Dr. Wayne Winston

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Every guest on Raw Data By P3 has been top-notch, but we haven't yet had a Doctor on...until now! Dr. Wayne Winston is Professor Emeritus of Decision Sciences at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, he's won numerous teaching awards, is a prolific writer, has consulted the NBA's New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks, and he's a 2 time Jeopardy winner! He's a highly entertaining and intelligent guest and we're honored to present this episode of Raw Data By P3 with Dr. Wayne Winston Click Here to check out Dr. Winston's book-Analytics Stories: Using Data to Make Good Things Happen

Episode Timeline:

  • 2:00 - Wayne's history and impressive pedigree
  • 3:16 - Wayne makes a bold statement about a famous former student
  • 4:41 - JRR Tolkien comes up in a random and interesting way
  • 8:26 - The Jeff Sagarin connection
  • 9:49 - Some great forecasting stories
  • 13:33 - Random events and coincidence that lead you to where you are now
  • 17:40 - The word is finally mentioned...Excel! And the subsequent Excel discussion
  • 25:07 - Tenure process in a University, and how academics are rated
  • 34:16 - Wayne's trips to Microsoft, and how he affected the Excel team
  • 39:22 - Wayne's amazing new book-Analytics Stories: Using Data to Make Good Things Happen
  • 45:24 - Does High School math need a revamping?
  • 50:54 - Bitcoin-Is it legitimate?
  • 55:10 - The Gender Gap in STEM Fields
  • 1:06:04 - Excel VS Python
  • 1:18:07 - Analytics In Sports
  • 1:28:13 - The Election and Politics, and a prediction!

Episode Transcript:

Rob Collie (00:00:00): Hello friends. Boy, do we have a real treat for you today because we are welcoming the Wayne Winston to the show. Now Wayne has shaped and changed many, many, many lives. He's essentially the Excel Yoda figure at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. His students even include like back in the day, Mark Cuban. The tagline for our podcast here is "Data with the human element", and I don't think anyone could really personify that more than Wayne. An amazing personality, a great guy, and there's no doubt that he's up to his eyeballs in data and data techniques all day, every day. He crunches data on really an amazing range of topics from sports to politics, to social justice. He's always bringing it back to the people involved and how it affects them. And the man's got a freaking Wikipedia page for crying out loud. So no more to delay, let's get after it

Announcer (00:00:56): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?

Announcer (00:01:00): This is the Raw Data by P3 podcast with your host, Rob Collie, and your co-host, Thomas LaRock. Find out what the experts at P3 can do for your business. Go to powerpivotpro.com. Raw Data by P3 is data with the human element.

Rob Collie (00:01:18): Welcome to the show, Wayne Winston. I am over the moon, seriously, over the moon about having you on the show.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:01:27): Thanks Rob. Well, you guys have done wonders for the world with Power BI.

Rob Collie (00:01:31): Well, I appreciate that and knowing what I was going to be up against today... what we were going to be up against today, I drank even more coffee than usual. I knew I needed more to do battle with the great Wayne.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:01:44): Oh, thanks.

Rob Collie (00:01:45): So Wayne, let's just start off. I met you a long time ago when I was still at Microsoft. It's probably like-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:01:51): Early 2000s.

Rob Collie (00:01:52): Yeah, probably like 2004, 2005. You wear a number of hats in your professional life. Why don't you just take a moment and give us a quick summary?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:02:01): Okay. So I went to MIT undergrad. I don't want to say what year. Studied math. Then I went to Yale, studied Operations Research Management Science, never took a business course in my life. And then I got the only job I've really ever had, teaching quant methods in the Indiana Kelley School of Business, which is ranked in the top 10 in the country now and it's a very good school. Had a great department. Wonderful people who sort of mentored me through life because I was pretty immature when I came here, and then I met my wife here. It's been great. And so basically I've gotten consulting jobs. Like I got asked to teach Microsoft Enhanced, which Rob is talking about through [Jennifer Skoog 00:02:39], and came out there probably about... for 10 years, probably once a month to teach Microsoft Enhanced. Went out there in 2018, but then I got luckily asked to write a book on Excel by Microsoft press Alex Blanton. I don't know if Rob knows him.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:02:55): Then I was asked to write a book for Microsoft Press on Excel, which has sold very well and I look on Amazon now and Rob's book is number four on Amazon in Excel books and I'm number six, but some days I beat him. Okay. And I have the Kindle version and I have my old Excel book, but that's really helped me a lot. I've gone to a lot of companies besides Microsoft to teach Excel, and then I was fortunate enough to have Mark Cuban in my class in 1981, who everybody knows from Shark Tank, and I'll predict will run for president in 2024.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:03:26): He's real interested in rank choice voting as an alternative to the two-party system and I think he had actually a podcast of his own on it yesterday. He almost ran this year. I think he just didn't have the time to get on the ballot. And so basically Mark was in my class. He bought the Mavericks. My family went down to see a Pacer Mavericks game, because my son is a big Indiana Pacers fan. He recognized me in the arena and he said, "Wayne, do you have any way to make the Mavericks better?". So my best friend from MIT, Jeff Sagarin, who's the USA Today computer rater, we collaborated on rating teams in lineups. And so we got into the sports analytics area and then I wrote a book, "Mathletics" on math and sports, and I won two games on Jeopardy!.

Rob Collie (00:04:09): We didn't know that. Luke looked that up. He was researching you yesterday.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:04:13): I wanted to get on Jeopardy! from the time I was in seventh grade, and so if I had lost, I may not have come home. And the guy who was on last week said he used data mining to study for Jeopardy!. Now he won one game and then he got slaughtered, but I mean he said he developed word clouds like on King Solomon. If certain words appear in a Jeopardy! clue, he would know the answer is King Solomon. And so I thought that was very interesting, using text mining.

Rob Collie (00:04:41): So often things get judged prematurely by their first outing.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:04:46): That's true.

Rob Collie (00:04:46): A good idea doesn't always necessarily succeed its first time out. I'm always reminded... And this is really nerdy, but that's what we do. In The Silmarillion, the prequels to the Lord of the Rings, written by Tolkien, the first dragon gets introduced after it was born and it goes out into combat, but its skin isn't thick enough yet and it takes a bunch of arrows and it retreats into the mountain and it's forgotten for a long time. Like for centuries, but centuries later it comes back, and now it's ready, and now it's a world beater. There's so many things like that, I think, in life.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:05:20): That's a great analogy and I bet Tolkien planned that out.

Rob Collie (00:05:25): Tolkien was something else. I mean, you understand the-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:05:28): Yeah, I haven't read those books. I need to.

Rob Collie (00:05:29): Tolkien... We're already way off into the weeds, but I love it. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings as a criticism of the industrial revolution.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:05:39): Oh, I didn't know that.

Rob Collie (00:05:41): There's a whole subtext to the Lord of the Rings that I wasn't aware of as a kid where... Like he basically lived in the Shire growing up, pre-industrial revolution. He lived in an idyllic farming and wooded community, and then the industrial revolution came through and cut down all of the trees and burned them for fuel for the factories and things like that. And so this is what Sauron represents. The ring represents technology and the corrupting power of technology. When you watch the movies or read the books with that in mind, it just makes it... To me, it's just so much more emotional.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:06:18): Oh, that's interesting. You should get a PhD in literature.

Rob Collie (00:06:20): Yeah, well. There are people who get Elvish tattoos. Elvish is a real language.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:06:26): Right.

Rob Collie (00:06:26): Like they're fully developed bilinguist. Tolkien was sort of next to none in world building, but-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:06:33): Well, I'll have to watch the movies at least. I haven't even done that.

Thomas LaRock (00:06:35): Yeah. So Wayne, first of all, I'm a huge fan.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:06:39): Oh, thanks.

Thomas LaRock (00:06:39): And one of the highlights in my life is at the first business analytics conference in San Jose years ago, I got to meet you because I was fawning over you to Rob. I'm like, "Rob, Wayne Winston's here", and Rob looks at me and goes, "Oh, you want to meet him?". I'm like, "You know Wade?".

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:06:56): Well, I appreciate like that.

Thomas LaRock (00:06:58): Yeah. So we had a quick little chat, the three of us, and I'm a huge fan, but I just wanted to call out something. You said teaching at IU is the only job you've had, but I knew you because of the work you were doing for the Bucks and the Knicks. So you've had more than one job.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:07:13): Oh yeah, we did work for the Knicks too. Not the Bucks, but I guess I should be really proud we worked for the Knicks after the Mavericks. I forgot to mention that, because the only... Are any of you guys from New York? I don't know. But the Knicks won 54 games the year we worked for them. That's the most games they've won in 30 years because they followed our lineup advice. But I mean, I guess I thought more about the Maverick stuff, but yeah, we did a tiny bit of work for the Sonics, who were run by Wally Walker, who basically was a Goldman Sachs alum. And then since you guys have Seattle connections probably... Some of you. Rob does. When they sold the team and moved it to OKC, I was actually in Wally Walker's office when Howard Schultz came in to tell Wally they were selling the team to OKC.

Rob Collie (00:07:58): Wow.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:07:58): And then knew they were going to go there and OKC supported, but the NBA owes Seattle a team.

Thomas LaRock (00:08:04): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:08:04): Yeah.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:05): And Ballmer now owns the Clippers and he fires everybody left and right, but that's different.

Rob Collie (00:08:10): Yeah. That is different.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:11): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:08:12): Yeah, well I plan to bring Ballmer up, but-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:14): Oh yeah, I'd be interested.

Rob Collie (00:08:16): We'll save that for a little bit. One of the things we say from time to time on here is, "Let's make sure we slow cook this meal". A lot of things came out there in a short period of time. I want to make sure we... So first of all, I had no idea that you and Sagarin were close.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:30): Oh yeah. We met in the dorm at MIT, watching pro football. We watched the Jets win the Super Bowl and bonded over that. And he moved to Bloomington, to Indiana, in 1978 because he visited me and he saw there were lots of beautiful tall women and that convinced him he should move to Bloomington.

Rob Collie (00:08:48): The analytics indicated he should move.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:49): I don't think it was analytics.

Thomas LaRock (00:08:49): I don't think it was analytics.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:08:55): But he's never got married and I found a wonderful wife here, so I was lucky.

Rob Collie (00:08:59): Oh, there you go. There you go. Because yeah I mean, I remember reading Sagarin in the newspaper when-

Thomas LaRock (00:09:06): Same. USA Today.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:09:06): Yeah. He's still in USA Today.

Rob Collie (00:09:08): Yeah. When newspaper was really a thing, back when that was like the sports content that I would digest. It wasn't on internet. There was already a Sagarin. That's so cool.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:09:17): Right. I mean, he's been doing it since the mid to late seventies, I would say.

Thomas LaRock (00:09:21): But he started doing the college basketball rankings-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:09:25): Right.

Thomas LaRock (00:09:25): Better than... That was one of the first things I remember hearing from Sagarin. I was just so enthralled going through the formulas of how he was determining that.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:09:34): He doesn't even let out what the formulas are, but there's a site, thepredictiontracker.com, lets you evaluate all the forecasts by all the computers-

Thomas LaRock (00:09:43): Forecast, right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:09:43): And he's invariably... Because that's one thing that came up a lot at Microsoft. Most companies don't know how to evaluate their forecast and this is a very... I'm sure Power BI helps with that. So I remember, if I can say one great story from Microsoft about that. I guess I shouldn't mention the person's name, but he was a controller at Microsoft and basically, so I was teaching about bias and forecasting. That you forecast too high or too low. So I would ask the finance people who Rob would know, "Do you think marketing forecast too high for sales?", and they would say yes. So I'd say, "How do you correct for that?", and the controller said, "We divide by 10". Which is hilarious, but I use that in class all the time when we talk about forecasting because I mean, forecasting is... Accuracy is important, but like Las Vegas, I did a study for my book that basically, when Las Vegas says a team will win by 10, they don't win by 10, but on average they win by 10.

Rob Collie (00:10:40): Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:10:41): So that's unbiased, and so they couldn't stay in business if they weren't unbiased.

Rob Collie (00:10:45): That's right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:10:46): And so basically... But that's the best example of bias in forecasting when the controller... Off the air, I can tell Rob the person's name.

Rob Collie (00:10:53): Okay.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:10:54): But basically they would divide by... he said, "Just divide by 10", and the room cracked up because finance's job is to be the bean counters and make sure that basically what you're putting out on the numbers are reasonable forecast. Unbiased and accurate. As accurate as you can be. That's a very important thing that I teach. Forecasting is a very important skill.

Rob Collie (00:11:16): I've got a forecasting bias story for you.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:11:18): Okay, good.

Rob Collie (00:11:19): Forecast is really important in our business because we move a lot faster. We burn through projects a lot faster than the traditional BI firm. We just move at a much faster tempo, which means we have a lot more moving pieces to our business than an average BI firm. Maybe even 10 times as many moving parts. And so we're not parking people for six months at a time on a single project because we finish projects fast. This actually makes it difficult to keep utilization high. It makes it difficult to know how much money is going to be going in or out two months in the future. And one of the inputs to this is that each consultant forecasts [crosstalk 00:11:57] how much of their work they're going to be doing over the next n-weeks.

Rob Collie (00:12:01): Well, the subtitle of this podcast is "Data with the human element", and this is a perfect example of the blending of the two. Our forecast for a long time now actually, has been calculating the inherent bias in each consultant's forecast historically, and correcting for it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:12:21): Oh exactly.

Rob Collie (00:12:22): On a per consultant basis, right? Because some are optimistic. Some are pessimistic. Some are more dead on. And rather than fight that... Of course we feedback and we get better at forecasting and all of that, right? But at the same time, it's like belt and suspenders. Rather than deny the fact that humans are imperfect at this, we just correct for it on a per consultant basis.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:12:42): No, that's great. And you could build Montecarlo into that because the forecast... And if you want to know the chance your revenue in the next two months will be between X and Y, you could build Montecarlo based on the accuracy of these consultants.

Rob Collie (00:12:56): Yeah, but that involves knowing the probability that they're right, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:00): Well, I bet if you can get the forecast error model that is normal, you could do it.

Rob Collie (00:13:04): We need to talk about that.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:04): Yeah. We'll talk about that. Yeah. I'll give you my phone number when we get off and you can call me anytime.

Rob Collie (00:13:09): Aw yeah. We're going to make beautiful music together.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:12): Oh, I'd love that. Especially since you're only an hour and a half away.

Rob Collie (00:13:16): I know. I've only lived here now for five years and we haven't gotten together.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:20): Well, I thought you were in Cincinnati. I guess I lost track.

Rob Collie (00:13:22): Oh yeah. I was in Cincinnati. That's why we haven't gotten together. No, I've been in Indiana.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:26): Well, I think you improved by coming to Indiana... Carmel.

Rob Collie (00:13:30): There you go. So you mentioned a couple of things earlier as well, like math at MIT. That's a pretty tall hill, and then Operations Research at Yale, yeah?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:39): Right.

Rob Collie (00:13:40): And then right after that, you said something to the effect of how grateful you were to have come to IU, because it was a place where you could grow up essentially.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:13:48): Yeah, it was just great.

Rob Collie (00:13:49): I bet you didn't know this... Of course you wouldn't, but as I was finishing my undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt, I became obsessed with the idea of going to graduate school for operations research. That's what I was going to do. I don't think I knew what it was really. I still don't really know what operations research is or was, but it just seemed like it was right in my wheelhouse of things that I found stimulating, is what it really did. I just sort of got like an emotional feeling from it. I ended up skipping graduate school because I got to the front of the line to take the GRE as a walk-in standby. I got to the front of the line and my checkbook... I was out of checks and I took that as a sign. I was like, "Oh, and Florida's playing Auburn on TV right now. I'm going to just... This wasn't meant to be". So I just decided to go get a job at Microsoft instead.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:14:38): Well I think that probably turned out okay.

Rob Collie (00:14:41): It did, but it involved a lot of what you said as well, which is like, I had no idea how much immaturity needed to be beaten out of me.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:14:50): Well, I was just a real introvert and I mean, my department was just a great bunch of people.

Rob Collie (00:14:55): You don't strike me as terribly introverted, but I understand what that means. That word has a lot of-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:14:59): No, I... I could go into deep details about that, but I mean, I was... MIT, I was really introverted. Yale, I was really introverted, but then the head of my department was the greatest person I've ever met. [Vic Cabot 00:15:11], who you probably don't know, but do you know the Princess Diaries?

Rob Collie (00:15:14): Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:15:15): His daughter wrote them, but he died tragically of cancer in 1994. But he was so funny. He came to the office, he was a little bit drunk sometimes. He would tell the secretary's dirty jokes. He'd come in painter's pants or shorts and he would teach his class in them. So we had this great... I really described our department as "summer camper adults". And then the first year Indiana won the national championship, it was undefeated in basketball, and nobody's been undefeated since.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:15:45): So I mean, it was just such a great place, and being unmarried and being a professor was really good to be at a school like Indiana. I lucked out. I guess my first choice was to get a job at Cornell, but they didn't pick me. I had a bad back at the time I got recruited, but I mean, I was so... In all your lives, there's karma. There's just random events that, like meeting your spouse or whoever is important to you, it's totally luck, or whatever you want to call it. Design. I think about it, if I hadn't gone to MIT, I wouldn't have met Jeff. If I hadn't gone to Indie... And I wanted to go to Princeton, but they didn't let me in because I'm from New Jersey. And so basically I wouldn't have met Jeff and wouldn't have got into sports.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:16:33): Hadn't gotten into Indiana, I wouldn't have met my wife. And honestly, no other department would I have had such a good time as with the people that were here and do well in my profession. A lot of things are not in our control.

Rob Collie (00:16:47): That's right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:16:47): Some things are. Guy named Paul Oster writes books about novels about the role of coincidence in life. In every novel it's about coincidence. I mean, the whole plot is based on, "If I was 10 minutes earlier to this place, my life would've been different". All sorts of crazy things like that, but back to the subject, I guess. But go ahead.

Rob Collie (00:17:07): No, this is what we do on this show. So we [crosstalk 00:17:10].

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:17:10): No, this is great.

Rob Collie (00:17:11): You're fitting right in.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:17:12): You're like the opposite... I do these webinars for Becker CPA review and if I mention anything, like I mentioned we should have a third party or rank choice voting, I get comments saying, "He shouldn't talk about that".

Rob Collie (00:17:27): Mm-hmm (affirmative). Too human, too authentic. We need to drain that. We need to drain that out.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:17:31): No, I mean that's what the world needs more than ever.

Rob Collie (00:17:34): And we're going to get to that, man.

Thomas LaRock (00:17:35): I got a bunch of questions.

Rob Collie (00:17:36): Let's finish laying the foundation here. So we haven't even really said the word yet. Excel.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:17:42): [crosstalk 00:17:42]. Right.

Rob Collie (00:17:42): When people ask me who you are, one of the first things I say is that... I don't know if you agree with this, but I say like, "If there's a Yoda figure for the spreadsheet arts at IU, it is Wayne".

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:17:54): Well at IU, that would be true.

Rob Collie (00:17:56): Yeah. You get sent to Dagobah, you're going to be balancing things on your head and going into caves unarmed and all... Carrying Wayne around in a backpack, running through the swamp. That's what you're going to be doing. For the average human being... Not for the average human being listening to this podcast, but for the average human being, they would hear things like MIT math, graduate degree, and something arcane at Yale, and then they'd hear Excel and go, "what?".

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:18:26): Oh, so okay. Yeah. That's really a good question. It's not really in the form of a question like Jeopardy!, but it's really a good question. So basically my background was totally math and operations research. For example, the simplex algorithm, which is the way you solve linear program problems. I'd say my first 15 years of teaching, we would have a manually pivot-in and pivot-out variables. Don't worry if your listeners don't know what that means, but then Lotus came out, I guess. I started using that in class the late eighties, but then in 1992, one of my students said, "You should use Excel in class". And so mainly what I would teach is simulation and optimization, and so then I started learning in Excel. I said, "Gosh". So I teach MBA, so I don't teach math people really. So I said, "I can make this so easy and fun for them using Excel".

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:19:14): So then I would learn the optimization and simulation in Excel in 1992, and then as I got... all my teaching involved Excel, I saw I could do all the statistics in Excel, like the tables and the stat book. I always tell people the Z-tables, the normal random variable tables and the stat book, they're different in every book. It's just norm dist and norm inverse in Excel. The key to Excel is like... My wife watches the Food Channel. So Food Channel, you got to know how to mix up ingredients. So the functions are the ingredients in Excel and basically a student... Would always tell students, "Send me questions after you graduate". So one student sent me a question, I needed to learn offset. Another student sent me a question, I had to learn indirect, which I consider the two hardest functions in Excel. I don't know what you think are the most difficult functions in Excel for people to learn.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:20:03): I'd say offset and indirect, but I don't know if you have another one. But then I would just pick up all these functions and then Microsoft would add things like "sum fs", "count fs", and things like that. Like there's people... Okay, [Walkenback 00:20:18]. He's way better at Excel than I am, okay? And Bill Jelen is better at Excel than I am a little, I'd say. But I think my strength is, if you take my knowledge of math, my knowledge of business from reading books, and my knowledge of Excel, I'm sort of near the top in all three.

Rob Collie (00:20:35): Yeah.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:20:36): Like using optimization in Excel. Since I came from that background in simulation, that's so easy for me because, I mean... But for other people who weren't trained with the graduate work that I had and the undergrad work that I had, they're not going to get the most out of Excel. So like optimization, I'll bet most of your listeners that they've used the Excel solver. Don't use the evolutionary solver or the GRG multi start. But honestly, you can solve 10 times more problems with GRG multi start and evolutionary than with the linear simplex solver, which is basically what everybody teaches in school. Even the top MBA programs hardly teach evolutionary, but evolutionary solver is... And I've met [Dan Folstro 00:21:22], who wrote the solver, on many occasions, and he's... I don't know if he's been on your podcast. Did you say he was?

Rob Collie (00:21:27): Oh, he's queued up. I was going to say, he's coming up on the list very shortly.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:21:31): So what I would say about Dan is he's the best combination in the world of math, business, Excel, and computer programming. He knows the packages that are out there, like add-ins for Excel and things like that. And he went to MIT the same time I was there. I didn't know him, but he did. And he ran for treasurer on the libertarian [inaudible 00:21:52] in Nevada. Did you know that?

Rob Collie (00:21:54): I did not.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:21:54): Well, you have to ask him.

Rob Collie (00:21:55): It doesn't surprise me.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:21:56): And they moved from California to Nevada because the taxes were too high.

Rob Collie (00:21:59): Wow.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:22:01): But Dan, I've got so much... because we would be in some meetings with the Excel people. Sam Savage, who's done some work on operations research, but he, Dan and I would spend a day or two there giving them our opinions on Excel and what they could do in the future. And Dan, he's like world-class, topnotch programmer, topnotch math. Really, he never took a business course. He' the right thing, but he taught himself through his clients, I think, "What does business need?", as you guys have to. You guys probably didn't take business courses, but you know business now because you work with businesses.

Rob Collie (00:22:39): Our consulting team, they all came up working in business.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:22:43): Oh, I didn't know that.

Rob Collie (00:22:43): Several of them have MBAs, but that's not a requirement at all. But our team comes from the business side of the house, not really from the IT side of the house.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:22:52): Now that actually surprises me. It makes sense.

Rob Collie (00:22:53): I think, once you think about it, yeah, it starts to make sense, because like it's about business. It's not about the tech. We're really good at the tech.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:00): Oh yeah, for sure.

Rob Collie (00:23:01): I promise the listeners, we do not brief our guests on themes we want them to hit.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:06): It's like Jeopardy!. They don't tell you the questions.

Rob Collie (00:23:09): That's right. So a couple minutes ago you said something and I wanted to underline.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:12): Yeah, go ahead.

Rob Collie (00:23:13): I think it's come up even on the podcast before. Something that I believe very, very, very strongly, which is, life isn't the javelin throw life. Isn't the pole vault. Life and career is the decathlon.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:26): Exactly. I could tell you were going for that. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:23:29): Yeah. And so you don't have to be the best shot putter or whatever. I don't even know what's in the decathlon.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:36): That's the best way of putting it 10 events. I don't know what they are.

Rob Collie (00:23:39): Yeah. Me neither. I mean it's a really boring thing to watch, but it's a great metaphor.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:43): No, it really truly is. I'll use that.

Rob Collie (00:23:46): So if you're 90th percentile at a handful of things, you are suddenly 99th percentile at the combined thing.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:23:54): That's exactly true.

Rob Collie (00:23:56): And I've learned that about my own life, my own career. I spent a long time struggling with the fact that I wasn't the best at anything, and then one day I suddenly just like found my-

Rob Collie (00:24:03): The fact that I wasn't the best at anything. And then one day I suddenly just like found my niche, which was all of these things together and oh, okay. That's that's it all just kind of made sense. Finally, it's like that, that coincidence thing you were talking about, which is another huge theme for us, like, the children's series of books called Lemony Snicket's A series of Unfortunate events. But, there's a play on that, which is Lemony Snicket's series of fortunate events. And it's the path that brought you here, it's almost unbelievable how much coincidence was involved.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:24:33): There's a new book on the evolution of life called a series of fortunate events.

Rob Collie (00:24:37): Oh really?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:24:38): By Sean Carol, a biologist. Do you know like the most important thing that happened, that explains why humans are here, the dinosaurs getting extinct from the Meteorite because if they were here, they would've eaten us.

Rob Collie (00:24:51): That's probably true.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:24:52): I never thought of that, but that's in that book.

Rob Collie (00:24:55): The Jurassic part movies show us this very clearly, don't they?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:25:00): Yeah. The guy of the toilet.

Rob Collie (00:25:03): Whatever, that's how the last human would've died. Right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:25:07): So one comment on academia on what Rob said, which I think was totally brilliant. To get tenure in universities now you need an area that you can publish in and you almost have to be a specialist in something that nobody cares about basically. So like a generalist would have trouble getting tenure. I mean really, because there are some exceptions to the rule, some brilliant people who can publish in master many fields, but I can tell you, in most universities, people have one narrow area, they get their five or 10 articles on something maybe a couple hundred people care about, but that'll get them tenure. But, it's really hard. I got enough articles for tenure, I did fine with that. I'm not a role class publish one guy I went to school with at Yale.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:25:57): Paul Zipkin was the most cited business author because he had some really good inventory papers. But Inventory was his thing and basically also music. He liked to play music, but basically most people and another person I went to school with a Yale, her thing was queuing theory, waiting lines. I always have liked to read a lot. I'll devour books on now, I'm teaching this class on analytics. And so we're going to talk about the math of COVID after Thanksgiving, when we have to do Zoom. And then the last week we're going to talk about the mathematics or the empirical evidence on racial injustice. I read three or four books on that. Then I go to the original.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:26:37): If you work at a university, you can get access to any journal, I can find that source. I can [inaudible 00:26:43] know enough math. I can read the source articles for these books on racial injustice and go back and say, is this study a good study? Does it make sense? And so I gave them homework problems on COVID where they had to say, is this treatment better than the other treatment based on the numbers in the original study. So, it's knowing how to use the tools in your arsenal. If you have a good basic brain and you have a good basic set of knowledge in several areas, then it's up to you to go out and just learn the other stuff, which I think you three have done, because you have to, because you're working for companies that do everything.

Rob Collie (00:27:19): That's right. So something Tom and I have talked about a lot is Imposter syndrome. There's something about the way you describe coming up that made me wonder, did you wrestle with Imposter syndrome sort of in the earliest phases of your career? Do you, are you familiar with, I was going to ask you. Okay. So imposter syndrome is something that tends to afflict, intelligent people with integrity, which is they think of themselves as a fraud. When they start to achieve like those first glimmers of success, they don't feel like it's deserved. They feel like maybe they aren't good enough. Does this sound familiar to you? Maybe, you're like the most interesting man in the world. And you're like, I don't understand what an uncomfortable moment would feel like Rob, I'm sorry. I can't help you.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:28:02): No, I mean, I think I never had that problem because I always had like a low opinion of myself.

Rob Collie (00:28:07): You always had imposter syndrome is what you [crosstalk 00:28:11]

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:28:11): I think it comes to my life from something different that I probably shouldn't talk about. I never had a high opinion of myself when I look back at what I accomplished in the business school compared to the other people there. I think my body of work probably had more influence. I would say now to a wider group than the people. Almost, not everybody. There's a couple than almost everybody at the business school. You don't get recognized for writing books that are impactful in the business school. They don't care. They really don't. They care a little more. Now what we have in academia is in every field, we have A journals and A minus journals and nothing below that matters. So if you're an economist, you want to get an econometric or journal political economy. If you're an Operations researcher, get an operations researcher management, science, and there's a point system.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:28:58): And literally, they can deny it all they want. But basically if you've got four articles in econometric and you're an economist, you're great. Even of those articles, if they got in, they must have some impact, but there's some articles in those journals that have world shaking impact like pricing options. In 1970, the black-scholes option pricing model was in journal political economy and they won the noble prize. It's a black died and you can't win when you die. So he should haunt Stockholm because he should have won because he was the smartest of the people. In Indiana, we had a guy who was a genius, Jack mu. He was really an introvert. He passed away unfortunately a couple years ago, but there's a thing in economics called rational expectations. And it had a huge impact on economics. You have to factor in how the people will sort of know what's going on.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:29:54): So he invented that and got into Econometrica, but he never went to conferences. He wasn't outgoing and he was very humble. But then 10 years later, Robert Lucas at the University of Chicago wins the noble prize for rational expectations. But Jack invented it. He should have shared in the prize. There are articles on this. And so, his feild was Operations management, which has nothing to do with economics really. And so it's strange how people get rated in academia. In business, if you guys weren't good, you wouldn't have food on the table. I mean, that's the way, you have to deliver. But I mean, there are articles.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:30:35): We have blind referee, but there are a lot of articles that, they're mathematical gymnastics, but do they do anything for the world? Like economists are terrible forecasters. If you look at the forecast of economists one year out, just predicting next year's GMP changes by last year's GMP is better than the best economic model. They have all these papers on how out of forecasts in economics, but the forecasts are crummy. They get their published, but are they good papers since none of this stuff works.

Rob Collie (00:31:07): So many things to react to really quickly. First of all, you hear that folks? No one will admit it, but there's a point system behind the scenes for publishing.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:31:15): I Think get them drunk. They'll admit it.

Rob Collie (00:31:17): Okay. But that tells me, somewhere there's a PivotTable. That's deciding whether people get tenured or not.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:31:23): It's the Citation list, which I've never been able to find. That rational expectations paper probably had thousands of sites. So when you're up for tenure, they'll look up the site. If a tree falls in a forest or noise, if your paper got in the best journal, like nobody ever cited it, then basically they'll think less of it. So there's these citation indexes that are important. Like my books get a lot more sites than my articles. I thought I've never figured exactly how to go to that citation index question.

Thomas LaRock (00:31:52): It just sounds like it's, backlinks, it's just webpages and back links. It's like Wikipedia.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:31:57): It's like a search [inaudible 00:32:00].

Rob Collie (00:31:59): Like SEO.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:32:00): It probably is like that. I've never looked up the math behind it, but I think that's got to be what's behind the citation. It's got to be. And that's a solver model really.

Thomas LaRock (00:32:10): I'm not sure that's the right way to do it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:32:12): What would you change?

Thomas LaRock (00:32:14): Well, just because something is popular, doesn't actually mean that it's good or accurate.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:32:19): No, that's true. I guess if the reviewing process is pretty strict, they'll find flaw. But that's the thing if you got in the best journal and somebody finds a flaw later, it probably won't hurt you in your tenure. There are some articles on racial justice like that, where they were talking about, okay, stop and frisk in New York. So the first couple articles would say that wasn't racially biased. And then somebody came out with a new article this year saying the previous article was wrong. But I bet the guy who wrote the previous article, who actually happens to be a black economist at Harvard, basically he'll still get credit for that article. You make a very good point, because you might have been cited because your article was wrong. I didn't think of that since I was never on a promotion and tenured committee.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:33:05): I avoided every administrative job as long as in my career they asked me to be MBA chair. And I said, look at my office, you don't want me running the program because I am a slob. That got me out that job. Because, I knew I was really good at teaching, although I wasn't at first, but Excel made me good at teaching because I have terrible handwriting. As soon as I saw what Excel could do, I would have a mind meld with that like Spock and I could just see, I developed courses on spread marketing, spreadsheet finance, spreadsheet supply chain and spreadsheet sports. I got so sick of seeing these books that didn't do the stuff in Excel and made them use the tables in the back of the book. I couldn't stand that. It was so stupid

Thomas LaRock (00:33:49): Look, at some point there Wayne said I was right. So can we get that to a sound bite? Because, I'm putting that on my blog.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:33:56): Thanks. You're absolutely right. Because, those sites could be that your paper was junk.

Rob Collie (00:34:01): He just did it twice.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:34:04): I really think you're right on that. That's really good.

Rob Collie (00:34:07): Three times he said you're right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:34:10): No, I had never thought of that, which I'm ashamed of.

Rob Collie (00:34:12): There's still a couple pieces of background I want to fill in. We also talked about and where you and I first met was when you were out at Microsoft on one of your many ongoing trips, your visits to teach Excel to Microsoft.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:34:30): Old to new castle-

Rob Collie (00:34:31): Which is awesome. You said something else as well, which is like, you know how you learned Excel over time? Like the students would send you another challenge and that would force you to learn indirect, or offset or something like that. You definitely need some education, but the way you just described it, that incremental climb is even more important. That is really the path to learning it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:34:52): Exactly. To learn anything-

Rob Collie (00:34:53): That incremental journey is crucial to so many things. It's shocking to me, like how much of a culture of techniques can get developed at a particular organization. I would spend a lot of time on the Excel team, when I was working on Excel. We would need to do customer visits to see how people were using it and try to research what we could do to improve it. And all of that.

Rob Collie (00:35:15): Well the most convenient customers were our own finance department right at Microsoft. So, we would visit our own finance department to learn how to improve Excel while you were on the other end, teaching them Excel. And so there's sort of like this loop that was forming there. And then you come talk to us separately as a team, in the evenings, after you were done to teaching our finance team, just give an example of how crazy this gets. There was a way that Microsoft finance would use the get pivot data function.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:35:45): Oh yeah, which is a great function.

Rob Collie (00:35:48): A great function. You don't really need it anymore because [crosstalk 00:35:50] of what you did. At the time, anyway, it was awesome. But they had this trick that they almost like hacked GETPIVOTDATA. They would change some of the hard coded references that get Pivot data would give you on click to sell references to relative.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:36:06): That's what I do. Yeah. I do that when talking.

Rob Collie (00:36:07): Okay, so you taught them this. All right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:36:08): I'm not going to say that. I taught them that.

Rob Collie (00:36:13): I bet you did. [crosstalk 00:36:14]

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:36:14): Wow. That makes me really happy.

Rob Collie (00:36:16): Okay. So this influenced a lot of our thinking in terms of what we did with those features going forward, because we're like, oh my God, we cannot break that. Because, people are using that. We had no idea. And I learned later that it was only Microsoft finance doing this. When I talked to bill Jelen about this technique is if it was just common knowledge, right? Bill's like what?

Thomas LaRock (00:36:38): He put it in his book. I know.

Rob Collie (00:36:39): And then he went and looked at, it's like, oh my God, that's amazing. The thing is, bill teaches. I think he's retired from this now. But he teaches seminar. He tons of seminars all over the country, accountants. And he had never once run into this. Not once.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:36:52): That surprised me, that he didn't, put in his newer books and we borrow from each other's books. So I don't know.

Rob Collie (00:36:58): Of course.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:36:59): I get things from his books and like indirect with range names. I put that in my book and people took that. You make up your own examples. That's a really great example because, if you're not using Power Pivot, I'd say almost nobody who's in business knows that get pivot data, you can take the data out of a PivotTable, make it look at the way you want for reports and charts. And it's easy. You're right, you put one formula and a cell and then you put in row and dollar sign the column and just copy it across.

Rob Collie (00:37:35): That's right. Bill's jaw dropped.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:37:38): I'm glad to know that. I met him at a conference. He's a really great guy.

Rob Collie (00:37:43): Well, we're going to have him on too. There needs to be some crossover episodes where we get some of these people together.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:37:48): Yeah. I'm glad to Be on any time. It's my schedule.

Rob Collie (00:37:51): In some sense, we're almost assembling our cast of characters in the early guy, like Lord of the rings. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, and now we're going to introduce yeah. It's like when they discover a particular pod of whales, like killer whales, in a particular corner of the world, that's learned some new behavior and they're teaching their kids how to run up through the shallows and grab things off of land, you know? And no one else in the world does this. There's some habits that develop in particular organizations around Excel. I just thought it doesn't surprise me, that was something that you were teaching, but I wanted to connect those dots for you. Because, I've been haunted by that for a long time.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:38:27): I'm not sure if it was me who did that. Actually, I came up with the idea of using that. Of course, I would teach Cisco finance because Jennifer and Microsoft would recommend me to Cisco. And basically somebody said, I get this number out of a PivotTable, but then I add a new country, like I rack to the PivotTable and then I don't get the right number. Then I learn, GETPIVOTDATA. And basically I said, well you need to copy, GETPIVOTDATA around. Across and down.

Thomas LaRock (00:38:56): Well, we solved that problem in 2003 when we removed a rock from the PivotTable.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:38:59): Okay. No, that's probably when the [inaudible 00:39:06]was.

Rob Collie (00:39:06): Yeah, it was, it was, it was 2003. Yeah. Okay.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:08): I didn't even know that. I remember having debates about the middle east with Charlie Ellis who you probably knew.

Rob Collie (00:39:14): Oh yeah. I've been on the phone with Charlie within the last month actually.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:18): Tell him, I say hello. He went on his own too.

Rob Collie (00:39:22): He did. Yeah, so you've written a number of books, Wayne and you've got a new one out right now and I did the good podcast host thing and I gave it a good skim this morning on Kindle.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:36): I appreciate that because I gave you no notice.

Rob Collie (00:39:38): It's a very substantial book. Oh my gosh.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:41): It was hard.

Rob Collie (00:39:42): 670 pages on Kindle. I don't know how many pages I ordered the print copy.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:46): 500. Regular.

Rob Collie (00:39:48): I love the tone of it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:39:50): Thanks. I tried.

Rob Collie (00:39:52): There are so many books on topics like these that are inscrutably, academic and arcane. I can't engage with those. And then on the other end of the spectrum, there's the Freakonomics type books that don't really get into too much of the technique. They almost read like a novel. They're very entertaining and intellectual. I kind of get this sense that this new book of yours is like between those two.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:40:13): You hit a nail on the head of whatever the phrase is. That's exactly right. They're the books that are like Chinese food. You're hungry an hour later because it doesn't tell you how to do anything. And then they're the books for the data scientists, which you need your PhD. I'm using this book this afternoon and in the class I teach this afternoon. I have freshmen through seniors at IU, it's Honor students so they're smart. But they major in government, they major in biology, they major in psychology. My one freshman, who's doing great, she majors in dance but she got a nineties five on the test. So, she's doing great.

Rob Collie (00:40:50): She's going to run an analytics and BI company some day.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:40:53): Yeah, you have to have multiple perspectives and we're going to simulate the election in class today and we're going to do and talk about ranked-choice voting and stuff like that. But that's exactly I tried to come up with interesting topics. Like how should they have known Bernie Madoff was a fraud. There are three ways they should have known that. How did they figure out what caused cholera in England in 1854. That was probably the greatest doctor of all time, was the guy who did that. What he did was amazing. And the randomized trials we hear about with COVID I finished this book before COVID so it's not in there. I've finished it in March. I've written a chapter on COVID, that would be an addendum.

Rob Collie (00:41:34): Let's give it its due. What's the title of the new book?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:41:36): Analytics Stories. So, the cover is basically turning lead into gold or frog into a prince using data, which would fit you guys. My daughter works for a social media company and she's in advertising. And so the first cover was really a boring cover that had all these photographs of things in the book. She said, you need a fairy tale concept. So here we go.

Rob Collie (00:41:57): I wrote a book called PowerPivot Alchemy sort of under the same guys. That's a good title. Well, it didn't sell very well. I'm sorry to say-

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:42:05): But your other book has sold. I don't even know how many copies and it deserves to because I think you and I have, you guys have the same philosophy as I do. So you probably are too young to member show Hogan's heroes.

Rob Collie (00:42:17): We got it in syndication. Tom's old enough.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:42:19): I know nothing the prison guard used to say. So my philosophy in teaching is first of all, teach by example. And so that's the incremental approach. And then as soon that the people in my class are smart, but they don't know anything about the subject. And I think you did that in the PowerPivot book. You didn't have to know anything to go into that book and follow through your good examples. You're better than I am at. Like you have more patients with doing good screen captures than I do. Because that's a key to the book because that's what takes so much time in a book to do the figures.

Rob Collie (00:42:54): Yeah. It's a lot of work.

Thomas LaRock (00:42:54): I love the book. I love just how it read. Like you said, you're a professor that wrote this book and telling these stories and the way it gets broken down, like you say, you teach by example. I love [crosstalk 00:43:03] thanks. You start right off. It's like, Hey, what happened? What will happen, why did it happen? And the best part to me was how do we make something good happen? Right. And that really kicked me in the fields.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:14): That's Optimization.

Thomas LaRock (00:43:16): I want to ask about the chapter on American workers.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:19): Yeah, sure.

Thomas LaRock (00:43:20): Because there are two things that stood out to me, the first and I don't want to be critical at all, but I want to point out the fact that you said that Reagan beat Carter in a 2000 election and I know you meant 1980.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:31): No, that was a typo.

Thomas LaRock (00:43:32): I just wanted to say, if you need help with technical reviews, I'm available. I charge reasonable rights. I'd love to help you.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:38): Okay. If I write another book, but I'm burned out at this point. No, that's the worst typo in the book I hope.

Thomas LaRock (00:43:44): The chapter titles is the lot of the American worker improving.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:49): Right.

Thomas LaRock (00:43:50): And you gave a lot of evidence, but I'm not sure you actually answered the question. Is it improving or is it just something that we're supposed to figure out if it's improving for us as individuals?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:43:59): Well, by looking at the median, I said it, the median is my measure of income. And it's not improving, but I do think my weakness as a writer is writing conclusions.

Thomas LaRock (00:44:11): Okay.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:44:11): And I think a lot of these chapters probably needed conclusions. I was hoping in most chapters to let people make up their own mind. What I didn't do with that chapter and I regret it deeply now is look up the data by race, you know?

Thomas LaRock (00:44:25): Oh, okay.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:44:26): I've seen that since the emphasis on racial justice recently, I've seen data on that. If we looked at the white non-college grad and we looked at the Black American and the Hispanic American and the Asian American, the Asians have done great. One thing I don't think I put in the book, they're intergenerational mobility by race. The Asians, basically by far the most intergenerational mobility, like what percentile does the child go in the income relative to the parent and for the Black, there's the worst intergenerational mobility.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:44:59): But I just found that like a month ago I used it in a Homer problem on that chapter. Each of those chapters could have been a book, I guess it is my point. There are mostly stuff that hasn't been out there and they're pretty good. But there are books on the American worker. They're like the freaking up, you read 200 pages to get five pages. And so what I wanted to do is this, if you read 10 pages of this, you're probably getting 15 pages of stuff. My dream is this book would be taught in a high school like [inaudible 00:45:27] high school, because there's been a big debate about how high school match should go. And the Freakonomics author has been in the middle of this saying, we need to teach like analytics in high school. So people can be better voters and better decision makers.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:45:42): You have AP statistics. A great thing about Excel, which we hadn't talked about is basically, it's got like zero cost to enter into Excel, to teach somebody something. You just start typing number. These people in my class, they didn't know much Excel coming in, most of them except the business school students. I needed to teach them how to draw a scatter plot. So, we did trendline. I mean it took 30 seconds. We needed to teach them tons of PivotTables. Because like half the chapters, we had to create a PivotTable to show something. I just show them how to do PivotTables. They're smart. And I had to teach them how to do VLOOKUP. I know you don't need it with Power Pivot, but I had to show them how, if you have two lists scrambled, you can take the stuff from the second list and put it in the first list.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:46:31): The thing is, there's no learning. If you teach Python, which is definitely the coming thing. There's a big learning curve. You can go into Excel, teach people who know nothing how to do a lot of stuff. And that to me is really you teach them first day of class we did count FS, sumifs and basically they never knew it, but they had no trouble internalizing what it does. What would you say are the most important functions in Excel besides maybe VLOOKUP? I'd say those functions count FS, sumifs, average FS. I think those functions, they are probably more important than VLOOKUP, I'm not sure. If you had to rank Excel functions in importance, that's where I go. You could have a talk with Microsoft about that.

Rob Collie (00:47:17): But you could get all kinds of combative about this. You know, I just pick the IF function and stand on it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:47:22): IF is there too. I should have put IF there.

Rob Collie (00:47:25): Maybe that's a whole podcast where we fight about ranking the functions.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:47:30): You should have Bill Jelen on.

Rob Collie (00:47:31): It's like the desert island functions. Like you can only take 10 functions with you, that's only 10 you get.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:47:35): That's right. There's a song top 10 breakups.

Rob Collie (00:47:39): That's right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:47:40): Try fidelity.

Rob Collie (00:47:41): Let's talk about high school math. You mentioned that. This is something that I've been reflecting on a lot.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:47:46): And your son's in senior, in high school.

Rob Collie (00:47:47): Yeah, that's right. Yeah. I was like an apex predator of the high school Math scene. I was on the Math team. I took all of those classes. We went to the final four in the Florida state calculus tournament.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:48:02): You're from Florida. Where are you other guys from?

Rob Collie (00:48:03): In the Florida state calculus tournament.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:48:03): Oh, You're from Florida, where are your other guys from?

Rob Collie (00:48:04): Our crew here, we're from all over. Luke and I met in Florida, but let's zoom in on high school math in particular.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:48:10): Yeah, sure.

Rob Collie (00:48:10): There were so many kids in those classes with me who had been forced into them by their parents, or were supposed to take them, you take the next honors class, whatever. There was always this refrain of when are we ever going to have to know this? When are we ever going to use this in real life? And at the time I would just viciously crucify them when they said that. I was such a not nice person. I didn't know it. I would say to them, well, you're only saying that because you're not any good at it, but they were right. I'm here to tell you that they were right, because I basically do math for a living.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:48:44): Right.

Rob Collie (00:48:45): It's a reasonable thing to say. And I don't use any of that. I don't use Algebra II. I don't use Trigonometry. I certainly don't use Calculus.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:48:54): Great points.

Rob Collie (00:48:55): There's something about it, looking back. Are we still just trying to build the engineer's of World War II?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:49:03): Well, okay. That's a really great question because in the business school at Kelly, and I think most business schools, we require calculus and finite math; which your kid probably took finite math in high school. I would think maybe.

Rob Collie (00:49:15): But I like finite math. I would still probably teach something to do with that.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:49:19): Yeah, I think that's good. But they don't use any calculus in the business school, except if you're an investment major in finance. I'll give you a question and see if you can answer it. Why is calculus required in the business school if we don't use it? I can answer this for you, but take a guess.

Rob Collie (00:49:36): Is it just a weed out?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:49:37): No. It's because the math department would be financially bankrupt if we didn't require it.

Rob Collie (00:49:44): Even better.

Thomas LaRock (00:49:45): Oh wow.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:49:45): That's the truth because IU runs on budgeting based on credit hours. So if the math department didn't get their credit hours from calculus, they'd be out of business. So the president would never let us take it away as a prerequisite. Though we're looking for a new president.

Rob Collie (00:50:00): This explains why I had to take differential equations as part it of computer science. I wasn't going to be an electrical engineer.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:50:06): No differential equations, I think, helps you think about the world. But I think, as you put it, I'll put it more delicately than engineers of World War II. It's a stem curriculum. So basically the high school math curriculum is to prepare you to go to Purdue and be an engineer. Okay. There's nothing wrong with that. What percentage of the kids, even at a great school, like Carmel, which is about the best high school in the state, are going to be engineers? Not that high. You can find Levitt's podcast somewhere where he says this stem curriculum, it shouldn't be for everybody. You're right. You're incredibly successful doing math for a living. Calculus has no importance to you and trigonometry has less, unless you're building your own house.

Rob Collie (00:50:55): Let's fight about Bitcoin.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:50:57): Okay.

Thomas LaRock (00:50:57): Okay.

Rob Collie (00:50:57): I don't own any.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:50:58): I don't either. I wish I had in the beginning.

Rob Collie (00:51:01): I think that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, it has a much greater shot at being legitimate than a lot of people give it credit for. And for one very, very, very important reason, which is you can't fence it in.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:51:15): That was the whole point of it. I think.

Rob Collie (00:51:16): Yeah, it is immune. Not completely, but it's close to immune to capital controls. It is so easy to flee a country with your wealth in Bitcoin form.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:51:27): That's a good point. And I think the Democrats if they win will put a wealth tax. That's an interesting point. Yeah, but I don't know enough about Bitcoin to comment.

Rob Collie (00:51:37): You've heard about the people who sink their money into gold and then claim that it was lost in a boating accident, right? It's taking wealth just completely off the table; taking it completely off the radar. However, try to go across a border with $5 million in gold coins, right. And see what's going to happen to you.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:51:55): That's a very good point. I think you're right on that.

Thomas LaRock (00:51:58): But Rob, in the future, you're going to try to go across the border and they're going to know how much Bitcoin you have.

Rob Collie (00:52:03): How would they know?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:52:05): I don't think they can. I really don't.

Thomas LaRock (00:52:06): But they can always change the laws. If they find that's an issue; people are fleeing. You know, that they'll change the rules.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:52:12): That's a good point.

Rob Collie (00:52:13): At the same time. I just don't know how you enforce any such law. For so long Swiss bank accounts were a safe haven until the U.S. finally leaned on them and broke them of that. But for a very, very, very long time, Swiss accounts were used for all kinds of things that were illegal, but unenforceable. I think what we found in the cryptocurrencies is something that is orders of magnitude harder to enforce.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:52:45): I'm going to tell you both that there's a podcast you should listen to called The Missing Crypto Queen.

Thomas LaRock (00:52:49): Okay.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:52:51): You should subscribe to that. It's out of the BBC, it's an eight or nine episode series at this point and you can binge it fairly easily. And it's a nice tale giving you an idea of cryptocurrencies in general. I don't want to pick on just Bitcoin, but there's a lot of coins out there and they're not all legit.

Rob Collie (00:53:10): No, that would be good.

Thomas LaRock (00:53:10): Right, I'm sure there are.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:53:11): It's a brilliantly woven story. It plays like an old radio serial. Basically this guy or a team of investigators goes after this missing crypto queen.

Rob Collie (00:53:20): So is it set to, I don't know how to pronounce it. Is it Abba? ABBA? Is it set to ABBA's Dancing Queen?

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:53:26): It is not. There's nothing musical about it. No, but it's a brilliant production. The quality is amazing.

Rob Collie (00:53:34): I'll have the lyrics to crypto queen later today.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:53:39): I think you would both appreciate it.

Thomas LaRock (00:53:40): No, I'll listen to it.

Rob Collie (00:53:41): I hear what you're saying, but there's also like, how does that wealth actually... So when Wayne says hey, maybe it's worth 20,000. At some point, it's like any idea how it might have actually gotten to that 20,000? They really peel the layers of the onion about the entire industry.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:53:58): Oh, that will be great. I will listen to that. Princeton university press has a good book on the math of blockchain and Bitcoin. I have got the book, but I have not read it. I just haven't had time to read it because it's not easy.

Rob Collie (00:54:09): And they all have, I think, vastly different processing power requirements in order to conduct a transaction.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:54:15): Yeah, they burn a lot of energy.

Rob Collie (00:54:16): That is just a crazy, crazy, crazy downside. You conduct a $9 transaction and you burn more power than your house does. It's insane. We don't need that, that's something we don't need.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:54:30): That's interesting. I'll have to look into that.

Rob Collie (00:54:32): Bouncing around because that's what we like to do.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:54:37): Yo, that's great. I do that all the time in class. I talk about TV after I talk about offset function.

Rob Collie (00:54:41): And I noticed that in your book, you're quoting Billy Joel lyrics and things like that.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:54:46): Right, which I thought was perfect there and offset by the way is Cardi B's ex-husband. Just to mention that.

Thomas LaRock (00:54:55): I love the references. The pop culture references and things that you sprinkle. It's just; it was great.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:55:01): My students love that. I'd be talking about the off function and then I'd say, did anybody watch Gossip Girl Monday night? And they just crack up because nobody else does that.

Rob Collie (00:55:11): So just back briefly to the high school math thing again.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:55:13): Yeah, sure.

Rob Collie (00:55:14): There's another thing that's been haunting me about all of this; haunting me in a good way. So maybe haunting is the wrong word. It's really a feel good thing for me. Which is that I don't see much correlation at all between the people who are good at Power BI and their interest in math in high school.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:55:32): I'd agree with that.

Rob Collie (00:55:33): It's not a negative correlation either. It's just no correlation. I said we're building World War II's engineers and you said, it's just a stem curriculum. But to me stem doesn't carry, maybe it should, a negative connotation. It doesn't really have any explanatory power as to what we're doing wrong with it. We tend to talk about stem as a good thing.

Rob Collie (00:55:58): It's sacrosanct in a way. Then we also talk about, for instance, and this is a topic that I'm only halfway qualified to speak about, but that's good enough. Tom used to be involved and still is involved with a lot of conferences. Maybe we'll get back to that conference game after COVID runs its course. But at every conference that I've ever been to, especially the ones that I've been to with Tom, there's always been panel conversations about how to encourage more women into stem fields. And that's a recognition of the fact that it is a lopsided male, female ratio in a lot of stem fields. However, in our business, like when we're teaching classes, that's not the only thing that we do. Most of our work is actually consulting work, but we do teach a lot of classes.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:56:42): Right?

Rob Collie (00:56:43): The people in our classes, it's like 55% female.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:56:48): Oh good.

Rob Collie (00:56:48): The students, right? So there's a quantity advantage. And the quality is also what you would expect. It's 55% of the time, the best student in the class is also female. This is a real disconnect from what you would consider other stem fields. And at the same time, isn't what we do kind of a stem field? So whatever the forces are that lead to the average stem field being predominantly male, those forces are absent in my line of work. I don't know what the actual population composition is, but it's actually, if anything, it's slightly more tilted. It's just slightly tilted towards female in our line of work. And I just have found this fascinating for so long.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:57:29): I got a theory on that when you're done.

Rob Collie (00:57:30): Okay. Let's hear it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:57:31): Okay. So my theory is, women are more patient than men. If you're going to be good at Excel or good at Power BI, you got to learn how to Google or Bing something when you don't know how to do it. Almost nobody has the patience to do that. We do because that's what we are, but most people they're just not going to do that. I bet women when they're stuck on something are much more likely to figure out how to find the answer to it than men are. Maybe men are too proud or too lazy or whatever. But I think that may be why it's not going to help you in stem to Google stuff really.

Rob Collie (00:58:15): No.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:58:15): Somebody, she now works for Microsoft and she had a problem, and I think I gave her slightly the wrong answer last week, because I didn't quite understand the problem. But then she found on Google or Bing; probably Bing because she works for Microsoft. She found it somewhere. She knew how to search and find somebody online who had solved the similar problem and she could figure it out from there. So this incremental learning, a lot of it is you have to be willing to look something up. For instance, Bill Gelin didn't even know that power get pivot data, but he knows tons of things I don't know. I can almost always find online something I don't know but then I know it. I think women are just more likely to cycle through that pathway to knowledge than men. But that's my only answer to you.

Rob Collie (00:59:06): Well as a funny story, this isn't going to be confirmation of any sort, but in college I took two psychology courses because the computer science department required me to do two classes in something. So I picked psychology and of course the real purpose of Psychology 101 classes is to provide the psychology department with subjects for all of their various experiments.

Dr. Wayne Winston (00:59:28): Oh, right, right, right.

Rob Collie (00:59:29): So in order to get extra credit, you've got to sign up and be a guinea pig in various things. I got into this one where they provide a battery of interview questions like Scantron, multiple choice tests. What it really came down to was the theory they were testing was "were androgynous personalities more likely to be emotionally reactive than unipolar male or female traditional personalities"? I ended up watching these movie clips. Everything from boring stuff, horror films, sad things that happened in movies, all with these electrodes wired all over my body, on my hands to see if I was sweating in various moments. At the end of it, they explained to me that your interview questions, Rob, puts you very firmly in the androgynous category. And so that's why we promoted you to round two of watching the movies and everything. So there you go. It's the female part of me that draws me to excel.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:00:33): That's why you're good at this. No. In the business school, we don't have as many women as we have men. The women will major more in marketing and management. That's sort of what you're saying. And then in the math department we've got less women.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:00:50): In my honors class, it was a math and sports class. Last year I had a freshman, she took it, she was pre-med and she really knew nothing about sports. She didn't even know what baseball was. Okay. But she was the best student in the class. She would tear apart everything I did and try and understand every little detail and say could I have done it this way? She was valedictorian at her high school in Southern Indiana. So she's just really smart. It could be the approach we used to teach high school math as an approach that women don't like as much or they're taught they they shouldn't like it. I think if we did some research online, we could figure out why there's not that many women... Your data point is really interesting that there are more women who are basically high level analysts, I guess would be the title, (Senior Data Analyst) then there are men.

Rob Collie (01:01:52): Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:01:52): And they probably started out pretty low level, but they just.... It would be great if you talked to them after class and asked them, how did you get good at this? Just give that as a question. And you're to all the people, the men and the women.

Rob Collie (01:02:08): Well, it's always the same story, no matter who they are.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:02:11): Oh really? What is it?

Rob Collie (01:02:12): It's always like essentially like some sort of battlefield promotion. It's like that whole nature abhors, a vacuum thing. If you're in a particular department or a team or an organization, let's just call it a team for a moment. Every team in every business in the world has an Excel guru on it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:02:30): Okay. Well that black belt or something. Yeah.

Rob Collie (01:02:32): They're not trained in that. Sometimes it is, but usually it's not something that has anything formalized about it. No formal training. And the reason is, it's just out of necessity. If they don't have someone who is good at Excel, they're not going to be able to get anything done; that whole team.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:02:48): That's that's exactly right.

Rob Collie (01:02:50): They kind of like organically try out. Everyone gets tried out as to be good at Excel. The one person out of 15, and that's about what the ratio is. The one person out of 15 who shows some aptitude for it, that just becomes their job. That's what happens over and over and over again. The Vlookup and pivot crowd, which is its own subculture of the Excel landscape. A lot of the things that you do, Wayne, about simulations and...

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:03:16): Yeah, that's minor.

Rob Collie (01:03:17): It's not minor, but the Vlookup and pivot crowd is basically the world's BI.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:03:22): That's the survival. Yeah.

Rob Collie (01:03:23): Yeah. All the other BI in the world rounds to zero still relative to the Vlookup and pivot crowd.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:03:29): No, I agree.

Rob Collie (01:03:30): Another anecdote that I think is interesting on this front. And I know we're just a bunch of dudes sitting around talking about that there are more women in something. But even though what I've told you is true, the overwhelming majority of our job applicants are still male.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:03:43): That's surprising.

Rob Collie (01:03:45): It is something that we're definitely working on. We have several women working for us now as consultants, but as a percentage edge of our applicant pool, we're not seeing that 55/45 that we would want to see. Back at Microsoft, when I was building the very, very first version of what I called the great football project, where we were building this amazing stats portal that lets you ask all kinds of questions. For instance, these quarterbacks are good, but who's good in the third quarter? Who's good at completing third and long? Who's good at avoiding third and long? The ability to answer basically any question you could formulate. I thought this was going to be hot.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:27): It is now.

Rob Collie (01:04:27): Well, I'm not so sure. It would be hotter now than back then for sure.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:29): This was gambling.

Rob Collie (01:04:31): Oh. Yes, yes.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:32): In Indiana you can gamble.

Rob Collie (01:04:33): Really?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:34): You didn't know that?

Rob Collie (01:04:35): I didn't know that. I did not. I thought I had to go to French Lick.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:37): No, you can put it on your phone in Massachusetts. I'm not sure.

Rob Collie (01:04:42): I thought we were done talking about Bitcoin. Are we back to that?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:46): No, no. I'm talking about like Draft Kings or Fan Dual.

Rob Collie (01:04:49): Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:04:50): I mean that's where there's a site with pro football reference where you can query the stuff that you talked about.

Rob Collie (01:04:58): Yep. So we had this portal, we were focus grouping it. So we were bringing in people who were known to Microsoft, they were friendly to Microsoft, somehow. They were part of extended social circles of people that worked with us who were also into sports. And I learned several things in this process; one that's relevant here was that the men were not interested. They did not care.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:05:22): Really?

Rob Collie (01:05:22): They were not interested in what I was showing them at all. It was like they already knew what they needed to know. They thought they did. But time after time in these focus groups, the women in the group were leaning forward going, oh, but what about this, and what about that?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:05:37): In sports?

Rob Collie (01:05:38): Yeah, the curiosity.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:05:40): That's the word I was looking for. Yeah. I mean, women are more curious to learn. Men are just practical and they just want to get it done and then go drink or play sports. I mean women have more of a soul, I guess.

Rob Collie (01:05:56): I agree. Some of the things that we try to do are encouraging people to be more like men and I'm not necessarily sure if that's what we should be doing. But you mentioned Python earlier and you said it's got a learning curve. I'd like to adjust the terminology a little bit. I think Excel has a learning curve. Curves are smooth, right? Things like Python and C and Java, all these things. They have a learning cliff.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:06:22): That's brilliant. That's a better way to put it.

Rob Collie (01:06:24): You have to climb this vertical surface. A slick, vertical surface under icy, snowy windy conditions. And we're also going to oil it, we're going to put some oil on the cliff too while you climb it before you can even put your first dot on a chart.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:06:39): That's you should write a book with these quotes.

Rob Collie (01:06:41): And you mentioned this earlier, you think Python is the future. And I understand what you're saying, but I don't think so. I think the future is still Excel because of that learning cliff. Look at you. You came from a very, very rigorous academic background and it was only because of the accessibility of Excel to your audience, that you ended up drawn into it. Well, until something like Python has a learning curve, as opposed to a learning cliff, it's just never going to reach humanity in the same breadth. And this is something else that I talk about a lot, which is that Excel suffers a lot in its perception. Excel needs a better PR firm because it's grouped together with PowerPoint and Word. Everyone thinks of it as a document producer, a document container when it's really a programming language. The combination of the grid with the function language and the reference syntax, it passes every single formal test of what constitutes a programming language.

Rob Collie (01:07:47): It is the most popular programming language by far in the world. In fact, the people who use all of the other programming languages combined don't come close to the number of people who are, even if we just limit it to people who are using Excel at a high level. I'm deliberately challenging something. I don't think we disagree, really. I haven't learned Python.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:08:04): I haven't either.

Rob Collie (01:08:05): So there's something else we can be completely unqualified to talk about. Let's do it. What are the roles of things like R and Python? What tools do you use, Wayne, that are not Excel?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:08:15): Well, I mainly use Excel or add-ins for Excel. Like Monte Carlo simulation I use at risk and for data mining I use Dan Fouser, he bought XL Miner, which even if you have more than a million rows, it can sample. So I mean, you can fit a neural net and stuff like that. But I'll give you an example. I mean the Python people, if that's a proper phrase, they truly hate Excel. Now why do they hate Excel? I would like insight from you guys.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:08:44): But I'll give you an example. I have this book, Mathlethletics on Math and Sports. I wrote it all in Excel, because I know Excel plus high school kids can read that book and even middle school kids read my book on math and sports because they can follow it because it's in Excel. To me, one of the best things about Excel is you see your data. So if I want to like square something for regression, I say column A squared. In Python, I could say that, but I don't see it.

Rob Collie (01:09:11): That's right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:09:11): I mean it's the grid. It makes it really easy to see. So we just wrote a revision. I have a co-author who does Python. And so he did all the stuff in the book in Python, we still wrote the book in Excel. So one of the reviewers said, I love this book. It's perfect. One reviewer said, why did these stupid authors put this book in Excel? Why isn't everything in Python? I should have used the word, the cliff that you just used when I was talking to my editor. We'll put the Python on a website so if a data scientist wants to teach our book in Python, they teach our book in Python. You're right, 90% of the people who are going to use our book in class on math and sports. And it is the best selling book in that subject. Not a big market, but basically they do it in Excel.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:09:59): And I mean I can do logistic regression in Excel. There's a nice ad in Excel stat at letter X L L stat by a guy in France that does really advanced statistics in Excel. And I mean, you're right, it's a cliff, and you have to sort of master the whole Python language. And I think where Excel has tried to bridge the gap is Power Query. If you want to scrape the web efficiently for sports stats, Python's probably way better if you know it. But Power Query, if you're good at it, I think Power Query is fantastic. I don't know who developed that at Microsoft. How much of your classes do you spend on Power Query?

Rob Collie (01:10:41): A third.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:10:42): Okay. Oh that's yeah, that's good. Because there's not as much to learn. I would go to a power company in South Carolina and this person she spent two hours a day doing one task. I said, well you can do that in Power Query in 30 seconds. So I told her that and by the end of the break, I'd saved her an hour 59 minutes a day. It was just filled down. She'd have something in the first row, 10 rows of blanks, then something in 20 rows of blanks, something with 30, but it was always a variable number of rows. I said just do fill down and you'll fill them in. I mean, she was so grateful that she said, boy, that saves me so much time, 10 hours a week. And there are so many people who need to know Power Query and of course Power Pivot. You can do them on a hundred, 500 million rows, right? You work for Medicare or Walmart, you have to do that. They may be your clients. I don't know.

Thomas LaRock (01:11:41): So I've spent, I mentioned earlier, over the last few years, I've tried to pivot a little bit and do more data science stuff in my career. And I spent the last year taking just about every Python class that data camp has to offer. I don't know how many that is at this point, but I'm probably not qualified to answer this at all. But what I wanted to offer was, I think Rob...

Thomas LaRock (01:12:03): This is all, but what I wanted to offer was, I think, Rob, you're coming from this angle of saying, "It's one or the other." And I would tell you it's both. The future has both. And I can't help you understand why, like Wayne said, Python people hate Excel. I have no idea. I don't hang around with Python people. Maybe they do. But what I see is I see a future of both, because when I'm trying to work with Python sometimes I'm sitting there going, you know what? I understand they want to teach me how to do this in Python. But if I had to do this for my job, this part would be in Excel. And then I'd save it as a CSV and then I'd bring it in and then I'd do the data sciencecy stuff I need to do with Python.

Thomas LaRock (01:12:40): So to me, I see a blend and where you can see that blend, like Wayne said, I can't see my data, but if you're using R and you use RStudio, you do get to see the data frame and you do get to see the data. And that's a lot of power. I don't know of anything similar for Python, that's similar to what RStudio does, but there is a place for both the extensibility that Python offers and the usability that Excel offers. And I think the future is a blend of those two.

Rob Collie (01:13:08): And you know what, Tom, we have people at our company who are good at Python. We're in agreement that it's both. I do, however, I think, have an answer to why the Python people hate Excel.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:13:18): Okay, good.

Rob Collie (01:13:19): And you know what it is? This is one of those cases where the rule is, just take the cynical explanation and it's right.

Thomas LaRock (01:13:26): Is that like Occam's razor?

Rob Collie (01:13:27): Yeah, it is. It's just elitism.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:13:29): I think that's right.

Rob Collie (01:13:30): That's all it is. And that's really disappointing because it's this other topic that Tom and I have talked about, nerd bullies are the worst. We grew up as nerds. I know I did. People don't believe this about me, but I grew up, I was getting stuffed in lockers left and right. [crosstalk 01:13:48]. I was getting abused and traumatized at school every single day. And a lot of us were, right? And then to grow up and then acquire some sort of technical expertise and then to use that as a platform to continue the cycle of violence against others. It's just one of the most repulsive things in the world to me. And so when I see that kind of behavior and that's what it is, it is elitism.

Rob Collie (01:14:17): I mean, I've been around a lot of technical types my whole career. I study humans very intently. So whenever I encounter that type of thing, I'm just like, "Oh, this is the good stuff." I love antagonizing that kind of crowd. The Linux cool kids... That is the best, getting after them showing them the things that I can do. Oh, with my so uncool Microsoft tool set. I can do things that they can't imagine doing. They can't even fathom being able to do this. And I'm just like, "Yeah, well, you know, all you have to do is just be a little more humble and not be such a jerk and be a little more open-minded and you can do these things too."

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:14:57): Yeah. But one point on why I think the Python crowd doesn't like Excel and partially there used to be when they ran regressions, they'd give long answers. [crosstalk 01:15:08]. And I think that started the statistics. People saying you can't trust, Excel. And so from that point, the philosophy that you mentioned, took over. I think Microsoft left themselves open a bit.

Rob Collie (01:15:22): That'd be a very charitable interpretation of human nature. I'm not going to subscribe to [crosstalk 01:15:26].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:15:26): No, but the cliff is, why should you have to like climb El Capitan or whatever when you can go up a 50 foot hill? I mean, whatever you want to call it.

Rob Collie (01:15:37): If I'm a Python or whatever... A programmer, a developer, I'm not going to know Excel. I'm not going to know it. If you hate Excel, you also don't know it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:15:46): That's true. You have to love Excel to learn it.

Rob Collie (01:15:49): And vice versa, right? This is a chicken and egg kind of problem. It's just like a self worth thing. "If Excel is good, then I'm worthless," I think is the psychology, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:15:58): You're sure you want to be put this out on the internet?

Rob Collie (01:16:00): Well, we're going to find out.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:16:03): I don't know. I'll be really interested, but I actually think you're 80% right, at least.

Rob Collie (01:16:10): So Tom, we've got audio of him saying that you're right. And that I'm 80% right.

Thomas LaRock (01:16:14): That is also going on my blog.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:16:18): I can just tell you that the really good MBA programs, they're now adding Python courses that a lot of the students are taking.

Rob Collie (01:16:27): Does the marketing track at IU require your type of Excel class or not?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:16:32): Well, I'll give a good plug to the Kelly School of Business. The big four accounting firms. Oh, we say Kelly Indiana University School of Business. The Excel for the undergrads is far and above what any other undergrad school teaches. And a lot of the people teaching it, I'll brag on this, are my former students. We make the students take two courses. The first one is half Access and half Excel. And the second one is basically the management science class. And then if they're in marketing major, they have sort of a database class, which is in Excel and maybe a little bit of SPSS. But then they just add in the undergrad program last year, Python class, which a lot of kids are taking or they could take in computer science, but business students hate that class.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:17:20): We've got somebody really good teaching in the business school who teaches Python. The people I've talked to, who took that course, are very happy, but like I can tell you, Columbia, University of Chicago, Northwestern, they're adding Python electives to their MBA program. And that's just a trend from the last year or two. It's going to be a non zero percentage now. Like if you want to be in sports analytics, you couldn't get an interview if you didn't know Python.

Rob Collie (01:17:47): I was just going to say, Mark Cuban is learning Python. And that's all I needed to know.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:17:52): Oh, okay. I didn't see that. But I've talked to a bunch of the analytics people in sports and no matter how good you are, if you can't show you know Python or R you won't... And he sponsored AI for underprivileged kids, a seminar this week.

Rob Collie (01:18:08): We're not going to talk about this in any depth here, but we'll reserve this for some other time.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:18:11): Yeah, I'm glad. Anytime. This has been wonderful.

Rob Collie (01:18:13): A friend of mine just bought an actually relatively prominent known soccer team in Europe. He wants to do the analytical approach. He wants to do all that kind of stuff and he wants our help. So we're going to need to put our heads together a bit.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:18:28): I'll talk to you about that.

Rob Collie (01:18:30): Super exciting. By the way, you have a chapter on hedge fund performance in your new book. This guy is also a former and, I think, somewhat current hedge fund manager and a former professional soccer player and a former physics major who will be happy to talk to you about relativity.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:18:49): You know it more than I do.

Rob Collie (01:18:49): I'm going to see if I can eventually get him to come on this show, but he kind of likes to stay in the shadows. We'll see if I can get him to pop cloak, but for now he's going to remain a mystery.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:18:57): But can I say a word about analytics and soccer and I'm sure you see this in your work. Okay. What data should the people be working with? To run their company well, what data do you need to do your consulting on? Do they usually know the answer or do you help them get to that answer?

Rob Collie (01:19:16): It really depends. A Lot of times when we get brought in, they have a pretty good handle on what it is that they need. It's just really hard to get there. And Power BI makes it super, super easy, at least compared to traditional methods to get there. And so we're just like lightning in a bottle for them.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:19:33): Oh, I see.

Rob Collie (01:19:33): At the same time though, there's another principle that we've developed over time. And then this is just the absolute truth, which is human beings don't know what they need until they've seen what they asked for.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:19:45): Oh, that's another aphorism for your book, because I'll tell you the thing I'm bad at teaching or I don't spend enough time on it. What data do we need to solve a problem? You guys are probably the best qualified to write that book. And it would get used in schools. Getting back to your soccer. The key in soccer is digitizing the video because nobody ever scores. And baseball they just came up with Statcast. So you watch a baseball game, they'll say, he hit it a 105 miles an hour and it went 450 feet. And the launch angle was 30 degrees. So they digitized the video. And basically until five years ago, they never knew that stuff. So the baseball data set based on the cameras in the stadium is for this whole season, a billion rows. Now I think Power BI could, and.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:20:32): I would bet teams are using your power pivot without... Maybe they're your clients, I don't know, but basically I'll bet you there are big Python people, but I bet, to generate their reports on what they need, they would be using Power BI if they weren't to do a lot of their stuff. And it's like, "Is a pitcher going to get a sore arm"? You look at his spin rate and velocity over time and see if it's dropping and then you should rest them. I had an Uber driver in Florida, it's a tragic story, he pitched for the Red Sox in the year they won the world championship and then he pitched too many pitches in one game, and the next day his rotator cuff was torn. He was 23, end of career and he is driving Uber. If they had understood then that he thrown too many pitches.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:21:16): He might have pitched 10 years in the major leagues. But now they took that guy out in the Dodger game and they shouldn't have taken him out because he was unhittable and the analytics said to take him out. So analytics can only be a piece of the puzzle. You have to recognize non-analytic things in your business and I'm sure you run into that.

Rob Collie (01:21:39): Yeah. Maybe they made the right decision for the pitcher, but the wrong decision for the org.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:21:44): Oh, that's a very good point. And they only scored one run so they weren't going to win anyway.

Rob Collie (01:21:48): Yeah. [crosstalk 01:21:49].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:21:49): So I don't know. I don't know. The key in sports is what data do you need? And we have huge data sets now, which is why the Python people are needed. So that baseball data set is a billion rows. And they're just trying to figure out what to do with those billion rows. If you look at the Dodgers webpage, I think they've got 20 analysts. Now American football is the last sport to really have good analytics. And I still think they're working. The Colts have an analytics team and we had an interview with them, but they thought they were good enough. Sports is probably the best field to teach analytics in to people who know sports, because the problems are sort of well defined. And you can say, "What data do we need"? I know enough about business that I can go into a business and I can probably say what data you need to be keeping. And you may not be keeping it. And then what to do with the data. I'm good at that. But basically in sports it's been... We wrote the Math and Sports book 2007. It was obsolete before it came out. And every day we sent the final edition of our Math and Sports second edition. But it'll be out of date by the time it's out in the year because the field's changing so much.

Rob Collie (01:23:04): Well, the NBA was the first to add the sport view cameras, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:06): I believe that's true.

Rob Collie (01:23:07): It wasn't even league wide to begin with. It was only certain arenas, right? [crosstalk 01:23:12].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:11): Teams had to pay. You're right.

Rob Collie (01:23:12): Yeah. So I assume that the Mavs were probably in that first wave.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:17): Mavs and the Rockets. And the Rockets' GM just left for Philadelphia.

Rob Collie (01:23:21): That's right.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:21): The rockets never did that great, no offense.

Rob Collie (01:23:23): So it's only fair if Hinkey now goes to the rockets, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:27): Right, Hinkey. Yeah, trust the process. He was fired by Philadelphia.

Rob Collie (01:23:31): Yeah. Trust the swap.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:32): Yeah. Well, and the funny thing is Daryl Morrey believes in three pointers, which is the right thing to believe in. He's now through a team where they have the worst three point. Ben Simmons has made two, three pointers in his career.

Rob Collie (01:23:42): Yeah. Enough that both of them made SportsCenter, right? [crosstalk 01:23:47].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:47): Probably. [crosstalk 01:23:47].

Rob Collie (01:23:47): A Hundred percent of his threes are on Sports center. [crosstalk 01:23:49].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:23:49): I couldn't believe because Daryl said he quit to spend more time with his kids. And so now he takes this other job. The owner of the Rockets is a difficult guy to work with. [crosstalk 01:23:58]

Rob Collie (01:23:57): Maybe Ben Simmons is his kids now, you know?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:24:00): Yeah, Ben Simmons will be traded. I think he could bet on that.

Rob Collie (01:24:02): I've researched the Sport View stuff. It's rampantly deployed in soccer worldwide, those cameras are everywhere. So they're digitizing just like they did for the NBA. I've all also had some sessions with their sales team where we've gone through what's available and what they've got and everything. It's really impressive. But at the same time, the same sort of questions you're asking, I think, they're still pretty early into figuring out what's actually relevant.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:24:26): I can tell you what's relevant in soccer. There was a paper and actually was written by a woman who worked for Microsoft. The problem with analyzing soccer, and to be honest, why I don't watch it that much, is you can go to bathroom and miss all the scoring. Okay. So basically if you want to evaluate players, you have to sort of value the movement of the ball. Like if somebody steals the ball from me, that's worth minus something goals. If I make a penalty kick, that's worth plus so many goals. And the key to doing that is what's called a Markov chain, which you may have studied in undergrad. Some of you-

Rob Collie (01:24:58): In computer science. Yeah [crosstalk 01:24:59]. It's queuing theory, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:25:01): It's a state. You have states of the system and where the ball goes as a state and where it goes next is the next state.

Rob Collie (01:25:07): Yep. I read a book one time where there was a character in the book named Markoff Chaney. He represented the random element in the story.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:25:15): Was it science fiction?

Rob Collie (01:25:16): It was like 1960s, hippie Robert Heinlein inspired-

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:25:21): Oh, like Stranger in a Strange Land?

Rob Collie (01:25:23): Yeah. Yeah. It had that kind of vibe to it.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:25:26): No that's cool. Figuring out you needed to digitize. So in the NBA, the cameras, I think, look at the ball and the players 20 times a second. That's the humongous data set for just one game. And then they all now have the same data in baseball and basketball and NFL. They just hired a director of analytics. And so they're really getting better camera data in the NFL. But you'd think with that being the most important sport in this country, they would've had that data years ago. But basically in hockey has, because they played in the basketball arenas, the analytics of hockey has been coming up recently to be very important. I talked to the Indiana University, swimming coach.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:26:04): He thinks, are there things he can do with analytics and swimming? You got to know the sport and you got to know... Some people are good at thinking about data, "Like what data do I need to solve a problem"? Most people are absolutely horrible at that. I wonder if the people who take your class, do they have the knack for knowing, when they come into your class, what data you need to show them how to work with? I don't do a good job teaching that in class, because I run out of class time. But it's real important.

Rob Collie (01:26:33): You've heard me express some cynical viewpoints, but this is one on which I'm pretty optimistic. The people that come to our classes, in general, like the VLOOKUP and Pivot crowd. These are just really, really, really good people.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:26:46): Right. And they know their business.

Rob Collie (01:26:48): I love them. Like if the world were only VLOOKUP and Pivot people, we would live in harmony. It would be such a better place. So I have a really relatively high opinion of this demographic. It doesn't mean that we're perfect. It's always a work in progress, right?

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:27:04): No, you're absolutely right. You were talking about like, you've got to know the sport, but you've also got to know data. You've got to have that data gene that we talk about.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:27:11): And that's another great phrase.

Rob Collie (01:27:13): It's that decathlon thing again. [crosstalk 01:27:15]. If you have people who know the sport and you have people who are good at the data, but that's not the same brain-

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:27:20): Usually not.

Rob Collie (01:27:20): ... You're going to be very inefficient and really ineffective. And this is true in business. This is why we're seeing BI migrate outwards from the IT hub into the business units in the form of Power BI for instance. And it's the VLOOKUP and Pivot people that are being deputized in this game. Because they have that business knowledge, the tribal knowledge, all that kind of stuff.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:27:44): And they have the data gene.

Rob Collie (01:27:44): And they have the data gene, which again is not rampant in the business, but there's like one out of 16 that have it. And when those two things, the ability to execute and the knowledge of the business, the domain. Same thing in sports, right? I think most people get into sports analytics, especially these days. They like sports and they like data. But for a while there, they were just grabbing, like Wall Street Quants.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:28:06): That's who runs the Dodgers.

Rob Collie (01:28:07): Yeah. It's worked. So-

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:28:09): But they knew sports. Those people, I think.

Rob Collie (01:28:12): Tom, do you have any pardoning questions?

Thomas LaRock (01:28:14): The one question I have for Wayne, because he made that bold statement that Mark Cuban is going to run for president in 2024. Is that something that we can use when we promote the podcast? Like as a question, "Will Mark Cuban run for president"? [crosstalk 01:28:26].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:28:26): I'm just putting two and two together. I said him, the chapters of my book on politics and he was interested. And basically he did this thing on ranked-choice voting. See the way the country works, the Democrats and Republicans, they have almost nothing in common except one thing... They want nobody else on the ballot. They've made it very hard to be on the ballot. And I think he is going to spend the next couple year, I'm not saying he'll run, I shouldn't have said he'd run, he's going to spend the next couple of years thinking how you can get a valuable third party option and ranked-choice voting is the key. If we get third party on the ballot, the country would be much happier if they were able to rank the candidates. Maine, and one of its congressional districts is doing that.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:29:13): Minneapolis does it in all their elections. I'm going to teach that in class later today. And I think it's very important, but I think, Mark, first of all, he hates Donald Trump from a long time back. I mean, he's not alone in that. I'm an independent, I'm in the middle and the people in the middle, we have nothing. [crosstalk 01:29:36]. Ranked-choice voting, 35% of the population classifies themselves as moderate. But the primary system, basically, you get either the far-right or the far-left. That's how it works.

Rob Collie (01:29:46): I lasered straight to this chapter when I saw the table of content. This is where I went immediately.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:29:52): The voting chapter is really interesting. The math of voting.

Rob Collie (01:29:54): I agree. I think you're totally right. That the primary system is part of the problem.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:29:59): That's exactly right.

Rob Collie (01:30:00): You identified yourself as a moderate in there, which you know that, that middle 35% [crosstalk 01:30:06].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:30:05): Probably a bad thing to do.

Rob Collie (01:30:07): I really want moderate to get a brand makeover. You and I could both identify as moderate, somewhere between left and right. But in our day to day lives, would any of us really describe ourselves as moderate? It's such a vanilla milk [crosstalk 01:30:23].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:30:23): Need a better term. It's like-

Rob Collie (01:30:24): Yeah, I think we need like radical moderatism. Like the analytics driven. We need to disrupt, that there's something needs to change. And you don't typically associate moderate with a need or a desire or an enthusiasm to upset the apple cart. But with this apple cart needs to be upset.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:30:44): Right. We need compromising. There's just no compromising. Even under Reagan, there was compromising and basically these parties hate each other. Do you want my prediction for the election?

Rob Collie (01:30:56): Sure. Let's let's put you on record. [crosstalk 01:30:58].

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:30:58): And it's horrible. My prediction is, Trump will be ahead of election night, but when all the mail-in votes come in Biden will be the winner. So we told the guy building our pool in Florida, what's going to happen. And he said, "Well, if Biden wins, Virginia has the fifth largest militia in the world and they're heading to DC. I mean, that symbolizes where we're at. [crosstalk 01:31:19]. It's going to be a disaster if, the scenario I mentioned whoever you're for, if Trump's ahead election night, but the mail-in votes, they're going to fight every mail-in vote for a month. And then it'll make 2000 look like a walk in the park.

Rob Collie (01:31:36): We closed the previous podcast with Michael Salfino, by saying, "Yeah, we'll get together again right after the election. That is, if we're not out fighting the second American civil war on the street."

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:31:46): You got that right. What is his job?

Rob Collie (01:31:49): You'll really like Mike, he writes for The Athletic and FiveThirtyEight about sports analytics.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:31:54): Oh, I'll look him up then. I can find him.

Rob Collie (01:31:56): The two of you haven't quite crossed paths yet, but you're going to need to.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:31:59): The second civil war in the streets is, if that was your phrase, you're not far off because, I mean, I can tell you, I've talked to people on both sides and as all of you have, no matter what happens, it's going to be bad. I mean, whoever you're for, it doesn't matter. It's going to be bad.

Rob Collie (01:32:18): Wayne, thank you so much. [crosstalk 01:32:20]. This was a real pleasure.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:32:21): I'll come up there sometime to see you.

Thomas LaRock (01:32:22): Dr. Winston. Thank you.

Dr. Wayne Winston (01:32:24): Bye. Thanks.

Thomas LaRock (01:32:25): Thanks for listening to the Raw Data by P3 podcast. Find out what the experts at P3 can do for your business. Go to powerpivotpro.com. Interested in becoming a guest on the show? Email LukeP, L-U-K-E P, @powerpivotpro.com. Have a data day!

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