September 7, 2023

Meet the mathematician that believes in randomness

Networking for success. Jacques de Villiers sales professional speaker

I’ve been a fan of networking ever since I joined Business Network International some 15 years ago.

I never really understood the power of networking until I read the statistical mathematician, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder.

He posed a question around why some entrepreneurs are successful and why others end up in the graveyard of failure.

He mentioned those individuals who are considered “successful” in society … Gates, Branson et al. There are people that have had more opportunity, are better qualified, are smarter and started with more money than those that we view as the epitome of business success. Yet they never reached the heights of these titans.

He distilled the difference between success and failure in business (and, perhaps, in life) into one word.


For someone like me who used to believe that effort = reward, that was a hard pill to swallow. Seriously, our success hinges on a bit of luck?

The irony is not lost on me that a mathematician believes in a bit of luck ;-).

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, luck happens when knowledge (specifically, 10,000 hours of it) and opportunity dissect.

I like that definition of luck. There’s a distinct Fortuna Eruditis Favet vibe to it. Fortune (and randomness) favours the prepared.

So, if you buy Taleb and Gladwell’s construct (and I do), then you have to see the value of networking.

It stands to reason that the more people and experiences we expose ourselves to, the more chance we have of getting lucky.

I’ll unpack the power of networking in a discourse called “Connect For Success” at the Eagle Canyon Golf Estate Business Breakfast in Roodepoort on Wednesday, September 13.

Come network with business owners and sales professionals just like you, and enjoy a bang-up breakfast. Who knows, this random event may just change the trajectory of your life.

You can book your spot here.

You’re the Job.


PS. Since this is being held at a golf estate, I leave you with this quote which I think is appropriate to this endeavour: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Gary Player.

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