Off-the-Record Poker

I recently was invited to a private dinner and poker event, involving some VCs and entrepreneurs. The organizer likes to keep it quiet.

It was a really fun event at Catalyst, one of the new restaurants in Cambridge, and I was glad to find some fellow Bourbon drinkers at my table. Also, I think I was the only one over 40 years old. I am suddenly feeling my age.

Over dinner, our group discussed how the whole Cambridge area has come such a long way. Not too many years ago, there were very few restaurants and start-up activity was evident but somewhat contained.

Now, the whole area has gone through a huge Renaissance. There is so much energy. So many restaurants have opened, traffic is insane, and there are so many great, new ideas being formed.

It’s a hopeful time for the area.

Yesterday, I had lunch with the event organizer. A MIT grad, he has worked at a number of start-ups. He has made enough money so that he doesn’t need a salary for a while. Instead, he has been working on some cool projects.

A few decades ago, I suspect a grad like this would have gone to a big company. Funny how career choices also have come a long way and changed.

2 thoughts on “Off-the-Record Poker

  1. I wonder if there is a correlation between being good at poker and being a good VC in terms of making successful bets (as you have to pass in both “games” as well)… maybe another interesting topic to explore.

    1. Kirill, that’s a great question. I don’t have any data, but my guess is there’s no correlation. A big part of doing well at poker is not to read your cards, but to read the other players’ body language. I think reading people is a key part of the VC job, but there are so many other factors, IMO. You need to read markets, know business models, and most important, know potential marquee hires, advisors and customers, with whom a VC can surround a start-up.

      For our firm, as “venture builders,” it’s about assisting the entrepreneur.

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