At SXSW, Peter Thiel talked about Mark Zuckerberg turning down Yahoo’s $1 billion acquisition offer. I liked one part in particular:
Thiel told this story to make a larger point about how the most successful entrepreneurs operate. He said that the best entrepreneurs, like Zuckerberg, have a definitive view about the future and plan for it; they don’t willy-nilly chase luck—using statistics, probability, and iterative processes—to stumble upon something, anything that flies.
"All of us have to work toward a definite future…that can motivate and inspire people to change the world," he said. In this scenario, "luck is something for us to overcome as we go along the way, but not something that becomes this absolute dominating force that stops all thought."
Thiel doesn’t subscribe to what he calls the start-up “religion” of a-b testing every tweak (until you run out of money) or incrementally-iterating at every step—to be so systematically chasing some random success that it strips out all conviction and creative ideas about the future.