Chapter 3: Luck and the Systematic Search for Discoveries
Key ideas In this chapter, I provide empirical grounding for my multi-stage model of constrained, systematic search, which was presented in Figure 2.1. Although based on a series of theoretical assumptions from informational economics, constrained, systematic search would not be very useful if real entrepreneurs were not capable of using its prescriptions, regardless of how elegant or convincing they were. Nor would the model have much credibility if the only entrepreneurs who could use it were successful because they were lucky. It is conceivable that eventually someone like me could identify a sample of lucky entrepreneurs and use it to deceive even the most discerning. My colleagues and I address these concerns by presenting a phenomenological study of 12 repeat entrepreneurs who have started three or more successful ventures without a failure or who have started at least one very successful venture. Their repeated success controls for the possibility that their success was due to luck. Collectively, the entrepreneurs in the study that I present here started 49 successful, new ventures. I demonstrate that without exception, each of the 12 repeat entrepreneurs uses all of the six stages in the model, which provides evidence that these practicing, successful entrepreneurs understand how to use constrained, systematic search. We may infer from these results and informational economics that those who desire to discover opportunities with the promise of generating new wealth will be able to learn how to launch their own successful ventures. THE PROBLEM WITH LUCK IN OUR TEACHING AND RESEARCH...
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