That’s all steam, not clouds — rising near the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

Success is luck. Everything you create increases your surface area to luck.

Alexander Obenauer
2 min readAug 1, 2019


Stephen King’s wife once took his latest story out of the trash and forced him to finish it. That story was Carrie.

Stewart Butterfield wanted to return his investors’ money when his game wasn’t gaining traction. His investor rejected the refund, and the company went on to release Slack, which just went public at a $16 billion valuation.

After 51 games, and on the verge of bankruptcy, Rovio set out to make one last game before calling it quits. That game was Angry Birds.

You never know what your best is. All you can do is increase your output.

Success is luck in action. This may seem damning to effort, but you can increase your luck:

Everything you create increases your surface area to luck.

If you engage in an ongoing process of creation, then just like Angry Birds, one day an “overnight success” will appear in your portfolio.

Overnight successes are years in the making. They are the lucky results of an ongoing process of creation which has created many results before and will create many results after. What we call an “overnight success” is simply one of the results of the process hitting on a huge luck multiplier. You cannot target this result. You can target the ongoing process of creation. You can craft a process which causes you to put forth more of your best work every week and every month. When that process is strongest, you will be increasing your luck at the highest possible rate.

So, with that: Go forth and create. Make the things that are compelling to you. And don’t stop creating. Don’t stop building. Not everything will be a success. But you won’t know when you’re starting that thing that is going to iterate into a huge success down the line.

It’s easy to get down when we have high hopes of a project that doesn’t pan out. It’s easy to want to give up on all of the other weird, exciting ideas you wanted to create.

So remember: Every time you create something new, you expand your world. You increase your surface area to luck.