Kunal Nandwani, founder, uTrade, technology-based stock trading platform
As the story goes
A couple of years ago, I was in London, presenting our trading solutions to JP Morgan. Not many of the attendees were impressed with what I was offering. But, one of them took a liking to it and reached out to a friend in the U.S., who in turn reached out to a friend in Amsterdam who was running a RFP (Request for Proposal) agency. From Amsterdam, my presentation details were sent to a stock broker in Chile, who is currently my largest client. Essentially, by pitching to someone in JP Morgan I signed a (stock) broker in Chile. Incidentally, I would have never thought of selling in South America otherwise.
How you see it
Everything you do is a combination of hard work and luck. For example, if Whatsapp had been founded two years later (in 2011 instead of in 2009), it wouldn’t have succeeded because the market would already have been crowded with similar apps. The company got lucky with its timing because in 2008, Apple founded the app store where apps could be launched and distributed conveniently. Prior to that, Nokia had developed some apps which were impossible to download.
Hence, the lesson here is, luck matters a lot. It is like being in an ocean. You can sail as much as you want but if you are up against a high tide or a thunderstorm, you can’t move forward no matter how much you try. In other words, hard work is what you control and luck is the role the external factors play in your success. Smart entrepreneurs understand this; they know when they got lucky and when they worked hard.
Favorite quote on luck
It is by a golfer called Gary Player. Player was once practicing in a bunker down in Texas when a man stopped to watch him play. The first shot went into the hole, when he said he would offer 50 bucks, if he holed the next one too. A third time, he said he would offer a 100, if he succeeded. When Player nailed it the third time too, the man remarked that he just got lucky. To this, Player responded, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”