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A Little Knowledge (Literally)

This weekend is the latest edition of my semi-regular Texas Hold 'Em game with my friends. Despite the fact that I'm an average card player at best, I happened to win the last tournament. As a result I am the current holder of our championship belt. By the way, there is an actual belt. Our previous champ (Ruby) took an old weight belt and used white out to write "Texas Hold 'Em Champion" on the front of it. It's now the official championship belt and it lives in my apartment (for now).

Our game is probably like most other friendly games around the country: low stake, drunken affairs with lots of making fun of each other in between and during hands. One of the biggest recipients of this abuse is Rob. Why? Rob plays poker all the time. He reads books on it. He lives it and loves it and is actually pretty good at it. The funny thing is Rob has NEVER won our game. Ever. So even though he has forgotten more about poker than most of us, it hasn't helped in our game - and as a result let's us make fun of him. Alot.

This got me thinking. There are lots of times when someone is incredibly well versed in a subject, but, for whatever reason, the end result just isn't there. Here at Topix I always give our designer grief, telling him that he would have never shipped Craig's list or Drudge report. They're too ugly. Shipping those designs isn't in his DNA. And yet they're two of the top sites on the net with lots of devoted users. Simple, usable and not over thought. Kind of like just playing cards and position at the poker table and not trying to spend too much time reading others. (BIG NOTE: this isn't a crack on our designer - he does amazing works and our site looks 10,000% better now that he is here).

Anyway, I think there are a lot of instances where less is more, amateurs often fare better than experts and "beginner's luck" seems to reign. Economists might refer to this as diminishing marginal returns on knowledge. I just find this to be an all too common phenomenon.

I hope it continues this Friday at the poker table - obviously I will have to re-think this post in the event Rob wins.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2007 1:58 PM.

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