Helping Luck Find You

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The great thing about being the CEO of my company is that I can define the CEO role any way I want. By Miki Johnson (Co-Founder, Parsecco)

Lucky. That’s the word we use more than any other when describing how our Parsecco team came together.

Jackson and I were lucky to be put on a panel together in late 2011. We were lucky to have called Peter during the two weeks he happened to be between jobs. We were lucky to meet Waylon at a tech event. And we were lucky that Alexis found us after developing a similar product on her own.

But when I really dig into the idea of luck, I realized we did many things that helped luck find us. Jackson and I said “yes” to that event. Jackson reached out to college friends about technical co-founders, which led us to Peter. We went to Chicago events and wrote publicly about our company (a blog post led Alexis back to us after a mutual friend had introduced us earlier).

One possible reason we’ve had so much luck is that we all spent time in the world of project-based work. As freelancers, we learned that it rarely works to go looking for work—it seems to come by (you guessed it) luck. And so you get good at recognizing where luck pools and inviting it to flow towards you. Maybe you attend an event where a friend is reminded of a client you’d be perfect for. Or you write a blog post and an editor you haven’t talked to in a year starts a conversation in the comments.

One big reason we created Parsecco was to help increase the luck our members have when finding projects. We are currently focusing on the connections formed when you collaborate with colleagues, and when you pass them work, but we are still thinking through larger, looser communities.

I was reminded how important these groups can be when we applied for the PITCH NYC Startup Competition last month. It turns out that Women 2.0 has helped a lot of luck find us.

  1. Ideation: Alexis pitched a “freelancer hub” at Women 2.0 Startup Weekend SF in November 2011.
  2. Education: The Women 2.0 PITCH Conference SF in February was my first big startup event, an inspiring introduction to the community I now consider my tribe.
  3. Inspiration: After the conference, Jackson and I had a long, enthusiastic conversation that led to the original idea for Parsecco.
  4. Work: Alexis was also at PITCH SF, as the sketchnoter for the conference (though we weren’t lucky enough to meet that day).
  5. Introductions: My blog post on the Women 2.0 blog prompted Alexis to revisit Parsecco and contact me about teaming up.
  6. Growth: If we are chosen as a finalist in the PITCH NYC Conference & Competition, we have the opportunity for new luck to find us when we present to a room of entrepreneurs and investors.

Each of these is an example of how communities make the lives of their members better. They speak to one of my favorite statistics, from a great New Yorker piece: “Joining a group that meets just once a month produces the same increase in happiness as doubling your income.”

Revisiting the ways our team members found each other, I can now see the communities that helped put us in touch.

  • Miki + Jackson = Professional
  • Peter + Jackson = Educational
  • Peter/Jackson + Waylon = Geographic
  • Miki + Alexis = Online

As work has gotten more demanding for our team, I sometimes find myself retreating from “community” (events and lunch dates) in an attempt to focus and conserve my energy. But if there is one place where luck is just as important to progress as in project work, it’s starting a new company.

I have to remember that meeting new people and understanding the landscape around us is as important to our success as feature updates or marketing copy. Luckily, it’s also my favorite part of this job.

This post was originally posted at This Starts Now.

About the guest blogger: Miki Johnson is Co-Founder of Parsecco (formerly Dovetail) a project-focused professional network that employs trust relationships to make team building fast and fun. She and her co-founders blog about starting up at This Starts Now. Miki previously worked as a branding consultant, creative facilitator and social media editor. She was also a senior editor at American Photo Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @heymikij.