Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Something For Soscia, Girardi, & Charlie Manuel

It’s the probabilistic decision making tool for baseball managers.  On the iPhone.  It’s like a business intelligence application in the palm of your hand 🙂

Basically, it takes the probabilistic models of either Win Expectancy or Run Expectancy (any given action has some probability of contributing a run or a win) and given a situation, attempts at offering whether it’s a good idea or bad idea to execute that plan.

StealView-1Here we see a situation where the manager is wondering if it’s a good idea to attempt a double steal.  An obvious dependency is knowing the stolen base success rate for the runner on second (it also assumes that the catcher will only attempt to throw at the lead runner, a pretty safe assumption).  If we’re baseball freaks, we might also note that there’s not contra-factor around the probability of a pick off move, I don’t see how the catcher’s rate of successful pick offs is factored in, etc. – but we’re nitpicking….

Once the decision to execute is established (press the button! press the button!) then we receive a screen that tells us whether it’s a good or bad idea, respective of how much our win (or run) expectancy increases or decreases.


Now obviously, this is more of an “armchair quarterback” (to mix sports in metaphors) sort of toy, but it got me to thinking that this would be pretty fun for us to have something like this for risk or threat based modeling.  Rather than a baseball diamond, we might conceive of a set of connected IT objects/assets (a business process, maybe), each with their own “expectancy” to do some combination of Prevent/Detect/Respond to various threat sources.  Do I want to add more Prevent?  Bad idea!  Your risk is reduced at an insignificant level compared to the investment required to achieve that new level of prevention.  Do I want to add more training?  Good idea!  Training analysts in “detection” increases the risk reducing probability for this group of assets in an economically efficient manner.  Obviously, this is all probabilistic, but all decision making is, right?  I mean, this is why I’m NewSchool, I hope that someday we’ll reach this level of sophistication as an industry.