Twice in the 1930s [Thomas J. Watson, Sr.] personally was on the verge of bankruptcy. What saved him and spurred IBM sales during the Depression were two New Deal laws: the Social Security Act in 1935 and the Wage-Hours Act of 1937–38. They mandated records of wages paid, hours worked, and overtime earned by employees, in a form in which the employer could not tamper with the records. Overnight they created markets for the tabulating machines and time clocks that Thomas Watson, Sr., had been trying for long years to sell with only moderate success.
Luck is primarily the result of identifying opportunities and taking appropriate action. Watson could capitalize on the newly created need for business machines because he had worked in the field for decades. And he gave this kind of luck much credit without feeling that doing so devalued his talent and hard work.