To Succeed, You Have to First Get Lucky

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What do you do if you dream of being a cartoonist but you live far from the action? You put yourself into a position to allow luck to shine. That’s what Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, did by moving away from the hinterlands of New York state to San Francisco, where he kept “trying to increase the odds of getting lucky.”

While working in the corporate world, Adams used his spare time to come up with the strip that would eventually become Dilbert. He shopped it around, and was rejected by almost every publishing house and syndicator. One of the people he approached encouraged him to keep trying, and sent him a reminder a year after their initial conversation. That encouragement motivated Adams him to send out another round of his work to potential syndicators. That, in turn, brought him an offer from Universal (now known as Andrews McMeel Publishing).

His favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on iTunesBloombergOvercast and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Tao Group’s Ralph Scamardella, head chef and partner at one of the biggest-fine dining restaurant groups.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.