Sports and Cards Analogies

Business is filled with sports analogies. I myself made one via twitter last week.

But I prefer card games when it comes to business analogies. I blogged about the poker analogy early in the days of this blog. And recently, I talked about doubling down.

We were playing texas hold'em at home last night (with real cards and chips, not on Facebook) and it occurred to me that card games are a great way to learn important business lessons.

I was watching my son Josh evaluate the risk of sticking with a losing hand or folding. That's something we have to deal with in the venture capital business all the time and it's not an easy decision. It gets harder the more money you have on the line.

And the decision about how much to bet early on is also directly relevant to business. If you have great cards, you might be tempted to bet a lot right off the bat, but doing so may lead to the other players folding. So you want to suck the other players in by betting less early in the hand and increasing it over time. I've worked with a number of companies who have had "great hands" but have not shared that with anyone waiting for as long as possible to reveal the strength of their business. I'm not saying that playing business with your cards close to your vest is always the right approach, but at times it is.

I'm not a huge bridge player but it is not surprising to me that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are fanatic bridge players. Cards and business have a lot in common.

Playing cards also sharpens the mind. I try to count cards when I am playing a hand. I'm not as good at it as I'd like to be. When I'm on vacation and playing a lot of cards with the family, I find myself getting better at counting. It's a great way to exercise the mind (at least the left side of the brain).

Business is competitive. So looking at sports and cards for business analogies is a good practice. It can help bring a concept home to a team you are working with and it can help close a deal you are negotiating. If you have any good ones to share, leave them in the comments.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Anonymous

    Check out “Poker Strategies for a Winning Edge in Business” by David Apostolico. “In this book, experienced poker player, tournament champion, attorney, and businessman David Apostolico takes core poker philosophies and applies them to various business situations. Readers learn how to develop a poker mindset to help them in all aspects of their business lives.”

    1. fredwilson


  2. Dan Lewis

    Can you give us the hand that Josh was analyzing?Hold’em poker — especially cash limit (that is, not a tournament, and not no-limit) is exceptionally straight-forward. What’s interesting is how many absolutely awful books there are on the topic, rife with irrelevant or just plain wrong information. Assuming Josh was playing cash limit, given the right information/tools and after enough experience, he should be able to make that decision in about five to fifteen seconds.That’s not to understate the difficulty of the decision or the factors you include, but there most likely was a right answer. Most people make the wrong decision because they don’t care to learn the craft, and because as with other propositions, even the wrong choice can lead to a good result (i.e. winning the hand by catching the right card).That’s why I ask for the hand posture. What matters is not the result but the analysis — that is, is the analysis sound? You (well, maybe not *you*) would be surprised how results-oriented people are; they tell you what they did, what happened, and brag/complain about the result. Those people lose in the long term.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll ask him. I just could tell from his face that’s what he was struggling with. That in itself is something he has to get better at!

      1. Dan Lewis

        Thanks!Showing that you are conflicted, in a limit game especially post-flop,isn’t that big of a deal. First off, if the call was a close one, itis also a marginally less significant decision. Second, players oftenthink that easy decisions are hard ones and react outwardlyaccordingly, but really, if you are in that position, a grimace is theleast of your problems.

        1. fredwilson


  3. PKafka

    Here’s an interesting counterpoint: Malcom Gladwell’s review of a Bear Stearns book, in which he argues that Jimmy Cayne’s skill at bridge gave him false confidence. Great read, and I encourage you to read the whole thing. But here’s the (long) key graf:In bridge, there is such a thing as expertise unencumbered by bias. That’s because, as the psychologist Gideon Keren points out, bridge involves “related items with continuous feedback.” It has rules and boundaries and situations that repeat themselves and clear patterns that develop—and when a player makes a mistake of overconfidence he or she learns of the consequences of that mistake almost immediately. In other words, it’s a game. But running an investment bank is not, in this sense, a game: it is not a closed world with a limited set of possibilities. It is an open world where one day a calamity can happen that no one had dreamed could happen, and where you can make a mistake of overconfidence and not personally feel the consequences for years and years—if at all. Perhaps this is part of why we play games: there is something intoxicating about pure expertise, and the real mastery we can attain around a card table or behind the wheel of a racecar emboldens us when we move into the more complex realms. “I’m good at that. I must be good at this, too,” we tell ourselves, forgetting that in wars and on Wall Street there is no such thing as absolute expertise, that every step taken toward mastery brings with it an increased risk of mastery’s curse.

    1. fredwilson

      Wow. That’s a great insight. And its true that baseball, soccer, and poker can teach us only so much about life.

      1. justinadams

        I think the distinction that Malcolm Gladwell is getting at is the difference between finite games — games played to declare a winner — and infinite games — games played for the purpose of continuing to play. The idea comes from “Finite and Infinite Games” by James Carse and is discussed by both Paul Hawken in “Blessed Unrest” and Stewart Brand in “Clock of the Long Now”. In business, constructing a win-win-win situation would be playing an infinite game.

    2. Pete

      Maybe it’s been a long week… but for some reason, when I just read that paragraph, I had a visual image of 4 guys playing bridge when suddenly an Apache helicopter comes crashing through the wall… trumped.

  4. Vivek Sharma

    I’m an avid martial artist. Being in my early 30s, a bit slower and slightly more out of shape than guys in their 20s I’ve learned real lessons from live sparring. A lot of hitting versus getting hit really has to do with two things: psychology & timing.Beating a sparring partner to the punch because you have their rhythm down is a great way to demoralize. A great lesson when you’re dealing with more established or powerful business competition. It also helps you confront and get over that fear of the unknown… important as an entrepreneur.

    1. kidmercury

      i used to be an avid martial artist, now i’m still into it but probably not worthy of the adjective “avid.” martial arts is the ultimate life training tool. definitely helps you overcome fear as you noted, which is huge. also keeps you humble (you will not feel like the top dog up in this piece when you get kicked in the groin 🙂 ) but the ultimate blessing of martial arts in my opinion is discipline, which i think is essential to getting stuff done (i.e. being an entrepreneur).

  5. Phil

    Of course, the major difference between cards and business is that in cards, you know what a good hand is. The problem with business, especially early-state and unproven businesses, is that you often don’t know if you’re holding pocket Queens, Jack Queen offsuit, 3 hearts, or what…

    1. fredwilson

      So true

  6. Keenan

    Golf Fred,In Golf, you need to understand what is in front of you before you even make a move (hit the ball) Once you have an understanding of the hole, you have a multitude of options and different tools to choose from. Do you lay up, do you use the driver, etc. Once you’ve hit the ball, you are now faced with another entirely different set of decisions, based on how well you executed the last set of decisions.Golf teaches patience, it forces you to listen to the data. It challenges you to measure risk, it pays well if the right risk is taken, but punishes dearly if wrong. Golf, has been for me, the best analogy and real life example of a game that influences my business life.Golf challenges me in how i evaluate data and determine risk. It reminds me to slow down, and that I don’t have to always hit the green in 2, or have to use a driver off the tee. Sometimes there are smarter ways to play the hole.Just like business, it’s how you view the hole, that determines the outcome.

    1. fredwilson

      My biggest challenge with golf, and I’ve been playing it for 35 years is that I don’t deal with adversity well on the golf course whereas its one of my strenghts in real life. Not sure why that is

      1. JLM

        Makes perfect sense to me.You are able to discern the difference between betting your own money and using OPM. You recognize one is a game and has only one critical decisionmaker while the other is a matter of trust and honor. It may be a mark of character. Knowing you have trade school blood in your veins, it does not surprise me.I am a complete spendthrift with my own money and a monk with investor’s money. I have never lost one penny of an investor’s money, ever.On the gaming front — chess! Look to chess to invest emotion and daring into gamesmanship.

        1. fredwilson

          you nailed my personality JLM.

      2. Keenan

        that is different . . . do you break clubs? 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          no, i just go on a three hole double bogey run.

          1. Keenan

            Ahh that is golf. My favorite is how, just when you’ve had it with your 3 double bogies in a row and your about ready to quit the stupid game the golf gods swoop in and deliver the perfect shot in route to a birdie, thus keeping you hooked just enough to come back so they can punish you again. The golf gods are geniuses at timing.//keenan

          2. fredwilson

            That describes my high teens handicap game. Three straight doubles, then a birdieUgh

    2. reece

      Weighing in from the other end of the athletic spectrum, I’m a former professional lacrosse player and I grew up playing ice hockey – two of the fastest sports on the planet.When I was in college, we did a lot of game planning – watching film of ourselves and our opponents so we knew exactly what strengths and weaknesses existed and how they stacked up, as well as running through the actual plays that our foes would attempt, so we were prepared for everything on game-day.But, lacrosse and hockey (to an even greater extent) are such fast-paced, dynamic sports, that it is impossible to game plan for every single scenario. My favorite phrase to explain this is “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”So, it can sometimes seem as though all that game preparation is pointless, however, you realize that all the practice, and the dry-runs, and the scouting reports helps to cultivate your instincts, so when you’re forced to make a play on the fly, you make the right choice.We do the same thing at my startup company. My co-founders and I have tried to cultivate good instincts in ourselves and our early employees from the start – encouraging them to make plays rather than get caught flat-footed – based upon a strategic plan for a successful business. We’re all athletes and our app is for sports, so so far, so good.

      1. fredwilson

        nice analogy and nice quote. i reblogged it at fredwilson.vci also played lacrosse, in high school and one year in college. my partner brad was a much better lacrosse player. he played four years in college and still holds some scoring records at his college.

        1. reece

          Thanks for the reblog! Though I can’t take full credit – that phrase has been appropriated over the years by a number of generals and politicians and coaches alike, but a quick Google search says it was this guy:…Lacrosse is a great sport. It has taught me a lot of solid lessons for business and life, and I meet lots of smart guys who were lacrosse players.Maybe I’ll start bringing a couple sticks to have a catch while killing time in the Shake Shack line…

          1. fredwilson

            That would be fun

  7. ErikSchwartz

    I play poker, I like 7 card stud. Poker helps in sales, biz dev, competitive positioning, and management.I also play more and more Go. Go is pure strategy.

  8. Mike Su

    With football season gearing up, I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about it, but might as well start here…I love playing basketball, but to me football is the ultimate team sport. There are so many things I take away from watching and following football that are applicable to the business world. With all other sports, a single superstar player can be the difference between perennial lottery team and championships. Baseball it’s a pitcher, soccer and hockey its a goalie, basketball, its guys like Kobe, Lebron, Jordan. But football, even with the biggest and brightest star QB, you still need an offensive line to block for you. If you have no running game, people will just play the pass. If your receivers don’t sell the pass, the defense will smother your RB. Likewise on D, the best corners in the world can’t stick with a wide receiver forever, so if you don’t get any pressure on the QB, your corners are toast. In business, you can have the biggest stud developer, but if you aren’t firing on all cylinders and everyone playing their part, then you will only go so far.There are so many more stories that are great analogs to team building and leadership. I am a die hard Eagles fan (let’s set aside any Michael Vick talk for now :). Last year, after the Eagles lost to Arizona, I remember watching Quintin Mikell being interviewed post game, and they asked him what the hardest part of this loss was, he said it was feeling like he let down the older guys. When asked specifically if he meant guys like Brian Dawkins, Mikell choked up, nodded, and couldn’t quite get the words out of his mouth. That blew me away. In this day and age of professional sports and millionaires that don’t care, that you had someone with such strong leadership that teammates were so emotionally invested in playing with and for you, it’s just incredible. And those are the guys, when you have them in your company, that make a company great (not aeron chairs and 32″ monitors). Of course, 2 months later the Eagles let Dawkins walk away for more money etc. etc., but still.Last football note. One of the Philadelphia Inquirer reporters was reflecting on Dawkin’s and Jim Johnson’s special bond over the years (, and said this about Johnson:”As good as Johnson was at maximizing the particular abilities of his players, he was even better at minimizing their deficiencies, including Dawkins’.”And that’s so true of great leaders in business as well. Good leaders and managers get the right people on their team, and then figure out what their strengths are and build around that. Great leaders recognize when their great ones are struggling, and put them in a position to be successful, even if it means making some tough decisions and changing things up. God I love football, can we just fast forward to September already?!

    1. JLM

      Horns v OU in Dallas #2 v #3 — might be an OK game. Hook ‘Em!

    2. kidmercury

      GO EAGLES!!!!!! i am a bit concerned about the birds this year. that fool andy reid needs to go.

      1. kirklove

        What do you think of the Vick signing Kid? I’ve bleed Eagles green my whole life. Hope this is good for him and the team. Believe if he is contrite he deserves another chance. #GoEagles

        1. kidmercury

          i too bleed eagle green. good to see we have some good folks around here at AVC. :)i believe vick deserves another chance (to be honest i think his sentence was too harsh, but maybe that’s because i’m not a dog owner), although i’m not sure why the eagles got him — i guess concerns over mcnabb being injury prone? i’m not sure another quarterback was the best investment. vick knows the type of offense the eagles run, though, so i think he will be a good fit in that regard.

          1. fredwilson

            I bleed green too. NY Jet green

          2. Mike Su

            if you’re gonna have a bouncer for the comments section, you can’t go wrong with an Eagles fan Fred! :)I agree Vick deserves another chance. Isn’t that the whole point of sending people to jail? Punish them, they pay their debt to society, coming out theoretically rehabilitated. If they don’t get a second chance, then you might as well keep em in prison. Besides, I find it interesting people are hardly talking about Donte Stallworth, WHO KILLED A MAN WHILE DRIVING DRUNK and only served 24 days!!!Football wise, not sure how it’ll all play out. Imagine having Vick, McNabb, Westbrook, Jackson and Maclin on the field at the same time…but at the same time, if Vick shows he’s still got it, and McNabb hits another dry spell, well….things could get ugly again.Sorry to hijack the discussion into Eagles football chatter, but once you bring sports into the equation, it’s hard to stay on topic 🙂

    3. fredwilson

      great comment. i watched the Jets/Rams last night. pre-season is kind of empty but empty is better than nothing.

  9. Dan Reich

    Fred, if you haven’t seen this already, check out the :”Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society” – there were ever a “class” I would have wanted to take in school…this would most certainly be it..”The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society views poker as an exceptional game of skill that can be used as a powerful teaching tool at all levels of academia and in secondary education. We use poker to teach strategic thinking, geopolitical analysis, risk assessment and money management. We see poker as a metaphor for skills of life, business, politics and international relations. Our goal is to create an open online curriculum centered on poker that will draw the brightest minds together, both from within and outside of the conventional university setting, to promote open education and Internet democracy.”

    1. fredwilson

      imagine if they taught that in business schools

  10. Jake

    Relevant to the metaphor that opponents in cards are usually friends, people that play for the game, the conversations, the silliness, and the stories more than the winning?

    1. fredwilson

      true, but everyone wants to win

      1. Jake

        Definitely. But there’s something great about losing to a friend, laughing about how she tricked you into that ill-advised raise (or moon-shoot attempt or three pointer), congratulating her, and challenging her to a rematch. Competition’s a lot smileyer when it’s between parties that care about and root for one another. I wonder if businesses can (should?) learn anything from that.

  11. pcs

    I am a software engineer, but until relatively recently I derived a significant portion of my income from playing poker professionally, first around clubs in NYC, and then online. The decision to take the game seriously was one of the best decisions I ever made. All the usual things about psychology and paying attention to people’s moods and intents apply in a live, in person game, and taught me a great lesson about how much you can learn by simply paying attention and putting yourself in the other guy’s shoes.The other aspect that doesn’t get discussed much is the mentality it takes to be a long term, winning player. I, and every other pro I know, has had a breakeven streak of more than 10,000 hands of online play. One friend of mine has over a million hands of online play at a very positive winrate, but he had a breakeven period of about 85,000 hands in the middle. Even for a fulltime player playing 300 hands/hour, that’s a lot of hands to breakeven over. My point is that playing poker is a very long game, and long term success is about maximizing expected value even when it’s not intuitive and you have been on a losing streak with everyone and their mother hitting their flushes when you have a set.The swings you go through as a poker player taught me a ton about bankroll management, risk tolerance, all that stuff. It also gave me kind of an interesting perspective on money, which was helpful during the recent market downturn. Lots of people hate to lose money, but to any poker player it’s a natural part of the game and you can either continually get upset about it, or accept that sometimes you will have nights where nothing goes your way and you just lose and lose but you have the bankroll and the experience to manage yourself through that.anyways, enough rambling from me. interesting topic.

    1. fredwilson

      I love the point about losing money being part of the game. It took me a long time to get comfortable losing money. I still hate it, but I now know that I need to accept it as part of the game I’m playing

  12. Ben Atlas

    OT: Fred, sorry to post this here, I don’t know where else to flag this for you. I have a post about the mission critical Disqus issue that I want to bring to your attention.

  13. Venkat

    I am glad you said ‘left brained.’ I’ve swung wildly between being very LB and RB over a couple of decades, and now find the most pleasure in activities that engage both. Most games offer that, and most rewarding ways of work do so as well. You highlight the decision-making and risk-taking training games offer (through use as metaphor or through actual play), but their value goes well beyond, helping with design thinking, motivation psychology and more.But overall, I prefer physical sports metaphors to card-playing or board-games. The tradeoff is between surgically clean/closed probability models/aesthetics/design vocabularies and messy, real-world ones. Within physical sports, I lean towards those that have a win-win artistic dimension to them, where even if you lose, there is a lot of fun in the process simply because you get to do beautiful things. Ultimate frisbee is a great example (I used to play regularly for years): a great catch in a losing game can keep you inspired and motivated to play again.I’ve written two pieces somewhat along these lines. One on traditional Indian games as metaphors for Indian business thinking styles and another on cooking/restaurants (okay, that’s not really a sport), specifically Gordon Ramsey’s approach.. Football, soccer (as an antithesis to football) and basketball are of course perennial American favorites, but I think cricket is vastly under-rated. I’ve been working on a draft cricket-as-metaphor post for a while.

    1. fredwilson

      I can’t wrap my head around cricket at all

  14. saieva

    We recently coordinated a large scale infrastructure project moving production critical systems to another datacenter. After a complete business cycle (measured over approximately 36 hours) we were able to say that there was no impact to business services and no issues were identified as being associated with the work. I related that accomplishment to pitching a no-hitter or a perfect game. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, you celebrate.Regards,Sal.

    1. fredwilson

      nice one!

  15. davidmattia

    This is very general to any sport and many pastimes: The person who can see the whole field has the best chance to seize opportunity. football, chess, surfing, bocci, and investment bankingSometimes 10,000 hours is just not enough….then again, if you can count cards, you cut through a lot of hours.

  16. kirklove

    Great topic – one I’m glad to see you coming back to you as I’m an avid Hold ‘Em player and too believe it can be used as a great learning tool for so many things in life.One thing that Hold ‘Em has taught me and transfers to my life is that even when you “get your money in good” (meaning mathematically you’re virtually a lock to win the hand), it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s tough to swallow getting sucked out on. It happens in life, too. But, the key is to remember that in the long run if you consistently make good bets the odds do indeed tip in your favor. Related: You have to let the bad bets go. Don’t get on tilt at the table or in life.

    1. fredwilson

      I love “portfolio theory”. Some go against you but if you have enough bets out there, it will work out over time

  17. GlennKelman

    Did you see Malcolm Gladwell’s essay on the CEO of Bear Stearns, Jimmy Cayne? He was a great bridge player who got his job at Bear Stearns by interviewing with a bridge aficionado, Ace Greenberg (great name). Here is Cayne’s account of that interview when the subject turned to bridge:[Greenberg] says, “How well do you play?” I said, “I play well.” He said, “Like how well?” I said, “I play quite well.” He says, “You don’t understand.” I said, “Yeah, I do. I understand. Mr. Greenberg, if you study bridge the rest of your life, if you play with the best partners and you achieve your potential, you will never play bridge like I play bridge.”…My problem with thinking of business as a card game is that, at least ideally, a game of cards is all calculation and no heart. When you’re running a marathon or riding in a bicycle race, you feel despair and elation, you love the effort and you hate it, you pour your guts out and then later wonder if you really had anything more to give and it goes on and on and on and then when it finally ends you only want to be in that place again. Anyway, startups and sports might be more visceral than cards, regardless of whether they should be.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. This is the 2nd time a reader has brought up that gladwell piece and its a great point about the limitation of the card analogy

      1. GlennKelman

        Oops, sorry PKafka, I missed your Gladwell reference.

      2. COMRADITY

        Re: 2 votes for limitation of card analogy. Make that 3. My Queen of Spades analogy is about luck and sailboat racing analogy about knowledge and skill.

  18. MaskedFinancier

    As the promoter of the Texas Holdem Investing method of investor education I think that poker is in many ways one of the best ways to teach financial concepts and to teach the investing process.You can read more about the details at the site, but to be fair many of the “analogy” issues are pointed out by Fred and also my fellow commenters.However, one of the best elements of poker as an investment education tool is that it teaches you about risk management, and it also exposes you to the experience of losing money.”Losses are like breathing” in trading (and investing, and venture capital investing(!)) according to Ed Seykota, and it you can’t handle them you should choose another field.I advocate playing alot of poker in a systematic fashion to help a would-be investor find out if he/she has the required risk management skills and emotional capacity to deal with monetary losses.If you don’t have the patience and skill to do this in poker then you probably won’t be able to do it in investing.On the issue of the poker not having same range of possibilities as investing, I disagree with this statement. Poker (and Texas Hold’em) in particular derives a significant element of its uncertainty from the behaviour of the other players at the game (and indeed your own behaviour). Introducing human behaviour as a variable into any situation expands the range of outcomes vastly. Thus, Texas Hold’em Poker in my humble (and masked!) opinion can provide a good approximation of the uncertainty encountered in the world of investing.Anyway Fred, keep up the good work of explaining investing through poker (and other) analogies – it can only help improve the wider understanding of the subject, which is too often shrouded in the veil of academic terms and insider jargon, to the detriment of efficient capital allocation.

  19. MaskedFinancier

    Fred’s postings on poker and investing induced a flurry of creativity tonight.I’ve tried to draw together all my own thoughts on Fred’s articles at my blog.http://texasholdeminvesting…Feedback would be great (any from Fred would make me feel very honoured!), particularly given how the quality of the comments on this article make it even more effective.

  20. benjie t

    Fred, last summer Paul De Podesta of the San Diego Padres had a great post inspired by his 2008 draft, and an old trip to a casino’s blackjack table, in which he talked about process v outcome. Great lessons for sports, cards, and investing.http://itmightbedangerous.b…Also on similar lines is a fantastic (and long) speech from 2007 by Steven Crist, the publisher of the Daily Racing Form.…The great thing about these guys is that they elaborate on their OWN businesses in a way that shows the commonality of investing, poker, baseball drafts, and horse betting: they are all pari mutuel systems in which both the underlying performance outcomes AND the odds perceived and bet on by the other players affect each participant’s individual result.-benjie t

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out

  21. ShanaC

    Sports/Athletic things I do-Salsa- I don’t club, but I salsa. Trust your partner, trust yourself, or you will break something. (I’m female, I don’t lead)Yoga–physical strength comes from mental strength. Everyone has different needs from their mind and body. And it can take winding journeys to get there.Sports I want to learn-Rock Climbing- I want to get to the top of Grand Teton. It’s important to see the top of a mountain, to complete one journey, so you can start another. it’s also important that one sees the top of world (or at least thinks so,) and realizes that one should be humble, for one is just an individual person in a moment of time.I would switch from Salsa to Modern- ballet/modern require great physical strength, more that latin, but without the cost of agility, nor without the cost of good timing. It is something I find taxing on a physical level in an odd sort of way, and I don’t get that out of ballroom/latin. Adult intro level (I haven’t taken since elementary school) are difficult to find though. In dance, there is infinite choice, particuarly with modern (pretty much the same moves as ballet, except ballet is much more, structured). There are very few disciplines that have caused riots in conjunction with the music played. Fully mastery is an exercise not just of the body, but of the mind, and the spirit. People openly stare at choreography from 80-100 years ago. This still rings as radical:…Fencing- Epee. Weapons are dangerous. Honor them. Be aware of the people around you as well. For they can be equally dangerous, if they carry weapons, even if they honor them. (Epee also has more options, from what I have been told, of how to score)


    The Queen of Spades in Hearts. You can shoot the moon with her or lose big.


    Key olympic course sailing strategic decision – is the wind shifting persistently in one direction or oscillating? If persistent, you will shorten the distance to the next mark by first sailing towards the future wind direction, even though being headed away from the mark. If oscillating the shortest distance will be achieved by taking advantage of each lift. That gets you among the leaders. To win, execute flawlessly.

  24. Farhan Lalji

    Sorry bit late on this one – wifey just had our first child this weekend!I wrote a post about offensive and defensive strategies in business and in sports last week;…The post was inspired by a dialogue on twitter I had with Dave McClure around Facebook acquiring Friendfeed, his opinion being Goog should have acted defensively and bought Friendfeed which I disagreed with. My favourite line in that post was ” Sure defense wins championships… but great offences build dynasties.”

  25. andrewparker

    Most card games are Zero Sum whereas most business decisions are Non-Zero Sum. Using a zero sum mentality in a non-zero sum situation will often lead to incorrect rationale and execution. More here: http://thegongshow.tumblr.c

  26. Justin Smithline

    A bit late chiming in here, but one of the best business books I’ve ever read is based on chess analogies: “Three Moves Ahead” by Bob Rice. Particularly relevant for start-ups, which often make decisions with very limited information in rapidly changing environments Highly recommended:

  27. vruz

    I’m not a bridge player myself, but I used to run a bridge club, (my mentor is a bridge master and champion) and I can attest it’s all great learning if you have a curious, inquisitive mindYou learn a lot about competition and strategy, but also a lot about human nature, how people negotiate and move together socially towards goals.It’s a good example of an application of the discipline of Game Theory, and a lot more fun, practical, edificant and energising than reading those arid academic papers.