How strong numbers and focus can win the day

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Knowing your business numbers and having a clear focus can make a huge difference to any business, but in this episode, Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt prove the point! Click below to find out more…


Hi, and welcome to another episode of Baranov TV, designed to demystify the world of accounts and tax and to help your business grow.

Today I wanted to talk to you about a film that Chris and I watched the other evening. It featured Brad Pitt and a very young Chris Pratt, and the film itself was called Moneyball. It was filmed in 2002 and is the story of baseball coach Billy Beane and his statistical sidekick, a guy called Peter Brand.

It’s all about baseball in the United States and the fact that Billy Beane once was the Manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

Essentially a David versus Goliath type film, Billy Beane’s got a tiny, tiny budget and he wants to really do well and win the championship. It’s based on a true story, though, and that’s the thing that really caught my imagination.

Throughout the film, the story is that Billy Beane wants to take this team to the top level. But, because he’s only got a tiny budget, he needs to be really creative.

The start of the film is the start of the season when he’s trying to work out how to replace some key members of his team, when he hasn’t got the budget to actually compete in terms of salary and package with some of the big teams.

He meets Peter Brand, by chance, in a meeting he has with another team and Peter’s got a totally different view of how to look at candidates for the team.

He’s very much looking at the statistics, so he’s looking at the numbers around the different options and the different players. He’s got encyclopaedic knowledge of the different players that are an option.

What he does, is break down the numbers such as how many home runs they need, how they are going to get those, which players can give them those, and which players can give them those in combinations. Rather than looking for one star player, looking for a team of players that will give that same end result.

As an idea, it is met with absolute derision.

The coaches around the table within the team shoot him down in flames and say “this is rubbish, this is never going to work, this is not how it’s done.”

But, Peter Brand and Billy Beane stick with that. The front half of the season is awful.

  • Billy Beane looks as if he’s about to lose his job.
  • Peter Brand is poo-pooed.

It’s just, you know, it’s awful, it’s not going to work. They create a team of misfits, injured players, players that are desperately hanging on and really possibly nudging retirement. But they put this team together and it starts to work.

They are very, very focused on what they’re trying to do.

Even the coach, (Billy Beane’s the manager) even the coach is against them and says “this is rubbish, this is not going to work.” But they stick to their guns and, in true Hollywood style, at the end of the season they’re in the playoffs.

Actually, they lose their final match, but the theory is proven. The Boston Red Sox approached Billy Beane and offered him $12.5million dollars, which at that point is the highest fee ever offered to a manager by a team to move and replicate his approach, because they wanted to get those sorts of results.

So it is proven.

There are numerous things within the film that you can go “That can apply to a business”.

The most powerful one is just sticking to the focus, knowing what the goal is, and just being absolutely focused on it. They didn’t look at anything else; they just focused on that goal.

At one key point, Peter Brand has a bit of a wobble and he says to Brad Pitt / Billy Beane, “What will people say, what will people think?”

And Billy Beane’s response is “Why do we care? This is what we’re doing. We don’t care what other people say.”

And that ethos takes them throughout the film.

Now, I know this is Hollywood, but actually there are so many similarities between running a successful business and being really focused on your goal as they were at the Oakland Athletics.

So I would heartily recommend it, it’s a great evening’s entertainment if you fancy watching a film.

But if not, just think about what your goals are and where you’re being dragged off and where you’re allowing yourself to be diverted from your end goal.

That would be my thought of the week. I’ll see you all very soon.

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