Chris Lau - Seeking Alpha

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Take the Leap

Rick Smith is author of the Leap *How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career from Good to Great. the Leap would appeal to people who have ...a job... but want to take a leap in self-employment: entrepreneurship.

This book is a worthwhile read. I could relate to much of the material in this book, due to my past interactions with's owners as the company grew its application on facebook (its application now called IQ Investing), and later on launched its investing services in October 2009.

In brief, kaChing obtained $3M in venture capital funding in 2008, and an additional $7.5M in December 2009.

I cannot express in words how much was learnt in having the opportunity to work with, interact, and to learn (virtually via the Internet, emails, and phone) from the staff and owners at kaChing.

Moving back to the topic, Smith in the Leap writes about the difference between success achieved either by luck or by skill. With the stock market, succeeding in investing requires skill (over the long run).

This teaching is, and continues to be a central measurement for members on IQ Investing.

Thus, it was a surprise to read Smith's discussion on a discovery in 2005. A series of ultraviolet and infrared filters could be used to read the texts in manuscripts that were previously undecipherable.

This science discovery was then applied to obtain the writings of Aristotle's lost book Invitation to Philosophy:

So what did Aristotle have to say from his ancient pedestal that is useful and relevant to us today? A great deal, it turns out. In the restored manuscripts, he draws a critical distinction between outcomes caused by skill or intellect and those caused by chance or luck. Even when two outcomes are identical, Aristotle argues, those that result from deliberate action have much greater value than those that occur will-nilly, without any particular intent in our part.
Imagine, by way of illustration, two sailors starting out from the same dock. One tacks left and right, riding the wind and playing the tides and current as best he can. The other quickly tires of all that, furls his sail, naps on the deck, and lets the boat drift where it will. Conceivably, both could end up several hours later at the same point. It might even be a pleasant place to arrive at, but Aristotle would argue that the end point, in fact, has utterly different meaning for the two sailors because the journeys that got them there are nothing alike.
For an outcome to truly matter, for it to have deep value to our lives, we have to be in control of the actions that get us there. We have to be the one steering the ship - the one deciding which way to tack and when, and how much reach to give the sails. If we simply let ourselves drift toward happiness or fulfillment or any other goal - or if we let others determine the route that will get us there or what the goal itself will be - we have lost control of our own journey and can never fully enjoy or even, at a subconscious level, embrace the outcome.
It is my hope that my virtual "travel" on IQ Investing, the people I have met and connecting with, and the many things that I have learnt will propel a leap further than I can even imagine.