“Dumb” Luck

So any startup owner is a fear based creature. And like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, this brave soul’s prospects are not good. In fact, they are headed for probable doom, 93% to be close to the best information available, and for this reason, it makes little sense that so many are interested in going here.

It is the success stories that draw everybody in. In America, nothing is more alluring than the unlikely success stories that form the fabric of our commercial profile. I guess we all hope and believe that we are the chosen ones and that if we work hard enough, pray enough times, and think with sufficient clarity, that our startup will magically ascend into the heavens to join the immortal businesses we read about all day in the news.

But unfortunately, reality is not our friend. Most who have been down this road have wised up after their ‘startup phase’ and gotten jobs that they used to rebuild their financial footing after their wild brush with stupidity. So is it optimism that feeds the entrepreneur, or is it stupidity? It may be best to simply leave this as an exercise to the reader.

But there is also this small item worth mentioning:

A personal idol of mine (and I am the creator of this site, BTW), is and has always been Dr. T., CEO of National Instruments for some 40 years. I was lucky enough to get to chat with Dr. T about 20 years ago and found him to be an unusually down to earth East Texas man very much like myself. One could easily miss the whole ultra successful billionaire thing.

But when people want to know if its a good idea to go for a startup, I think its important to note this simple fact. While Dr. T is the benevolent engineering hub for the scores of the world’s best engineers all eager to work for National Instruments, there is a very curious fact about Dr. T. And that fact is that he was not the one credited with inventing really any of the key technologies that put NI on the map. And while he has been there from the start, and assisted in all things greatly, and kept the company on track, pointed directly toward the heights of greatness, perhaps his success is best attributed to the fact that he assembled all the engineers working on individual startup style technologies under one roof.

This, I believe, is Dr. T’s ‘random dumb luck’ that he credits for his success. Well, were he to happen to read what I have written here, I would let him know that it took me more than a decade to understand the true nature of his ‘luck’. 🙂