Darts as a Strategic Financial Management Metaphor

Jan 15, 2011

This blog post from Alemi, a Cornell physics graduate student, had me thinking about the analytical work that we do at Opus:


After playing darts with a friend, Alemi used statistical analysis to develop a dart-throwing strategy to optimize points while taking into consideration the capabilities of the dart thrower.  Alemi concludes that an exceptionally skilled dart thrower should aim for the Triple 20, that an average dart thrower should aim for the lower left quadrant and that a poor dart thrower (i.e. likely to miss the board altogether) should aim for the left-center of the board.

Alemi’s analysis and conclusion offer a startlingly apt metaphor for much of the core analysis that we undertake for Opus clients.  In this metaphor, the dart thrower is the Opus client.  The board represents the choices the client faces like target market, channels, product mix, etc.  Whereas Alemi uses a normal distribution of dart throw observations, in the Opus metaphor, the dart throw observations would be the Opus client’s financial statements.  That’s a pretty good metaphor for what we do at Opus: we evaluate the capabilities of the dart thrower by taking a close look at the financial statements and develop a strategy for optimizing the throws of the dart.  Often we find that clients are aimed at Triple 20 when they ought to be aiming lower left or left-center based on their capabilities.  Sometimes they might not even be aiming at all but instead throwing darts randomly.  Whatever the case may be, we analyze the data to come up with a better strategy.

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