How Luck And Timing Can Make Or Break You

1. Who Really Invented the Telephone?

It’s 14th February 1876. Alexander Graham Bell’s attorney files a patent early in the morning titled “Improvement in Telegraphy.” His is the 5th patent application entry for the day.

2 hours later, Elisha Gray’s attorney files a patent titled “Transmitting Vocal Sounds Telegraphically.” His is the 39th patent application for the day.

That 2 hour delay cost Elisha Gray a fortune! And it was Alexander Graham Bell whose name was entered into the history books as the inventor* of the telephone!

There have been many such coincidences of two people working on the same idea or stumbling on the same innovation at almost the same time without being aware of each other. But it’s always the first one to reach the finish line who takes the prize home.

(*Did you know that neither Alexander Graham Bell nor Elisha Gray invented the telephone? No. A not so well known Italian by the name of Antonio Meucci invented the telephone in 1856! But he didn’t have money to file a proper patent. And so no one remembers him.)

2. The Story of

Linking is the currency of the internet. The more links your webpages get, the more popular you’ll become and the more clout you’ll have with the search engines.

Keeping that in mind, in early 2007, I got this idea:

Why not make linking to similar stories very easy for bloggers?
Why not start a blog post exchange network!

I hired a coder and started developing The idea was:

  1. You could sign up your blog with and place a code on your blog.
  2. This code would showcase links to other similar posts published by other blogs beneath your blog post.
  3. In return, a link to your blog post would be published on other blogs with similar content!

But unfortunately, just like Elisha Gray, I missed the boat.

In a few internal tests I ran, I found that the conversion rate for clicks on these exchanged links wasn’t too good because the links exchanged weren’t always relevant. So while I was busy perfecting the relevancy of the blog post link exchanges, John Reese came out with a very similar service called – just a couple of weeks before I was ready!

3. Buy Me a Beer WordPress Plugin

All wasn’t in vain however.

To promote the BlogClout Link Exchange application, I had started a blog on blogging at where I published posts on how to increase a blog’s traffic and how to make more money with your blogs.

And to promote that blog, I decided to get a WordPress plugin developed. So I asked my coder to create a plugin that would allow readers to donate money to the bloggers via PayPal.

There were a couple such plugins already available.? But I knew that asking people to donate money wouldn’t work too well. It would seem like charity.

So I added a twist*. Instead of asking people to donate money, why not ask them to buy me a beer or a cup of coffee?? That’s what I did.? And came up with “Buy Me a Beer” plugin.

Once the plugin was ready, I simply sent out an email to half a dozen influential bloggers asking if they would like to add the plugin to their blogs. The next thing I knew, the plugin spread like wild fire! Till date, more than 21,000 people have downloaded the plugin for their blogs!

* The idea for buy me a beer twist is not original. The credit for the idea goes to Paul Myers who owns the website: All I did was took Paul’s idea and made a WordPress plugin out of it!

Action Summary:

  • Timing plays a very big role in your success. So try to be as quick as you can.
  • Forget being a perfectionist. Instead focus on speed. Because perfection follows speed. Speed never follows perfection.
  • Slow and steady win races only in children’s fables. Today, it’s the time of the fast and the furious!
  • Keep your eyes and ears open. Ideas are everywhere in the air!
  • Learn the art of re-packaging. A sharp name and angle can make old things new again.

Chapter 6: The Power Blogging Strategy

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