How Playing Limit Holdem Poker Will Help You Build Your Business

Here's what I learned listening to a talk by David Freidberg, part of Stanford's brilliant Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series.

He's building a massively profitable company called The Climate Corporation, and he equates the process of building his business with the lessons he learned from playing Limit Holdem poker in college. Unlike No Limit Holdem (which sounds better), you don't make money at Limit Holdem by going all in and getting lucky. You make money a little bit at a time, by grinding.


Same goes for building a business, Friedberg says. "You gotta grind to make money. You cannot get lucky."


He goes on to talk about what it means to be lucky in business.
"When you say 'I got lucky.' you got lucky because you didn't know what was going to happen. So the corollary is if you know what's going to happen, there's no risk, there's no luck, and there's no uncertainty in whatever it is you're doing. Therefore, shouldn't your objective to be to know what is going to happen? Your pursuit should always be to remove the unknown from the equation."
He goes on: Figure out what you don't know, and then know it.

Of course, he points out there you can never know everything, and any pursuit carries some risk. That means your job is to "identify the unknown, mitigate the unknown, and then you are enabling certain outcomes."