It happened about 20 years ago, around 2000, I think. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was visiting the office of my older brother (Masayoshi Son, the president of the Softbank Group).
They were leaving to have dinner at my brother’s guest house. I just happened to be in the building and ran into them by the elevator.
My brother noticed me and said, “Hey, it’s Taizo!” Then he turned to Bill Gates and said, “Hey, Bill. I’d like you to meet my brother.”
He went on: “We’re just going to dinner. Do you want to join us?” I immediately said, “Sure!” At that dinner, I heard the most amazing things. For a young entrepreneur like me, it was incredibly stimulating to hear all that talk about the cloud and the Internet, the new edition of Windows, and so on. I remember feeling very inspired.
I have mentioned before that I met Jerry Yang, the founder of US company Yahoo. That meeting was also a coincidence. In retrospect, these “coincidences” changed my motivation to a remarkable degree and had an incredible impact on my life.
Have you heard of “serendipity?” That is the word for when an unexpected coincidence leads to a worthwhile and useful discovery. I am constantly trying to arrange my life to bring about such moments of serendipity on purpose.
One reason why I argue that nobody needs a business plan is that making a business plan means ending all potential for serendipity.