You Only Have to Be Right Once | Randall Lane

Summary of: You Only Have to Be Right Once: The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires
By: Randall Lane

Final Recap

The unparalleled rise of instant tech billionaires serves as a powerful testament to the sheer determination, persistence, and fearlessness required to bring revolutionary ideas to life. These inspiring stories highlight the importance of mentors, learning from failures, and embracing adaptability to achieve success in one’s chosen field. As different as these entrepreneurs’ backgrounds are, their common thread is perseverance and the ability to challenge the status quo in realizing their dreams. It is not always about creating complex, world-changing solutions; often, it is the simple, everyday problems that provide opportunities for innovation and growth. In this highly competitive world, maintaining success becomes an ongoing battle, but with the right combination of grit, agility, and vision, breaking new ground and attaining true success is possible, and ‘You Only Have to Be Right Once.’


Welcome to the journey of instant tech billionaires, where traditional paths to success are left behind and replaced by passion, boldness, and unconventional decision-making. In ‘You Only Have to Be Right Once,’ author Randall Lane offers a fascinating peek into the lives of these young entrepreneurs who dared to defy societal norms and chase their dreams. From prominent names like Evan Spiegel of Snapchat to lesser-known heroes like Pejman Nozad, the book sheds light on their humble beginnings, formative experiences, and the challenges they overcame to establish their mark in the field of technology. It delves into how these innovators brought fresh ideas to the table, worked persistently to turn them into profitable ventures, and inspired countless others in this hyper-competitive field.

Success Through Bold Pursuits

Conventional wisdom dictates that a successful career comes from working hard at school, finding a mentor, and pursuing a steady career path. However, most of today’s successful young entrepreneurs, particularly tech-billionaires, have followed a different path. They believe in boldly pursuing their dreams and ignoring society’s expectations. Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat, is an excellent example of this. At just 23 years old, he turned down Facebook’s offer to buy his company for $3 billion. Spiegel, like his peers, learned to get his way from a young age. He dropped out of college to pursue his startup, a decision his parents disapproved of. But it paid off since Snapchat became one of the most popular apps.

Outsiders Making It Big

Discover the inspiring stories of two entrepreneurs who entered the tech industry as complete outsiders and went on to achieve mega-success.

Many believe that only those with privileged backgrounds and elite education can succeed in the tech industry. However, Pejman Nozad and Adi Tatarko prove this notion wrong.

Nozad, who fled Iran as a boy and arrived in San Francisco with just $700, worked odd jobs and became a great salesman. Leveraging his sparkling conversational skills, Nozad built relationships with many of the businessmen and tech leaders who visited the carpet store he worked at. He went on to start the investment fund Amidzad, earning over $100 million in the process.

Tatarko, one of the few women who achieved great success in the male-dominated tech industry, co-owns Houzz, a home-design community worth $2 billion. Her motivation came from her grandmother, who worked as a designer during a time when fashion was still dominated by men.

The inspiring stories of Nozad and Tatarko show that success in the tech industry is attainable irrespective of one’s background and gender, given hard work, determination, and resourcefulness.

The Power of Mentorship in the Tech World

Learn how successful tech entrepreneurs like David Karp and Palmer Luckey had the invaluable help of mentors to turn their ideas into billion-dollar companies.

When we hear about tech prodigies who have accomplished so much at a young age, it’s easy to assume they did it all alone. But the truth is, most successful entrepreneurs had mentors who helped them along the way. This is exemplified in the stories of David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, and Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus Rift VR headset.

Karp never intended to turn Tumblr into a business. He was content to use it for personal purposes until entrepreneur Fred Seibert recognized its potential and convinced Karp to turn it into a company. Karp struggled with managing the expansion of the business at first, but with perseverance, Tumblr became a massive success that was eventually purchased by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion.

Similarly, Luckey had the help of VR pioneer Mark Bolars, who freely shared his research with Luckey. He also had the support of video game programmer John Carmack, who demonstrated the capabilities of the Oculus Rift to the games industry. With their assistance, Luckey’s company was eventually bought by Facebook for $2 billion.

These stories show that mentorship is a crucial part of turning a great idea into a successful business. Even the brightest minds need guidance and support to make it to the top. So, aspiring tech entrepreneurs should seek out mentors who can provide invaluable insights and help navigate the often-tricky waters of the tech industry.

The Power of Simple Solutions

Great ideas don’t need to be complex. Two entrepreneurs, Nick Woodman and Jack Dorsey, prove that simplicity is key to success. Woodman’s invention of the wearable camera, GoPro, and Dorsey’s creation of Square, a smart-phone-based credit card terminal, were inspired by small everyday problems. Woodman wanted to capture surfing adventures, while Dorsey’s friend lost a sale due to a lack of payment processing tools. Both solutions were straightforward, yet revolutionary, and led to billion-dollar businesses. The key to success is not overcomplicating things but rather finding simple solutions to everyday problems.

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