In June of 2004 I was at a crossroads. I was about to graduate from Stanford with an engineering degree and had yet to secure a job, but I had managed to save nearly $10,000 from playing poker – most of it stuffed into a shoebox that I hid under my bed. Now, faced with option of applying for the privilege to sit in a cubicle or taking a shot at playing poker professionally during the biggest boom in history, I packed up my car and began the 500-mile drive to Las Vegas.
That experience set the stage for a career that’s always involved gambling in some form: first as a poker pro, then as a sales leader for young tech startups, now as a business owner. While the image of a poker-playing salesman didn’t do me any favors when I first met my wife, the skills I learned from ‘gambling’ have been instrumental to my success:
- Storytelling – using narratives to communicate persuasively
- Thinking in bets – making good decisions with imperfect information
Today I work with founders and executives to apply these principles to successfully raise money from investors, acquire new customers, and build the processes and teams required to scale revenue. Some of the companies that I’ve advised include Crunchbase, Node, Skycatch, BloomBoard, and HubbleIQ.
I share what I’ve learned in my weekly newsletter, including personal stories, expert interviews, and tips that any professional can use for success at work and in life. If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas, feel free to reply directly to the newsletter email. I’ll do my best to respond to all inquiries.
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