Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Risk Worth Taking

Last Thursday I dragged myself along to the Glasgow Science Centre at the ungodly, for me, hour of 8a.m.

The reason for my visit was a seminar, organised by Scottish Enterprise, entitled 'Winning Through Innovation'.

Normally I'm not a big fan of these events, but the Science Centre is a good venue - a Powerpoint presentation somehow seems more compelling when it's being projected on an IMAX screen!

More importantly, there were some interesting speakers, including the President of Virgin Galactic. Now that was an engrossing presentation!

There was also a display of a working automatic baby rocker designed by a Scottish company. I liked that a lot. It could have saved Mrs Div and I quite a lot of hassle if we'd known about it 4 months ago.

In the midst of all the suits and business chat, there was a Q&A session which also involved another of the speakers - David Williamson, the MD of a Glasgow coffee roasting company called Matthew Algie.

He seemed a fascinating character, and had a very informal manner, as well as a near miss for a poker players name.

During the Q&A, someone asked him about his attitude to risk within the company. Although he was very laid back, it was clear he put a lot of emphasis on hard numbers when running his business.

His response to the question prompted lots of murmurs and chin stroking, not to mention note taking, within the assembled throng.

"If it's a risk worth taking; it's not a risk."

That seems pretty common sense to me, but it seemed to be a revelation of biblical proportions to some of the audience. Which perhaps explains the state of the Scottish economy.

For any poker player, this concept should be pretty much second nature.

How often do you get the chips in knowing you are behind but have enough outs to make it a +EV call? How often do you call from the BB with any two cards against a short-stack all-in, to try to knock them out? How often do you push with nothing against a super tight opponent?

Perhaps Scottish Enterprise should splash the cash on sending some business people to a poker bootcamp with Howard Lederer and co. It may pay dividends.

No comments: