As one of the leaders of the infamous MIT Blackjack team, Jeff Ma was the inspiration for the main character in the best-selling book Bringing Down the House and the hit movie, 21.
In addition, he has helped start four different companies including GolfSpan.com (sold to Demand Media), CircleLending (sold to Virgin), Citizen Sports (sold to Yahoo) and tenXer (acquired by Twitter). In that time, he has become a sought-after speaker showing companies how to harness the power of numbers to make better bottom-line business decisions; decisions that, often, are the difference between winning and losing.
Beyond his work in the start-up world, Ma has worked as a consultant to the San Francisco 49ers, the Portland Trail Blazers and Adidas, helping them to make better decisions using data and analytics. He spent two years working as on-air talent for ESPN and served as their first Predictive Analytics Expert. His book, The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big in Business was a business bestseller and draws on his unique experiences at the table and in the sports world creating a truly accessible work about business analytics.
As of 2020, Ma is the Vice President of Microsoft for Startups. He previously served as the Vice President of Analytics at Twitter, where he lead the central analytics and data science team helping the company to make better data-driven decisions. He left Twitter in May of 2018 and is currently exploring opportunities around the intersection of media, analytics and legalized sports betting.
Data, gleaned through technology, is not only supposed to help us do our jobs, but do them better. Sometimes, it can even make us ten times better than the average employee. Through the lens of his experiences in blackjack, pro sports consulting, and Hollywood, Jeffrey Ma discusses the importance of setting goals as well as tracking your progress and productivity along the way, and how gaming, analytics, and competitive tracking can lead to more useful, constructive feedback and more motivated teams and employees.
How one deals with losing tells a lot about the person. Losing tests our confidence, our conviction, our ability to deal with future risk and more importantly our character. The real story and real lessons of 21 come from the adversity faced on the blackjack table. Sharing the story of losing $100,000 in two hands of blackjack, Ma reveals how he recovered his confidence through teamwork, trust, creativity, and goal-setting. “The $100,000 Lesson” is about more than winning and losing: it is about learning how to fight obstacles in order to create the best team possible.
Drawing from his unique personal experiences, from the blackjack table to consulting professional sports teams, Ma talks about innovative metrics in a way that will make you reevaluate how your group accesses talent, finds undervalued assets, and measure the true worth of your business. By eschewing emotion and honing in on hard facts and results, Ma has helped usher in what Newsweek calls “a new age of numbers in corporate America.”
“Jeffrey was amazing!! Money well spent. He was especially engaging in the Q&A. Our thanks to him for the great experience.”