It’s not hard to find similarities between running a startup and playing a high-stakes poker game on a green baize-covered table. Business and poker both require you to assess risk, analyze your competition, be aggressive, control your emotions, and–of course–know when to hold and when to fold. Geoff Woo, co-founder of Nootrobox, likes the game because he sees it as a great way to train your assessment and decision making with incomplete information. This article has many interesting points so I will be using more quotes than usual. Woo says he was too afraid to be aggressive in poker at first. But once he started to bluff, re-raise a player’s bet, and call out an opponent’s bluff, he started to perform better. He brought that aggressive confidence to his startup.
“In the business version [of bluffing], you’re believing in this crazy, weird idea and making a big bet–that’s what running a startup is all about,” Woo says. “When you do and you’re running the table, people respond.” Another CEO, Tom Popomaronis founder of OpiaTalk, gained valuable skills by playing poker such as becoming a better listener. “Poker forced me to listen to the opponent’s verbal and nonverbal cues–is his hand moving, is he looking at me, can you see his pulse beating in the side of his neck, is he sweating?” Popomaronis says. “Over time, you improve your read on people.”
At OpiaTalk, Popomaronis says he uses his poker skills to solve problems by being aware of minute details while speaking with employees, investors, and customers. The game has also taught him to harness and redirect emotion “so you can continue moving forward without jeopardizing yourself and/or your team,” he says. Finally, Suneera Madhani, the founder of FattMerchant, also learned an important lesson through poker. She learned that winning is less about the hand you have and more about sticking to your process–a calm, cool, and collected process that never wavers, Madhani says. “You have to understand who you’re competing against, analyze your competition, and know what decisions they’ll be making based on their position,” Madhani says. “Poker, like business, is a game of strategy. It’s a game to be won. If you follow that process, the odds will be in your favor.” The key lessons learned are: learn how to make decisions with incomplete information, learn how to listen to minute details to increase emotional intelligence, and find a process that works and never change from it. “If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG
When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that the same brain that stores our favorite moments, the names and faces of our loved ones, and what our favorite foods taste like is also somehow expected to make room for cocktail chatter, PowerPoint presentations, and whatever your boss’s dog’s name is. We ask a ridiculous amount of our memories, and having yours work for you can be the difference between closing a deal and stumbling through a job interview or sales call. There are four techniques that will require your memory to work harder: drawing, yoga, going barefoot, and going outside. Drawing actually encourages the mind to visualize and draw out important things you want to remember. “What we think is happening is, you are bringing online a set of diverse networks or brain regions, which helps build a strong memory for that one item,” said Jeff Wammes. Yoga through the use of movements and breathing exercises can actually help with spatial memory. I encourage you to take 5 minutes at the beginning of your day and the end of your day to focus on your breathing for 21 days and see if there are any benefits. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV). Studies have shown that running barefoot will actually improve working memory. “A lot of people say they run to shut down or tune out, which is actually not helping your working memory,” Alloway says. “Barefoot running forces you to pay attention or focus on something so you don’t hurt yourself. It’s like a mini brain workout. You can’t not pay attention.” Finally going outside is found to have restorative effects even when an individual simply looks at pictures of nature. This finding could make the argument that man feels at home in what was naturally created by the earth itself.
The underground economy refers to illegal economic activity. Transactions in the underground economy are illegal either because the good or service being traded is itself illegal or because an otherwise licit transaction does not comply with government reporting requirements. The first category includes drugs and prostitution in most jurisdictions. The second includes untaxed labor and sales, as well as smuggling goods to avoid duties. The underground economy is also referred to as the shadow economy, black market (not gray market) and informal economy. When you hear this term, more than likely you will think of illegal activities being performed. However, an underground economy can be as simple as anyone who makes taxable income they do not then report to the tax authorities – even if it’s $50 for babysitting – is technically participating in the underground economy. I first heard of this terminology by watching an episode about bitcoin on the show Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock. It’s fascinating to see that the Internet we see is just the tip of the iceberg of the actual Internet. I encourage you to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. There’s a right way to do things, and a wrong way. In the end, what is in the darkness will be brought to the light so why cut corners when you can do it right the first time. Don’t suffer the consequences of losing your assets, and or jail time. I’ve included a link previewing that particular episode which you can watch on Netflix or from CNN.
If you need agreement in prayer, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.
“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”
Psalm 35:27-28 MSG