Our time is like a river, constantly flowing downward on a path until reaching an eventual end. You can’t ever veer from this path, yet the journey remains uncertain ahead with different challenges intermingled with opportunities. All we can do is be prepared to fight through the challenges and to take advantage of opportunities that come our way.

Timing truly determines how we live our lives. Along the journey of time, there are many inflection points that have allowed “prepared” people to do great things. During the early 19th century, the industrial revolution gave great opportunities within the steel and oil industries for the Carnegie and Rockefeller families. These early smart and opportunistic industrialists took advantage of the opportunity that timing had afforded them.

In the same way, the 1980’s and the information revolution gave rise to the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, among others. Certainly, these brilliant entrepreneurs and visionaries were gifted with extraordinary abilities. Yet, had they been born in another time, these opportunities would not have been available. During this time, other lesser known technical entrepreneurs benefited as well and became success stories in their own right.

It was during the 1990’s that we were able to ride the tide of the migration to relational databases to take ARIS public on NASDAQ. Sure, we executed on a solid strategy but timing was a key element to our success.

Since then, I’ve learned to better understand and appreciate the importance of timing. I look for opportunities as it relates to trends of our time and look for areas of possible disruptions (inflection points). This has allowed me to sell my last two start-up companies within the first 12 months of each’s inception.

Right now, I know I’m in the right space with social intelligence. This is a space that I’m excited about. It’s why I’m committed to finishing this endeavor to completion. Many organizations will be (are) trying to bring compelling value to Big Data. Effectively harnessing this new “black gold of data” will result in tremendous rewards.  New standards for predictive analytics and data visualization will develop. There will be tremendous crowd sourcing around making Big Data a competitive business advantage. All any of us can ask for is a chance to play with such an opportunity that today’s timing has afforded us.