StartUp Entrepreneurs: Don’t Leave Serendipity To Chance

Creating a favorable environment for unexpected outcomes to occur is key to a startup's success.

I often advise my clients not to leave serendipity to chance. It’s one of my favorite phrases, and it’s all about how you can manufacture or create a more favorable environment for unexpected outcomes to occur. You can’t rely on pure fate or pure luck to make things happen. Instead, you have to take steps to ensure that the magic happens.

For individual founders, co-founders, or people building teams, the magic is in the chaos, the mayhem, the unstructured, the unprotocol, the undriven, the unwalked between the lines. In other words, you have to allow a little bit of chaos to happen. It’s important to embrace the unexpected and let the magic happen.

But how do you get that DNA into the company to create unexpected outcomes? It’s all about allowing a little bit of chaos into the mix. When you’re building your team, it’s important to find people who are comfortable with uncertainty, who can thrive in a chaotic environment. When you’re developing your product, it’s important to allow for a little bit of experimentation and exploration. When you’re planning your strategy, it’s important to leave room for unexpected twists and turns.

One company that has successfully embraced this philosophy is Airbnb. They started out as a way for people to rent out air mattresses in their apartments to travelers who needed a place to stay. But they didn’t stop there. They allowed for experimentation and exploration, and they were willing to embrace the unexpected. Today, they’re a global powerhouse, with millions of listings in countries all over the world.

As Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky once said, “When we started Airbnb, we didn’t know what it was. We just knew that we wanted to create something cool, and we were willing to embrace the chaos that came with it.” That willingness to embrace chaos, to allow for a little bit of serendipity, is what has made Airbnb such a successful company.

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