‘Facebook turned me down’ — the job rejection letter that turned into a $4 billion check
Marc Cenedella

It’s like the old adage:

Success = preparation (skills, knowledge and experience)+ awareness (seeing an opportunity)+ willingness to take a risk + LUCK (right timing, connecting with the right people, access to the right resources).

All four must coincide or the chances of success are diminished dramatically.

Experience, skills and knowledge give an entrepreneur an increased chance of being able to recognize an opportunity and knowing how to do something about it and gauging the timing. A founder without the necessary skills and experience can surround him-/herself with people who have these things, but this requires that they have the luck of finding the right people that can execute on his/her vision as a team. This is why VCs stress the importance of the management team’s prior experience and their track record of successfully executing together as a team. Lack of preparation makes the success very much harder to achieve.

Awareness is critical to recognizing a problem/opportunity in a market and seeing that solving this problem or capitalizing on this opportunity could result in a great business. An entrepreneur can have all the skills/knowledge/experience, be willing to take the risk and have great luck — but if they don’t see the opportunity there will never be a venture.

Willingness to take risk is means that the entrepreneur is willing to move forward and attempt the venture. If you’re not willing to take the risk, then you’ll never know if you would have been successful or not — no matter how well you are prepared, aware of the opportunity or loaded with luck, you have to set sail or you’ll never get there.

Luck is a bucket that contains things like being at the right place at the right time — sometimes it’s better to be a fast follower than a pioneer (eg Google was not the first search engine, Facebook was not the first social network etc….), and anyone launching too late will never get traction. Luck is also having access to and meeting the right people — sometimes meeting an engineer who has a passion for solving your problem/capitalizing in your opportunity and knows how to do it and can get it done makes all the difference in the world. Luck is lastly about having access to the necessary resources (eg capital, channel partners, IP etc..).

Go be successful!

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