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Luck = Preparation + Opportunity

Zinky2A good friend and mentor reminds me regularly that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Luck is one of those things that successful people all seem to have, or that disappointed people say the other guy has. The truth is that luck isn’t the important part. Luck is the outcome, not the cause. It is the result of doing hard work and looking out for opportunities.

NACET has a create-your-own luck opportunity beginning this summer. In late July, we will kick off a startup academy in conjunction with the grand opening and launch of our program for Flagstaff’s business accelerator. We welcome Wasabi Ventures to Northern Arizona as our partners for their renowned Startup Foundations Academy. Wasabi Ventures is a venture capital and consulting firm opening a new office in Arizona. It specializes in building and advising early stage technology companies. Maybe yours is next. This is an opportunity, and if you prepare, perhaps luck will find you.

How do you generate your own luck? There are a few ways to prepare for the opportunity you’ll encounter:

  1. Identify your passion: What gets you wound up? What do you do with your spare time? Are there problems you try to solve in your mind? Ideas you simply can’t shake?
  2. Develop your expertise. Be specific and be willing to grow. Don’t stop learning because you think you’re already an “expert.” Expertise is an ongoing process that requires ongoing maintenance. What can you learn and explain better than anyone you’ve ever heard, better than the other experts? Recognize that you have a lot yet to discover, and then go out and discover it. Eat, sleep, and breathe this subject and never be satisfied that you know enough.
  3. Expect opportunities, seek them and seize them. Look for ways to take advantage of coincidence. Intentionally cross paths with different people and groups. Keep your eyes open for the serendipitous collisions; the happy accidents that bring you to another person on the same track or with value to add.
  4. Ask. Don’t go it alone. Talk to people about your passion, your expertise, your mission and what kind of dent you want to make in the universe. Watch what happens. You can’t wait for luck to come to you; you have to go out and find it. You have to do the work, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help.

When NACET launches the Startup Foundations Academy this summer, Wasabi Ventures General Partner Tom “TK” Kuegler says the firm excited to bring its “unique approach to preparation + opportunity to Northern Arizona.” He plans to “give people a broad understanding of the startup world.” And it is in this knowledge that the company hopes to find “great founders, co-founders, and team members both inside and outside of Wasabi Ventures.” And NACET is excited to bring this to you.

Kuegler sees “great potential in the Arizona ecosystem” and they are ready to start at least 20 Arizona companies in the next two years. He said, “The combination of strong universities, visionary leadership, plus an active and increasingly cohesive ecosystem full of strong talent gives us great confidence in Arizona.”

The program will give Flagstaff participants free hands-on experience on some of the most daunting aspects of starting, and raising money for, a new venture. The program is facilitated by NACET staff – we’ll be here to help you along the way as you prepare yourself to be seen, meet people, practice and explore your expertise as you seize the opportunity.

And there is an added bonus, this program culminates with NACET’s annual Startup Weekend event at Northern Arizona University (Oct. 9-11). So get a serious leg-up at Startup Weekend when you’ve completed the Startup Foundations Academy!

Even if you only think you want to see what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in a venture-funded company, apply for a spot. Seize the opportunity. And if you have an idea and want to know what to do with it, apply. If you are feeling like it’s time to take a risk, and you want to do something great, apply!

Opportunity has knocked; preparation is at your fingertips. Who knows, you might get lucky!

Apply for a spot in the Flagstaff cohort of the Startup Foundations Academy via the link on our website (, or email anyone at NACET for the link. A limited number of participants will be accepted, so don’t wait too long. FBN

Written by NACET President and CEO Annette Zinky, / 928.213.9234



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