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The Secret Is A Male Cow

Long ago, far away, I bought a typesetting company in Iowa with my mentor and business partner. Yes, yes, yes, I know I'm an idiot. I am reminded daily. The Wall Street Journal said I was a dope. Business Week … Read More

By / September 28, 2007

Long ago, far away, I bought a typesetting company in Iowa with my mentor and business partner. Yes, yes, yes, I know I'm an idiot. I am reminded daily. The Wall Street Journal said I was a dope. Business Week decided I could have been more clued in. And a letter I got in the mail today told me that "If you'd talked to me, you'd never have bought that company and had to bear your guilty soul."

As the book the Secret says, if you want it bad enough, it will come to you. And if you don't, you'll deserve the crap you get.

It's nice to be smart in retrospect. It's comforting to know you'd never have pushed the launch button on the Challenger or invested with the Hunt Brothers or bought a Newton.

In the book the Black Swan, Nassim Taleb points out that, "Nobody would publish a book about business failure." Because the business press, and media in general, creates the myth of the formula for success. How do you find this equation? Just get a bunch of successful people in a room and try to find something they all share in common. Do they get up early to exercise? Did they have sloppy handwriting in grade school? Do they lace their shoes all on the left and then the right?

Nassim says it's all bunk. Success is what we all know already, a mix of skill, perseverance, and luck. And luck is a big big part of it. If Bill Gate's mother hadn't been on the board of United Way with the CEO of IBM, he likely wouldn't have gotten that meeting to sell them DOS. And how do you control who your mother knows? I guess you just have to wish hard enough.

 

 

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