I was intrigued by a reference Bill Maher made last night on Larry King Live to a compelling article (first published in an old edition of LA times - 9/17/05) from Glengarry Glen Ross author David Mamet.
You'll have to get the full article from the LA Times archives, but I have paraphrased some of the best parts below. While the article is about John Kerry and the democrats circa 2005, I consider the same concepts and ideas to be applicable to entrepreneurs, or how one goes about life in general.
By David Mamet
ONE NEEDS TO know but three words to play poker: call, raise or fold.
"In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt"
"The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country.
"Committed Democrats watched while Al Gore frittered away the sure-thing election of 2000. They watched, passively, while the Bush administration concocted a phony war; they, in the main, voted for the war knowing it was purposeless, out of fear of being thought weak. They then ran a candidate who refused to stand up to accusations of lack of patriotism.
The Republicans, like the perpetual raiser at the poker table, became increasingly bold as the Democrats signaled their absolute reluctance to seize the initiative."
"The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter."
This would have been a raise. Here the initiative has been seized, and the opponent must now fume and bluster and scream unfair. In combat, in politics, in poker, there is no certainty; there is only likelihood, and the likelihood is that aggression will prevail."
"One may sit at the poker table all night and never bet and still go home broke, having anted away one's stake.
The Democrats are anteing away their time at the table. They may be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and ensure it."