By Richard Bowood
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Extra resources for The Story of Railways (Achievements)
The team also uses analytics to identify its most valuable customers and to offer them benefits that help build loyalty. Why all this activity in professional sports, and what difference does it make for other types of organizations? There are many themes that could cut across sports and business. Perhaps the most important lesson from professional sports analytics is its focus on the human resource—on choosing and keeping the best players at the lowest price. This is not a widespread practice in the business “talent management” domain, but perhaps it should be.
The Yanks won the ALCS, but Little lost his job. It’s a powerful story of what can happen if frontline managers and employees don’t go along with the analytical program. Fortunately for long-suffering Red Sox fans (including one of the authors of this volume), the combination of numbers and money proved insurmountable in the 2004 season, and the Sox broke the eighty-six-year World Series championship drought. Analytical competition has not fully triumphed in baseball, however. Some teams—including some perennially good teams, such as the Atlanta Braves—still rely heavily on traditional scouting criteria, although they use numbers too.
Therefore, the company’s buyers felt safe in paying for 250,000 rentals. If more are ordered, both Favela Rising’s producers and Netflix benefit. Like most analytical competitors, Netflix has a strong culture of analytics and a “test and learn” approach to its business. The chief product officer, Neil Hunt, notes, From product management all the way down to the engineering team, we have hired for and have built a culture of quantitative tests. We typically have several hundred variations of consumer experience experiments running at once.