Luck, serendipity, and happenstance are real, visceral, and many times determie criteria for success – in everything. All the business plans, system support, and 'best practices' may not mean anything when they are not in alignment with forces of nature that shape the outcomes dramatically. The big puzzle here is at the center of this discussion: Everybody wants a predictable way to chart growth and success – whereas in this globalized world, where various forces are at interplay a dose of randomness can increase the chances of success. In a way, harnessing this randomness is the key to branching out into something new, or in building existing things rapidly.
It is difficult to believe now, but some technology leaders underestimated the vast potential for success of Google and the iPhone. The oft repeated great conventional wisdom and common sense do not guarantee one's ability to spot emerging trends. The rules of the game are ever evolving, and that truly presents a formidable challenge to anyone who wants to ride the next big wave. There are many stories in the book of click moments making all the difference. The one I liked the most: Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp met one evening and coincidentally both loved collecting, and during the discussions asked the question – how do we find a way to digitally display all the collections? That led to taking a purposeful bet powered by passion and, despite not having great programming backgrounds, they persevered and got a technical team to support them, leading to the rise of Pinterest – one of the fastest growing social networks.
So how does one engineer those click moments? Johansson’s answer is to be open and be on the lookout for serendipitous moments. Definitely, steps can be taken to increase the chances by bringing into intersections different people, different domains, or cultures together as part of a business or an initiative – thereby setting the stage for a collision of ideas to germinate new thoughts based on unique insights and possibilities that would not have been thought of. The odds of getting those click moments increase with more variety and by placing more purposeful bets. Rovio came up with Angry Birds after 50 or so failed attempts – so passion and persistence here are the keys of success. The mantra is to follow your curiosity – think laterally, exploit intersections, be passionate and one will see an opening somewhere in the journey; the prudent ones grab it and build on. Purposeful bets – small and big placed over a time – can cascade into very powerful outcomes and one’s career, business, or life can completely change when such things happen and these chance breakthroughs can also be seen as ordained, tempered as they are with passion, planned pursuits with purposeful bets.