Ted Williams, Stephen Curry, Barry Ritholtz and Nokia; See the Connection?

Ted Williams
Ted Williams

Barry Ritholtz pushed along the notion that Ted Williams was the first quant.

But what is so great about being a quant?

The edge.

Having an edge is what a game of numbers is all about.

Consider the controversy with Stephen Curry. The older retired players don’t see the quant aspect of his play:

Stephen Curry is not, in fact, unguardable. The plays he makes can be stopped or contained if a defense dedicates itself fully to those particular ends, much in the same way that any action on a basketball court can be. The distinction lies in the cost. Curry operates in a fashion that makes the necessary means of defending him counterproductive to the very enterprise—a spatial frustration that makes the reigning MVP, for all practical purposes, impossible.

This was apparently lost on NBA great Oscar Robertson, whose context-deaf response seemed to ignore the fact that Curry poses a greater threat farther from the hoop than any player in basketball history. So fearless is Curry and so trusting is Warriors coach Steve Kerr that shots well beyond the arc have become standard. Curry will pull up giddily from 30+ feet if left to his own devices. NBA defenders are learning how lonely that depth can be, and how hopeless the effort to deny Curry has become.


The openings he finds aren’t due to some lack of ingenuity in scheme or lack of pride on the part of the defenders. Curry merely has a way of creating quandaries without the slightest hope of a satisfying conclusion. There comes a point at which players and coaches would rather lose to a 28-foot pull-up than a compromised interior. It’s then that the best player in basketball has his opponents right where he wants them—conceding, hopeless, and in their own way, defeated.

He has found a new edge…and he is exploiting it. He is riding that trend.

What is the worst action opponents can take? To live in denial of the Curry trend!

A great example of denial can be seen when Nokia CEO ended his speech saying “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.” Consider:

During the press conference to announce NOKIA being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia CEO ended his speech saying this “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. Upon saying that, all his management team, himself included, teared sadly. Nokia has been a respectable company. They didn’t do anything wrong in their business, however, the world changed too fast. Their opponents were too powerful. They missed out on learning, they missed out on changing, and thus they lost the opportunity at hand to make it big. Not only did they miss the opportunity to earn big money, they lost their chance of survival. The message of this story is, if you don’t change, you shall be removed from the competition. It’s not wrong if you don’t want to learn new things. However, if your thoughts and mindset cannot catch up with time, you will be eliminated.

Conclusion: The advantage you have yesterday, will be replaced by the trends of tomorrow. You don’t have to do anything wrong, as long as your competitors catch the wave and do it RIGHT, you can lose out and fail. To change and improve yourself is giving yourself a second chance. To be forced by others to change, is like being discarded. Those who refuse to learn & improve, will definitely one day become redundant & not relevant to the industry. They will learn the lesson in a hard & expensive way.

The dots connect and connect and connect. And plenty will never see that connection, but perhaps they just don’t want to see.