Return on Luck

I’m enamored with the concept of “Return on Luck”. I think it plays a much bigger role in StartUp success than people appreciate. Often successful entrepreneurs are considered lucky, and sometimes considered “just lucky.” Like somehow they had nothing to do with a successful exit.

But we all get luck, good and bad. There are two critical factors: first, getting in a position to be lucky; and, second making the most of it.

Australian Steven Bradbury has been a hero of mine. In the Salt Lake City Olympics, Australia’s Steven Bradbury skated to Gold after everyone in his final fell in front of him. He got to the finals because everyone in his semi-final heat also fell. This may seem like dumb luck, but you need to appreciate what it took for him to find his way to an Olympic qualifying heat (in fact it was his fourth Olympics). Especially from a country like Australia that is not exactly a winter sports powerhouse.

We saw this example of return on luck again in Sochi when China’s Li Jianrou repeated Bradbury’s feat. She won gold when all the skaters in front of her fell. Like all entrepreneurs that deserve credit for their successful outcomes, Jianrou and Bradbury deserve their gold medals as much as every other winner.