“What part does luck play in success?”

I was asked this in a client meeting a couple of weeks ago, pain shining in the client’s eyes—and I’ll tell you, it took me a minute to come up with an answer that rang true without any layers of happy marketer b.s.

Not because I didn’t know how I wanted to answer, just because I wasn’t sure if the client wanted (my version of) the truth. And I don’t do happy marketer b.s. very well.

As I go through my notes tonight I see the star next to that question from far out in left-field, and I thought you might want to know how I answered:

A big part.

Bigger than all the pundits and thought-leaders and marketers and designers want you to know.

This sure isn’t a cure-all answer, but you asked the question.

Oh, there are ways to guarantee failure. I’ve seen plenty. There are ways to encourage success. Plan it. Design it. Get help with it, work hard on it, measure it, celebrate it.

Execute the plan energetically and with the attitude that failure’s not an option.

I still can’t guarantee success, and anyone who will is lying to you.

People beat themselves up too much over this, and maybe you’re asking because you feel that way. Sometimes you fail but it’s not you.

Good stuff worked well still sometimes fails.

Moronic crap that catches the right eye still sometimes becomes an overnight success.

I think I need an aspirin.

We laughed, she nodded, and we got on with the meeting.

That’s it, folks. I hope you have Maximum Customer Experience delivered every day to your inbox or your RSS reader and I hope you get a lot out of it. I get so much from discussing Experience Design with you! I hope your way of delivering delight to your customers has improved exponentially since you’ve been reading. I hope you read lots of smarter folks than I, and get tons of out their advice, too. I hope you’ll email me when you need to work on your Customer Experience in depth. I hope you’ll allow me to be one of your biggest cheerleaders.

But I owe you the truth. Luck—whimsical, dumb luck—is out there. Yeah. It plays a part in your success. Don’t let that slow you down.

Now, let’s rock your Vision out!


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson