Does Mathematics Make you Money?

Dave Clark: People who can do high level math are practically a commodity. People who can figure out which problem is the right one to solve and then apply high level math are both expensive and elusive. Those who can communicate effectively the answer in such a way managers can understand, priceless.

(Dave Clark = Vice President of North American Fulfillment @ Amazon.com, quoted by Timothy Hopper, shared by John Cook)

Daniel Lemire: My concern is that “priceless” can mean two things: “no money” or “infinite money”. Which is it?

John Cook: James Goodnight of SAS is worth $6.9 billion.

Lao Tzu: To be so employed _at Amazon_, one needs as well a BA-level knowledge of computer science.

Lao Tzu: +Daniel Lemire I’ve wondered that specifically with regard to mathematical finance. Otton Nikodym, Johann Radon, Igor Girsanov, Robert Cameron, W.T. Martin all have theorems named after them that are taught in the MFE, but none of the men attained wealth.

Daniel Lemire: +John Cook As someone who was forced to use SAS software for years, I doubt very much that James Goodnight’s wealth is derived from his work in mathematics. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

Preston Bannister: As the guy who can understand complex systems, and (unexpectedly – ask my high school English teachers) can write well enough to bring everyone (including managers) to understanding and concurrence … there seems to be “less” to the “priceless”.

Then again, perhaps I am doing it wrong.

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