My guest this week is Jeff Ma. Jeff was on the famous MIT Blackjack team from the book Bringing Down the House but has spent his career in an around fields of analytics and data science. He’s studied sports betting and analytics, built companies for analyzing human capital, and ran the data science and analytics group at Twitter. You can find links to his book and podcast in the show notes.
Our discussion is about a number of fascinating ways data is being used to make decisions in the worlds of sports and business. Please enjoy!
1:20 – (First Question) – How quantitative analytics have evolved in sports and how they’re being used
4:26 – Best role of humans in the analysis process
8:38 – Sports that are most interesting to observe through analytics
10:26 – How does luck play into sports analysis
11:54 – Team analytics vs better analytics
12:38 – Concentration of success among sports betters and their moats
14:58 – Favorite lessons learned from professional gamblers
16:45 – How analytics got introduced into gambling
19:21 – Understanding one’s own biases
24:04 – How he became VP of analytics at Twitter
28:37 – Primary lessons from the work evaluating human capital and talent with analytics
28:59 – Niel Roberson Podcast Episode
31:40 – How to model people for success when hiring
33:29 – How to hire the right data scientists’ team
37:54 – Most interesting problems they tackled at twitter
42:31 – Responsibility of social platforms to police itself
45:34 – Areas that would interest him in the future as an investor
49:24 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Jeff
51:50 – Values instilled in him by his parents.