Being English has meant I grew up with an appreciation of cricket, and for those unaware of its finer points, cricket is also a statisiticians’ dream. Every aspect of the game is put under the microscope – averages for everything, cumulative totals, where an individual is in the batting line up, left handers v right handers, slow v quick, past performance by ground, opposition team, form of game etc etc. I’m sure Cricket invented BI.
The statistics aren’t just for fun. A players weaknesses are exploited through deep analysis, strategies are then formulated and the results influenced, however some of the analysis should and are taken more as amusement than anything more significant.
Parallels can be drawn with business and I’ve written here before about the perils of analysis “because you can” rather than on “what you want to achieve”. Sifting through the measures you can make and sorting the valuable ones from the statistically amusing ones should not be a lighthearted activity: cause and effect are important considerations.
The Football World Cup currently underway illustrates my point nicely and if to be believed is bad news for any Argentina supporters. Argentina have only ever won the world cup when the official mascot wears a hat… and unfortunately Zakumi does not. On a purely sporting basis, this suits me just fine!