Small Ball Money

Small Ball Money


Written by Brandon Yee and Cameron Dryden

By now we have all heard the story about the Oakland A’s 2002 team that radically changed their baseball strategy.  The problem was that the Oakland A’s were a small market team.  They did not have the payroll to hire a lot of big hitters, like the Yankees or Red Sox.  The prevailing theory at the time was to hire a lot of big hitters to make big plays, and nobody questioned it.  At least not until Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, was forced to think differently.   Billy Beane’s big insight was to focus on getting on base.  In other words, focus on just getting in the game; because once you are in the game, you can make things happen!Man holding a bat

By now you are probably asking, so what does this have to do with me, or business?  Well let’s go back to Billy Beane’s first insight, a small market team needs to think and act differently than a big market team.  That is to say, a small company needs to think and act differently than a big company.  Big companies have the time, money, and resources to develop products completely on their own.  Small companies don’t have that luxury.  They need to focus on their core strengths, and outsource everything else.  For a small company, time to market is critical, a missed window could sink you.  Outsourcing can add speed and agility to your product development process.  In other words, play small ball.

But what if you’re a big company?  Let’s remember that the Red Sox finally broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 by adopting the Oakland A’s small ball tactics.  By adopting some of the strategies of a small company, a big company can become more agile.  Many companies want to build everything in-house, but this can lead to long development cycles.  By outsourcing, you can expand your product development team and cut your time to market (for example, AOA Xinetics prototyped the 1st Advantage Checkout® system in 6 months).  An outside development team can also act as private competition to the in-house development team, spurring them on and identifying waste.

In the end, whether you’re a big company or a small company, by focusing on getting a product into the market place, we are focusing on getting into the game.  Once we’re in the game, we can make things happen!

About the authors:

Brandon Yee is the Business and Marketing Strategist for AOA Xinetics.  He has spent the past 5 yrs helping companies create strategic partnerships to create new and innovative products.

Cameron Dryden leads the Product Design & Maintenance business area for AOA Xinetics.  He was the 2013 NSBE’s Distinguished Engineer of the Year and his products have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Vision Systems Design, Supermarket News, Cincinnati Business Courier, Photonics Spectra, and numerous other publications.

About Northrop Grumman AOA Xinetics:

AOA Xinetics offers world-class engineering, manufacturing, and maintenance solutions, giving its clients a competitive advantage with electro-optical and opto-mechanical equipment.  Its two main business areas are Product Design & Maintenance and Intelligent Optics.


Advantage Checkout is a registered trademark of The Kroger Co.