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Dan  Altman

Dan Altman

Sports Analytics & Strategy Expert


A Harvard-trained trailblazer of “Moneyball” in professional soccer, Dan Altman left a successful career as an economist and best-selling author to become one of the leading minds in sports analytics and strategy. His lively presentations, full of real-world examples, help organizations in a wide range of industries to use tools pioneered in sports analytics for forecasting, long-range planning, and decision-making. From hiring strategies and team-building to creating incentives and measuring performance, he brings the best thinking from the playing field into the workplace. Dan has presented all over the globe on sports analytics, Big Data, people analytics, and economics, including at the Wharton People Analytics Conference, MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and IBM Finance Forums. Mixing true stories from the worlds of sports and business, he explains how any team can win by the numbers – optimizing individual performance and organizational success. Read More >

Dan is a co-founder of NYK Capital Management, an investment firm focused on soccer clubs, and the founder of North Yard Analytics, a sports analytics consulting firm that applies “Moneyball” techniques to soccer and other sports. He also spent two years as head of strategy at Kaplan-Levien sports, the owner of three soccer clubs in the United States and United Kingdom. Outside of soccer, Dan works with US Olympic teams to generate an extra competitive edge, through both tactical decision-making and people analytics. Before moving into sports, Dan used Big Data in many contexts as an economist, at one point creating a ten-year simulation of the criminal population of England and Wales as an advisor in the British government. Earlier, after finishing his doctorate at Harvard, he also spent several years as an economics columnist for The Economist and The New York Times. Immediately before his career change, he worked as a director of Dalberg, a global strategic consulting firm, and was senior editor for economics at Foreign Policy magazine. At Foreign Policy, he created the Baseline Profitability Index for assessing the attractiveness of global markets for direct investment. A former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has lived and worked on four continents and is comfortable making presentations in Spanish.

A dynamic speaker who makes the power of Big Data and analytics come alive through stories from on and off the playing field, Dan provides invaluable approaches to almost any aspect of workplace performance and business success. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Speaking Reel

The Economist Innovation Summit

CBC Interview: FIFA Scandal

Economists' View of Big Data

China's Economic Future

Socioeconomic Mobility

U.S. Economic Outlook

Leicester City

Sports Analytics

Speech Topics

Build Your Team: How Modern Sports Supremos Blend Quality & Cohesion for Maximum Results

Just as in sports, success in business means building a strong team of people who can work together. Individual expertise doesn't always guarantee cohesion, though, so how can a company ensure a good mix of both? Sports franchises grapple with this question every season, and Dan Altman reveals the analytical tools and techniques they use to target success. From building a team from scratch to creating a single-minded unit on the field, Dan shows how take team chemistry and performance to the next level.

When the Numbers Meet Your Gut: Making Better Decisions in the Era of Big Data

Analytics have started to penetrate every aspect of corporate decision-making, but mixing big data with human input can be a huge challenge. Dan Altman has faced this challenge repeatedly in the sports world, and he knows how to get the most out of human expertise using analytical tools. In a presentation based on real-life experiences from several sports, he discusses how to quantify so-called "soft" factors and create processes that transform subjective information into objective decisions.  He also explains how to prevent biases implicit in our minds from eroding the value of our objective data.

Measuring Performance On & Off the Field: Tangibles, Intangibles & Interactions

Sometimes the most important aspects of an employee's performance are the ones the usual numbers miss. It’s as true in the workplace as it is in sports. But how can a manager measure these hidden benefits and seek them out in the labor market? This is one of the most important topics in people analytics – the key to helping a company make its whole greater than the sum of its parts. Mixing examples from sports and the corporate world, Dan Altman shows how to figure out which employees fit together best and who might have hidden benefits that regular metrics won't capture.

How Much is a Goal (or a Dollar) Really Worth?

Just as in sports, every success in the business world opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Understanding the value of success requires a new way of looking into the future, using predictive methods to account for every twist and turn that may occur. Through true stories from sports as diverse as professional soccer and Olympic weightlifting, Dan demonstrates how leaders can use this new thinking to gauge the overall effects of their decisions, both now and in the years to come. He also explains the benefits of taking the long view, showing how farsighted sports franchises and other companies have equipped themselves for even more success.