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July 9, 2010
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If you’re wondering how to harness the power of the numerati in your own enterprise, consider participating in the webinar my colleagues at SmartDataCollective are holding on July 15. It’s called Trendspotting for Growth, and it features analytics experts from SAS, Warner Home Videos, and Teradata, among others.

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If you’re wondering how to harness the power of the numerati in your own enterprise, consider participating in the webinar my colleagues at SmartDataCollective are holding on July 15. It’s called Trendspotting for Growth, and it features analytics experts from SAS, Warner Home Videos, and Teradata, among others.

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I thought I’d pay tribute to the upcoming Dutch-Spanish World Cup final with a look at the history between the two countries. This 1634 painting by Diego Velazquez, The Surrender at Breda (also known as Las Lanzas), depicts a scene from Holland’s 80-year war to liberate the country from the Spaniards.

In the 1620s, the Spaniards laid siege to the town of Breda. The villagers resisted heroically, but in the end, in 1625, the town fathers surrendered the keys to the Spaniards. In this scene, the Spanish leader, a Genovese named Ambrosio de Spinoza, is trying to prevent the Dutchman from kneeling. No need to add humiliation to defeat. (We’ll see if that same notion prevails, on one side or the other, in Sunday’s game.)

What I find interesting is the contrast between the two sides. Velazquez depicts the Spaniards, on the right, as noble and elegant. It’s not just their clothes. Their lances are long and thin. The Dutch, on the left, are far more modest, and their pikes are stubby and strong. On the soccer field, the Spaniards, with their precision passing game, are more elegant than the Dutch. But the Dutch, with their ability to kick in rockets from 30 yards out, might be stronger.

One more point about the painting. To focus the viewers’ attention on the drama in the middle, Velazquez closed the right flank with a horse’s ass–a bold strategy. We’ll see if the Spaniards are bold on their right flank on Sunday, and if the Dutch come up with the right response.