There’s a lot of luck in business. One of the practical ideas concerning how to work with luck is Jason Roberts’, “luck surface area.” His idea is that your luck increases by pursuing a passion, developing an expertise, and talking about it with lots of people. The key being that you talk with lots of people.
Another perspective on luck aligns with the quote by Thomas Jefferson, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Hard work doesn’t create luck, but hard work that results in many different work products, especially in different domains, can create opportunity.
Western philosophy originated in harbor cities of the Aegean. Merchants traded all around the Meditarranean and came into contact with art, science, and ideas from more isolated societies. They acted as connectors and filling that role created the ground for insight and innovation.
Diversity of networks and experience is a practical strategy to create “lucky” opportunities.
As a simple example, this weekend, I worked on a project. During the course of the work, I realized that I was applying a tactic that I learned at a software developer conference four years ago. A little bit later, I realized that I was applying an idea I learned from a lifestyle business conference last year. In the moments when I learned those tactics, I had no expectation that I would actually use them because I had other goals that I was focused on.
As entrepreneurs, we often make decisions through the lens of efficiency. You could make an argument that I shouldn’t have spent time at a software conference when I wasn’t actively developing a software product and shouldn’t have been at a lifestyle business conference because I don’t operate a lifestyle business.
However, there’s an extremely valuable place in business for inefficiency. In big businesses, they call it research and development, for investors it’s venture capital, and for your small business it might mean “wasting” a weekend in an adjacent network.