The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Christoph Riedl

D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University

Quantifying Patterns of Success in Creative Careers

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Christoph Riedl of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Prof. Riedl will present a talk on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-489. Please contact Michael Schultz with any questions.


In most areas of human performance, the path to major accomplishments requires a steep learning curve, long practice and many trials. Athletes go through years of training and compete repeatedly before setting new records; musicians practice from an early age and perform in secondary venues before earning the spotlight. Yet, little is known about the quantitative patterns that lead to success in creative fields. In this talk we provide a quantitative framework to describe the evolution of success in artistic careers, and ask: Is the success of a particular artist predictable? Are there network measures that improve our understanding of success? We focus on trajectories followed by visual artists through a network of galleries and museums, and show that the prestige of institutions, quantified through network measures, fully determines an artist’s future success. Starting in prestigious venues increases the chance of exhibiting in more venues, appealing to a more international audience, and of being successful in the auction market.

Christoph Riedl is the Joseph G. Riesman Research assistant professor for Information Systems at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. He hold a joint appointment with the College of Computer & Information Science and is a core faculty at the Network Science Institute. He is a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University. He is recipient of a Young Investigator Award (YIP) from Army Research Office (ARO) for his work on social networks in collaborative decision-making. Before joining Northeastern University he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Business School and IQSS. He received a PhD in Information Systems from Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany in 2011, a MSc in Information Systems in 2007, and a BSc in Computer Science in 2006. His work has been funded by NSF and published in leading journals including Management Science, Information Systems Research, and Academy of Management Discoveries.