In terms of interesting backgrounds among people in the tech space, Jeff Ma has one of the most interesting. If you’ve read the book Bringing Down The House or seen the movie 21, the main character is based on Ma — yes, in the movie he’s a white guy, but still, that’s him. He was a member of MIT’s now famous blackjack team for seven years. From there, he went on to co-founder a sports startup, Citizen Sports, which Yahoo acquired this past March.
Ma is actually the only one of Citizen Sports 30-some employees that didn’t go over to Yahoo with the deal. Instead, he decided to take some time off to help promote his new book, The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big In Business. The book is an extension of talks Ma has given around the country relating risk-taking (or rather, calculated risk-taking) in both gambling and sports to advantageous moves in business.
Below, find a conversation I had with Ma on TechCrunch TV today. We talk about everything from blackjack, to the new Facebook movie (based on a book written by the same author who wrote Bringing Down The House, Ben Mezrich, whom Ma knows well), to Yahoo, to Ma’s own book, to where LeBron may be going.