Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jump on Opportunities

We spoke a bit about how much in life is driven by random events, or what some people would call "luck". I told the boys the story of the women who rented an extra bedroom in her house (or something like that) to the founders of Google. She is now one of Google's top executive's - and needless to say extremely wealthy. But, was it just luck? Of course not. Three key factors turn "luck" into success:

1) Being prepared. The women in the above example had an MBA from a top university and was well positioned to add value to Google. Imagine instead if she had no college degree and no appreciation for start-ups and technology. It is unlikely she would have gotten involved with the company.

2) Maximize the chances of "lucky events". What are the odds that the tenants of your extra bedroom are working on the next technology home run if you live in suburban South Dakota (I hope I am not offending anyone)? The point is that lots of the things we do impact the chances of having "good luck". Your college roommate might become the founder of Facebook or Microsoft right? Well, seems like going to Harvard increases the odds of such an event... Or, attending events, such as conferences, attended by other interesting people... Many of the serendipitous events of history can be tracked to actions that someone took that increased the odds of such an occurrence.

3) And the final point is to jump on opportunities. If you get a job offer at the next Google, will you take it right away? If you wait too long, the opportunity might disappear. And, btw, I am not referring to situations in which you are not sure the opportunity is a good one. In those, you should figure that out quickly and either accept or decline. You will get some wrong (I know I have) but those that you get right you will benefit from. Hiring people is the same: you meet someone great? Don't procrastinate or she might take another job.

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