Question: What unrelated hobby has taught you the most about business?
"Chess has taught me to look four, five, or six moves down the road. Always know the long-term strategy, but be flexible enough to adapt when an unexpected opportunity or challenge arises."
"Poker is a game of incomplete information. You know what cards you have but are making educated guesses and playing odds based on your opponent's cards. Business is similar. You can collect data all day, but ultimately you have to act before you have all the information. Learn to play the odds rather than to wait for certainty. "
"I ride my horse as often as I can. This hobby hasn’t added to my practical knowledge about running a business, but it has taught me a lot about balance, both literally and figuratively, which serves me well in my professional life. Being an entrepreneur is a daily balance exercise. My horse helps me better manage this. "
"Since a young age, I was involved in a lot of theater productions. The act of putting together a musical or play has a lot of similarities to putting together a business. Many people and diverse talents must come together to collaborate, and there are a lot of stakeholders in a production -- just like in business -- that you need to balance. "
"I love playing soccer. I think the game is all about strategy to win as well as skill and will to win. Those three factors -- strategy, will and skill -- will lead you to victory. The same three factors will lead you to build a successful business."
"Coaches push you to do something you never thought you could do, and other athletes encourage you to get in one more rep. Those same situations occur every day while growing my company. Every day I'm faced with new challenges to overcome, and I need that perseverance. And every day, my staff needs those extra words of encouragement to work a little harder. "
"Songwriting has taught me to think more creatively and look for the best solution. Just like the first rhyme you think of may not be the strongest, the initial idea for solving a problem might not be the best. The patience, creativity and dedication to the craft necessary to write a song all mirror the skills it takes to run a business."
"I've been a digital artist for 15 years. I strongly believe that my experience in understanding and creating digital art has influenced my career as a software engineer and entrepreneur. I've always said that creating software is an art first and a science second. You're trying to convey a message to an audience and paint a picture that can be understood. It involves trial and error and testing."
"Training to be a Dive Master taught me the value of communicating information clearly to a team prior to kicking off any project. A good Dive Master needs to assess the situation before the dive, knowing who may need close attention and who does not. Engaging with each diver allows you to get fair idea of their level of comfort, competence and set expectations for the dive. "
"Similar to business, winning a competitive fleet race is often not about doing things right, but rather about making as few mistakes as possible. The best sailors minimize errors and are consistent on the race course. If you strive to be consistent and learn from your mistakes, you’re better off than most other entrepreneurs in the world."
Coaching Field Hockey
"I coached high school girls field hockey for three years, which taught me management skills I still use today. Leading a sports team draws on the same ability needed in a startup to draw out each individual’s strengths. I learned to place players in the positions where they would be most successful, to motivate them to perform their best and to be an occasional arbiter."
"When you fly, each person has to follow a checklist to ensure flight safety and avoid catastrophic mistakes. I apply a similar principle to our business to keep employees on task and prevent potential disasters. "