Journalist, writer, and MIT CMS associate professor Seth Mnookin moderated the Nate Silver talk, hosted by the MIT Communications Forum. Mnookin spent the first half of the two hour talk interviewing Silver and the remainder fielding questions from the audience, both in-person and via Twitter.
In the first hour, Mnookin and Silver talked about the beginnings of Silver’s career — Silver worked at KPMG, a consulting firm, right after college for several years from 2000–2003. While working as a consultant there, he began playing around with online poker and worked on a major league baseball prediction site, PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), for which Silver began gaining fame.
In his talk, Silver said that the reason PECOTA was better than its competitors was that it could “capture the range of forecasts,” and he tried to show the intermediate steps to get the probabilities he presented.
In 2003, Silver sold PECOTA to Baseball Prospectus and began writing for it. He resigned from his consulting job at KPMG in 2004 and worked full-time for Baseball Prospectus.