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In Business Lady Luck Smiles Only at Prepared Men

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Nailab crowdfunding

I watched Alexia Tsotsis interview Zendesk’s CEO Mikkel Svane TechCrunch Disrupt London and was pretty impressed by what he said.

Svane said “Being lucky is just so much work,” I cannot agree more. This must be the most helpful statement I have heard this week.

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While starting off in business” if you have a good team and a good share of luck then – you just might make something happen.” ~ Richard Branson

I have had entrepreneurs tell me that it will only take one call, one email to change everything for the better especially if you have preserved enough. However everyone fast forwards to the email and the call part forgetting the hard work in between. From experiences that call /Email comes from year of Networking, Follow up meetings, friendly gestures and a lot of ‘Nos’. On average you have to woo that luck for almost a year or less depending how big the luck is.

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Let’s put it into context.

In the example of Facebook, where there were seven more social networks before them but only Facebook made it, How did luck play into this?

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Hard work: Mark Developed Facebook concurrently with Winklevoss brothers Harvard connect, launched successfully at Harvard and beat them all, hired a Kick ass team which developed new features faster than any other social start up. They barely slept trying to become the best.

Luck: Hiring Sean parker, the guy who introduced them to their first seed investor and helped run it for a few months to 1 million users, Then Sheryl Sandberg as Chief operating officer came and made it what it is now. She was the best at that time been poached from Google.

If it weren’t for the initial hard work by Mark and team I doubt these two instrumental figures could have joined the picture and helped Facebook be what it is now.


Hard work: Ghafla! Actually started out as a lyrics website called, and it was a one-man show for two years with just ‘Okay’ growth until they rebranded to Ghafla to allow for more topics.

Luckily: During this time there happened to have an investor Hackathon by Human IPO later 88mph– the first ever in the region – they applied, won and now we have Ghafla all over out Twitter timelines.


The story of the Nailab is inspiring when told by their CEO Sam Gichuru but I’ll try my best. Sam and Tonee Ndungu got a very strategic incubation space overlooking Ngong hill – beautiful view at sunset- to help young entrepreneur build businesses, at the top Bishop Magua along Ngong RD but they had little ideas on what to do with it.

Luck: The plan was to find investors to keep the space going, got an interested investor in Amsterdam, they applied for visa, and Sam application was rejected but luckily accepted at the last minute on the departure day just before he cancelled the plane ticket. In Amsterdam it only took them one meeting 10 min to get an investment offer. When they came back Ghafla was among the first companies to be incubated at the Nailab.

Clearly “Being lucky is just so much work” but the best explanation of all the above scenarios is

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation


P.S The Nailab is accepting application for incubation. Enter all those bright idea here

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Kinyanjui Njonde
Kinyanjui Njonde
Business development manager at Shares about experiences and lessons on African Start up scene and Events Industry. Future father

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