Chess & Guitar

What separates the best from the rest is their depth of focus. What separates the happy from the miserable is realizing what matters the most, and focusing on that.
Anyone who’s met the CEO of Premier Chess and National Chess Master, Evan Rabin, knows that he is both highly focused in running and growing his business and is constantly with a smile and a funny joke to tell.
He is both successful and happy, as I see it, both because of his depth of focus and focusing on what matters the most.
Is it a coincidence that he is who he is and has had years of extensive chess training?
I think not. I think that it is through his immersion in chess that he is where he is now.
Now this is a post about Guitar & Chess. So let’s get to it.
Chess is a game of strategy, deep thinking, planning and memory. It is undeniable that being able to think steps ahead, helps tremendously in any endeavor. Thinking deeply is being able to turn off everything that is fighting for your attention and zoning on what matters.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”. In order to properly plan, we also have to be able to use our memory effectively, which we need to exercise.
Studying the guitar for years has developed my strategic thinking. I am able to fill in the dots in various aspects of my life because I know which chords go well with which, which scales to play over certain chords and how both chords, scales and arpeggios are constructed.
My ability to remember is strong due to memorizing songs, patterns, licks and melodies.  Planning ahead is easy when I’ve been doing it for year soloing, otherwise known as improvising over songs, is all about planning while executing.  
Everyone wants to feel they are the best at what they do and know what really matters to them, and focus on that.
Invest in yours, your children’s and your grandchildren’s future, through Chess and Music.
Mike David Papapavlou
Guitar Instructor & the Guitar Guide Guru

Interview with TechAlert CEO Uri Rozenblat

Evan Rabin: Please give a quick introduction for your company.

Uri Rozenblat: Tech Alert is an IT company that has been in business for 10 years, focused on providing support and protecting information and systems of small and medium businesses. 

E: What types of industries and geographical territories do you support?

U: Anyone with a computer. We are currently focusing on doctors and others who need HIPAA compliance. 

E: Discuss some of the challenges that you have faced over the years.

U: The biggest constant challenge is that the IT industry constantly changes. The innovation level wasn’t the level two years ago that it is now. Companies are constantly being given new platforms to integrate. Small businesses that manage information are the most exposed to this kind of frequent innovation. The challenges of integrating are changing your company constantly to fit an industry that changes every month. The major obstacle is incorporating all of the expensive services to small businesses. Some can’t afford it or don’t think they are a target because they are too small.

E: How have you coped with he constant changes?

U: It’s been a lot of leg work and research. I’ve interviewed vendors. 60% started with expenses ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 per month.  You get what you pay for. When you shop for a sense of security and you buy something cheap, you can get hurt far worse than if something dramatic occurs.  It’s about finding cost effective products that are also suitable for small businesses but provide what they are supposed to provide at the end of the day. 

E: How do you think learning chess can help you perform your services?

U: Focuing on the strategies of the game and think about how we implement them – defense, attack, etc. IT is a game of winning customers. It’s not really the game itself that is similar, but rather the values of the game. 

E: Elaborate on the values of the game that you think relate to IT.

U: It’s about the playing the long game and not necessarily going the direct route. You need to assess the situation and take a step back to reach your goal.

E: Describe your thought process when addressing an IT incident. 

U: First, you need to figure out if it’s a local issue or a company-wide issue. You then prioritize your actions based on what is going to deliver the fastest response time, fixes the issues the most comprehensively, etc. We have a 15-minute response time. The average is five to ten minutes, after which we will start working on issue quickly. Sometimes we need to chase clients to deal with issues.  Once I get to work on the problem, I check error messages to see what I can find out about that specific error. I will use Google and sift through articles. We need intuition. When you are going to see a new play, you need to reassess your whole game. Based on your findings and your opponent’s move, you figure out what to do next. If that strategy doesn’t work, you start shifting in a different direction.

E: Tell us about a time that you were working on a problem and had to change your strategy.

U: This past Friday, I was working with an event planner company. The office staff was out for the day. The server was down and they could not access projects, accounting, archives, etc.  The server issue was caused because of a failing hard drive. To fix it, all the usual procedures didn’t work. The fastest route instead of trying to repair the issue was to revert to a two-day old back up which didn’t cause much loss except for recreating a few new users. 

E: Thank you for all of the insights. Is there anything else you would like to add?

U: Thank you for your time!