Synchronicity reveals something fundamental about the nature of invention. In popular culture inventors are romanticized as lone geniuses working in home laboratories who come up with completely new ideas — things that establishment thinkers initially dismiss as nonsense. But in practice, it just doesn’t happen this way. Most inventors add to a body of work that is built up by many people over decades. They rise to fame when their invention, one among many in a long chain, is a crucial step that finally enables a practical telephone, airplane, or mathematical proof.