What Annie Duke taught me about competition

When I play poker, I have an advantage.

I mean, let me start by asking you, “What kind of advantage would you have if a world class poker player showed you not just the tricks of winning at poker, but gave you play-by-play instruction on how to keep ahead of all your competition?”

Well, on multiple occasions, Annie Duke schooled me while I supervised her giving lessons to high rollers at San Manuel casino.

But, being who I am, I never wanted to be a poker player. While listening to her explain strategy, and watching her with people, I learned. I learned a lot.

I learned that she is a caring person. And focused. And I also learned more about what I do – marketing.

Hearing her explain the play on the table, there were life lessons happening. From a business perspective, what if you could know which of your competitors were really doing well, and which ones were just full of crap? Well, she showed me the way to do this, and it’s just one important lesson I learned from poker legend, Annie Duke.

Business Poker

Just like a poker game, struggling businesses try to convince you of their success. After all, if their prospects knew that they were weak, they wouldn’t get the business. The stronger they act, the more likely they are to get the client. And if the competition believes they are successful and strong, they will respect them and work at staying competitive with them.

When you have a strong company, you can ignore competitors in your field. Or mimic them. It’s better for your competitors to think of you as nothing. Let them spend their time fighting other competitors, while you go about winning their customers and keeping yours.

So, here’s the big reveal. If you want to get a sense of how your competition is doing, ask them. If they brag. If they boast and tell you how successful they are, they just may be struggling. Shop them and look for their real tells.

But, if they respond that they’re “okay,” or that “business is puttering along,” then these may be the true winners. Watch them. Look at all aspects of their business.

When Annie asked why I paid so much attention to what she was saying, I told her. She laughed and told me how she sees business… “It would be ridiculous for a million dollar business to risk all of their capital on one investment.” But she also pointed out that changes when you have very little money, “Then you can risk it all.”

While this doesn’t really dive into specifics, it is a pair of pocket aces. And that’s where my expertise comes in. You can use my skills I’ve developed through years of watching and listening.

Annie Duke playing poker relates to business

Annie Duke starts with the obvious, “In poker, when you’re dealt a weak hand, you have two options – fold or stay.”

Take away to consider

Keep this in mind. When I asked Annie Duke what the best lesson she ever learned was. She quoted Paul Newman: “If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”

Ideas start as words

And most businesses think in words. Open anybody’s notebook and you’ll see that. It’s true.

Photography by Andrew Phipps

Carlos Mencia – March 2010

Communication = words + visuals.

Ideas are the only reason to communicate.

They are integral to the process. Without a message, the conversation is incomplete.

The world is built on interactions and not transactions

Steve shows up on time. He designs two posters and three billboards by lunch, then sits back and waits impatiently for the five hours until he can leave to click down. And spends that time looking busy while bitching through email about how much he hates his job to a sympathetic spouse. All because he wasn’t singled out and congratulated for his great speed.

Lisa takes five minutes to chat to the coworker who has a story about his kids, and remembers the new kid has a birthday coming up. And goes out of her way to create a hand-made card for the office to sign. She remembers being that awkward newbie that just started and everyone ignores. She works hard, but she also works smart. And her work is impeccable. The clients who ask for her by name are happy to wait until she’s free. Her day is gone before she realizes it.

Are you telling yourself you're a hard worker when you're really a Queen "B"?

Are you telling yourself you’re a hard worker when you’re really a Queen “B”?

The truth is that both employees perform, but one employee is considered a worker bee and the other isn’t. Everyone respects one and the other is only fooling themself.

The story we tell as people and in our work is our impact on our whole life. And these stories scale. And in our increasingly connected world business is built on interactions and not transactions.

What is the story you’re telling yourself?

How do I use this theme?

Drake performs at San Manuel casino on February 10, 2011. photography by Andrew Phipps.

Drake performs at San Manuel casino on February 10, 2011. photography by Andrew Phipps.

 

Well, just bought my first theme on WordPress. And, to start, I am not impressed. In fact, navigation sucks. Sucks, Sucks.