen to other ideas and get help to make his dream a reality.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • aspireforbill

    You have GOT to read the book. Each chapter starts out with a baseball-related quote. My favorite was one from humorist Dave Barry: "If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base."

  • Erik Cagle-Printing Impressions

    Loved the movie, though it glossed over the fact that the A’s had one of the top five rotations from the last 50 years. Bill, the quote made me laugh out loud.

  • Ryan

    Great blog about a great movie. FYI though, you can’t spoil a movie based on real life events…just sayin’

  • jefbrya1

    Silly girl — you should have read the book

  • Kelly Mallozzi

    An observation from w reader who emailed me directly….

    Here’s what else I learned from this movie:

    1. If you have a great strategy and share it with the world, it’ll soon become obsolete as your competitiion will eith mimic it or offet it. In the case of the A’s, teams started understanding the dynamics and stopped trading valuable talent to them. Have the A’s won since?

    2. Success is a function of its own definition. The way you define succes is critical to wheather or not you obtain it. The A’s defined success by making the playoffs. In the years from 2000 to date they have made the playoffs 5 times. Four times they were promptly defeated in the first round and once in the 2nd round. They haven’t won a world Series since 1989.

    3. Hollywood really loves Brad Pitt. Good performance yes, Oscar consideration… Really?

  • custom stickers

    These are very good words of advice when it comes to sales. Way too often, we think we need to just "get in there" and bombard our potential client with how good our product is, before we even take the time to properly realize what it is that the client actually wants.