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Working Hard for Serendipity<br> By Marc Porter Zasada <p> Tonight the Urban Man attempts to create serendipity. My company has arranged for a party with potential corporate partners out on the windy beach behind a fine hotel. Tables have been set up on the sand, along with steaming bowls of seafood bisque. Suited men and women mingle. Tiki torches flicker. <p> Over the years, we've learned that the most successful players out there often have the least faith in logic and the deepest belief in chance encounters. A true winner imagines he's followed by an angel of good fortune who will conjure deals at a hosted bar, and bring him profitable revelations while dancing with marketing assistants. So tonight, our team will make no boring presentations. Instead our job is to create the illusion of random opportunity. When everyone's had a few drinks and the D.J. shifts into some classic Santana, we'll begin dropping hints about joint partnerships and overseas gambits. I can picture the moment: <p> "...put your spell on me baby...put your spell on me baby..." <p> Yes, wealthy, powerful people do often make decisions based on momentary whims, but I suppose the system works for everyone: Half their whims fail, and they still come out on top. During the ride, the rest of us get a chance to make our little profit. <p> Or at least, that's the plan. Unfortunately, I have forgotten about my overeager associate, let's call him Greg. Greg is one of those motivated entrepreneurial types who sometimes fails to understand the subtle black magic of the casual remark. <p> When the seafood bisque arrives, I cleverly arrange to sit beside the V.P. of Biz Dev from a Fortune 500 company. To my horror, Greg drops down on the man's other side. Already, I know we're overplaying our hand. By double-teaming, we're almost certain to destroy this man's happy sense of serendipity. <p> But Greg seems unaware of any miscalculation. He has not counted drinks, and he does not wait for Santana. Instead, he bubbles: "You know it just occurred to me."<p> "Yes?" smiles the V.P.<p> "You've got a global hardware solution and we have global services."<p> "Ah..." says the V.P.<p> Greg speaks faster: "Well, maybe we should get a deal going. Yeah, a joint offering." There's a pause as the V.P. says...nothing. <p> "You know, your hardware and our global services" adds Greg, as if he just thought of it. <p> "I hadn't thought of that," says the V.P., picking up his drink. <p> Encouraged, Greg now begins saying things like: "Seize the moment. Back-end fees. Up-sold options. Shared resources. Named accounts." The V.P. offers no further reply. He's looking out into the crowd, where he has spotted the wind rippling the pastel skirt on one of those marketing assistants. Santana has finally kicked in, and the V.P.'s angel of fortune knows where true serendipity lies. It takes him by the arm and leads him out among the smoking torches, where the marketing assistant asks him to dance. She also knows the value of happy coincidence. <p> The Urban Man offers Greg a wry smile and says, "Bad luck that the D.J. turned up the music just then." <p> My colleague is not amused. He looks me in the eye and replies, "And what, exactly, are you doing to create any luck tonight?" <p> Abashed, the Urban Man heads out onto the sand, where he shuffles his feet to the long bass line and begins dropping stray comments about remarkable opportunities. <p> Copyright - 2005 Marc Porter Zasada. All Rights Reserved. <p>
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