Startup Lessons From 17 Hard-Hitting Quotes In "Moneyball"

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Startup Lessons From 17 Hard-Hitting Quotes In "Moneyball"


I'm an idiot. Not all of the time, mind you, not even most of the time, but every now and then, I'm an idiot. Like the time my friend and co-founder Brian Halligan asked me to read the book “Moneyball”. This was back when we had first launched our startup, HubSpot. “But, I'm not a baseball guy,” I said. “It's not about baseball. It's about data.” And, I put it on my reading list, and then still failed to read it. I even bought the book, but still failed to read it That was a mistake. moneyball

I just got done watching the movie “Moneyball” for the second time. The first time I watched it was last night. It's the only time I've watched the same movie twice in two days. It's not just because it was a great movie (it was), but because I felt I missed so much the first time, that I had to watch it a second. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you should stop reading this article and go watch it. If you get distracted and never make it back to this article, I forgive you.

So, without further ado, here are some great quotes from Moneyball

Brilliant Startup Lessons From Moneyball

1. He passes the eye candy test. He's got the looks, he's great at playing the part.

Spectacular startup success often becomes a game about scouting and recruiting. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is recruiting team members early on simply because they look the part. In the long run, it doesn't matter if on paper, someone's perfect. You want people that can actually do the job. That VP of Sales candidate that has 15 years of experience at Oracle? Likely not worth it for you. They'll look the part, but they're not guaranteed to be able to actually do the job. And, like Johnny Damon, they're going to be expensive. Get good at seeing talent where others don't.

For example, at HubSpot, most of the early team did not look good on paper at all.  Most of us had little or no prior background doing what we were setting out to do.  

2. You're not solving the problem. You're not even looking at the problem.

Identify a fundamental problem and then focus, focus, focus on solving that problem. Don't get distracted by all the the things that are swirling around the actual problem. Don't listen too closely to those that have deep industry expertise and are emotionally attached to the status quo — it's possible that they're part of the problem. Figure out what the actual issue is, and solve it.

For example, look at Dropbox.  Drew set out to solve a really hard problem -- getting data to synch across different devices.  He had many people (including me) that were telling him that this particular idea had been pursued so many times before.  He didn't get distracted by all that noise.  He dug in and fixed the problem.  Today, Dropbox is valued at billions of dollars and has millions of happy users.

3. We've got to think differently.

Reminds me of Apple. Only, Steve Jobs wrote it as ”think different” (intentionally going with the grammatically incorrect version because it “sounded better”).  Like the Oakland As, your startup too is working under constraints.  Often, big constraints.  Often, unfair constraints.  If you're trying to disrupt the status quo and beat competitors that are much bigger and better funded, you're not going to do it by playing their game.  You'll need to think differently.  Playing the old way when you're at a disadvantage is a sure-fire way to lose.

This is one that I'm personally very passionate about.  When we started HubSpot, everything we had learned about startups -- and the convention wisdom was "do one thing, and do it very, very well."  Generally, that's really, really good advice.  Except when it's not.  Like in our case.  The problem we saw was not that there weren't great marketing apps out there -- the problem was that none of it was integrated or worked well together.  So, we thought different.  We decided to do the crazy, crazy thing of doing it all.  Why?  Because that's what we believed the problem was.

4. First job in baseball? It's my first job anywhere.

Experience is often over-rated. Some of the most successful startup teams consisted of people that lacked relevant experience at the time they joined. But, what they lacked in experience, they more than made up for in sheer talent and hunger. In the early days, hire athletes. People with raw talent and a propensity to get things done. Don't be resistent to recruiting people that are early in their careers.  You're looking for arbitrage opportunities.  You're looking for the future stars -- because you likely can't afford or convince the current stars.  

5. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins.

I'm going to illustrate this point with a quick paraphrasing with a conversation I had with an entrepreneur last year. It went roughly like this:

Me: What do you need?

Them: We need to build a management team.

Me: No, what do you actually need right now?

Them: Well, right now we need a VP Engineering.

Me. What for?

Them: Well, we need head up our product development effort.

Me. No, you actually need to write code and release a product. You need to respond to customer issues. You need to iterate quickly so you can learn quickly. You don't need a VP of anything, you need a doer of stuff that needs to get done. Don't think about buying titles — think about buying outcomes.  Think about plugging gaping holes in the company.  Signing up customers so fast that you can't respond to all the support emails?  Don't hire a head of support, hire someone that helps you tackle the support issue.  Someone that's maniacally committed to customer happiness.  They can become your head of support some day.

6. He really needs to accept this as life's first occupation, a first career.

This statement was made to the young Billy Beane when he was trying to decide between the full scholarship to Stanford and a career in Major League Baseball. Billy's mom asked if he could do both. The answer was, he couldn't. And, that's true in baseball, in startups and just about any hyper-competitive activity. You can't straddle the fence, because you will get your ass kicked by someone who's almost as good as you, but much more committed. You can't take that investment banking job and do a startup. You can't maintain two feet firmly planted on the ground and take the leap of faith. You have to pick. It's not an easy choice, but you have to pick. And, if you're in school, my personal (and unpopular in some startup circles) advice is stay in school . Make learning and building connections your “first occupation”.

But whatever you do, don't sit on the fence.  Commit to something.  Don't hedge.  Give it all you have.  Make it your life's first occupation.  If you can't get excited about it -- find something else.  I've made lots of stupid mistakes in my professional career -- the stupidest was trying to run two startups at the same time.  That's a story for another day.  I'm going to close with a quote from my co-founder at the first startup: "If you sit on the fence too long, your genitals are going to hurt."

7. Why do you like him? Because he gets on base.

The startup world is filled with superstars that get overlooked or don't quite make it because they're "quirky" or otherwise don't fit preconceived patterns of what you think a person in a given role should look and feel like.  None of that matters.  When recruiting engineers, find brilliant people that write code that solves the problem simply, effectively and can be maintained without brain damage.  When hiring sales people find those that have high emotional IQ and care about truly understanding customer problems -- and selling them a solution.  Figure out what success looks like for a given role, and ignore the irrelevant details.  (Note:  Culture fit is not an irrelevant detail.  Things that are irrelevant are age, nationality, gender, etc. -- things that have no bearing on the outcome).

10. Hey, anything worth doing is hard. And we're gonna teach you.

Your ability to teach is one of the single biggest levers you have in a startup.  Why?  First, because it's one of the biggest benefits you can deliver to your team members.  They can get a higher salary somewhere else.  They can get better perks somewhere else.  But, at your startup, they can learn things.  Second, it's unlikely you're going to find the "perfect" 5-tool player.  Even if you found them, you likely couldn't afford them.  If you're willing to help people with a specific super-power fill in gaps in their knowledge/experience, you create lots of value.

12. It's day one of the first week. You can't judge just yet.

Be a little bit patient.  Often, your best people will take a little time to really shine.  Don't judge too early. Determine the context.  If someone's not cranking yet, is it because getting up to speed is hard?  Everyone's too busy to show them ropes? Their lack of early performance could be the context, so be patient

But, don't be too patient.  If someone isn't at least moderately productive in the first month or two, it's unlikely they're going to be super-productive in the following year.  The really great people tend to deliver some value almost immediately.

14. Where on the field is the dollar I'm paying for soda?

It is good to be budget-conscious in an early-stage company.  Instills the right kind of discipline that will help long-term.  But, don't be a penny wise and a pound foolish.  There are little things that don't cost that much, that makes people happier.  It's not about the money (they can all afford the soda), it's about the inconvenience and the principle.  Remember, deep down inside, people are human.  [smile] 

One quick example from HubSpot:  We launched a book program whereby any employee can request any book they think makes them a better HubSpotter.  I personally handle all requests and send out a Kindle version of the book immediately.  It's not that expensive, but it's been super-well received.  

15. These are hard rules to explain to people. Why is that a problem, Pete?

One of the best segments in the movie.  Pete is troubled at how different what they're doing is, and why it's hard to get others to understand and accept it.  But, the point was, when you're transforming something and making massive change, not everyone is going to understand.  The important thing is to be right -- and then make the change happen.  The best way to convince people that your theory was right is to be right and show them (not tell them) you're right.  Most people will never be convinced otherwise.

16. I'm not paying you for the player you used to be, I'm paying you for the player you are right now.

Hard-hitting advice.  I'd extend this to say:  Recruit on potential but reward on performance.  Customers are not going to be delighted by the code a brilliant engineer could have written.  On a related note is the quote "If he's a good hitter, why doesn't he hit good?" Or, "If she's such a good sales person, why can't she sell?"

17. We're going to change the game.

And really, that's what it's all about.  It's not about exiting for millions of dollars or going public.  It's about changing the game.  It's about seeing something that's not quite right in the world, and deciding you want to fix it.  For me, personally, it was observing that marketing is broken.  Most people hate marketing.  we want to transform marketing into something people love.  It's hugely ambitious, but I have this feeling, deep-down inside, that we're right.

How about you?  What is the flaw (big or small) that you're seeing in the universe that you're trying to fix?  Any favorite lines from Moneyball that you'd like to share?

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Thu, Feb 02, 2012


Great post! I think this is one of your best in a while. Moneyball is a great movie and i think you have picked out some great lines from it.  
My two favorites were 6 and 17. 6 because my genitals hurt from straddling the fence. I am bootstrapping my start-up while trying to keep my day job to put food on the table. We hope to be able to go full time very soon.  
17 because we feel like we have a product that will change the game of raising capital. And changing the way games are played is exciting!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 10:47 AM by Don Tarinelli

I don't find it terribly useful to be given concepts without examples. In your point #5 you paraphrasing with a quick conversation - now that I got. 
You want to write a great book...write one called 'talking business' and stuff it with dialog that demonstrate the concepts through dialog. Then you can turn that into a Broadway play and send me some tickets as thanks.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:18 AM by Randy

Outstanding post!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:40 AM by sunit gala

Having legally advised thousands of entrepreneurs, I appreciate your article. I watched Moneyball on my flight to LA and then again on my way back to NY. Now I'm going to watch it again after having read your article. Thx.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:42 AM by Harry N. Konst, Esq.

Randy: Thanks for the tip. You're right about needing more examples. Will try to make the writing more conversational in the future.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:45 AM by Dharmesh Shah

I loved the movie too. One thought on Point 1, often people who look the part are wrong for your (or any) startup. I went through this recently for my own statup. I was hiring a guy who had experience in the specific market I'm going after, he had a great track record, had done the same job at successful companies, everything looked perfect. Then we started talking about the day to day specifics of what he'd be doing. At a startup you do do whatever needs doing. His attitude was I do task A and only task A. Tasks B,C, and D are handled by other people. That's how business works. Looked like a great guy, but not right for a startup.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:47 AM by Rudy Lacovara

Thanks Dharmesh. There are so many inspirational quotes in here. My favs: 
"You can't maintain two feet firmly planted on the ground and take the leap of faith." 
"If you sit on the fence too long, your genitals are going to hurt." 
"Figure out what success looks like for a given role, and ignore the irrelevant details." 
"The important thing is to be right -- and then make the change happen. The best way to convince people that your theory was right is to be right and show them (not tell them) you're right. Most people will never be convinced otherwise." 
" It's about seeing something that's not quite right in the world, and deciding you want to fix it." 
At Agility, we feel that digital publishing is broken. There are so many tools and so many options, publishers are getting hosed and all their amazing content is not reaching their audience.  
PS - Signed up for HubSpot in December and we're loving it!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:48 AM by Michael Assad

Phenomenal article. Thanks so much for writing this.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:49 AM by Philip Segal

I love "I'm not paying you for the player you used to be, I'm paying you for the player you are right now." So easy to rest on our laurels, to value someone for "potential" and not have a conversation when results are not up to "potential".

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 11:55 AM by Conor Neill

Great post. But I 100% disagree with your comment that the HubSpot team didn't look great on paper. VCs were falling all over each other to work with your team because you guys were (and still) are awesome.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:00 PM by Healy Jones

Great article. Thanks!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:22 PM by Chris Barrett

Loved the article. Looking forward to watching the movie soon.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:23 PM by Maulik

"The first one through the wall always gets bloody."

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:31 PM by Sherman Dickman

Thanks for this article Dharmesh - Welcome to the Moneyball fan club! It's been my favorite recruiting book since it was first written, as it inspires (and proves the concept of) hiring for future wins vs. buying past wins. It's also a great reminder about the power of synergy and diversity -- that hiring everyone in your own image, or based on a generic template, doesn't help you win. Brilliance comes in unique packages, and sometimes you have to invest in bringing that brilliance out of your new hires.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:36 PM by Sharon Sperry

Loved the post. I ended up watching this movie 1 1/2 times. (I needed to go back and watch a few scenes a second time but I fast forwarded to the ones I wanted to re watch) This movie had so similarities to a startup. 
-Trying an idea that disruptive to traditional way of thinking. 
-Needing to sick to your idea even with mounting pressure from all around 
-Self doubt on if what your doing will work 
-Getting everyone on board with this disruptive idea even if they resist it kicking and screaming. 
-Not selling out (explain this below) 
The most exciting part or the one that gave me the most "what if... thoughts" and kept me thinking long after the movie ended had to be when he was offered huge money to come work for the Red Sox. When he said no I absolutely loved it. (even though I'm huge Red Sox fan) All I could think of is how many startup entrepreneurs give up huge money to keep trucking along because they believe in a bigger version of there concept. I think it would be pretty hard to say no to a huge pay out. (Personally speaking being a starving startup) 
But this brings up a great question: 
When you take the cash and run and when do you say thanks for the millions and millions you just offered but I'm all set? Hmmm...

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:37 PM by Dan McGuire

Awesome post Dharmesh! Great application of the issues to start-ups. They are all spot on. 
Loved point 4 (Experience). Given the opportunity, it's wonderful to see people respond and rise to the occasion to do things "they weren't suppose to be able to do." More often than not, this is how true innovation occurs - it's the people who don't know any better saying "Why don't we do it this way?" It's why companies hire new college grads - you need new blood and perspective all the time to make great progress. 
Keep up the great posts.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:51 PM by Elliot Gould

Great Read... I'm actually a Six Sigma Black Belt for a large company and this book and movie have helped me to explain my roles (On the few occasions that I feel inclined to do so). Soooo... What happened to points 8 and 9?

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM by Daniel

Great post, Dharmesh. Reading Moneyball right now, so this is timely. 
I really appreciate idea of getting past eye candy. There's a lot of depth to it. 
I think this is also critical for people looking to JOIN startups, not just entrepreneurs looking to hire. And not just that people joining startups need to look past startups that are overhyped and think about the real prospect the startup has as a sustainable business. But I also think people need to get past their own eye candy (i.e. who they THINK they are.) When I was an undergrad I relied on the Harvard brand name and some vanity stats about myself (in other words, a sense of entitlement), but recently I have started to think more and more about communicating the real, tangible value I can deliver to the people with whom I work - more customers, product design help that boosts user engagement, etc. Really valuable stuff - not just a degree or past titles. 
Again - enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM by Jason Shah

Great highlight of both the faults and new paradigms. Your excellent points brought more thoughts to mind: 
#1 - Things are rarely as they appear. 
#2 - The greater the idea, the more resistance it will receive. 
#3 - Use the brain that God gave you. 
#4 - What is the core talent and core value? Put aces in their places. 
#5 - Begin with the end in mind. 
#6 - Having more than one girl friend will soon leave you with none. 
#7 - Hire people based on what they can do not based on the size of their feet. 
#10 - Knowledge empowers so learn and teach.™ (Google it) :) 
#12 - A great slice of pie is a good indication that the rest of the pie is great as well. 
#14 - Invest in tools and training to ensure success. Be a part of the solution. 
#15 - You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mohandas Gandhi 
#16 - Stupid is as stupid does - Forrest Gump Pay attention to the reality of results. Smart is as smart does. :) 
#17 - "That is how we have always done it" rarely moves a business forward. 
What is the fix? Everyone has a talent. Identify the talent, shine the light, give support ant tools and provide path where they can be more hopeful. Then ACTION will be the word of the day instead of fear and hesitation. Hubspot provides one of those tools. It is a tool for ACTION. 
Thank you for your confession :) 
and for a movie review. 

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:58 PM by Michael Hartzell

"If you sit on the fence too long, your genitals are going to hurt." and if your genitals are hurting, contact me cause I sell "genital guards" that will let you sit on the fence for as long as you want :)

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 12:59 PM by Amit Gadhia

Exactly!!! I'm in the team building stage crucial for traction and next stage funding. Anyone who wants to change the future get in touch :)

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 1:07 PM by Brianlmerritt

Great post - and very timely as I just got around to seeing the movie last weekend.  
Another takeaway from the film was Billy Beane's motivation. He walked away from a huge offer from the Red Sox at the end because his main driver was not the money. While the possibility of a big payoff is often a reason people join startups, it should not be the main reason. Pursue your passion with a strong team and enjoy the ride.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 1:23 PM by Peter Spielvogel

Thanks for a great article. I find myself straddling the fence way too often between launching a business and working full time. 
I often find myself losing sight of the trees for forest and this article certainly helps gain perspective.  
I'm off to go watch this movie in my next 2 hour downtime (so...late March...) :-)

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:05 PM by Ryland Sacra

Great post, Dharmesh.  
Reminds me of your fellow Bostonian, the great Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt used to tell his students, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”  
A good friend is the head of scouting for a major league baseball team, so I've always been fascinated with his ability to analyze players i.e. the way a pitcher releases the ball and how that indicates their propensity for longevity or for injury (therefore a riskier hire). My friend also got me into "Moneyball" and statistically-driven performance metrics.  
In this current age of knowledge workers, we need to measure not the physical attributes, but a worker's inherent behavioral attributes. This is where we've found psychometrics (statistics) to be incredibly useful and accurate at helping to predict future job performance. Through analyzing the behavioral attributes of top performers in a particular job, one is then able to seek those attributes in future hires.  

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:14 PM by Ben Baldwin

Great read. Especially on point 4 - You dont really need experience, but you do need the right attitude,creativity and fearlessness.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:19 PM by Akila

This is an excellent post and I rarely say that. The quotes are fun and not a bad way to convey the messages. For me, though, the direct relevance is that Moneyball is about RECRUITING - which is much more key to start-ups than seems to be recognized. The lessons are evident in the movie and in the book. The hardest lesson, though, you didn't cite explicitly, which is: this doesn't work unless you also STOP what you are doing now. That's always the hardest, and the most determinant of success or failure. I deal with all of these in a webinar on the Moneyball of recruiting - see it on our site matchpointcareers dot com.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:25 PM by Paul Basile

Great post! ... but where are numbers: 8, 9, 11, and 13?

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:45 PM by Kaleb Pederson

Is it just me or were there only 13 items? You skipped several number. 

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:52 PM by Dale

Excellent and insightful posting!  
Some "numbers" are still missing..., but the main points come clear. 
I've seen so many companies, mainly startups, going out hiring the first major salesperson and going for a VP of Sales (with the whole package included), because they think that's the way to attract the Star Quality people they need. Unfortunately it's gone south a lot of times, because these "stars" are not capable of doing the groundwork themselves or being true teamplayers. 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:21 PM by Paul

The film is great, as much for how Pitt played the Bean character described in the book as for the entertainment itself. 
The book is much, much better. For me the biggest lesson was this - hire for the aggregate, not the individual. Bean traded great players in order to rely on the statistical wisdom that lesser knowns would complement the rest of the team better. I'd rather have a team that delivered than half a dozen geniuses who didn't.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:26 PM by Jon Squires

Cool post! I love the spirit of challenging the status quo. I have some quotes that I liked, too: 
- “You guys are talking the same non-sense. We’ve got to think differently.” 
-“Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players; your goal should be to buy wins.” 
We're linking these to user analytics, and how data scientists are constantly looking at data in new ways in order to glean new insights. 
You can read more here:

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:47 PM by Catherine Mylinh

Cool post! I love the spirit of challenging the status quo. I have some quotes that I liked, too:  
- “You guys are talking the same non-sense. We’ve got to think differently.”  
-“Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players; your goal should be to buy wins.”  
We're linking these to user analytics, and how data scientists are constantly looking at data in new ways in order to glean new insights.  
You can read more here: <a href=">User Analytics: A Few Lessons from Moneyball

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:48 PM by Catherine Mylinh


posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:49 PM by amit

It was a good movie but it's a great book. Instead of watching the movie twice I would read the book first so that you have a richer context when you do watch the movie.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 3:54 PM by Sean Murphy

I was quite taken by the comment about watching the same movie two days in a row. I ACTUALLY did that this week. We got Moneyball on demand Monday night and watched it. Then I watched it again the next day. I never do that.  
"My Bar Is Up Here" was a defining moment. We follow the same processes over and over and over again albeit with small tweaks here and there. It works and that's why we use it. -- It works to the extent of our "bar" five years ago and actually better.  
What's the new startup aiming for? The current effort buys us two ballpark hotdogs (as our metaphor). We dance around ideas worthy of another half hotdog up to the two hotdogs we're really proud of now - but took us years to develop. What about the 30-hotdog idea? Where's the bar? 
Quit thinking of and comparing ideas against what you already accomplished. Think of a whole new ballpark. If you have the idea - all you have to do is keep asking the question "How can we create this (desired)outcome?" It's not about how you step up to the outcome perfectly, it's how you make it happen the dumb, drawn out, manual way - and then improve the process to make it happen in terms of the available technology and great people available once you can show the plan in action.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 4:24 PM by Samplewords

Terrific post. The lessons in Moneyball make the difficult seem more do-able.  
This may be the best business metaphor book/movie since Hoosiers.  

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 5:09 PM by Glenn Younger

Great insights. I loved the movie and we can apply these conecpts to our business lives!

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 5:42 PM by Steven

Oh, not the "I ran out of article ideas so I looked for inspiration in a movie I watched" article.

posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 10:21 PM by brent

we had Billy Beane speak at our Voice of Customer conference 2 years ago. We were also setting out to make a difference using the power of analytics. Great talk. Highly recommended speaker at any business conference. I wrote a blog post about it back then.

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 12:09 AM by Al

Just wanted to say you combined my love for Baseball, moneyball, and Startups. So you had me at the title. :)

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM by josh ledgard

The element where Billy rejects an offer was the soul of entrepreneurship. Good post!

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 4:23 AM by Jinesh Parekh

Thank you for your uplifting article,it has reaffirmed my own belief in self and renewed my fight to continue to push my startup despite no money or support.I have something and I will make it work.

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 5:21 AM by Geraldine O'Brien

Thanks Dharmesh, as always you are spot on with your posts. I totally agree with the last point #17 that its all about changing the game. If everyone thought like that imagine the possibilities!

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 5:38 AM by Fiona

Love the article. I was a big fan of the book, and the movie, and the comparisons here are right on. #2 is too true.

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 8:32 AM by Pat Palingo

Good one Dharmesh. What about "We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children's game, we just don't...we don't know when that's gonna be. Some of us are told at eighteen, some of us are told at forty, but we're all told." …. pretty much feels like when you start your first company – Some started at 18 others at 40… you talked about it, you dreamed about it, you procrastinated about it, but at some point, you started, and afterwards it is not a children’s game anymore….

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM by Andres Aguirre

Great post, Dharmesh! You've inspired me to watch Moneyball again (which I loved the first time I saw it). 
I love your commitment to helping your employees grow through Hubspot's book program.

posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 at 4:12 PM by Brian Mohr

Felt nice reading it. Every single point is on the dot at least from my own experience being a start up entrepreneur. May be after a while, in a relaxed mood one can look back and adore the steps one scaled. But these 17 are very much part of my list

posted on Saturday, February 04, 2012 at 10:55 AM by J Jeyaseelan

Re: Fence Sitting. Sometimes,an individual's personal obligations compel them to sit on the fence. I've got a great tech partner for my start-up. He's got two kids and can't walk away from his day job and go "all in." Our commitment to him, notwithstanding these limitations, is a core part of our culture and defines the way in which we want to work -- with everyone. Even in the start-up world, decency and loyalty are priceless.

posted on Saturday, February 04, 2012 at 4:40 PM by Andrew Ellis

I really like this line. " It's about seeing something that's not quite right in the world, and deciding you want to fix it" 
For me, the problem I see is that it is really hard to find a co-founder when you want to launch a startup.

posted on Monday, February 06, 2012 at 11:16 AM by Shahab

If you liked the movie, READ THE BOOK! I am currently 2/3 into the book and it is way beyond the movie - really fascinating and motivating to look at things differently.

posted on Monday, February 06, 2012 at 5:01 PM by Michael

Great movie and your post. It took me a week, after I discovered this post to read this. Actually, I didn't watched the film when it released. Now, finally I watched it and read this amaazing post of yours.  
I like the idea that we are not seeing what the problem is? and I like 5th point very very much. We actually needs doers not VP or high paid executives to build products. Game changers mostly didn't had prior experience. Prior experience didn't help you to come up with ground breaking ideas.

posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2012 at 12:01 AM by Gagandeep Singh

Great article, Dharmesh!

posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2012 at 4:45 AM by Tom Spencer

Thank you for suggestion! Seems a very good missed film.

posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2012 at 9:06 AM by Dmitry Nikolaev

Great Article! It caused a needed spark inside myself.

posted on Friday, February 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM by Mohamed Abd El-Salam

It's nice to read such posts like these which is a good one that movies have something to gain from and can relate it to business. Haven't seen the movie yet but I think it's good since the casts are good too. Very helpful one. Thank you for posting this!

posted on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM by Evette

Great post. I would missed this movie(never played baseball) if not for your post. Thanks

posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 2:31 AM by Thiagarajan

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posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 5:38 AM by six sigma

Very nice post,Very helpful.Thanks for sharing..

posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 5:40 AM by Ankan

This is really fine article..

posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 5:42 AM by Ankan

Great article. I've watched this movie half a dozen times and get more inspired every time. The value of data-driven decsion making is sooooo under valued! LOL!

posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM by Dan Meyer

You should read the's 10 times better than the movie.

posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM by Steve

I am in China teaching and am looking to earn some extra cash with some sort of venture. I watched this film on a flight to Fiji. On the way over I watched it three times, on the way back twice. I couldn't help see the corrolations for business and life. I hope I can get invloved somehow in helping others through filling a gap that has some meaning here in China.

posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 6:52 AM by Dave Hennessey

A couple of great quotes that mesh with your overall message: 
“For forty-one million, you built a playoff team. You lost Damon, Giambi, Isringhausen, Pena and you won more games without them than you did with them. You won the exact same number of games that the Yankees won, but the Yankees spent one point four million per win and you paid two hundred and sixty thousand. I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It’s the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it’s threatening the game. But really what it’s threatening is their livelihoods, it’s threatening their jobs, it’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go bat shit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they’re dinosaurs. They’ll be sitting on their ass on the sofa in October, watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series.” - Arliss Howard as John Henry, Moneyball 
“The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game. And now we’re being gutted, organ donors for the rich. Boston has taken our kidneys, Yankees takin’ our heart and you guys are sittin’ around talkin’ the same old good body nonsense, like we’re selling deeds. Like we’re looking for Fabio. We got to think differently.”

posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM by David

Great article !! 
I have also written a blog posts regarding things as a startup owner could learn from after watching the movie last night, and i guess it could be divided into 4 main categories:  
3.Intuitive & Analytic 
4.Keep Evolving 
See if you want to have some "extra reading" and feel free to leave me some comments ! 
4 Things Startups can Learn from Moneyball @ idea-stack 

posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 9:45 PM by Dickson

This is an excellent point. It is more important to find individuals that can do the job (or have the drive to learn how to do the job) then provide incentive to keep them around. Thanks for the tips!

posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 5:42 AM by Pacific Reserve

As these fuel prices keep rising we can help Listen to the calls on 
Wednesday 7:50pm cst get paid $50.00 a call for 6 call have enough to buy into the company get 
30 bottles of CV100 catalyst.

posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM by DeWayne Franklin

I also liked the part where after they won 20 consecutive games, Beane was still focused on the end result. It seems when a startup gets early results, such as seeing large growth, these are as the eric ries lean startup term of "vanity metrics". I like how he was completely focused on the long-term goal of changing the rules of the game

posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 at 3:21 AM by BrendanQ

What a completely inspiring post. I've not yet seen the film, but it's definitely now on the list. 
How good is it when the comments actually add value to the blog (oops, unlike mine)? 
Thanks Dharmesh. 

posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 at 5:59 PM by Ben Vaughan

Both the article and the comments were all worth reading.  
My next big thing is creating an advanced form of software to drive robust text-Analytics--to capture the 90% of insight, knowledge, and wisdom that is contained in free-narrative-text sources, such as articles, movies, emails, and EMR notes of scientists, physicians, and nurses. This tool will make people and machines far smarter and productive--brilliant, really.

posted on Monday, March 05, 2012 at 11:49 AM by John Norris

Cool article. I love the passion in it.  
My favorite quote's from Moneyball: 
Playing first base isn't that hard. Tell him. 
Answer. "It's extremely hard." 
I always laugh at that one.

posted on Thursday, March 08, 2012 at 11:06 AM by Ken Bator

I don't want anyone to get the idea not to recruit old guys though.  
I just returned working in Brazil, an emerging economy where most Customers still don't have a credit card, so very little Internet sales.  
I was teaching the young American guys how we did business 20 years ago, with call centers, third party local stores and payment plans...a new (old) way of thinking for another market. 
The best clip of the movie... 
"Jeremy is going to do what he never does, he's gonna go for it. He's going to round 1st and go for it." 
Jeremy falls and scrambles for 1st plate. "This is all of Jeremy's nightmares coming to life." The crowd is laughing. "And Jeremy is about to find out why. The ball went 60 ft. over the fence. He hit a home run and didn't even realize it." 
"How can you not be romantic about baseball?"

posted on Friday, March 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM by Rusty McNeal

great article but missed the best quote of the movie.. Ugly girlfriend means no confidence.... lol!!!

posted on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 12:43 AM by Jr

FYI - the statistical techniques used for personnel selection in the movie Moneyball date back over 100 years - in 1896 life insurance companies were using statistically optimized forecasts of future insurance sales using coded application blanks as inputs to select life insurance salesmen. See a 1994 book titled "Biodata Handbook" edited by Mumford & Stokes (in which I contributed a chapter on item development) for more information on how "Moneyball" concepts are applied to arenas other than baseball. The leading seller of online personnel selection systems using this technology is SHL Inc. This technology lends itself to online personnel selection systems because you don't need proctored test environments. The good news is that it has virtually no adverse impact against minorities either!

posted on Monday, March 12, 2012 at 2:44 PM by Craig Russell


posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM by

Quite HARD HITTING Thanks a lot gr8 article  

posted on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 1:39 AM by PARVIN BHARDWAJ

Great article! 
Will watch the movie one more time )

posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:35 AM by AlexG

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