A few weeks ago, I wrote about how doing the things that do not always generate glory are crucial to success, citing the example of the Miami Heat basketball player, Shane Battier. Well, the Heat won the NBA championship last week, largely due to Battier’s performance in Game 7. What was particularly satisfying is that Battier credited his performance to analytics: Shane Battier cites regression to the mean.
For those who have not seen the news, Zynga acquired Spooky Cool Labs today.
Although delegation is a crucial skill in a leader, one thing you should not delegate is developing and finding future leaders. A classic HBR article by Larry Bossidy, retired CEO of AlliedSignal (now Honeywell), recalled that the greatest challenge he faced in turning around AlliedSignal was building the management team so it was competitive. Bossidy wrote that despite the challenges he faced, he devoted 30–40 percent of his time to hiring and developing leaders. He concludes that AlliedSignal’s success was due in large part to the amount of time and emotional commitment he made to leadership development.
The first step is to be directly involved in the recruitment of leaders. This does not mean only those who report to you, but evaluating the direct reports of direct reports and even going further down the line when necessary. This includes interviewing as many of the future leaders that you can, thereby setting a standard internally; if you hire a good person they will hire good people. Continue reading
Most of my posts about the reasons and methodology for creating accurate customer lifetime value (LTV) predictions have focused on the numbers and metrics, but a key element to predicting accurately LTV is observational (qualitative) data. It all comes down to more data is better, so predictions with qualitative data are going to be more accurate than those that rely solely on quantitative data. A mistake that is commonly made in the analytics world, and particularly in gaming, is to disregard anything that is not a quantitative value.
Some examples of incorporating effectively qualitative data
The example that had the most impact on me is that Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s, the subject of Moneyball (and multiple blog posts by me), has one of the highest scouting budgets in baseball. Scouts provide data on variables, like mental make-up and desire to win, that are not evident in the historical metrics. So although Beane makes personnel decisions based on metrics, he has also invested large sums in getting qualitative data (scouts watch players and prospects and then report on how they perceive the player’s skills). This approach has proven successful, as Beane’s A’s again surprised people by winning their division last year. What Beane has mastered is finding a way to incorporate the scouting reports with the available quantitative metrics. Continue reading
Last week, Mary Meeker published her annual Internet Trends presentation (see embedded presentation below) and as I did last year I went through it to see which trends would most influence the social and mobile game ecosystem. Before highlighting the relevant trends she has identified, I went back and examined how prescient her analysis last year was.
Mary Meeker’s 2012 accuracy
Nobody’s predictions will be perfect, and I am not looking to punch holes in Meeker’s analysis. However, it is useful in looking at this year’s predictions to understand her past performance. The big thing that I noticed is that many of the trends she identified last year have not yet had a chance to play out … or even develop. Thus, many of her prediction this year may not have an immediate impact even if they prove eventually to be correct. If you pivot to leverage these trends too quickly, you may have a product before the market develops. Continue reading