This is Part One of an interview with Derek Sutta, author of the ebook 'BlackJack Domination' which is a fully comprehensive and interactive guide to learning to count cards. Co-authored by an MIT wizard who has been the main inspiration for several casino films and a blackjack player who has won over $100,000 in blackjack at casinos to date.
Derek has helped run a startup, completed an MBA, worked in strategy consulting and now works in business development.
Tell me a bit about the background of yourself and Open Air Publishing
My background is probably quite typical of what you would see on Wall Street Oasis. I went to a top private university in the US, studied Economics and went on to do strategy consulting. I then helped run a startup before going to Wharton business school.
I got into card counting while I was doing consulting and just fell in love with the mathematics of it. It's almost entrepreneurial. Quite a traditional path I guess. Currently I'm doing business development alongside authoring. I actually wrote the book while still in business school. I contacted Open Air Publishing just for some friendly advice on the best way to market my book and how the publishing business worked and they loved our content so the whole act of getting published turned out to be quite easy for me.
Why did you decide to take the risk of starting your own company rather than join an existing one?
I was in a startup in 2009 when the economy was pretty bad so things weren't great in terms of being at a big company; the projects weren't super interesting, the bonuses weren't great so if there was a time to take the risk, for me personally that was it. It was just great to get something off the ground and felt right.
If you're not tied down to anything I still think it's a good time to try and get your own company off the ground but it's a very personal choice and has to be right for you. It doesn't make sense for me to do it again right now.
What are some of the main obstacles you have to overcome when working at a startup?
Figuring out what's most important and figuring out what to do with downtime - knowing how to prioritize and how to be productive all of the time. New stuff constantly comes up and you're still working on some of the old stuff and you have to decide how to shift your focus. You don't have a boss telling you what to do so you have to make all the decisions yourself.
Would you recommend doing an MBA for people looking to start their own business? What about in general?
In general yes, for me it was great. Again it's a very personal choice and it depends on what you're trying to achieve. If you don't have an idea it can be a great way to meet people. If you already have a business plan and know what you want to do, take that money you'd put into business school and just invest it in the company. It really is entirely down to personal circumstance. You'll find a lot of business people at business school but not very many technical people so you'll grow your network in one way but find holes in another part of it.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week where we discuss the ebook industry, card counting and blackjack. For more information on the book visit http://openairpub.com/book/blackjack-domination