Saturday, May 10, 2008

moneyball - time to question?

mr.k happened to come across michael lewis's "moneyball" - a book on a small payroll baseball team - oakland athletics, who consistently surprised everyone with their performance often overcoming higher payroll teams..much like say our rajasthan royals in did they do it was a question everybody wanted to understand..the answer - "Billy Beane", a failed baseball player and posibily, the edward de-bono of sports, who challenged the conventions, wrote his own theory and ultimately exploited "market deficieny" and kept is quite interesting to read..the fascinating part of the whole part was how beane went about questioning the accepted wisdom endlessly, obsessively and exploited the loop-holes to such a way that every other team started following it..
check out for more.
after reading the book, mr.k started pondering if moneyball is something that could work in software services?...the premise being "are we measuring the right things"..and more importantly "are we asking the right questions?..
starting with the chronic irritation of attrition and retention and the almost paranoia filled reaction..the general thought is a higher attrition percentage impacts business, but does it stand true all times?...should we move from measuring the impact of attrition on case by case basis rather than a mere number?..should we not start asking the question "does it really matter if this person leaves"? and "how do i replace the end-result this person brings to the table, that i need to replace" ..will our approach to solving the problem change if we ask this question?..
thinking loud on the problem above, if we need to find a solution with least error, then the next question is "are we measuring the correct performance parameters of a person"..for instance, in today's world - most problems we encounter in software services are often repetitions and ideally needs "improvisation to existing solutions" rather than coming up with a brand-new one..and if we do see this statement as a valid happening x% of times, then 'paying premium money to the most tech savvy/intelligent/innovative guy' might not be needed..rather "finding a person who has the traits to trust available information store and ability to understand situations" would be the next question is "how do we find out traits of an individual"..and if we have to do this during hiring, then "is it more important to check the analytical skills/social skills and behavioral traits than his expertise"?..and if a company has to successfully do that, would it make sense then for companies to start tying up with academic institutions and finding potential candidates even during their education than just interviews?..sort of scouting ?..
and if we do establish a system which can consistently tell value of a person and the value should be judged solely by what he/she bring to the business, then are we in a stage to alter their pay structure to pay/value than by designation/experience etc..would it make sense for instance to pay a person who would bring value now and for the next 2-3 years than to pay highly to a person who is bringing equal value now but will not in the coming years?..would it then be a possible strategy to do a forced attrition?..creating situations of discomfort to highly paid people whose individual ROI is decreasing?...
the other area in software services that possibly is not adapted to changing times in using the right statistics is the so called product quality measures?..for instance a lot of productivity measures are still looking at lines of code, defect rate etc,..but in a global model "what ensures good productivity?".. - Constant communication? and are companies measuring it?...increasingly car manufacturers are building different models using the same base targeting different clientele, and software services still hasn't learnt the "art of re usability". would it have been different if firms put emphasis on synergy/communication rather than conventional measures linked to workunits..

is it time to re-look at some of these and quite possibily a possible market deficiency can be exploited to gain advantage. a simple market deficiency one can observe is "people talking too much / too early in meetings"..the chances of looking like an idiot is high..would it not be an advantage to listen to multiple perspectives and use that as a cake over which your perspective can be added as cream.."where is effective listening gone"

Disclaimer: the author does not use any moneyball techniques, but the approach to moneyball is an interesting one.

Moneyball gave Billy Beane a lot of limelight, but the book's success killed the market efficiency. Beane built his teams by hiring a lot of younger players with low cost and kept winning. Once moneyball became a conventional theory by itself, the richer teams were paying more to these younger guys than Oakland could. So now Billy Beane is tweak moneyball to identify other market deficiencies..he has been quoted as saying "even if something gives a 5% improvement to existing structure, it needs to be seriously looked at".

at the end of it, adaptability is the name of the game..

Sunday, May 04, 2008

blogging again..

yes! 10 months since the last post, mr.k has ended his was tough to end it, as it was extremely difficult to find a topic to blog the attempt here is to give a reader a bit of everything thats caught mr.k's eye since the last post..

1. hard not to start with the absolutely ridiculous statements by mr.bush and ms.rice..both of them have been recently quoted saying the global food crunch is due to better diet patterns in india and china..mercifully usa is electing a new president end of the year..and yes its quite ironic to see that "the most stupid quote on Rice" has been made someone whose name has "rice" on it
2. since we talked about the upcoming presidency stakes in usa earlier - it would also be important to point out how ugly the fight has been between the democrat candidates. its no holds barred - punch and counter punch..don't know who would be the last man(woman) standing, but it sure makes for interesting "race"
3. and obviously this year - different kind of races are going to be held in beijing - talking about olympic games coming up in the next few months. its already attracted enough publicity with the tibetan protesters disrupting the torch relay to catch the attention of many
4. among the attention of many, no one more significant than the chinese authorities. for first time in sometime, china is holding talks with the Dalai Lama to discuss "autonomy for tibet" does look like china is facing the heat.
5. hot, hot, hotter - we aren't talking about any woman here. we are talking about the increasing temperatures and the global warming thats happening around us. for everyone, when you get time - do grab a dvd of oscar winning "an inconvenient truth" by nobel winner al.gore. quite insightful
6. from insightful to "In-Sight-Full". none other than the king-khan. from chak-de to paanchi pass to endorsements every 1 hour to item numbers to the big-daddy of all - IPL. He sure is keeping his fans - santoosht and connecting people.
7. ipl - what is it?. simple - indian Provocation league. in here, its all too simple. a billionaire actress hires a millionaire cricketer who provokes another millionaire cricketer who in-turn slaps him and the guy who provoked starts crying provoking million people to call for action ...and the story goes on..and its quite interesting to note that sreesanth vs bhajji was also wadia vs ambani :)..whats with people named modi..they always seem to be associated with some provocation or other..
8. ipl - indian premier league. they do play cricket to earn their millions and to an extent some of the cricket played has been exciting and yielded surprising results. the finals could very well be "rajasthan vs mohali"..would that not be a huge contest. the surprising royals with "hollywood" warne against the punjab da puttar - would be a huge match - a royal match..
9. the other yuvraj is also setting himself up for leading the nation..he has been everywhere and quietly stepping up to the throne, and his sister who has an aura about her thats just so intriguing isn't far behind..she visits her father's killer to make peace with violence. interesting/very wonder the kids mother was in the time influential people list
10. one list leads to's list of interesting movies..first - jodhaa akbar - a decent movie that one can watch purely for Hrithik Roshan. he is just a "class act". another movie that is "not to be missed" is "the prestige" - absolutely gripping movie about two magicians obsessed with their obsessions..totally compulsive watching the ultra-suave and ultra-talented Hugh Jackman..but the movie of the year was the absolutely simple yet brilliant "jab we met"..little did shahid know that kareena was talking about her meeting saif.."the here becoming zero"
11. and the heroine becoming size zero, well yes ms.kapoor's ultra stylish new power yoga driven look that has become the talk of the entertainment industry..alas her "tashan" hasn't got everyone on her side..
12. and how many zeroes is worth the mansion mr.mukesh ambani is building in mumbai..plenty since its gonna cost him 2 billion..quite interestingly, our PM mr.singh made a remark about how the rich indians are living a lifestyle that is not reflecting the state of india..seems to me that he doesn't have too many listeners..probably talking in italian would have helped.

13. got married, changed jobs, living happy..and tomorrow its "thank god its monday" , so lets stop blogging and get to work before a pink-slip stares down on us..