Bad, BAD lessons from the NFL Draft

Leaders in business seem to follow a lot of lessons from the NFL.  Some are good, of course.  But some are bad, bad lessons.  The 2011 NFL Draft, which commenced last night (Thursday) with the first round of selections, provides a perfect example.  While there weren’t a whole lot of huge surprises, there were indeed a few.  (Hint, the #8 pick) That is always the case.  Some players drop further than projected, while others get selected sooner than even they may have expected.  Some teams address the exact positions they need, while others operate under the philosophy to take the best player available, regardless of position.  I mean, what do we expect?  It’s human beings evaluating human beings.  What could go wrong?

Tom Brady was the 199th player taken because he didn't pass the eyeball test..

The NFL and those who make their name and reputation, not to mention a lot of money, from the draft like to pretend it’s a science, this evaluation of players.  Like business and financial analysts, they have all the data they could possibly need- some (like me) would argue too much.  They measure these players, weigh them, and watch hours and hours of game film.  They check their body weight and test their physical strength.  They have doctors evaluate the severity of any past injuries and look for the potential of future ones.  They even claim to effectively test the cognitive abilities of prospects with a test known as the Wonderlic. (Click Here to see how you measure up) Read more of this post


Dirty Data

In the business world, we get data in all kinds of formats and ways.  Often times this data is what I call dirty and in need of cleaning.  The most common culprits can be easily fixed.  Below are some of them and my most oft-used remedies.

Weird space at the end (or beginning) of text in field
Sometimes I download data, copy and paste it from another source, or get it directly from a database.  And, for some reason,  there are fields or cells with spaces at the end.  My experience tells me that this is usually one of two things.  Either somehow (often data entry error) a person typed a space at the end or beginning on accident.  Or non printable characters (such as carriage returns or the tab key) have been appended.  The latter often happens when converting a tab delimited file. Read more of this post