Moneyball – highly recommended

Moneyball
Last week I participated in a roundtable organized by Carmel Ventures, with probably 20-30 entrepreneurs in the room. I recommended they all read Moneyball by Michael Lewis – a book I read a couple of years ago. I think most of the people in the room didn't have a chance to take note of the recommendation, so I'm repeating it here. 

Moneyball is a must-read for any entrepreneur. It has nothing to do with entrepreneurship (it's about baseball), and it's not a very good book (in the literal sense, I mean). 

But if you read it with an entrepreneur state of mind, there are great lessons to be learned… 2 have been particularly useful for me:
  1. Look at the same game differently – Most startups compete with many other companies for the same market share. In the online world in particular you are likely to be competing with hugely successful companies like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. You can't win by playing their game. But you can absolutely win by playing a different game in the same space. An example that comes to mind is Yelp – while all other yellow pages and review sites are focused on getting readers and selling to advertisers, Yelp seems to be playing a completely different game. It looks like they are focused obsessively on their reviewers – giving them tools, recognition, community etc. Yelp is looking at the exact same market as all other yellow page companies are, but playing a totally different game.  
  2. Understand what metrics really matter for your business – the metrics that *seem* to matter for your business might not be the ones that really determine your eventual success. Moneyball shows how the Oakland A's found that most of the metrics that baseball teams have been using for decades (batting average, # of steals, etc) had little or nothing to do with how successful the teams were. Another example is a post I wrote recently about how PV's and ad revenues might not be the best success metrics for publishers. 

Bottom line – highly recommended. Get it here at Amazon or here at Audible

4 Comments

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  • Dror Ceder| January 8, 2009 at 3:03AM

    Thanks Yaron,
    I’ve been trying to remember the name of the book since you told us about it last year.

  • The Carmel team| January 8, 2009 at 6:06AM

    Thanks for coming to the Round Table Meetup @Carmel, your insights and laser sharp focus are always welcome! Great post

  • Oriregev| November 14, 2010 at 4:04AM

    I know I’m late to the party, but thanks for a great book recommendation. Being an Israeli and unfamiliar with the game’s “internals”, I never thought a book on the game can be so damn interesting!
    The lessons you mention are not unique to this particular book, but the context is fascinating.
    Thanks.

  • Pfxpost| May 8, 2011 at 3:15PM

    Thank you for sharing this – I feel that self improvement and focus is key to success. I will be looking into this further. Thanks
    Brian
    http://www.jetstone.ca