According to the Wall Street Journal, Mike Darnell — who made his reputation in the 1990s with reality-TV shows like “Joe Millionaire” — was one of the few network executives willing to meet with Simon Fuller when he was pitching a reality show called “American Idol.”
Darnell said, “I was looking for a different lane that would be my own and where I didn’t have to compete with everyone.”
That’s the kind of difference that is impactful. Unfortunately, when many marketers decide that it is time to be different, the things they choose are too trivial to really make an impact. (Offering your Phufkel in green is not the revolutionary event you might think it is.)
Along with being truly different, the article talks about—and even headlines—the importance of luck. “Luck is a combination of random chance, talent and hard work,” it states. Well, talent is something you either have or perhaps can acquire with practice. And hard work is up to you. But I have always believed that luck plays more of a role in more cases that any of us would like to admit. Particularly since proclaiming yourself lucky negates, at least in your own mind, the hard work and talent you hoped others would recognize as the key factors in your success.
To me, luck, at its most basic, as I told my kids, often comes down to inches and seconds. Like making a left turn, rather than a right turn, and seeing something that triggers an idea that you would not have otherwise thought of. Or the luck of whom your college roommate was. Or missing the first elevator because it was too crowded, and discovering a mentor on the next one.
The article points out that lucky people are often the outliers who find a path that others have missed. So Darnell, for example, made his own good luck by seeking a very different path. And that’s what you should do.
It’s a simple formula: Maximize your talent, work hard, and be radically different.
And get lucky.