So many times, small decisions have big repercussions.
Take this guy, who made a wacky, spur-of-the-moment decision and has used it to tell the same story for the last decade.
Or take Lynda Weinman, founder of lynda.com. She was an animator and computer artist who taught digital and web design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the mid 1990s. She tried to find computer manuals for her classes but was horrified by how badly they were written: So she decided to write a textbook herself, in plain English instead of tech-speak.
Most textbooks don't hit the best-seller list, but Designing Web Graphics did. Not only was it widely accessible, but Weinman hit a sweet spot in timing in 1996, when web graphics were just starting to be understood by the general public and business community.
The book was reprinted, rewritten four times and translated into dozens of languages. Weinman and her husband, Bruce Heavin, earned several hundred thousand dollars in royalties, moved to Ojai and used $20,000 to start a company.
In 2011, lynda.com had revenues of $70 million.
A frustration with bad books, a decision to create something better, and Weinman and Heavin's lives took a turn they most definitely never expected.