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by Alan Hargreaves



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Entries in luck (4)

Tuesday
Jun032014

Planned prosperity Vs lucky breaks

Googling Good Fortune.

In 1999, Sergey Brin and Larry Page took their fledgling product to George Bell, CEO of established search engine, Excite. Wishing to realize the value of their startup, they offered him Google for US$1m. Bell was unexcited, even when they dropped the price to US$750,000.

Both sides made bad decisions: the young entrepreneurs wanted to sell too much too soon; the potential buyer didn’t see the potential. For Brin and Page, it was one of their luckiest setbacks. For Excite, it was a missed opportunity. But that’s only with hindsight. Neither could have forecast the future.

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Tuesday
Feb112014

Getting Lucky

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Sometimes, the flip side is the better track

In 1978 Gloria Gaynor was a moderately successful singer. That changed when she covered a Righteous Brothers number called “Substitute.” Few would remember the tune. That’s because it flopped. On the flip side was a new track no one had heard of. It was called “I Will Survive.” It went to the top of the charts and so did Gloria Gaynor.

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Tuesday
Oct152013

Intuition: Friend or Foe?

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What to do with those “hunches”.

In 1977, three of us launched a truck driver’s tabloid. We got the idea while lying on a beach. We sold it to a printing company and negotiated a handsome package to produce the editorial.

We had no strategy. We did no market research. We just put it together and put it out there. Rigs and Roads was an instant success.

Why?

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Tuesday
Oct162012

Timing and luck

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Are successful people right, lucky or both?

In the mid-1980s, I listened to Nobel prize-winning finance professor, William Sharpe, address the Hong Kong Society of Securities Analysts.

Sharpe was one of our heroes, having developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model, or CAPM. (We don’t need to go into that here but for investment geeks CAPM is up there with sex).

Then the professor told us it was impossible to consistently beat the market.

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