Interview Prof Benjamin Alamar , Sports Analytics

Here is an interview with Prof Benjamin Alamar, founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport, a professor of sports management at Menlo College and the Director of Basketball Analytics and Research for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA.

Ajay – The movie Moneyball recently sparked out mainstream interest in analytics in sports.Describe the role of analytics in sports management

Benjamin- Analytics is impacting sports organizations on both the sport and business side.
On the Sport side, teams are using analytics, including advanced data management, predictive anlaytics, and information systems to gain a competitive edge. The use of analytics results in more accurate player valuations and projections, as well as determining effective strategies against specific opponents.
On the business side, teams are using the tools of analytics to increase revenue in a variety of ways including dynamic ticket pricing and optimizing of the placement of concession stands.
Ajay-  What are the ways analytics is used in specific sports that you have been part of?

Benjamin- A very typical first step for a team is to utilize the tools of predictive analytics to help inform their draft decisions.

Ajay- What are some of the tools, techniques and software that analytics in sports uses?
Benjamin- The tools of sports analytics do not differ much from the tools of business analytics. Regression analysis is fairly common as are other forms of data mining. In terms of software, R is a popular tool as is Excel and many of the other standard analysis tools.
Ajay- Describe your career journey and how you became involved in sports management. What are some of the tips you want to tell young students who wish to enter this field?

Benjamin- I got involved in sports through a company called Protrade Sports. Protrade initially was a fantasy sports company that was looking to develop a fantasy game based on advanced sports statistics and utilize a stock market concept instead of traditional drafting. I was hired due to my background in economics to develop the market aspect of the game.

There I met Roland Beech (who now works for the Mavericks) and Aaron Schatz (owner of footballoutsiders.com) and learned about the developing field of sports statistics. I then changed my research focus from economics to sports statistics and founded the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Through the journal and my published research, I was able to establish a reputation of doing quality, useable work.

For students, I recommend developing very strong data management skills (sql and the like) and thinking carefully about what sort of questions a general manager or coach would care about. Being able to demonstrate analytic skills around actionable research will generally attract the attention of pro teams.

About-

Benjamin Alamar, Professor of Sport Management, Menlo College

Benjamin Alamar

Professor Benjamin Alamar is the founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport, a professor of sports management at Menlo College and the Director of Basketball Analytics and Research for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. He has published academic research in football, basketball and baseball, has presented at numerous conferences on sports analytics. He is also a co-creator of ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal. He has consulted for teams in the NBA and NFL, provided statistical analysis for author Michael Lewis for his recent book The Blind Side, and worked with numerous startup companies in the field of sports analytics. Professor Alamar is also an award winning economist who has worked academically and professionally in intellectual property valuation, public finance and public health. He received his PhD in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2001.

Prof Alamar is a speaker at Predictive Analytics World, San Fransisco and is doing a workshop there

http://www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/sanfrancisco/2012/agenda.php#day2-17

2:55-3:15pm

All level tracks Track 1: Sports Analytics
Case Study: NFL, MLB, & NBA
Competing & Winning with Sports Analytics

The field of sports analytics ties together the tools of data management, predictive modeling and information systems to provide sports organization a competitive advantage. The field is rapidly developing based on new and expanded data sources, greater recognition of the value, and past success of a variety of sports organizations. Teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, as well as other organizations have found a competitive edge with the application of sports analytics. The future of sports analytics can be seen through drawing on these past successes and the developments of new tools.

You can know more about Prof Alamar at his blog http://analyticfootball.blogspot.in/ or journal at http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas. His detailed background can be seen at http://menlo.academia.edu/BenjaminAlamar/CurriculumVitae

Facebook IPO- Do you feel lucky?

2 Jan 2011 dealbook.nytimes.com

Facebook has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a transaction that values the company at $50 billion

29 Jan 2011 -www.bloomberg.com-$82.9-billion

14 Jun 2011-CNBC———————-$100 billion

27 Jun 2011 -news.cnet.com———-$70 billion

27 Sep 2011-Venturebeat.com——-$82.5 billion

100 billion valuation divided by 1000 million subscribers

=100 $ net present value of ad profit (note if 80 billion valuation with 800 million subscribers it is the same)

=250 $ net present value of ad revenues (assuming 40 % profitability)

=2500 $ net present value of online purchases by Facebook ad clicking customer

(assuming advertisers dedicate 10% of revenue to advertising by Facebook)

and the lucky Russian Investor who invested at 50 billion valuation only to see it double in six months, where else has he inVested

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/01/facebooks_russian_investor_hel.html

Digital Sky Technologies co-founder Yuri Milner, who co-invested in the Goldman-Facebook deal, enviably poised in the middle. DST has been investing early and aggressively in some of the biggest names in the tech bubble boom like Facebook (DST first invested in May 2009), Zynga (the company that makes Farmville and Cityville for Facebook), and Groupon (the dudes that just turned down Google’s $6 billion).

NOTE -Both groupon and Zynga IPO  investors lost money as they are now below IPO price.

http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/05/5771129-russian-facebook-investors-have-sparked-us-concerns

More on Digital Sky Tech and Yuri Milner and the free internet in Putin’s Russia

Digital Sky got particular attention because of its broad control of the Russian Internet. DNI noted that the company is “a dominant force in the Runet,” owning the most popular Websites in the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Armenia as well as others in the Czech Republic and Poland. By some estimates it reported “over 70 percent of all page views in the Russian-language Internet are on its companies’ Websites.”

 

 

From Wall Street Journal-

May 1, 2011

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/wsj-facebook-growth-exceeds-expectations-100-billion-valuation-justifiable/1306

Last month, a private-market transaction of 100,000 shares of Facebook Class B Common Stock priced at $32.00 apiece gave the website a valuation of $80 billion. Two months ago, Facebook was valued at $65 billion, when investment firm General Atlantic reportedly bought 0.1 percent of Facebook by purchasing roughly 2.5 million Facebook shares from former Facebook employees. Three months ago, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) invested $38 million in Facebook, which was only worth 0.00073 percent of the social network, but still resulted in a valuation of $52 billion.

 

related-

http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/10/facebook-5/

 

Something is gotta give?

Go ahead and  Please. Buy Facebook Stock !

Do you feel lucky?

 

 

 

 

Does Facebook deserve a 100 billion Valuation

some  questions in my Mind as I struggle to bet my money and pension savings on Facebook IPO

1) Revenue Mix- What percentage of revenues for Facebook come from Banner ads versus gaming partners like Zynga. How dependent is Facebook on Gaming partners. (Zynga has Google as an investor). What mix of revenue is dependent on privacy regulation countries like Europe vs countries like USA.

2) Do 800 million users of Facebook mean 100 billion valuation ? Thats a valuation of $125 in customer life time in terms of NPV . Since ad revenue is itself a percentage of actual good and services sold- how much worth of goods and services do consumers have to buy per capita , to give $125 worth of ads to FB. Eg . companies spend 5% of product cost on Facebook ads, so does that mean each FB account will hope to buy 2500$ worth of Goods from the Internet and from Facebook (assuming they also buy from Amazon etc)

3) Corporate Governance- Unlike Google, Facebook has faced troubling questions of ethics from the day it has started. This includes charges of intellectual property theft, but also non transparent FB stock option pricing in secondary markets before IPO, private placement by Wall Street Bankers like GoldMan Saachs, major investments by Russian Internet media corporations. (read- http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/03/technology/facebook_goldman/index.htm)

4) Retention of key employees post IPO- Key Employees at Google are actually ex- Microsofties. Key FB staff are ex-Google people. Where will the key -FB people go when bored and rich after IPO.

5) Does the macro Economic Condition justify the premium and Private Equity multiple of Facebook?

Will FB be the next Google (in terms of investor retruns) or will it be like Groupon. I suspect the answer  is- it depends on market discounting these assumptions while factoring in sentiment (as well as unloading of stock from large number of FB stock holders on week1).

Baby You Are a Rich Man. but not 100 billion rich. yet. Maybe 80 billion isnt that bad.

A Sacrifice of Statistics

From an advertisement placed by Govt of Pakistan in Wall Street Journal,

Only Pakistan= Making sacrifices statistics cannot reflect.

Oh dear! What would the statisticians say?

Also see http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/09/13/pakistan-wsj-ad-unlikely-to-change-narrative/

The ad cites a series of statistics. Almost 22,000 Pakistani civilians have died or been seriously injured in the fight against terrorism, the ad said. The army has lost almost 3,000 soldiers. More than 3.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting and the damage to the economy over the past decade is estimated at $68 billion, it added.

People will quibble with these statistics from a country where reporters often find it difficult to get basic data.

 

 

Updated Interview Elissa Fink -VP Tableau Software

Here is an interview with Elissa Fink, VP Marketing of that new wonderful software called Tableau that makes data visualization so nice and easy to learn and work with.

Elissa Fink, VP, Marketing

Ajay-  Describe your career journey from high school to over 20 plus years in marketing. What are the various trends that you have seen come and go in marketing.

Elissa- I studied literature and linguistics in college and didn’t discover analytics until my first job selling advertising for the Wall Street Journal. Oddly enough, the study of linguistics is not that far from decision analytics: they both are about taking a structured view of information and trying to see and understand common patterns. At the Journal, I was completely captivated analyzing and comparing readership data. At the same time, the idea of using computers in marketing was becoming more common. I knew that the intersection of technology and marketing was going to radically change things – how we understand consumers, how we market and sell products, and how we engage with customers. So from that point on, I’ve always been focused on technology and marketing, whether it’s working as a marketer at technology companies or applying technology to marketing problems for other types of companies.  There have been so many interesting trends. Taking a long view, a key trend I’ve noticed is how marketers work to understand, influence and motivate consumer behavior. We’ve moved marketing from where it was primarily unpredictable, qualitative and aimed at talking to mass audiences, where the advertising agency was king. Now it’s a discipline that is more data-driven, quantitative and aimed at conversations with individuals, where the best analytics wins. As with any trend, the pendulum swings far too much to either side causing backlashes but overall, I think we are in a great place now. We are using data-driven analytics to understand consumer behavior. But pure analytics is not the be-all, end-all; good marketing has to rely on understanding human emotions, intuition and gut feel – consumers are far from rational so taking only a rational or analytical view of them will never explain everything we need to know.

Ajay- Do you think technology companies are still predominantly dominated by men . How have you seen diversity evolve over the years. What initiatives has Tableau taken for both hiring and retaining great talent.

Elissa- The thing I love about the technology industry is that its key success metrics – inventing new products that rapidly gain mass adoption in pursuit of making profit – are fairly objective. There’s little subjective nature to the counting of dollars collected selling a product and dollars spent building a product. So if a female can deliver a better product and bigger profits faster and better, then that female is going to get the resources, jobs, power and authority to do exactly that. That’s not to say that the technology industry is gender-blind, race-blind, etc. It isn’t – technology is far from perfect. For example, the industry doesn’t have enough diversity in positions of power. But I think overall, in comparison to a lot of other industries, it’s pretty darn good at giving people with great ideas the opportunities to realize their visions regardless of their backgrounds or characteristics.

At Tableau, we are very serious about bringing in and developing talented people – they are the key to our growth and success. Hiring is our #1 initiative so we’ve spent a lot of time and energy both on finding great candidates and on making Tableau a place that they want to work. This includes things like special recruiting events, employee referral programs, a flexible work environment, fun social events, and the rewards of working for a start-up. Probably our biggest advantage is the company itself – working with people you respect on amazing, cutting-edge products that delight customers and are changing the world is all too rare in the industry but a reality at Tableau. One of our senior software developers put it best when he wrote “The emphasis is on working smarter rather than longer: family and friends are why we work, not the other way around. Tableau is all about happy, energized employees executing at the highest level and delivering a highly usable, high quality, useful product to our customers.” People who want to be at a place like that should check out our openings at http://www.tableausoftware.com/jobs.

Ajay- What are most notable features in tableau’s latest edition. What are the principal software that competes with Tableau Software products and how would you say Tableau compares with them.

Elissa- Tableau 6.1 will be out in July and we are really excited about it for 3 reasons.

First, we’re introducing our mobile business intelligence capabilities. Our customers can have Tableau anywhere they need it. When someone creates an interactive dashboard or analytical application with Tableau and it’s viewed on a mobile device, an iPad in particular, the viewer will have a native, touch-optimized experience. No trying to get your fingertips to act like a mouse. And the author didn’t have to create anything special for the iPad; she just creates her analytics the usual way in Tableau. Tableau knows the dashboard is being viewed on an iPad and presents an optimized experience.

Second, we’ve take our in-memory analytics engine up yet another level. Speed and performance are faster and now people can update data incrementally rapidly. Introduced in 6.0, our data engine makes any data fast in just a few clicks. We don’t run out of memory like other applications. So if I build an incredible dashboard on my 8-gig RAM PC and you try to use it on your 2-gig RAM laptop, no problem.

And, third, we’re introducing more features for the international markets – including French and German versions of Tableau Desktop along with more international mapping options.  It’s because we are constantly innovating particularly around user experience that we can compete so well in the market despite our relatively small size. Gartner’s seminal research study about the Business Intelligence market reported a massive market shift earlier this year: for the first time, the ease-of-use of a business intelligence platform was more important than depth of functionality. In other words, functionality that lots of people can actually use is more important than having sophisticated functionality that only specialists can use. Since we focus so heavily on making easy-to-use products that help people rapidly see and understand their data, this is good news for our customers and for us.

Ajay-  Cloud computing is the next big thing with everyone having a cloud version of their software. So how would you run Cloud versions of Tableau Server (say deploying it on an Amazon Ec2  or a private cloud)

Elissa- In addition to the usual benefits espoused about Cloud computing, the thing I love best is that it makes data and information more easily accessible to more people. Easy accessibility and scalability are completely aligned with Tableau’s mission. Our free product Tableau Public and our product for commercial websites Tableau Digital are two Cloud-based products that deliver data and interactive analytics anywhere. People often talk about large business intelligence deployments as having thousands of users. With Tableau Public and Tableau Digital, we literally have millions of users. We’re serving up tens of thousands of visualizations simultaneously – talk about accessibility and scalability!  We have lots of customers connecting to databases in the Cloud and running Tableau Server in the Cloud. It’s actually not complex to set up. In fact, we focus a lot of resources on making installation and deployment easy and fast, whether it’s in the cloud, on premise or what have you. We don’t want people to have spend weeks or months on massive roll-out projects. We want it to be minutes, hours, maybe a day or 2. With the Cloud, we see that people can get started and get results faster and easier than ever before. And that’s what we’re about.

Ajay- Describe some of the latest awards that Tableau has been wining. Also how is Tableau helping universities help address the shortage of Business Intelligence and Big Data professionals.

Elissa-Tableau has been very fortunate. Lately, we’ve been acknowledged by both Gartner and IDC as the fastest growing business intelligence software vendor in the world. In addition, our customers and Tableau have won multiple distinctions including InfoWorld Technology Leadership awards, Inc 500, Deloitte Fast 500, SQL Server Magazine Editors’ Choice and Community Choice awards, Data Hero awards, CODiEs, American Business Awards among others. One area we’re very passionate about is academia, participating with professors, students and universities to help build a new generation of professionals who understand how to use data. Data analysis should not be exclusively for specialists. Everyone should be able to see and understand data, whatever their background. We come from academic roots, having been spun out of a Stanford research project. Consequently, we strongly believe in supporting universities worldwide and offer 2 academic programs. The first is Tableau For Teaching, where any professor can request free term-length licenses of Tableau for academic instruction during his or her courses. And, we offer a low-cost Student Edition of Tableau so that students can choose to use Tableau in any of their courses at any time.

Elissa Fink, VP Marketing,Tableau Software

 

Elissa Fink is Tableau Software’s Vice President of Marketing. With 20+ years helping companies improve their marketing operations through applied data analysis, Elissa has held executive positions in marketing, business strategy, product management, and product development. Prior to Tableau, Elissa was EVP Marketing at IXI Corporation, now owned by Equifax. She has also served in executive positions at Tele Atlas (acquired by TomTom), TopTier Software (acquired by SAP), and Nielsen/Claritas. Elissa also sold national advertising for the Wall Street Journal. She’s a frequent speaker and has spoken at conferences including the DMA, the NCDM, Location Intelligence, the AIR National Forum and others. Elissa is a graduate of Santa Clara University and holds an MBA in Marketing and Decision Systems from the University of Southern California.

Elissa first discovered Tableau late one afternoon at her previous company. Three hours later, she was still “at play” with her data. “After just a few minutes using the product, I was getting answers to questions that were taking my company’s programmers weeks to create. It was instantly obvious that Tableau was on a special mission with something unique to offer the world. I just had to be a part of it.”

To know more – read at http://www.tableausoftware.com/

and existing data viz at http://www.tableausoftware.com/learn/gallery

Storm seasons: measuring and tracking key indicators
What’s happening with local real estate prices?
How are sales opportunities shaping up?
Identify your best performing products
Applying user-defined parameters to provide context
Not all tech companies are rocket ships
What’s really driving the economy?
Considering factors and industry influencers
The complete orbit along the inside, or around a fixed circle
How early do you have to be at the airport?
What happens if sales grow but so does customer churn?
What are the trends for new retail locations?
How have student choices changed?
Do patients who disclose their HIV status recover better?
Closer look at where gas prices swing in areas of the U.S.
U.S. Census data shows more women of greater age
Where do students come from and how does it affect their grades?
Tracking customer service effectiveness
Comparing national and local test scores
What factors correlate with high overall satisfaction ratings?
Fund inflows largely outweighed outflows well after the bubble
Which programs are competing for federal stimulus dollars?
Oil prices and volatility
A classic candlestick chart
How do oil, gold and CPI relate to the GDP growth rate?

 

Norway Supreme Court orders SAS to pay damages in data espionage case

Check out the details from

Norway Supreme Court orders SAS to pay damages in data espionage case

SAS said the Supreme Court of Norway ordered it Thursday to pay NOK160 million ($27.4 million) to Norwegian Air Shuttle, likely bringing to a conclusion the corporate espionage case in which SAS Norge was found to have improperly accessed and used data in Norwegian’s reservation system. Earlier this year…

http://atwonline.com/international-aviation-regulation/news/norway-supreme-court-orders-sas-pay-damages-data-espionage-ca

Unbelievable stuff!

Also check out Jim Goodnight‘s remarks

http://www.businessleader.com/raleighdurham/Index.aspx?page=impact&PID=387&impactTitle=Business+Leader+of+the+Year

Midway Airlines

When Goodnight spots a problem, he fixes it, in the most direct way possible. So when he heard that Midway Airlines was in trouble, he didn’t hesitate. Especially when he learned that an investment group was interested in buying the airline and moving the hub to another location. He led the investment group that bailed it out for $22 million.

“I just felt it would be a blow to our area to lose its major airline,” Goodnight says. “I looked back to when American had its hub here and we could get anywhere pretty easily. I really wanted that to continue. So we stepped up to the plate.”

They brought in a new CEO, Robert Ferguson, who was responsible, says Goodnight, for bringing Continental Airlines out of bankruptcy. They then took the airline to Wall Street, where public investors kicked in $75 million, $42 million of it to Midway, through an initial public offering.

As of mid-November, Midway Airlines and its commuter partner will operate 218 daily departures between Raleigh-Durham and 25 destinations in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The fleet includes 15 new CRJ aircraft and eight Fokker F100s, and averages less than three years of age ranking it among the youngest in the industry. In addition, Midway recently announced firm orders for 17 Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The first delivery will take place in December 1999.

Short Interview Jill Dyche

Here is brief one question interview with Jill Dyche , founder Baseline Consulting.

 

In 2010.

 

  • It was more about consciousness-raising in the executive suite—
  • getting C-level managers to understand the ongoing value proposition of BI,
  • why MDM isn’t their father’s database, and
  • how data governance can pay for itself over time.
  • Some companies succeeded with these consciousness-raising efforts. Some didn’t.

 

But three big ones in 2011 would be:

  1. Predictive analytics in the cloud. The technology is now ready, and so is the market—and that includes SMB companies.
  2. Enterprise search being baked into (commoditized) BI software tools. (The proliferation of static reports is SO 2006!)
  3. Data governance will begin paying dividends. Until now it was all about common policies for data. In 2011, it will be about ROI.

I do a “Predictions for the coming year” article every January for TDWI,

Note- Jill ‘s January TDWI article seems worth waiting for in this case.

About-

Source-http://www.baseline-consulting.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=49125

Partner and Co-Founder

Jill Dyché is a partner and co-founder of Baseline Consulting.  She is responsible for key client strategies and market analysis in the areas of data governance, business intelligence, master data management, and customer relationship management. 

Jill counsels boards of directors on the strategic importance of their information investments.

Author

Jill is the author of three books on the business value of IT. Jill’s first book, e-Data (Addison Wesley, 2000) has been published in eight languages. She is a contributor to Impossible Data Warehouse Situations: Solutions from the Experts (Addison Wesley, 2002), and her book, The CRM Handbook (Addison Wesley, 2002), is the bestseller on the topic. 

Jill’s work has been featured in major publications such as Computerworld, Information Week, CIO Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and Newsweek.com. Jill’s latest book, Customer Data Integration (John Wiley and Sons, 2006) was co-authored with Baseline partner Evan Levy, and shows the business breakthroughs achieved with integrated customer data.

Industry Expert

Jill is a featured speaker at industry conferences, university programs, and vendor events. She serves as a judge for several IT best practice awards. She is a member of the Society of Information Managementand Women in Technology, a faculty member of TDWI, and serves as a co-chair for the MDM Insight conference. Jill is a columnist for DM Review, and a blogger for BeyeNETWORK and Baseline Consulting.