At the movies

This week something a little different—a movie review. The movie is the 2011 drama Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.

This movie is based on a true story. It’s the story of Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, a small major league baseball team with the third-lowest budget in the league.

Billy was tasked with winning the World Series against teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, which had many times this team’s budget.

Billy was smart enough to realise that competing against these vastly better-resourced teams on their own terms was never going to work. He needed a game changer. Literally.

When he met Peter Brand, an outspoken economist who believed that baseball could be played with a scientific methodology rather than the traditional ‘experience and gut feeling’ methodology, he took a chance—and won.

Here’s a short clip from early in the movie where these two men have just met:

http://youtu.be/qd1aZb4ORmw

And here’s another towards the end of the movie:

http://youtu.be/L-ZHLfhU4vA

Ok, so why am I doing a movie review on a business blog?

I love this movie because it highlights the shortcomings of an approach that many business owners are still using to run their businesses. And, as Peter Brand puts it, these business owners are ‘asking the wrong questions’.

Never before has the business world undergone so much change in such a short period of time. We’re now seeing entire industries being routed or transformed, and others emerging in the blink of an eye.

The game has changed. While experience is still important, knowledge and understanding of the past is not always the best preparation for the future.

If you own or run a business, go and watch Moneyball and then reflect on how you play your chosen game.

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