A Rambling Post About Sportsball

If you have ever followed sportsball, the one thing you have surely noticed is that some franchises never win, while others win a lot. In America, the New York Yankees are the example of perennial winners. In English soccer, Manchester United is the club that is the example of consistent excellence. The opposite is true as well. In America, the organization best known for futility is the Cleveland Browns. It’s not just that they never win anything. They find hilarious ways to lose and embarrass themselves.

The question is why? In the case of baseball, market size has always been assumed to be the main driver. With unlimited budgets for payroll and player development, the teams with deep pockets could dominate. The Yankees operate in New York. The Dodgers are in Los Angeles. Over the years, the correlation between winning and market size has been strong enough for most people to assume that’s the reason. Of course, the Mets and Cubs stand out as stark exceptions, so there is more to it.

In other sports, like English soccer, the market share answer does not apply. Manchester is the thirst largest metropolitan area, behind Birmingham and London, but it is a fifth the size of London and much poorer. The dominance of Manchester is a lot like the success of the Green Bay Packers in American football. Not quite to that extreme, but Man U has had much more success than the Packers. While having a big market helps in all sports, the rules and some other factors often neutralize the advantage.

One area where this “something” else is easier to notice is in how teams hire their front office people. The reason the Cleveland Browns, for example, lose all the time is they hire stupid people to run their club. The New England Patriots, in contrast, hired a cerebral coach, paid him well and staffed their front office with smart people. They also make sure the culture of the organizations rewards the smart and punishes the stupid. When these people leave for better jobs, they often fail in their new organizations.

While it seems obvious, the reason franchises have sustained success or failure is due mostly to their organizational IQ. This is most obvious in baseball. The Oakland A’s are credited with being the first team to employ statistics in player evaluation. Moneyball, as it is called, seeks to find the best value in the market for talent, but also the most useful players in the market. The stat-geeks have re-evaluated the stats in baseball and created new metrics to measure a player’s contribution to winning games.

What the Oakland A’s learned is they could get players that were 90% as good as the big stars, for 30% of the investment. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is a useful way of thinking of it. They understood that a player who walks a lot is more valuable than a guy who strikes out a lot, but also hits for a high average. The former is on-base more often, so he contributes more runs than the latter. Hitting home runs is a good way to get a big contract and sell tickets, but getting on base is what counts most.

Now, all of the big clubs have armies of stat-geeks doing the moneyball thing. The Boston Red Sox have the godfather of stat geeks, Bill James, on their payroll. The use of stats has become so pervasive, it is changing the game. Managers no longer make decisions during games. Instead, they consult probability charts and select from the options the front office created before the game. It’s an odd form of computer chess. Instead of humans controlling the robot pieces, it’s the robots controlling the human pieces.

The fact is, winning is about avoiding error. Since the Greeks this has been understood, so why is this not a universal part of all sport? The owner of the Cleveland Browns is probably a smart guy. He’s rich enough to own a sportsball team, so he may not be a genius, but he is pretty smart. Why does he not hire a team of behavior scientists to study winning and create personality models for the various jobs within the organization? He could hire people to model how the Patriots run their organization.

It does not have to be a sci-fi version of this stuff to work. The team of analysts could come up with the five facts common to all failed coaches in the Browns organization and then compare that to the least successful coaches in the game. Odds are, they will find some commonalities. Knowing what does not work, they could simply avoid hiring coaches with any of those qualities. That would not guarantee success, but maybe it eliminates embarrassing, catastrophic failure. Better is better.

Sports organizations are systems, so the tools used in system analysis should apply to sports teams, corporations, political movements and so forth. American business employs continuous improvement techniques to fine tune daily operations. Some are more committed than others and some things work better than others, but fixing small things tends to have the greatest impact on performance. This is true in most systems. Fixing a simple error in a line of code can greatly increase system performance.

Despite this well-known reality, human organizations are the least likely to embrace empirical techniques. Politics is the most obvious. If the parties simply required an IQ test for party membership, they would save themselves a lot of trouble. Sports franchises tinker around with this stuff, but they have never embraced it. Even big corporations seem to drift from a focus on incremental improvement in various types of magic. Google is now a cult of sorts, which is how they make blunders like this one.

The point of this post, if there is one, is that there is something that prevents otherwise smart people, like sportsball owners, from using well known techniques to improve their organizations. The result is a repetition of unforced errors. Sportsball owners are hyper-competitive, yet they are often allergic to considering concepts and tactics that work in other organizations. It is only after an innovator proves it can work that we see the rest jump on board and start aping what worked for them.

An even stranger thing about sportsball teams is that this institutional blundering attracts owners prone to the same sort of blundering. These bad franchises come up for sale and the new owners turn out to be as accident prone as the previous ones. In fact whole cities seem to attract losers in this area. Again, Cleveland is a great example. All of their sportsball teams are terrible and the owners are some of the worst in sport. Maybe there really is something in the water there that causes this.

Anyway, it is something reformers and rebels should probably consider when plotting how to attack the Death Star of modern culture. Maybe that silly plot device from Star Wars has a grain of truth to it. The bad guys left the back door to the Death Star open, because in the end, they were the Cleveland Browns of space villains. Perhaps all villains leave a window open at some point. Maybe size makes organizations stupid and then exploitable to those with subversion on their mind.

88 thoughts on “A Rambling Post About Sportsball

  1. Since the left has taken over media, politics and now big business it would seem the only thing left would be gorilla tactics. The vietcong and middle east insurgents have proven hit and run tactics can be quite effective against the Leviathan.

    Seem to remember some quote about the Revolutionary War as one third of the colonialist loyal to the crown , another third ambivalent and finally the last third rebels. That would coincide with today’s numbers since most whites seem uninterested in taking up the charge.

    So the focus should be on that 1/3 ( us ) and how to organize, rally and engage. Trying to convince the normies is a exercise in futility.

    Make it “our thing” and forget trying to convince the neighbors. And what tactics might we use ? The simple “it’s okay to be white” campaign putting up signs around a college campus sent the left into spasms. Can you imagine these idiots calling out the police to report homemade signs being tacked up around the campus ?

    I think our enemies weakness is their vanity, low self-esteem, drug addiction and their pseudo intelligence that they always keep harping about.

  2. The success of Manchester United was down to the stewardship of Alex Ferguson. They hadn’t won a title in over a generation, Ferguson enters and they win a dozen titles and 2 Champion’s Leagues. Ferguson won in Scotland twice with Aberdeen 40 years ago and this hasn’t happened since. Interesting though is that it took him 6 years to win at United and a lot of patience and heartbreak from the fans. He had to be given time to make the club into his own. Since United started winning in the early 90s, Liverpool, Spurs and Leeds – all with enormous fan bases and ability, haven’t won a title. That won’t change this year either lol.

  3. For myself, I have always beenremotely, lukewarm neutral-valence indifferent to the entirety of it. But my Dad was the kind of fan who would yell at the television; he called the Browns the “Cleveland Bums,” after Prospect Avenue winos.

  4. The problem with most ‘continuous improvement’ techniques is that they are applied in a cargo cult fashion. “Lean Six Sigma”, “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”, etc, are far to often just ways for MBAs to make a buck at the expense of employees and managers. There’s an *excellent* article on the subject written in 2003: The Life Cycle of a Silver Bullet.

    Organizational change requires a leader who is willing to actually lead and hold senior managers responsible. Human organizations naturally regress – see Pournelle’s Iron Law. The organization I work for is busy telling itself that it’s implementing ‘Agile’ software development techniques. Naturally, nothing is Agile about it except the name.

  5. It’s all about the brand (or, in sportsball terminology, the franchise). The Yankees, the Dodgers and, despite their tiny geographical location, the Green Bay Packers, have great franchises. Great franchises attract fans and dollars, not only for the teams, but also, for the media, for big business, and for local business. People want to associate with winners — a self-fulfilling phenomenon.

    • The Dodgers have only 2 titles in the last 50 years. Same with the Packers. Yankees only 1 title in the past 18 years. These are not “winners” as you write. They do have a lot of romance about them though and fans who want to be part of that.

  6. The open window, or exhaust port, is white solidarity. The projectile of choice is the charge of anti-whiteness. Dissidents who can use germane and intelligible language without utilizing prog-loaded terms, eg. racist or antisemitic, which will instantly be turned against them, will hit their targets every time they aren’t ignored.

    Jordan Peterson and Conservative Inc. are the Browns demanding and demonstrating the hilarious and ineffectual nature of using prog words against their masters and rejecting white solidairty out of “strategic,” cowardice.

  7. I see where you’re going, but your observation, however insightful and correct it may be as regards sportsball, or other large organizations really can’t be applied to politics; at least I don’t think it can.

    Political parties are dependent on gathering enough like minded people together to make it viable financially and organizationally. But winning political offices depend on convincing enough uninformed, make that deliberately uninformed people that your candidate has something good to offer.

    What I’m saying, or trying to say is, that I think successful politics requires lots of really ignorant people joining the team, irrespective of what the average IQ in the front office is, or to a lesser extent, how deep the available pockets are.

  8. I am very familiar with sports ineptitude—I am a San Diego fan. The Chargers, for most of their existence, have had two owners. The first was a slightly crazy Volvo car importer named Gene Klein. The team bumped along, and actually had a few very good years under coach Sid Gilman. The Chargers were mostly futile on the field, but it was all fun. Klein would basically lead a city-wide party at every home game. Then, after the early ‘70’s drug scandal, Klein said “its no fun any more”, sold the team, and segued into horse racing.

    He sold the team to the Spanos family, apartment landlords, and all the fun went away. The Spanoses appear to be riding the collective financial aspects of the NFL to immense personal wealth, while grimly trying (failing, IMHO) to stay out of the clown car. The lesson? Have fun with it, at best you are going to win a few more than half of your games in any case.

    It’s going to be very interesting when these owners stop being able to ride the coattails of sharply rising franchise values. Sooner or later the shine will wear off, and I expect to see a lot of fire sales involving lesser teams.

    • I had Chargers season tickets for years. What a fiasco most of the seasons were. I could have sworn some of those players were being paid off to screw up near the end and blow games. It was still fun to go though even in the terrible loser seasons.

      There was one guy behind me, who we swore was going to stroke out at a game. Screaming at the refs, the players, the coaches, hell even at the cheerleaders at times. I think he might have had his season tickets for just a little too long.

      Half the fun was just in the people watching.

  9. Re-Patriots. It has been obvious for years that the Patriots always have the least talented team in the Bowl, and it’s not an anomaly, it’s a method. Belichick finds his 90% for 60%, and in a salary cap league, that is a formula to win. He signed a great talent at WR one time but the guy had to and did agree going in not to be his usual assholeness. This is a team that will sit you down for cracking a joke’ much less behaving like a clown. After the Pats win it all again the league values their free agents at 100%, which they never were, and pays it while Belichick has already moved on. It’s not only the coaches who struggle with other organizations.

  10. The essential reason sports franchises are perennial losers (my baseball child was raised at Griffith Stadium) is that they can and do fail yet survive. Increasingly, it’s actually been made profitable to fail. But change, like bankruptcy, is forced upon us, we do not chose it. Still, since good organizations cannot play themselves, the leagues see to it that nobody folds do to ineptitude. There exists no creative destruction. Like, ah, lemme see…..government. The difference is, in sportsball, you do have the occasional good organization.

  11. Managing a business or group is like managing a baseball team. Everyone has a position to play. Place the people in the best spot to take advantage of their strengths and minimize their weaknesses as much as possible. Business is a meritocracy if you allow it be one. If not, underperforming sometimes useless individuals populate your team. Many corporate entities have become way too politically correct to effectively manage their organizations in this way even though they maintain the illusion that they do. Each group almost always has a few top performing individuals that are surrounded by a majority of weak and ineffectual players. Political Correctness and Cultural Marxist thinking amplifies this problem exponentially. It is almost impossible to get rid of underperforming employees unless they are “White Heterosexual Males” in the current day business climate. Retirement has never tasted so good.

  12. My local team Liverpool are direct competitors of Manchester and arguably as or more successful even though from a smaller, poorer city. We are owned now though by the Red sox owners and moneyball seems to be playing its part in our resurgence.

  13. You have to take into account that sports is entertainment and image is a large part of it. I don’t want to watch some decrepit dwarf even if he can get on base. A cockroach could get on base. Sports is a psychosocial ritual in which we are showcasing our genes. The type of person that dominates pro football is not interesting to me. That’s why I watch college or preferably nada. The movie Big Fan shows what I mean nicely

  14. Interesting post – I’ve worked my entire career in one of the few Massachusetts high tech companies to survive since the 1960’s and prosper. Our company is relentlessly focused on continuous improvement of everything, we call it a weakness focused culture. It isn’t for everyone as it takes brains and fortitude to deal with the unending questions and analysis required. One small aspect is that even our ceo’s have always sat in the same sized cubicle as everyone else, the founder once said he wanted everyone focused on the business not who got a credenza…

  15. People in organizations are risk averse and are incentivized to repeat past patterns, but with more efficiency. That is the Republican party in a nutshell. A bunch of risk averse pussies, who just want to keep their jobs and future lobbying gigs in tact. So they follow the Democrat playbook and stay in the liberal media and cultural Overton window, but promise to do it more efficiently. They have to fool the conservative rubes into voting for them every few years by trumpeting abortion, immigration, etc., but then never actually doing anything about them.

  16. We’re living in the movie Rollerball. James Caan was excellent in that by the way. Notice that one was hardly ever played on TV, too close to the truth.

    Organizations are self selecting and never age well. Some of the worst decision makers are populating our oldest institutions, from banking to universities. The Yankees are an old organization, but they have insanely deep pockets. Deep pockets can paper over problems for years. Also, all sports teams are on the field, playing by the same rules, unlike banking and just about anything else.

    This is the problem with our country right now. New organizations tend to emerge in spurts. The major industrial ones coming just after the civil war, then another wave just after WW2, with the major tach company wave coming in the 80’s and 90’s. Today organizations are consolidating into silos.

    We’re in a great consolidation period in our history. Consolidation periods don’t favor mavericks or innovation. They favor effeminate gay men who wear skinny jeans while turning an organization into a sewing circle of cattiness. The customer comes last in this type of environment, and anything non-governmental still has customers/clients to please. Organizational rot is all around these days, and the coming high interest rate environment will throw dirt on all of it.

  17. Why does dysfunction persist (at least in the short term)? Because of the power of habit. Owners are all very mature by the time they can afford to buy a team, and they all bring with them a lifetime of ingrained mental habits. And these habits were (more often than not) acquired in a business environment were employees were typically average in physicality rather than apex Alpha males will 6 sigma physical talents and physiques. Owners bring the wrong skill set to the party. And the Browns are finally on the rise because they found a GM who has the correct skill set.

  18. The Detroit Lions would have been a better NFL example than the Browns. Up until Art Modell moved the Browns to your Lagos on the Potomac, the Browns were consistently making the playoffs and within a few plays of making the Super Bowl twice. The move and subsequent expansion team replacement caused the futility. The Lions have none of those excuses and only had a few good seasons even through the Barry Sanders era.

  19. I’ll play devil’s advocate. Look at the quality distribution of skilled players in the NFL. The best quarterbacks are numbered in the single digits, and they are objectively much better than the mediocre quarterbacks and in a different universe from the worst. Same with most skill positions. There are 64 starting cornerbacks in the NFL, the best 10 are way better than the worst 20. I think the same is true of coaching and management. Bill Belichick is the Lebron James of coaches. No one else comes close to his talent. The number of truly extraordinarily talented people who dominate sportsball is simply much smaller than the number of teams in any sportsball league. Both on the field and in management.

    • If you took the worst 20 QBs in the NFL and put them on a team with Bill Belichick as coach , would the QBs still be the worst 20??

      Well, nobody knows.
      A QB could b lousy only bc his team, strategy and coaching sucks. If Joe Montana spent his career avoiding getting sacked or having lousy receivers, would he b a great QB?
      Probably not.

      A gifted QB is considered gifted if he wins. But if his team sucks he will not win, irrespective of his ability.
      Not to say that some QBs are not good, but it is very difficult to assess their ability given that his performance depends to a large degree upon the performance of his teammates.

      Just look at how many “star” QBs out of college never really made a mark in the pro ranks. The same is true of “star” BB players, etc.

  20. “Despite this well-known reality, human organizations are the least likely to embrace empirical techniques. Politics is the most obvious. If the parties simply required an IQ test for party membership, they would save themselves a lot of trouble. ”

    I don’t think so.

    Both LBJ and FDR relied on their respective “brain trusts” to formulate and implement policies.
    It did not work out well at all; they totally F’d up the nation.

    The Federal Reserve is a group of PHD economists from the best universities on earth.
    Their track record basically sucks; their stratospheric IQs notwithstanding.
    And by the way, Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman – geniuses by any measure , and Nobel Prize winners, have shat their pants plenty of times with totally wrong and stupid prognostications .

    General George McClellan was by any measure far more intelligent than US Grant. McClellan turned out to be a lousy general and was sacked by Lincoln. Grant – a business flunky – won the war ( in a very blood way) for the North.

    And think about all those really, really smart folks on Wall Street; the ones with PHd’s in statistics, math, econ, finance, computer science and even physics. Despite their immense IQs, they will frequently find themselves on opposite sides of a trade; how can this be? Should not the dumb guy be on the opposite end going broke?
    Oh yea, recall Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns , both went bankrupt as did AIG These firms were full of math/statistic savvy folks and followed their whiz kids into the toilet.

    The Harvard trained Jeff Immelt , surely a high IQ guy, took GE into oblivion.

    Joe Montana, the great SF 49er QB was a THIRD round pick; the 82 player chosen. This is interesting bc everybody had all his college statistics and nobody really believed he would amount to much.
    Tom Brady, the NE Patriots QB, was picked in the SIXTH round; the 199th player selected that year by the NFL. Everybody knew his college statistics too.

    I think the difficulty lies in actually interpreting information received. Given the same set of facts/data, smart folks can disagree – and reach the wrong conclusion – as to what it means and thus what course of action to pursue.

    This is what makes markets, wars (just about every war was predicted to end within a few months; yea right) , and success/failure on the athletic field.

    As for the Oakland A’s, they have the 18th (of the 30 MLB teams) best winning record over the last 10 years. They may have the most “efficient” payroll, but it has not translated into great success on the field.
    As for the Yanks, well, the last time they made it into the World Series was 2009, despite having the best winning percentage over the last 10 years.
    Apparently their front office/managerial staff is good enough to play the field, but not good enough to get invited to the prom.

    Nassim Taleb’s books, “Fooled by Randomness,” and “The Black Swan” are very informative – and sort of scary – about the role of chance (OK, dumb luck) in affecting/determining outcome.

    • WF Buckley’s magazine has turned into a crapfest of cuckiness, but he did give us a great quote: “I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.”

  21. The great weakness of the poz’ed death star is its arrogance. They believe they can manipulate nature at will, whatever arises.

    Though the organizational dissident HuWhyte has floundered since Cville, its sentiments and influence have steadily grown. Thanks to the above mentioned arrogance.

    • Disagree, we’ve seen marginal improvements in the real economy, and that is dissipating the anger from younger men that provided most of the energy in ’16. Now we have greater anger from indebted and credentialed younger women.

      • All things being equal, I’d agree with you. But the proggies are accelerating anti white attacks. Economically, things have gotten somewhat better, but do you think people in our tribe – and by that I mean normies and assorted fence sitters are missing the lessons from things like the Covington affair and the blood libel that rode on the back of the Jussie Smollett affair? They aren’t mutually exclusive: rising white racial interest and a better market place.

        • More attacks doesn’t seem to be hardening our attitudes, it seems to do the opposite, encouraging more whites to go fetal. BLM went a lot farther with one sportsballer than it did with years of riots. Conservatives are living in a society that says we have no moral authority and no redeeming values. Trump has not been able to do anything to force F500s and major universities to recognize conservatism as a morally legitimate choice. Nor has he or anyone in Conservatism Inc been able to shame non-whites out of tribalism.

          • Our side forgot how to fight. They have no idea they are in a war with the Left. All they can do is bleat like sheep as they get beaten.

            Our side doesn’t get that the Left and it’s allies use all tools at their disposal against us.

            Until whites recognized they’re in a fight for their lives nothing will change.

            As for Trump, he’s gutless and indifferent. I remember his rally in 2016 in San Jose where his supporters had the shit beat out of them by imported Mexican gangster and Blacks while the police looked on.

            What did Trump do? He fled the state and said nothing. Any other pol would scream bloody murder and raise three kinds of hell in the press.

            Other tells was his firing of nationalists early on his WH and replacing them with Goldman-Sachs and Bush people. Once the nationalists were gone, his WH morphed into a Jeb WH.

    • And now we have the Zenith of pozzed absurdity in sports; breakdancing has come to the Olympics.
      What do they think the reactions going to be from the perpetually outraged crowd when the first gold medalist is a white boy from Russia?

  22. I would rather argue that the “moneyball” mentality along with hard core statistical analysis has sucked all the fun out of sports. It is the unusual, the unexpected, and the unintentionally comical that make the game fun. Remember the Dolphins kicker that reverted to his soccer skills when he flubbed a kick, about 35 years ago? That would never happen now. Or the player that would punch himself in the face on the sidelines after a screwup? The agents, the owners, and the players unions have the players by the short hairs, and acting up isn’t allowed any more.

    NASCAR is dead because it quickly went from this quirky pseudo-sport filled with odd personalities and strange behaviors to a corporate driven, disciplined, predictable roundy-round.

    I want discipline, performance, and reliability in the things I use every day. I don’t need that in sports, because sports are for fun, and all that discipline takes the fun out of it.

  23. two words. Detroit Lions. they have had great players, barry sanders , calvin johnson, matt stafford. And great coaches.. but year after year, decade after decade they manage to miss the playoffs.

  24. I’m a Pats fan and have read enough about BB and NE Pats history to come to understand the organization. With them it began with ownership. Kraft was moderately heavy handed like ownership in Cleveland and made mistakes early on. BB had been the coach in Cleveland and about had em turning the corner when he was fired. Both guys had success at other places and learned from winners. Once they got together and BB was allowed to work his plan…..well you see the results. Each position has metrics associated with it….size/speed/value assigned to it. BB learned this from other folks and perfected it. The Pats don’t overpay. They make sure their underclass are all B average folks and pay accordingly. They have very few stars but neither do they employ scrubs. They pay attention to detail on everything. They employ guys (Ernie Adams) that are life long friends of BB and basically operate like the NSA. They gather facts on every aspect of the opposition. The Pats are run like a Delta Squadron…no mission aspect is to small to be overlooked or rehearsed. Kraft made his mistakes early and now runs a model organization. Everybody buys in. If you cause dysfunction you’re out. If you talk off message you’re out. BB and Kraft speak for the organization and that’s it. Their PR guy Stacy James must have the easiest job on the planet. BB was raised around football and military people and it shows.

    • Great analysis. Ernie Adams is rarely mentioned. He studies and databanks other teams formations and tendencies, which allows BB to know what the other team is planning on almost every play. It also allows him to exploit mismatches, like pairing quick possession receivers on safeties and linebackers. He knows how to beat teams who mimic his offense, by using more defensive backs. But other teams just keep running the same defenses against him. The signal stealing and spying is part of the NSA approach, but was more simple overreach than a primary reason for success.

  25. You can come to own stacks of gold and surround yourself with the ablest of advisors yet still be an idiot. I have powerful clients like this who are utter dumbf cks.

  26. Not so sure size makes organizations stupid, as much as it makes them immune from the consequences of their errors, and frankly, they no longer care. Take Microsoft (please). Most techies I know always harp about how crappy the products are, and anyone who has ever used MS products (i.e., everyone) wants to kill Bill Gates . . . slowly . . . painfully. Yet, they dominate, and you are “stuck” with them (is Linux really an option for most of us?).

    • Microsoft products are a good example of the QWERTY problem.

      Apparently, when typewriters were first invented in the late 1800s, they arranged the keys to slow down the typists bc if the typing was done too fast, the “arms” would get all jammed up. The arms could not retract fast enuf to avoid jamming if the typist was very fast.
      When computer keyboards came out, some efforts were made to re-arrange the letters in the keyboard so that the most oft used letters would be most accessible (that is, directly under the eight fingers of the starting position).
      Well, it never took off; nobody gave a shit.
      BC it really did not matter in terms of efficiency or produce a demonstrable benefit. And it would require that all everybody re-learn the new keyboard; a total pain in the ass.

      As an analogy, if company has all MS products, changing to “better” products will b such a hassle, that it literally is not worth the problems that will be created. Everybody already is familiar with MS products, warts and all.
      True, techies would would welcome any changes, but most folks are not techies and they literally hate having to deal with IT problems.

      • No, the QWERTY keyboard was designed to speed typing by separating the most-used-letter-combination bars to avoid jams. “Slowing typists down” played no part in the design.

      • You can buy a Dvorak keyboard (put stickers on keys) which is what I wanted to do since it is easier to memorize and more efficient for the hands, but that meant the only keyboard I could use would be the one I had at home unless I wanted to carry a Dvorak keyboard with me to every computer I might want to use.

  27. The other contributing variable may be the ‘Peter Principle’.

    “The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence.”

    Most head coaches served elsewhere or even in the same organization, doing part of ‘head coach’ job, i.e. Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coach, etc. This makes sense in the whole scheme of things, but also results in numerous failures when moved to the head coach position. The other factor is probably related to the level of front office involvement and at what level of micro-management this occurs. When the owner was successful in one business, it doesn’t necessarily transfer to actively running a sportsball team.

  28. Also, some teams – particularly in the NBA – have a race problem. The black players just don’t want to play in Portland, Salt Lake City, or Cleveland. They want to be in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and LA. Some place with warm weather or great Media and lots of other black folks. It seems to be less of a problem in the NFL, but it still exists. How many people know that Lombardi couldn’t wait to get out of Green Bay and go back to the East Coast?

  29. Most sports teams are terrible because many of the owners are egomaniacs. They can’t resist micro-managing, interfering, and 2 guessing – even when they are incompetent. Why don’t they recognize their incompetence? Easy. They’d rather lose “doing it my way” then win by butting out. And losing doesn’t really cost them $$, sports has become so profitable you can have the 30th worst team and you still see your team rise in value every year. BTW, you also have cheap/greedy owners who don’t really care. They’re unwilling to invest in talent, and are willing to trade players – or let them go – rather than pay the big $$

    • That seems rather odd though. The owner of the Browns got rich in a tough business. He had to be smart, clever and resourceful. He also had to rely on an organization that functioned properly. It’s not as if the NFL just lets anyone in the club. The NBA owners are all Jewish so they have an even tighter vetting system, yet they get a lot of bad owners too.

      • I’d exercise caution in using the NBA as an example. On a scale of one to professional wrestling the NBA is rigged to about a five.

      • Who’s to say what sports team owners truly want out of their teams. They’ve already made their money so these teams are like toys to them.

        Heck, even with money that’s important to people, that will allow them to retire someday, people do all kinds of stupid shit. Extremely bright and successful people repeatedly invest in high cost, black-box investments such as hedge funds that have been shown ad nauseam to be bad investments the vast, vast majority of time.

        Why do they do it? Prestige, the chance to win big, to feel a part of the smart crowd, lots of reasons, none of which are useful in maximizing returns for a given level of risk but are useful in satisfying some need.

        Smart, successful people doing dumb stuff outside of their area of expertise or with their toys is not unusual. But make no mistake, if they do it more than once, they’re getting something out of that behavior that they truly desire, or they wouldn’t do it.

        Bad sports owners are getting what they want, but what they want just isn’t what they say that they want, which is winning.

        • It is usually not a bad investment. Can’t recall the exact numbers, but the Rockets were bought by its current owner for somewhere around $180 million, and are now (reportedly) worth $1 billion.

      • Art Modell was smart enough to move the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore where they won a Super Bowl not long after. The current owner or owners of the Browns have no problem with mediocrity. It is hard to get caught up in the false emotion of professional sports anymore. At least as far as I am concerned anyway.

      • Just because you have a lot of money, only means one thing: You”re good at making money. It doesn’t mean you have the talent to run a sports team or recognize talent anymore than being a great football coach means you could get rich selling hardware or computers. BTW, Donald Sterling was the perfect example of cheap owner. Worth $billions but he refused to pay to keep talent and was always trying to squeeze LA/SD for every nickel he could.

        • Sterling bought the Clippers for $12.5 million, and it was sold over his objections for $2 billion. So, as a basketball entrepreneur he was a great success.

  30. There are the Harlem Globetrotters and then there are the Washington Generals. In politics, sports, and business, that’s just the way they want it. It’s all Kabuki for the masses.

      • 99% of the people on this earth are “Washington Generals,” doomed to have their shorts pulled-down around their ankles while the 1% laughs while their servants bring them another drink.

        What’s really hilarious is that the “Globetrotters” force the hapless “Generals” to fund the stadiums, wars, indentured servants, etc., the Trotters get fabulously rich off of. Yea Team!! Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah….

        P.T. Barnum(or is it Emperor Titus?) pick-up the White Courtesy Phone please!

  31. FYI – Man U probably not the best example. It has been in the down cycle for the past several years (at least by their standards). Not necessarily unexpected, after having the same coach for decades, once he retired it’s been a revolving door.

    • Hmm . . . Perhaps you meant Manchester City rather than Man U? City has been at the top for the past five years or so. In its case, the rise to dominance coincided with a huge influx of Arab oil money, and thus the the ability to contract world class players and coaches.

    • The United example is still apt. The club has been the most successful in England in the last 40 years in an incredibly competitive market. If sheer dominance is what you’re looking for, Juve is probably the best example among the European big leagues.

  32. It would seem the Chinese are the best bet for bringing down the Death Star, though they are certainly no friends of ours. But once the Death Star is gone…who knows?

  33. Perhaps the Cleveland Browns should examine their own history. The Browns once employed a man who is on the Mount Rushmore of head football coaches, Paul Brown.

    Under Brown, from 1946-1955 the team went to 10 straight title games, and won 7. Paul Brown is credited with being the head coach who invented modern football. He was the first to scout opponents through regular, systematic film study. He was the first coach to call plays from the sidelines. He developed a system for evaluating and scouting college players.

    Brown, it should be noted, did not tolerate a lot of dysfunction from his players. His teams were disciplined.

    Another thing: Bill Belichick admires Brown.

    • A couple of decades ago they had Belichik as head coach, Nick Saban and a bunch more top flight assistants – so they decided to clean house.

    • The Paul Brown legacy includes the brainiest coach prior to Belichick. Bill Walsh was crushed when Brown retired from the Bengals and he wasn’t made head coach. Went to Stanford then the 49ers where he created the kind of dynasty that the Patriots have but he burned out at ten years at it while Belichick seems able to ignore the pressure. Tom Landry was part of a great system, too.

  34. IIRC, when I was still a Browns follower, the franchise had to routinely overpay for free agents because star players viewed Cleveland as a career dead-end. So the advantage of having the salary cap was squandered.

    • Of course, the original Browns played in their league’s championship game in each of their first ten seasons of existence. Eventually they moved to Baltimore and an expansion team took over the logo a couple years after that. So, that team has been in existence and unsuccessful for less than 20 years, which hardly puts them in the running for epochal futility. The Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions are better candidates.

  35. I think this is why the Greeks near worshipped humility. Smart people get successful, success increases confidence and this turns to pride; it works because “I’m great” as opposed to it works because “it’s correct”.

    Just spitballing here, but I suspect it isn’t the size of the organization per se but rather the kind of person who gets to the top of a large organization. Greater heights means greater pride or the danger if it.

    • Should probably elaborate, the focus shifts from doing the right things to an unfounded overconfidence in oneself. You stop reasoning and judging on external realities, and start judging on internal feelings of confidence, looking inward for external answers,

      • “… and start judging on internal feelings of confidence, looking inward for external answers,..”


        Any organization not totally market-facing and committed to leading in that market will become increasingly incestuous over time. The old adage about opposites attract is organizationally false; like promotes like because the approval/reward system penalizes unlike. Despite claimed corporate embrace of “diversity,” boat rockers are a threat to the culture (“diversity” is a skin color/educational background/genital structure factor, not a performance factor).

        Common HR phrases regarding cultural intruders – “we don’t parachute people in” – etc., are a good indicator of both opposition to innovation and precursor to decline.

    • Trump shows signs of thinking he got elected because of him, and not because of a desire for politicians to rep his positions and in spite of him being the one doing it.

  36. This was something I could never figure out when interviewing for various jobs in large organizations over my lifetime. Inevitably the firm didn’t just want me to work for them, they wanted me to love them, and “be part of their culture” as if that mattered more than what I could do to produce results. Needless to say I almost never got through the interview process.

    • It’s front facing propaganda.

      If you actually made your way thru the gates and got to work there – you’d likely find that “culture” they promote so heavily – doesn’t exist.

      I work in a large multi-national , they very heavily promote all the typical pozzed multicultural talking points and call them their “culture” – the reality of working there doesn’t even come close to the hype.

      Maybe it’s because I work in the engineering space – and the majority of MEN I work with – simply have no time for – or tolerance of that Globohomo BS.

      Just down from the hall from me – is a wall of posters highlighting the company “culture”. One of them cracks me up every time I walk by it. The caption at the bottom says “We Celebrate Diversity!” – and there’s 7 people in group all smiling back at you. Every single one of them is a female. 2 white chicks , a couple of Asians, a couple of brown skinned mystery meat chicks – and a light skinned black.

      It’s comical – they can’t even get their diversity correct and make it look like something other than the board of directors of HuffingtonPost.

      Meanwhile the ENGINEERING building I work in – is something like 90% male. And engineering is what the foundation of the company is built on.

      • That’s all the oversized HR departments can find to focus on to try to add value. I once worked at a small public company with 1500 employees and 6 VPs of HR who reported to the Sr VP of HR. 90% of their activity was globohomo time wasting. HR should process payroll/benefits, and onboard/offboard. Anything beyond that and they are living above their utility. If I never see another HR person in my life, I will be a happy man.

        • And most companies of any size outsource payroll and benefits, so there really isn’t much for HR to do beyond the mechanics of hiring and firing under the direction of the business side departments which decide who should come and go.

          BUT – HR is the perfect place to harmlessly house the diversity hires with big titles (but responsibilities commensurate with their very modest talents) required by customers. Hence, HR bloat.

          And although everyone else would be pleased if the strictly decorative HR staff just sat around and collected their checks, their egos lead them to pester others with ridiculous initiatives….

          • “their egos lead them to pester others with ridiculous initiatives….”

            At my current company we have quarterly 360 reviews. Like your coworkers are going to change their opinion of you every 90 days. I have been to more training sessions than I care to count, and can honestly say I never learned anything that helps me or the company. Our HR SVP was able to push payroll onto my accounting department so she could focus on higher value added tasks. This has become satire.

        • Which is why I say that a would-be successful organization has to outsource their HR functions to a firm that hires at-will employees. Anyone overstepping their assigned functions will be reported to the contracting firm, and removed forthwith.

      • My annual company meeting is next week. The breakfast is never that good, and listening to all the corporate BS and multi-cultural crap makes it even less palatable. If it wasn’t mandatory, none of the technical people would be there. We’ve got a couple of sloths on the technical side, and even they would rather be working.

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