The role serendipity plays in shaping a business

And a big thank you to those that inspire us!

It is easy to underappreciate the role randomness plays in the success, or prospects for success, of a company. We generally like to attribute success to preparation, awareness and skill. Almost as if luck was potential energy that only those that know how to use it, benefit from it. "Chance favors the prepared mind”, said Louis Pasteur and, similarly, Dwight Eisenhower said, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

However, it is important to note that without luck (of your own and of those around you) much of the progress you need to (try to) make the company successful would be much less likely to happen. This is the number 1 reason why entrepreneurial journeys are so scary and irrational to take. Much of the success relies on things that cannot be foreseen, on trusting to make the right decision when facing a challenge you cannot predict, on building on top of products/technologies/ideas that have not yet been created (by someone else). It is the ultimate jumping out of the plane with the hope you'll find a parachute somewhere on the way to the ground.

As an example, much of our customer engagement model today relies on Slack Connect. We wrote about it as we embarked on the Remotely journey over a year ago. Today it powers much of the presence we have with our current and prospective customers (and I believe it still represents a big differentiator vs existing solutions). And yet, reflecting on the build-up leading to that decision, it doesn't get any more random than this:

  1. Launch Remotely.

  2. Two months later Covid-19 hits Europe and US, we go on lockdown: all companies freeze hiring (Sequoia sends warning to the market).

  3. We decide, facing the uncertainty, that it could be wise to raise some money (Daniel Gulati and others show unconditional support).

  4. Investors should receive financials from time to time. But I don't have time to keep our books in order, we need to build Remotely!

  5. Ask brother for a recommendation for bookkeeper. Brother recommends Sara.

  6. Sara onboards us, opens a connect slack account.

  7. Aha moment! > this is interesting, it makes Sara part of the team > we should do this with our customers.

  8. Fast forward to today: we share slack channels with 46 other organizations (including Sara's)

My point is, much of what remotely is today was not even on the horizon when we started the company. It wasn't even a blur. In fact, many of the things Remotely is today I would not have believed a mere 10 months ago. And as a result, it is only fair to conclude that they are the result of someone else's contribution (direct or indirect, knowingly or not) that served as inspiration, input, ingredient for us to come up with a new (better?) version of our company.

And for that, as it is customary around these dates, we thank you!

PS: we are late (again) sharing our past investor newsletters. Feel free to read them here - September and October.