Extracto de la transcripción automática del vídeo realizada por YouTube.
- This is one of those off-beat talks so we're gonna expect a lot of energy. Do the wave or something, we'll see. Welcome to Moneyball on the Keyboard, Scouting Talented Developers. I really do appreciate that you're joining me at this time slot, I know there's some awesome talks and so I appreciate you being here, because without you there's no talk.
I am Adam Jonas, I'm the Managing Director of Engineering at the Flatiron School where our primary goal is to inspire people to fall in love with code. We train some of the best Junior Developers around, placing them in awesome companies like Kickstarter, Etsy, Intel, and the New York Times.
I am not a teacher, my team has been working on transforming our internal learning management system into a full-fledged education platform, it's called Learn. co, we're really proud of it, we'd love you to check it out. But it's that work that really inspired me to start putting together these slides, because I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could create some sort of metrics around how we could possibly surface talented students.
And so as I often do, I fell back to a sports analogy. And so today we're gonna talk about baseball. We're gonna use baseball in the ways that talent is identified in baseball as an example of how we can improve our own mental model for thinking about talent and software.
And so why am I in particular talking about baseball? It's because, thanks to the Flatiron School, software is actually my second career. I worked in a few different capacities in scouting, player development for the Brewers, the Twins, and then ran an academy and spent most of my 20's doing this, living in and around Latin America, and specifically the Dominican Republic.
I moved back to the U. S. in 2010 and tried my hand at founding a company that helped drafted players better improve their bargaining position, make more informed decisions about their futures. And while this venture went terribly, horribly wrong, it did pique my interest in code, which eventually landed me at the Flatiron School.
And so here's what we're going to go over today. I'm going to tell you a little bit about the Moneyball Philosophy and why it created such a shift in baseball. Then we're all going to go to Scout School together and see how professional baseball talent has been traditionally scouted.
And after that we're going to see how talented students are identified at the Flatiron School. And finally, based on what we've learned, we're gonna discuss three ways to better understand developer talent and how to better evaluate it going forward. If you're still awake at that point, we'll hopefully do some Q&A at the end.
Cool, one more thing before we dive in. And there's lots to cover, but I think it's natural to sort of think about these sorts of conversations specifically when thinking about hiring. But we evaluate talent all the time, we evaluate our coworkers because it has a lot to do with compensation.
We evaluate our coworkers because it has a lot to do with clout on our team. We evaluate open source contributions, and pedigrees, and everything that comes across on a resume. We evaluate speakers and whether they're any good. We put value judgements on a lot of things and so I think we're wired to do that, and that's totally okay.
But I challenge you to just not limit your thoughts on this subject to just the interview process because it's a lot bigger than that. On with the show. So you might be familiar with Moneyball, it was a book written in 2003 by Michael Lewis, and then turned into a movie with the always handsome, Brad Pitt, in 2011.
And the essence of Moneyball while specifically focusing on baseball, is really about objectifying what was previously thought as subjective. And so the subject of Moneyball is the Oakland Athletics, I can see one of those hats right there, awesome. And the fact that they have smaller revenues and constrained resources against other teams they're competing against on that right side of the graph, the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, et cetera.
And it's because of those constraints that Oakland is forced to search for undervalued players in the market. And they end up turning to these under utilized tools of statistical analysis. And so what have we learned from the Moneyball approach? We learned that industry outsiders who had not been indoctrinated with the traditional way of doing things could identify inefficiency in the old ways and we learned that we could use better talent analysis tools to determine a players objective value.
So, for an example, what's the difference between a player who gets to first base via a single, and a player that gets to first base via a walk? Intuitively, we favor the person who took the action, the person that swung the bat and earned their way to first base.
But from a team's contribution perspective it's about the same. You got a guy on first base, that's about all it is. And so, when we think about these contributions, we often will overvalue what we think is being earned or somehow is, has more merit to it.
But, and this is exactly what was happening in baseball. We saw players with high batting averages were being overvalued, and players with high walk percentages were being undervalued. So, the Moneyball approach took advantage of this, this gap between perception and reality and it was more accurately able to value a player's contributions to the team.
So, this is Moneyball, it's this objective view, this data driven view, this high-level view, this detached view. But it's not perfect because humans are complicated. And so let's turn to a little bit more of a humanistic approach by all heading to scout school together.
Scout school is a very real thing. It's sponsored by Major League Baseball, and I was lucky enough to attend in 2005. And you have to be invited by a team, and what you do is you spend two weeks spending the mornings going over the theory of scouting and the afternoons literally applying what you learned in the field.
Writing up reports and seeing different levels of the game. And so, the first thing you learn is that all players are evaluated in the five following categories called tools. Hitting for average, hitting for power, running, fielding, throwing, this is it.
This is what everything, everyone is evaluated on. And players that possess elite talent in every tool, well that's pretty rare. Willie Mays stands out as sort of the prototypical five tool player, that he could do it all. But most players have strengths and weaknesses, and it's these strengths and weaknesses that help determine their role and the ways that they can contribute to the team.
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