March 2014

10 Things I Learned at MIT Sloan Analytics Conference 2014- Day 2

This happened  two weeks ago, but since I’m at the SABR analytics conference, I figured I should do my second list of items I learned at the MIT sports analytics conference, especially since I learned more than I did the first day.

  1. The analytics community in baseball has done a great job in terms of research, but it still has to get implemented. That said, people doing the analytics need to keep in mind that there are a lot of things that go from the analysis to implementing it on the field.
  2. Health analysis is the next frontier in baseball. (Bill James)- He was talking about the fact that there has been so much work done in statistical analysis that being able to tell who is more or less likely to get injured or stay healthy is going to be the next break through age in terms of competitive advantage in the way that the statistics was for the Moneyball era. Speaking of Moneyball…
  3. When Moneyball was written, we had two percent of the data that we have now. (Bill James)
  4. Jose Altuve is an exception in that he is the leader of the Astros team at a very young age. (Jeff Luhnow)
  5. Don’t be dogmatic about data. People are more likely to go through with something if they feel it’s their idea too, so walk  them through the whole process and talk their language.
  6. Nate Silver feels as though there should be a maximum of ten pitchers per team, and Rob Neyer added that to do such, MLB should liberalize promotion rules.
  7. The fact that driving is an option for everyone is absurd. (Malcom Gladwell)- He added that it’s a very complex task, so he has no clue why it is assumed that everyone can do it.
  8. Boys are socialized to like what it is they’re good at whereas girls are to think that they like what they like regardless of what they’re good at. (Malcom Gladwell)
  9. 100% of NBA fans between the ages of 25 and 29 have watched a game with a second screen present. (Those polled anyway. I don’t actually buy that EVERY fan in that age range has done so.
  10. This generation are the most entitled, demanding customers in history, so you have to provide a unique, customized experience.

Also, if you want to see any of the pictures I took at this day of the conference, I have uploaded them as well as the pictures from day 1 onto the Facebook page. Right now I am currently at the SABR baseball analytics conference, so I am going to get started on those entries in 3, 2, 1, now.

10 Things I learned at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2014- Day 1

Since I have no interest in writing the full-fledged entries I’ve done the past, and I actually wouldn’t be able to for this day, since I missed most of it because I had to Skype into a 2.5 hour class I was missing in Minnesota, I decided to just impart some of the things I learned from each of my two days at the conference. I will also do this same kind of entry for tomorrow at the conference.

  1. Coaches/Managers like to have the illusion of control, but chaos is often helpful (via Bill James). For example, Jeff Van Gundy’s most effective play when with the Rockets was labeled “random” where the play just broke down and the offense played randomly. (via Daryl Morey)
  2. Many sports suffer from it, but in the 1950’s, baseball thought it was a perfect sport and suffered greatly because of it. (via Bill James) He also added the tidbit that you would think people would be over the DH rule when it happened 41 years ago.
  3. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are by far the best duo in terms of working together in the MLS.
  4. People don’t like it when you talk over Skype while someone is giving a presentation about the bias umpires have when making different kinds of strike calls.
  5. Skyping on your phone takes up a huge amount of phone data and battery. (As in I drained my iPhone 5s’s battery in an hour and used 60% of my data plan in the same window of time that is usually allotted for a whole month’s worth of phone usage.)
  6. Stan Van Gundy likes numbers but doesn’t trust them at all. (via Stan Van Gundy)
  7. Paul George ran 138 miles in the 2014 season. (via Stan Van Gundy) who then went onto say, “why the heck do I want to know that?”
  8. Brad Stevens, despite being labeled an analytical coach feels he is given that title unfairly so. (via Brad Stevens)
  9. Jerry Rhinesdorf likes knowing things. And Phil Jackson knows more about basketball than him. (via Phil Jackson)
  10. Jonathan Kraft feels as though Tom Brady would still be a sixth-round draft pick if he were coming out of Michigan today.

And now here are some of the pictures I took from the events:

IMG_2497 IMG_2500 IMG_2511 IMG_2512 IMG_2514

I definitely will have a better (read: completely legitimate) list of things I learned, but again, I missed a bunch of panels and didn’t take particualrly good notes on the ones that I did attend. But until then, I’m going to take a brief nap that most people call a night’s sleep before heading out to tomorrow on the conference.

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