Modern technology has created a world full of paradoxes.  For instance, we can be present in a number of places at the same time and have hundreds of friends thanks to sitting in front of the computer – hardly a social activity itself…

And yet we should not disregard the importance of being physically present in places. Do you know the story of Chance the Gardener?

Check out: The First Secret of Success Is Showing Up





  • dimwit – a stupid or slow-thinking person.
  • don (v) – to put on or dress in
  • mumble – to speak in a low indistinct manner, mutter
  • proliferate – to increase in number or spread rapidly and often excessively
  • savvy – experienced and well-informed
  • obsolete (noun: obsolescence) – no longer in general use; fallen into disuse
  • serendipitous – come upon or found by accident; fortuitous
  • goodwill – friendly disposition; benevolence; kindness


Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • Describe the event which changed Chance’s life.
  • Why is it important for companies to “be there?”
  • What might have Kodak done to save itself from sinking?
  • What did Reuters do when its position as an information provider was threatened?
  • What is P&G Brazil’s “tropicalizing” an example of?


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • This is an argument for the proposition, also ironic and insincere, that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up.
  • It would have been possible for Kodak to be different, much greater company now, dominating digital imaging just like it had dominated film-based photography [. . .] continued below
  • ctd. [. . .] if the company had “been there” in Silicon Valley absorbing the sunshine of digital creativity, hiring a new generation knowledgeable about the Internet, and connecting with  visionary entrepreneurs.
  • People pay extra money to attend live sports and entertainment that they could get free on TV or the Web.
  • But never forget that chance contributes to finding opportunities, just as it did for Chance the Gardener.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

  • Being _____ the right place _____ the right time can make _____ break careers and companies.
  • _____ contrast, Reuters, an information-provider that was also threatened _____ Internet-caused obsolescence, reluctantly allowed a key staff member to move _____ London to California, where he showed _____ in the places that emerging talent hung _____, including the Stanford student cafeteria.
  • Technology helps us connect _____ anyone anywhere nearly instantaneously, crowdsource ideas, and work _____ virtual teams without ever being _____ the same place.
  • Instead _____ inflicting one-size-fits-all standardized universal products _____ every market, companies realize the importance of adapting _____ local customs and tastes and learning _____ them.
  • _____ all means, work remotely if you can. But never forget that chance plays a role _____ finding opportunities, just as it did _____ Chance the Gardener.


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