Friday, November 16, 2007

The Right Place At The Right Time

Have you ever heard about that Chinese guy, Tai Ming?

How many times have you seen people say the secret to their success was TIMING?

Or, in love, that the TIMING was just right?

Or, with their business launch, that they were IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME?

Clearly, TIME is a factor that determines, at the least, an influence upon our success with life, love, money, and more.

For example, if you had invested ONE MILLION DOLLARS in the NASDAQ on March 29, 2000, you would have essentially put your money into a market at it's peak of over 20 years.

If that was all the money to your name, you would have been considerably poorer, had you left that money in the top technology stocks on the Nasdaq in March 29, 2000 until today. In fact, depending upon the stocks you invested in, you might have roughly 1/10 the money, now, that you had on that fateful day. In essence, it might take you 20 years to recoup the losses you'd face over the next three years. What would you attribute the loss to? Timing.

Another example: a single man meets a single woman. She is on a train heading the opposite direction from him. They talk on the train for 20 minutes. During that time, they form a connection, and decide to spend the evening in Austria. They end up spending an entire day together, and see jugglers, an accordian player, a poet, enter several bars, dine at a dinner, make love in a park, and experience life through each other's eyes. Their conversation changes their lives, forever. This story is the story of two people, as described in one of my favorite movies, Before Sunrise. They agree to meet again, back at the same train station in six months. The subsequent story that unfolds in the next movie is also due to circumstance, and, also timing.

TIME is the one condition that seems to bind us to the HUMAN experience.

If you took away time, you more than likely take away LIFE as we know it. Clearly, time is important. We run our alarm clocks based upon time to determine the moment we awake in the morning. We have a schedule, from school, to work, to the television, to many aspects within our lives, based upon TIME.

It can be frustrating, to have a dream, and to have taken so many steps towards the dream, only to have to wait until the TIME is RIGHT for our ideas to germinate and people to accept them, buy them, and spread the word. Some people give up, just before this time occurs.

What can we do about time?

Are there ways to speed up time?

Are there ways to cut corners with time and get more done in less time?

I'll offer five ways I've learned to maximize time, to the best of my ability:

1. Be an early riser. Some people claim they get more done, in less time, by rising earlier. They avoid distractions, interruptions, and think most clearly when they awake in the morning.

2. Be a night owl. There is probably an equal number of people who are not early risers, but rather late-to-bed. These people may also get more done because there are fewer distractions late at night. In addition, there are more quiet hours late night than at any other time of day.

3. Don't wait behind lines. If you can avoid lines, you will save time. I'm not advocating cutting in front of other people, out of rudeness. I'm simply saying that if you are approaching a stop light in your car, and there are 10 cars in one lane and 3 cars in the other, you will likely save time by switching to the lane with 3 cars. Or, at the grocery market, you may see a line with two big carts full of food, or two people with nothing more than milk and water in their hands. Who is going to check out first? Clearly, the lane with only a couple of items ought to be through the check out the quickest.

4. Avoid commutes. If you live close to where you work or go to school, you can reduce the time lost in the commute. I've heard people say "I can live in a bigger house if I buy my home an hour away from the city where I work." That may be true. I'd rather live in the smaller house and save the two hours. Those two hours represent time I can spend developing other products, services, and business ideas, or they could represent time spent with those I love the most.

5. Focus on trends. Amazingly enough, if someone had spotted search engines as a trend, and bought and held ONLY those who performed well, this investor would have made a killing on looksmart, yahoo, infoseek, and others. I know, because for a time, I accomplished this.

Another way to spot a trend is to look at the background of the Cabinet of elected officials when they take office. For example, had people bothered to look at the background of people behind George H. W. Bush, they could have easily predicted the background of people behind George W. Bush. People like Dick Cheney, and the like, had worked for Halliburton. You could have reviewed what these companies did, then invested in them. For example, Bush is big on oil and the military. Bush, as VP, President, and also Bush II have both built up the military. Many of Bush's cabinet members had backgrounds in Defense and with the military. So, it would only make sense that you might have considered investing in military-related companies once Bush took office.

Another trend is to spot when major wars break out, you can find some things that will go up in value. For example, Gold almost always goes up during times of war. I predicted, in 2001, that Gold would go over 500, and possibly much higher. As of the date of this post Gold is trading over $780 per ounce. At the time of my first prediction, I had several people tell me I was crazy and that Gold was already "high" by standards at that time. Well, time proved me right. But I knew Gold would likely increase, because we were entering into war.

Oil is a form of black gold. So, if Gold will go up, so, too, might oil. They are not mutually bound, but often oil prices will increase during war, too. The price ber barrel of oil has increased dramatically, from around $20 to up over $80 now.

These are good investments, if you can predict, in advance, that they are likely to occur. Another prediction I made was the housing market would increase as long as interest rates went down or held a low. And, that was true, too. I predicted that the housing market (at least in the US) would crash once the rates increased, and certainly if the rate went above 10%. The coming housing crash has already diminished values of homes in the Midwest by up to 50%, and in places like the SF Bay Area, by 15%. I feel that the worst is yet to come with housing, as rates are STILL quite low, comparing to rates from previous years decades ago.

What I'm trying to illuminate is the fact that you can CREATE your luck by knowing how to be in the right place at the right time.

If you know that a development is occuring, or a spurt of growth is occuring, you can target that growth. For example, my fellow salespeople called me "lucky" when I worked at D1, and later, at Data General. Why? Because deals would seemingly plop into my lap at the most opportune times. But, to me, although it would sometimes SEEM lucky, it wasn't really that lucky, at all. I just have the knack of knowing how to be in the right place at the right time. With the dot-com movement, I spotted the trend towards infrastructure, as with any boom it is the companies providing infrastructure that often succeed the most. Even Google, as a search engine, is a form of internet infrastructure. I also targeted firms like Brocade, Gadzooks, and Copper Mountain during that era, and found success with those firms.

You CAN build your luck, by spotting trends, and then moving to secure your own piece of the action within those trend areas.

I believe that my company ARRiiVE Business Solutions ( is also in the right place at the right time, because ARRiiVE is targeting collaboration software at a time when businesses are struggling with the mountain of electronic information massing online. It is becoming more and more difficult to build teams, and CEOs will admit that they can't be the source of all original and innovative ideas: they need help!

If you're seeking a Big Idea to help you get in the right place at the right time, look to see a hole, something someone else isn't providing, and provide that (as long as you're passionate about it). An example of this is G-diaper: the GREEN diaper company. What a great idea! How many diapers are building waste on a daily basis? Billions! G-diaper is the first company I learned of who was figuring out how to offer biodegradable diapers to help de-clog our congested landfills. They're now making millions and I predict even greater success for this small company.

To recap, if you want to create your own luck, and maximize your time, try these tips:

  1. Be either an early riser or a night owl. The extra hours you gain during quiet time (either morning or late at night) will be highly valuable to you in building your success.
  2. Avoid waiting in lines. Lines suck up your time.
  3. Avoid commutes. If you can avoid your commute, you may gain one to two hours a day. This tip could be worth THOUSANDS over one year, and over a MILLION over your lifetime.
  4. Focus on trends. Watch the backgrounds of parties who take office (in major countries). Pay attention to emerging trends. If you hear people say "this is the next big thing" do a little research.
I'll never forget when I was out to lunch and overheard two well-dressed business women talking about their latest "stock finds" and mentioned Infoseek and Excite.

Keep in mind that this was back in the golden years of SEO :, Altavista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos and Yahoo were the more popular search engines on the market. These sites determined the Web 1.0 success of a website, prior to the dominance of Google. Well, in hearing about Infoseek and Excite, I went back to my office, did a little research, and after reading a Bottom Line recommendation on these sites, too, I figured it was worth a shot. I bought shares of those stocks. My initial investment in Infoseek and Excite grew over 5x over the next 2 years. Not bad growth, by any measure.

Another way to spot a trend is when people build up infrastructure to support something. For example, the trend SEEMED to be long-distance companies, when they put down all the pipes for Fiber Optic technology. However, they overbuilt. This opened the door for India, though. A wise investor, in spotting the early trend in outsourcing call centers and programming to India, might have invested a little money in those firms.

With love, it's often the same thing. Put yourself in places where people are HAPPY and living their best life. That may be school, work, church, and non-profit organizations. Join a cause you care about. Then go out to coffee or tea with those you meet. You just might find love.

Some people stay at home, watching television, killing hours of valuable time. Then, they wonder why they can't launch their business dream, or why they aren't meeting anyone.

See, with timing, we can create a more successful life, and maximize the time we have. It just depends on how aware we are with the time we've got.


This article is written by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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