I spend a lot of time in airports (because I am on the road a LOT), and being there waiting for flights is one of the few places that I have downtime.
I’ll often hop on Periscope or Blab while I’m there if I don’t have any other work to do, to make the time slightly more fun and somewhat productive.
One time, I jumped on Blab and titled it “SV Startup Advisor Stuck in an Airport – Get Idea Analysis” or something to that effect. Within a few minutes I had all the windows full, with people from all over the world asking me stuff.
One man in particular had a London accent. Islington, actually. Unmistakeable. It looked dark in the room where he was, and it was day where I was, so it would be easy to assume he was in, well, London.
We had a lovely chat for around 30 minutes until they called my flight from SFO back to LAS and I figured that was that.
Until the next day – when I was in Las Vegas, and I walked into a room and this man, 1 out of the 7 billion people on the planet – this same man – was standing there. He looked at me and the shock registered on his face, then he smiled and came up and laughed and hugged me.
I was speaking at an event of which he was the sponsor. He wasn’t in Las Vegas the night before either, he drove in that morning from Reno, Nevada, where he lives. (But he was from Islington. I had that totally right.)
Of all of the coincidences I’ve ever had in my life (and I’ve had a ton) , this one is the one that gets me the most.
I’ve even thought through a few things to show just how improbable it was:
There are 7.4 billion people on the planet, however only around 3B have internet access.
We are able to narrow those numbers down even further because we knew for sure that he was from London (10M people) and male (around half of that). Exact numbers from Islington borough aren’t available.
I am an American (and its easy to point out in my speech patterns), but I do not have a regional accent (although the lack of a regional accent can eliminate me from places like Boston, Savannah, etc, we’ll just assume that I’m “generic American). There’s 317M Americans in the world. Roughly 50% of those are female as well.
And that’s the key – both the Americans and Londoners can be dispersed throughout the planet. So now we’re at:
1 out of 5M and 1 out of 160M. We’re getting closer!
Based purely on that, and my math could be way off, that’s a 0.00000000000013% that these two people would come in contact with each other, at some point, ever.
Blab requires you to have a Twitter account for usage, and there are 316M registered twitter accounts, so we’ve at least narrowed our dataset to within the right margin.
Again, though, those users are distributed around the world.
The event I was speaking at had absolutely nothing to do with the idea he pitched to me, though, so that widened it slightly, but he still was someone who would be more technically inclined (and was using something like Blab in the first place).
While my starting point was explicitly stated, at no point did I mention where I was traveling to or give any indication that I was going to be speaking. Nor did he. There was also time for him to have flown from London, if he had wanted to.
So, its not impossible. It’s extremely improbable.
And that’s what makes it such a cool coincidence.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-great-examples-of-coincidence
Originally Posted On: 2016-01-09