Enabling More Shots on Goal

One of the metaphors I have used in connection with finding talent is that of Antonio Gates, the San Diego Chargers monster TE who never played college football.  With too narrow a view of talent, Gates may have spent his life doing something in which we football fans never got to appreciate his pass-catching talent.  As I commented then, we need to embrace breaking down limiting beliefs about the narrowness of talent that are embedded in talent recognition processes:

Despite this, the way the recruiting process often works is very conventional and it takes a narrow view of things and it can whittle unconventional candidates out of the talent pool.  My thesis is that this is causing a huge economic and human deadweight loss to our economy and society as talented folks don’t get to move around or it takes them too long to make a cross-functional move.

With Antonio Gates at the back of my mind, it was interesting this weekend to tie it to global football or soccer as we Americans know it better.  Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champions, are working with a private provider of soccer match data, to release that data to fans (tying into another favorite topic of this blog regarding freeing data sets).  The expectation is that in Kaggle-like fashion, a crowd of smart people and fans will attack that data, mining new truths out of them.  As a club official says, capturing the power of empowering the crowd through open processes:

I want our industry to find a Bill James. Bill James needs data, and whoever the Bill James of football is, he doesn’t have the data because it costs money