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TFC-SD, yes people do get lucky. In business schools it is called serendipity...
Case and point almost 99.99% of start ups fail. Not only because of technology, but because of a variety or reasons.
The world is a complex place and a lot of it cannot be explained with quantitative analysis...i.e. case studies in business school are just that 20/20 hindsight.
So in the average case, what works, in a well defined structured instance does not work well when dealing with people or the masses.
Any change/technology/innovation that requires socioeconomic behavioral changes, requires generation/s to take hold and requires a a lot of money to make it happen.
Yes, the key ingredients need to be there: A brilliant technologist, an excellent supporting cast (monetary and emotional support) and a good product/technology...BUT at the end the train of luck has to hit you...all you are doing is doing the 1% to make sure you can seize the opportunity when it comes your way.
From my father a retired 40 year IBMer :
Opel was a brilliant executive, and I am told technically very sharp, especially for an English major.
BTW, their remarks regarding the first IBM computer being the 360 were way off. In 1957, my high school chemistry teacher took us on a tour to the IBM (former) HQ building in Manhattan. They had an IBM 704 which was a few years after the 701. It impressed me as something that had great potential, and got me interested in becoming an electrical engineer.
The IBM System/360 (1964) was by no means the first IBM computer. It's origin IIRC was because customers were tired of IBM coming out with a new computer architecture every few years -- e.g., IBM 701 (1952), IBM 650 (1953), IBM 1401 (1959) -- and just wished IBM would stick with a single architecture which would be stable for a couple of decades so that the customers wouldn't have to rewrite their programs over and over.
There's a nice "History of IBM" at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_IBM.
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