Andreessen & the Role of Luck

Note to my future self..

Like a lot of other people, I’ve always been interested in the role of luck in determining a person’s success. So far I’ve found that it’s a hard topic to think about because I haven’t found a good framework where you can generalize the role of luck and apply it to different situations and individuals.

Today I reread Marc Andreessen’s essay Luck and the Entrepreneur, Part 1: The four kinds of luck and I think that it provides one of the best frameworks that I’ve come across for evaluating luck (a.k.a. chance) in the context of entrepreneurship. It’s important to note that the framework that he uses is actually taken from a book titled Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Novelty of Art by Dr. James Austin.

The basic premise of the article is that there are four kinds of luck or chance and they sit a long a continuum where the differentiating factor is the level of agency that the individual has over a situation. Austin summarizes it way better than I or Marc Andreessen ever could:

Chance I is completely impersonal; you can’t influence it. Chance II favors those who have a persistent curiosity about many things coupled with an energetic willingness to experiment and explore. Chance III favors those who have a sufficient background of sound knowledge plus special abilities in observing, remembering, recalling, and quickly forming significant new associations. Chance IV favors those with distinctive, if not eccentric hobbies, personal lifestyles, and motor behaviors.”

I feel that this is a good starting point. The next step for me is to refer back to this essay as frequently as possible so that I can start internalizing the concepts. I will also try to get hold of the actual book and maybe even a couple of reviews/adjacent material to make more sense of topic. It deserves more time/resources and I know it. It’s just hard(:

Now back to work…