Test Match Sofa. This is what the Internet is for.


Regular readers will know that I’m a cricket fan. Being a cricket fan in Germany is awkward, as unless you con the beeb into thinking your computer isn’t in Germany, you can’t get decent audio or  video coverage.  This post will not be about the dumbness of DRM, but if the BeeB is reading, I will pay handsomely for legal iplayer access to cricket.  See my earlier moan here.

At the moment the Ashes are on. I never thought I would say this  but I’m supporting England this time around.  Partly because a good number of the line up have the same accent as I do, but mainly because of testmatchsofa. 


Rob, Dan, Jarrod and Nigel

Testmatchsofa, where Goethe, a bit of  swearing, leg breaks, comedy jingles, Chardonnay, Twitter, profound cricket knowledge, more than a smattering women commentators  and dodgy South African accent imitations  combine for compelling listening.

Their show exploits a lot of the web 2.0 technologies and concepts that I discuss and analyze as part of my day job.

1. Creation and broadcast costs are close to zero.

2. Multi-channel delivery. flash, iphone, native web, gadgets etc.

3.  Audience participation.  The sofa team don’t just use twitter to broadcast messages, they answer questions and chat with their audience.

4. Mashups. The combination of the cricinfo text feed, twitter and the broadcast gives a better experience than radio alone.

Sofa works because the gang actually know cricket. They may not have opened the batting for England half a century ago but they know their way around the Wisden, and they love the game. 

The game of cricket is now thoroughly professional, but is good to see that the cult of the amateur is alive and well beyond the mid-wicket boundary. 

To the gang at testmatchsofa, keep the commentary coming. Just drop the KP accent imitation, please.

Banging on about HR analytics.

Regular readers will know this is one of my regular themes. HR,  analytics and a bit of cricket.

Tom Davenport, over on his Harvard blog, picks up on how HR could learn from Basketball.

How do analytics spread in sports? It usually starts with a few individuals who have seen their application in other domains (Daryl Morey of the Rockets, for example, was a fan of Bill James, the baseball stats Geek of Geeks), and figures they will work in a new context. Some like-minded rich people bankroll the experimentation (in the Rockets’ case, owner Leslie Alexander), and the team starts to perform pretty well (Houston had a 22-game winning streak last year despite injuries to key players). New metrics get developed–both by teams and amateurs outside them. Then other teams catch on. The last time I checked about a year ago, roughly half of NBA teams had statisticians on staff.

I wonder how many HR department have statisticians on their staff?

As a boy I wasn’t good enough to be in the cricket team, so I ended up being the scorer. I enjoyed it, and since then I have had an interest in how to measure performance. My German friends think it very odd that I can derive enjoyment from following a text based cricket commentary for 5 days, but anyway. There is beauty in these numbers (unless you are an Australian cricket fan).


  I’m continuing to focus on HR analytics in my research, I recently did a note on absence management. Absence  costs UK organizations 3% of payroll, yet less than 50% of organizations measure or analyse it.  Time to train up a few scorers I think.


photo from vapours cc flickr. thanks.

Hair and cricket

I’m a cricket fan, odd that,  living in Germany, I know.  Over the years I’ve picked up various bits of cricket memorabilia including this magazine from 1902, Cricket of Today and Yesterday.


Not a lot has really changed, quoting from 1902.

“in a word the spring of the coronation year found the British public on the  tiptoe of expectation with respect to the doings on English grounds of the Antipodean cricketers who has so manifestly outclassed our representatives on Australian grounds.”

This isn’t about the Australian umpire, Darrell Hair. But about cricket’s odd relationship with hair growth advertising.


This tradition has continued. Graham Gooch, former England captain became the pinup for Advanced Hair Studios. Actually the fellow in the advert above looks rather a lot like Mr Gooch.  It is a pity thegoogly.com  has gone into hibernation, as they have a penchant for collecting Gooch look alike images. 

You can see the apparent before and after effects here.  (this is a novel use of flickr)

The greatest spin bowler ever,  Shane Warne, has also  advertised the merits of  these hair-growth products. 


Incidentally, the firm in question, Advanced Hair Studio,  has been rebuked by the advertising standards folks about misleading adverts.

Not much changes. The Australians are still the best at the game,  and we still are on receiving end of  meaningless  celebrity endorsements.