Set Yourself Up for Success

Gary Player is often quoted as the person who first said, “The harder you practice, the luckier you get.” Although he denies being the person who first coined that phrase (please see Golf Digest magazine in 2002), the principle is correct. Louis Pasteur recognized more than a century ago that we must set ourselves up to be “lucky”.

We see that people, such as Magdalena Yessel and Randy Haykin built their careers on the shoulders of the things they had learned from previous successes and failures. They were able to commercialize the products that they created. Evan Williams created Twitter when he partnered with Jack Dorsey to build a micro-blogging. Twitter has become a very successful product over a very short space of time. It was developed in 2006, and spun out on its own in 2007. The following year it was estimated at $100 million and 5 years later (2013) the stock price of $44.90 suggested a valuation of $31 billion. However, a serious lack of commercial viability has caused the stock price to drop and today (12/7/2016) the stock price closed at $19.48 after an all-time high on 1/3/2014 of $60.00.

Twitter has lost value over the past 2 years because it still has not been able to commercialize its product. This suggests that, even though the product is hugely successful, the inability to commercialize the final product is a principle that all entrepreneurs should understand. No matter how wonderful your product may be, if you cannot get paying customers, your entrepreneurial endeavor will be in trouble.

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