Business Lessons from Poker

Over the summer, my book read “Delivering Happiness: A path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.” It was written by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. The book is about the path that he took that led him to Zappos and some of the lessons that he learned along the way.

One of the most humorous parts of the book is the list of lessons that Hsieh learned from playing poker that he felt could be applied to business. Here are just some of them.

Evaluating Market Opportunities:
· Table selection is the most important decision you can make.
· It's okay to switch tables if you discover it's too hard to win at your table.
· If there are too many competitors, even if you’re the best, it's a lot harder to win.

Marketing and Branding:
· Your brand is important.
· Check the stories that people are telling about you.

Financials:
· Make sure you your bankroll is large enough for the game you're playing and the risks you're taking.
· Play only with what you can afford to lose.
· Remember that it's a long-term game. You'll win or lose individual hands and sessions but it's what happens in the long term that matters.
Strategy:
· Don't cheat. Cheaters never win in the long run.
· Stick to your principles.
· Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.

Continual Learning:
· Educate yourself. Read books and learn from others who have done it before.
· Learn by doing. Theory is nice but nothing replaces actual experience.
· Learn by surrounding yourself a talented players.
· Don't be afraid to ask for advice.

Culture:
· Don't be cocky. Don't be flashy. There's always someone better than you.
· Be nice and make friends. It's a small community
· Share what you've learned with others.
· Look for opportunities beyond the game you sat down to play. You never know who you’re going to meet, including new friends for life or new business contacts.
· Have fun. The game is more enjoyable when you're trying to do more than just make money

Business and leadership lessons can be found in the least obvious places and situations. Be on the lookout for them and don’t discount the ones that come from unconventional circumstances.

 

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