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Making our own luck

Christine Luo
Jun 24, 2024
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I recently watched “The Boys in the Boat” and this little exchange between the rowing coach and the alumni booster chair caught my attention:

“[We can win] if we work hard, and catch some breaks.” said Coach Ulbrickson.
“Winners make our own breaks in life, coach.” retorted the booster chair.

That 7 second conversation made me wonder if we were doing everything at PriceLevel in order to make our own break. Steven and I were working from my house so the only people we were guaranteed to see were each other. And we were so heads down on building that we declined invitations to events. It made me realize that we could be doing much more to create our own luck.

Not the first, nor the last

We are certainly not the first ones to talk about making our own luck. This is something Dalton Caldwell, a YC partner, speaks about often in regards to increasing the surface area where luck can happen. A college friend has written an excellent blog post about it as well. But sometimes, you need to be in the right moment to actually hear the advice and listen to it. 

For us, this started with attending SaaStock. I wanted to see what would happen if we went and talked to people about PriceLevel. Turns out, a lot. We met an advisor, received data contributions, got invited to a private Slack community, and connected with dozens of other founders. In the span of 48 hours, we had created more opportunities for future luck than we had in the 3 months working out of my house. 

The perfect place to use a cliche illustration about comfort zones and growth opportunities
The perfect place to use a cliche illustration about comfort zones and growth opportunities

After SaaStock, we asked ourselves “How do we continue creating our own luck? What else can we do?” 

Moving from my house into an office

I don’t think I realized how much I missed the office atmosphere. Our coworking space has that constant buzz of progress with people hopping on calls, huddling for brainstorming, or putting headphones on to build. This buzz isn’t accidental because we chose this coworking space very deliberately.

When we were touring coworking spaces, we visited them at 8-9am and also 4-5pm to see what the vibe felt like. We wanted to surround ourselves with dedicated people, or else we knew we’d run the risk of wanting to leave at 3pm because it feels depressing to be the only ones working. The coworking space we chose had people working at any hour of the day we visited, including Fridays. 

In our first week, we met the founder/CEO of an AI-first SEO growth platform. He’s given us practical SEO advice that we’ve been able to implement and have already seen returns on. We wouldn’t have met him had we still been sitting in my house.

Being out there, virtually and in-person

Joining Slack communities, RSVPing yes to events and actually attending, and asking for intros after every conversation are all variations of being out there and talking to more people. It’s easy to be heads down building and go weeks without meeting a new person.

We’ve been intentional over the last few weeks to connect with more people, and have been rewarded with some great conversations. We’ve met community leaders trying to build group purchasing capabilities. We’ve partnered with another early-stage founder for a mutually beneficial alpha test. We’ve discussed our free SaaS benchmarking service with tech leaders and turned many into customers. All of this, and much more, because we’re out there making our own luck.

Picking our head up to join the many amazing communities around us
Picking our head up to join the many amazing communities around us

There’s a balance between doing heads down work and increasing the surface area for luck. You don’t want to spend all your hours being out there at networking events. But I now believe that some hours are necessary. PriceLevel relies on a network of individuals contributing data so being out there meeting others is the right thing to do. 

Help level the pricing playing field for the others coming to the site. Every data point you add is seen by thousands of other people. And you never know who else is out there trying their luck.

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