Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why You Can’t Pick the Winners!

Guest post by Soulaima Gourani:
I’ve conducted (or participated in) countless conversations with some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world through the years. I live alongside the wealthiest and most influential people in our day and age here in Silicon Valley– but what do their lives consist of?
Aside from the generic comments about passion, hard work, the ability to innovate and think creatively, and knowledge of their craft, there are a couple of other personal characteristics that tend to be behind their success.
You always hear people talk about “if only” they had more time or more money or they lived somewhere else, and so on. You hear it from companies too – “if only the Planning Act were more flexible, if only we had more investors, and if only our clients would understand.” The vast majority of innovative people and companies I’m personally familiar with became innovative because they didn’t have time or money or because they were excluded and unappreciated. It was the lack of resources, understanding, and exclusion from others that motivated them. Others were driven by the desire to make the world a better place or to reach a particular status. And then there are those who just needed to make a living, but who had the ambitions, the will, and the innovative mindset that allowed them to make it big.
Two years ago, I was having dinner with Travis Kalanick, the founder, and ex-CEO of Uber. Uber is one of the most profitable, recognized, and debated companies in the modern world.That said, it’s also one of the world’s most hated companies. Travis told me all about how he randomly came up with the name, (which doesn’t exactly make much sense), and how all he wanted was access to cheaper transport. His vision and drive ended up changing the way we get around, who we trust to transport us, and how we work (through apps rather than in miserable office spaces).
 Regardless of whether we like Uber or not, the company remains famous and successful. Before launching Uber, Travis wasn’t doing well financially, and he didn’t have the time or support when he started Uber. Nobody believed in him, and his friends/family only gave him money because he talked their ears off. They felt sorry for him. For Travis, his vision and faith in it proved to be the deciding factor in establishing something nobody ever saw coming.
In other words – you can’t pick the winners.

Nobody predicted that he would be successful. The same goes for Alibaba and Jack Ma from China. He wasn’t particularly intelligent as far as the school system was concerned and he applied to more than 30 blue collar jobs as a server and a busboy (etc.) but received nothing but rejection letters. Now he has an estimated net worth of $50 billion.ho ends up being the most innovative and successful? Can you walk into a classroom and pick the winner? Almost never. It’s a kind of x-factor that can be difficult to spot. Most people don’t recognize talent if they haven’t seen it before, and that’s why most people can’t spot a good idea if it’s staring right at them.

Soulaima Gourani, E-MBA. Speaker, Author, Advisor, Investor, Life Leadership and Life Design Coach for more information please visit

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