So what was true in business three decades ago—the path from inefficiency to opportunity, and then from brains to money—is still pretty much true of sports today. There’s just one truly delicious caveat. The riches for the best and brightest Wall Street traders back then amounted to more boatloads of money than they could dream of spending. That’s not the case on this side of sports. Some private investors in Silicon Valley approached Ayasdi about making money off sports, but Muthu remains nonplussed. “The thing I’m most interested in is not gambling or predictions or fantasy,” he told me, “but in-game strategy and GM-type decisions.” It was the latest example of the brains in sports chasing another kind of fabulous wealth. The wins are their spoils.
Truly great minds are not interested in how they can turn their idea into money, rather it is a side benefit of the problem that they solved. The reward is seeing their solution put in place and the satisfaction of knowing that they were right.