What has luck got to do with it?

By Author: Ms. Debra Basson (MENTit Mentor)

The role of chance, or "luck" in science comprises all ways in which unexpected discoveries are made. Many domains, especially psychology, are concerned with the way science interacts with chance — particularly "serendipity" (accidents that, through sagacity, are transformed into opportunity). - Source Wikipedia 

If looking st the above we would then want to explore what ‘serendipity’ was more. 


Serendipity is a happy and unexpected event that apparently occurs due to chance and often appears when we are searching for something else. Serendipity is a delight when it happens in our daily lives and has been responsible for many innovations and important advances in science and technology.


It may seem odd to refer to chance when discussing science. Scientific research supposedly operates in a very methodical, precise, and controlled way, with no room for chance in any area of the investigation. In fact, chance plays an important role in science and technology and has been responsible for some significant discoveries in the past. In science, though, chance doesn't have quite the same meaning as it does in everyday life. - Source www.owlcation.com


If serendipity is a happy event that sparks innovation, that would imply that it’s also a mark of success or bears a relationship to success.


Lets look at a working example of this in action of something we all can relate to: Bill Gates and Microsoft  


The Early Years Of Microsoft 


In 1980, IBM was building its first personal computer, the PC. Trying to keep costs down, IBM decided to outsource the operating system and contacted Microsoft.

Microsoft didn’t have an operating system, but Bill Gates knew of a company that did. Seattle Computers had a system named QDOS but had no idea IBM was looking for an operating system. Gates used this information to his advantage and purchased QDOS at a fairly cheap price.

He then renamed the operating system MS-DOS. In one of the shrewdest moves in the history of business, instead of selling MS-DOS to IBM, Gates held on to it and licensed it. This allowed him to license it to other computer companies.


The IBM PC became a huge success. And because imitation is the greatest form of flattery, PCs from other companies started to flood the market, every one of them with MS-DOS as the operating system.


The computer had became a commodity. The value was in the software, or the operating system. Gates had a monopoly. It was this monopoly that made Microsoft a juggernaut and Gates the richest man in the world.


Where is the luck or the chance in the story? If IBM built their own operating system, would Microsoft be a household name?


And if IBM insisted on the licensing right instead of royalties would Microsoft have been able to gain market share as they have? 


These two single events have created a worldwide Monolopy, granted a shrewd and strategic mind aided the process and he was able to take the company forward with the advantage he created.

However, the point is still the point, which is that without some degree of serendipity, we don’t get the breakthrough’s we desperately need to be the successes we dream about. 


The views/opinions expressed in this blog by me as a MENTit user are my personal. MENTit or its promoters or other users may not share the same views or opinions as mine. If any copyright/trademark/patent/plagiarism/controversy issue emerges because of this article written by me, I, as an author, shall be the sole responsible for the consequences.

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