Alcoa’s Split Teaches Valuable Lessons about Aluminum, Life… and Luck

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Success is not just about skills and hard work, it’s also about being in the right place at the right time. That’s especially true in the commodity business. Let’s look at an example.

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From 1995 until 2000, stock market indexes rose in the range of 200-500%. If you happened to be a fund manager during those years (being in the right place at the right time) you probably made a killing, regardless of how good of a manager you were. In contrast, if you ran that same fund over the next three years, in which stock indexes fell in the range of 40-75%, then investors would probably think you are a terrible manager.
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The same thing applies to real state agents that happened to be there during the housing boom or to the NBA head coach, Phil Jackson, who took the helm of the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan delivered the franchise its best years… and then took over the Los Angeles Lakers when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal rejuvenated that franchise. Not to take credit away from any of these individuals, but they didn’t have that difficult of a time delivering what was expected from them.

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