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Because thinking is hard

Back in January we wrote about some of the cognitive biases that can hinder our better judgement when recruiting new players. For example, we might overvalue experience – because know-how feels safe and so we assume it’s important – or be overly optimistic about a new player because we desperately want the signing to work out.

Since writing the piece, we came across this handy cognitive bias cheat sheet courtesy of Buster Benson, Platform Product Lead at Slack, who’s set to write a book around these topics.


You can download the cheat sheet here (we have it printed out and pinned up on a wall in our office).

In his cheat sheet Benson points to four common scenarios that lead to biased thinking. Consider them in a player trading context: sometimes we have too much information to process, so we many only end up noticing a player’s memorable but unrepresentative moments, like tournament performance or goals scored against our club. Conversely, when there’s not enough meaning in the information we tend to fill the gaps with assumptions based on our current mindset, like our own perceptions of value in experience. When there’s not enough memory we tend to save space by generalising or remembering the outliers (the exception to success, rather than than the norm). When there’s not enough time – perhaps the most applicable scenario in a football context – we’re more likely to assume that we’re right about a player and so execute the transaction without proper due diligence.

Objective thinking is hard and so – to protect against cognitive biases in player trading – we’ve been developing a smart new tool called Acquisition. By enabling quick yet comprehensive player due diligence, Acquisition helps clubs mitigate risk and maximise success in the transfer market. If you’d like to see it during the summer window, just let us know.

About Blake Wooster

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