A novel by Anthony Burgess
Are you smart enough to be lucky or lucky enough to be smart? Can you tell the difference?
Bo Peabody, one of the first Internet wunderkinds, was smart ... or lucky ... enough to make and take the money and run before the dot.com bust. In this slim volume, he lets us see behind the curtain into the Oz inhabited by the successful entrepreneur. A media darling in the late 1990's for his photogenic looks, mountain bike and ubiquitous use of the term "dude", Peabody co-founded Tripod, a pioneering social media site later sold to Lycos for $58 million in stock. He watched the stock increase in value tenfold and then sold it at the peak of the bubble. He went on to found or co-found six more companies and nurtured them to success. His current flagship is Village Ventures, a venture capital network.
In this concise manifesto of only 58 pages, Peabody captures the straightforward secrets of his success with lucidity and some self-deprecation. He reveals the truth that it is best to be smart enough to know when you are being lucky. And how to increase the chances that you will be lucky.
His main thesis is "Lucky things happen to entrepreneurs who start fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically positive companies." The employees who flock to this type of working environment are the keys to generating a flow of opportunities. Of those many opportunities, the ones that pan out are chalked up to luck.
With tongue-not-so-in-cheek, the world is divided into the B-students (entrepreneurs) and the A-students (managers). Peabody explains clearly how these groups differ and how they absolutely need each other's skills to succeed. It's not all mountain bikes and press conferences -- there are hundred-hour workweeks and the very real chance of making very little money for a very long time.
Some of Peabody's advice is deceptively simple: Don't believe your own press. He illustrates this point persuasively with the stories of those Intranet pioneers who seemingly believed so strongly in their own genius that they crashed with their own companies that never made a dime in profit and never evolved to the next level.
In contrast with many business books that mix a pound of statistics with a dash of fear and a pinch of negativity, Peabody serves up a bright and surprisingly uplifting salad.
Read it once, Read it twice. If you're a B -student, dream up an idea and hire some A-students to manage it. If you are an A-student, find a B-student with a great idea, an open mind, and give him or her a copy of Peabody's book.
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