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Lessons from Blackjack

Excerpted from the wonderful 'Personal Development Blog' by Steve Pavlina.

Novices miss golden opportunities. Novice blackjack players will almost invariably play their hands too conservatively. Expert players will bust more often, but they’ll also hit their big hands more often. You see a similar pattern in life too. High achievers will bust more often, while underachievers play too conservatively, afraid to take calculated risks for fear of losing what they have. In blackjack, it’s those splits and double down hands where you make your real money. Novice players think it’s the ten-ace blackjack hand that’s the best — the guaranteed win. Expert players know it’s those hands where you split pairs 4x and double down on each one and see the dealer bust, winning 8x your original bet (but also risking 8x) instead of the mere 1.5x you get from a made blackjack. The big wins come disguised as garbage hands, like a pair of 3s. So it is in life — real opportunities come disguised as problems.

Experts are more disciplined. Novice players tend to play their hands inconsistently. When the same situation arises, they often make different decisions with no rhyme or reason. They exhibit poor discipline and will often drink alcohol while playing. Experts understand that you can make the correct decision and still lose, but they focus on making correct decisions, not on trying to force a particular outcome. Experts have the patience to know that making correct decisions is all it takes to win in the long run. You see this in real life too, don’t you? Achievers tend to be more consistent in making decisions and taking action; they focus their energy. Underachievers, however, waste their energy, never applying enough force in a consistent direction to bring about a breakthrough.

Life isn’t about the quantity of successes and failures you experience. You also have to consider the magnitude. When you perceive the conditions of your life are ripe for success in some area, that’s the time to bet big. Plus there are also situations where you have the chance to see what results you’re getting, and if they show promise, you can raise your bet even higher.

When the conditions in your life are right to seek out opportunities instead of merely holding your ground, get out there and take advantage of them! And when you start getting promising results in some area that show you the odds are in your favor, push yourself to capitalize on the situation as best you can. Don’t sit around waiting and waiting.

As in the game of blackjack, the could’ve-but-didn’ts are the biggest losers in life. Don’t join them.

One thing that I know for sure is that 'could've but didn't' will never apply to my investment in Microvision. After evaluating the future landscape of personal technology as envisioned by some of the world's greatest thinkers (Ray Kurzweil and Hans Moravec in particular), and meshing that outlook with my own layer of insight and intuition, I have aggressively acquired as many shares of MVIS as I possibly could have over the last 3 years.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that my ability to have faith and confidence in what I believe to be true is my advantage that has allowed me to walk the razor's edge with Microvision.

There is no objective truth in the world of the stock market, beyond one: a stock, or a company, is worth what someone is willing to pay you for it at that moment.

The challenge, as I have seen it, is to use the power of insight and independent thinking to evaluate opportunities that other people are overlooking, or are too timid to pursue, and align myself with the powerful, inexorable forces of nature that I've described in prior posts. It doesn't seem like rocket science to me to think that in a few years, augmented and virtual reality technologies will collectively be very, very valuable. And that of all the potential players in that game, Microvision's technology is light years beyond competitors, who are uniformly saddled with fixed-pixels, and nearly all with backlit substrates.

And so here we are with Microvision. We have the advantage of being the only manufacturer of head-up, hands-free wearable wireless computers in the world. We have developed a technology so innovative and so compelling that some of the world's biggest and most powerful companies are coming to us to develop solutions for their product needs. We have a totally unique platform that can both display and capture images. Indeed, it is the image capture capability that has leapt out of the gate first with our development and licensing agreement with J&J's Ethicon subsidiary.

We have a technology that is so fundamentally different from anything else that people can't really comprehend it. Have you ever told someone about Microvision for the first time, and they'll say something like 'oh, it's for biometric security, right?' You have to take a moment to tell them, 'no, it's a display, and your eye is the screen'. You can kind of see the look of total incomprehension, followed sometimes by 'well, I don't want a laser on my retina.' To which there's only one reply: "You will."

The fact is, though, that basically no one has heard of this company. That may be changing though. Perception of value starts with the recognition of existence -- we have possibly our widest mainstream exposure yet in the current issue of Reader's Digest, where we are singled out as the one company that will redefine the capabilities of future electronic devices. Although I would say that the article falls short of real comprehension of what these devices will be like and why.

Microvision owns the rights to the critical infrastructure to enable augmented reality to emerge as a market and social phenomenon. I believe that people in general are totally oblivious to the fact that AR is coming, and soon. How many articles have you read about 'mobile TV', etc? Most of them complain about the lack of screen size, which is something that Microvision can indeed uniquely address. But what they have not really delved into is that mobile TV or any kind of occluded application does not truly serve the mobile customer's needs.

When you are mobile, you are looking at the world around you. You are (hopefully) looking where you're going. Looking down at the screen of a handheld phone or PDA, in order to see who's calling you, or see some video clip, or read directions, or any kind of computing task, takes you out of the context of what you're doing. We need mobile software services that really serve the user. And that can only be delivered in a head-up, see through display. A pair of 'electronic eyeglasses'. I believe that over the next few years, the category of electronic eyewear and corresponding AR services will become the most significant growth engine for the consumer electronics industry in its history. It will be driven by software services that are not about delivering video clips from some news broadcast, but about telling you more information about what you are looking at. It will be a personalized service, tied to our preferences and action items that we need to achieve. It will be, in an actualized form, a personal digital assistant. But it will be a personalized, location and context-aware mobile digital assistant.

I believe that hundreds of millions of people will own and interact with Microvision devices every day of their lives in the years to come. In life, as in blackjack, you've got to bet big to win big. I've bet on the emergence of consumer augmented reality and by necessity, the only company that can bring that possibility into being.


At August 2, 2005 at 5:34 PM Anonymous said...

If only the "data" we rely on with microvision were as certain as the cards in a deck. The blackjack dealer makes no "forward looking statements" and everyone playing is on an equal footing knowledgewise.


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