I am not Brad Pitt

“That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” Davis (Steve Martin, Grand Canyon, 1991)

Moneyball - a movie about data

Inspired by Sue Unerman’s cinematic references in her last blog I’ve another movie for your attention.

I’m not Brad Pitt, but neither am I Jonah Hill, at least I’m not as smart as he is in the baseball-based movie Moneyball.  It tells the story of Oakland Athletics’ 2002 season. A season where they changed the rules of baseball forever. It’s one of those movies about sport that isn’t about sport. It’s a movie about conviction, destiny, redemption, resistance and duty. It’s also a movie about data.

Pitt is the charismatic, though flawed General Manager Billy Beane, but it’s Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand who impresses as the genius whose detailed analysis of player performance enables the Oaklands to let’s just say, do better than anyone expected.

It’s a great reminder that even in our exciting and increasingly data-driven industry the big breakthroughs come from people. For every GB of data there’s 1K of insight to be found, and it comes from those smart enough to join the dots and charismatic enough to make things change.

To see a whole raft of them (including the peerless David Fletcher) make sure you attend this year’s Media 360 as well as getting yourself a copy of Moneyball.

Restaurant news:

Whilst I’m in an Americana mood and the economy is going to hell I can recommend Pit Cue Co.’s excellent ribs. Depression-era food is all the rage right now (expect more when The Great Gatsby opens on Boxing Day) and these guys have cornered the market in cheap, flavoursome, pulled-pork hits of solace.


  • Martin Thomas

    Despite your protestations I can see that you have put yourself in the Beane/Pitt role with Fletch as the geek-genius … was ever thus

    • Steve Hatch

      Hello Martin, maybe the flawed bit :-), but we all know there’s few folk as charismatic as Fletch, i dont fancy anyone follow him after a presentation.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    Great film/book. Nice line about “for every GB of data there’s 1K of insight to be found”, but it also says a lot about leadership, going against the grain, and being a maverick. Moneyball didn’t intially win Beane any friends, but he stayed the course and the rest is history.

    • Steve Hatch

      Thanks for the feedback Gordon, without going into plot spoilers i agree staying the course is the great message of the movie. I’ve heard the book is good, would you say its worth reading after seeing the movie?
      PS – The other line in the piece that’s got some traction is ‘pulled pork hits of solace’, but only from my more sarcastic friends – best reply so far – ‘Quantum of Sausage’
      #withfriendslikethese .  

      • @gordonmacmillan

        The book is definitely worth reading. It’s a really good read and goes into more detail that the film had to gloss over for lenght reasons.

        I think it also might help having seen the film and knowing the story of Beane and the A’s as it means you’re not starting at scratch in terms of baseball.