Our very own CEO Janet Kosloff talks about how learning to play poker changed how she thinks as a business executive in the latest edition of Bostinno magazine, a publication about how innovative companies work.
Janet took up poker three years ago, and since then has even held seminars on poker for women. In “4 Things You Need to Know to Be Good at Both Poker and Business,” she shared her advice for influencing others, whenever you’re deciding whether to keep playing or fold up and move on.
Kosloff ’s first encounter with poker was at a trade show in Las Vegas about three years ago. A colleague of hers asked her to play and Kosloff won her first pot. Not that much, she recalled, probably $10 or $15, but the feeling she got from racking the chips and stacking them up was incredible.
Kosloff soon discovered that poker serves as the perfect analogy for life. “When you’re in a pot and someone makes a big bet against you, it’s sort of like in real life, when someone is being aggressive against you and how you handle it.”
In the case of Kosloff, she noticed that when people were aggressive to her at the poker table, she tended to be really passive. To counter this, she started experimenting with betting back and holding her ground, and bringing this attitude and philosophy into her career.
Here’s Janet’s advice:
Don’t Be Scared of Bluffing
“[When you’re fundraising,] you’re in a position where you’re not necessarily holding a full house. But you have to convince people that you’re going to get there.”
Always Show Strength
“People perceive you in a certain way at the poker table, and also in business. Being confident, strong and assertive pays well in terms of respect you’re going to receive. In either situation, at poker or in business, perceptions are hugely important to how successful one can be.”
Know What Hands to Play and When
According to Kosloff, one of the most important concepts in poker is knowing when to play your hand and knowing when to fold it. “I think the same is true in business: you have to know which battles you want to fight, you have to really stay focused on the ones you think you can win.”
Be Patient and Persistent
“Poker is a game of patience, and and I think business is a game of patience,” Kosloff said. “In business, there are a lot of times when you do everything right and, for whatever reason, you lose the deal or something goes wrong. You have to keep saying, ok, that’s behind me, and what’s next?”