13 – Lucky For Some

PEOPLE PASSSION 360 by John PhilpinEschewing triskaidekaphobia for one moment, this happens to be my 13th article for BIZCATALYST 360°, so I thought I would have some fun, but please, do not count me in the 20 or so million people in the USA who suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia.

13 is a really rather good album by Blur, and a not such a good album by ‘Ozzie and the gang’ in 2013. It was Sabbaths 19th album, and Blur’s 6th. Go figure. Interestingly, two thrash metal bands … Megadeath and Anthrax both have tracks called ’13’ – Megadeath’s from their album TH1RT3EN (and the critics say they aren’t original — pfft on them) and Anthrax’s instrumental ’13’ appeared on their album ‘State of Euphoria’.

I never saw the movie ‘Thirteen’, but I did just look in up, so now I know that I almost certainly wont be seeing it in the future either. It certainly hasn’t been added to my ‘must watch’ list. And, despite the fame of the ‘Friday The 13th’ franchise, I haven’t seen any of them. The clips just don’t do it for me. I note however that there are twelve films so far – that next one better be a doozy.

[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#FFFFFF” end_color=”#FFFFFF” border=”#fb7200″ color=”# fb7200″]Here’s an interesting datapoint; Friday the 13th can only occur in months starting with Sunday … it’s one of those things that makes you stop and go ‘whoa’. And then you think about it for 2 seconds, smack your forehead and … doh! Of course it can’t! Let’s look for some interesting information.[/message][su_spacer]

OK, how about this? 13 is one of only three known Wilson numbers, now. does that boggle your mind?

You probably know that 13 is the sixth prime number (preceded by 2,3,5, and 11). But, did you know that it is the smallest ‘emirp’ … that’s ‘prime’ backwards – and is a collection of prime numbers that when reversed the result is also a prime number (13 – 31 … get it?).

13 is also a Fibonacci number … I love those guys, they are the ones at the foundation of things like the golden ratio. It is also – despite the bad rap it has taken over the years – a happy number.

Of course there were 13 colonies that originally declared independence from Britain and gave birth to the United States. They of course then became the first 13 states and represent the 13 stripes on ‘Old Glory’.

The 13th amendment was the one that abolished slavery.

Living, working and writing in California, I can’t let the mention that we became a state under the watchful eyes of Millard Fillmore – the 13th President of the United States.

And while still in the land of America, open your wallet and take a good look at a dollar bill. There are;

  • 13 bars on the shield
  • 13 leaves on the olive branch
  • 13 fruits
  • 13 arrows
  • 13 stars above the eagle
  • 13 plumes of feathers on each of the eagle’s wings
  • 13 steps on the Pyramid
  • 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and 13 letters in “ANNUIT COEPTIS”

Oh – and prohibition lasted for 13 years.

Coming up to more modern times ….

  • com is a blank white page
  • com is available for sale
  • org seems to be a PBS site ( also resolves to there).
  • – seriously? a network for bankruptcy? I guess we know which side of the good / bad omen debate they sit on!

Good luck or Bad luck ?

In Norse myth, when an honorary banquet was held in Valhalla for Baldur and twelve other Norse gods, Loki (the trickster) came to the banquet as the uninvited 13th guest. Smells a little like the Last Supper where Jesus Christ and the Twelve Disciples gathered to share their last meal.

It is interesting (to me at least) that 13 is often taken as unlucky. Turns out that things like the Last Supper and the feast of the Norse Gods appears to be the source of that superstition. The 13th coming from that odd man out who ‘upset things’. But what if we flip it around? What if we saw Baldur and Christ as the 13th members? 13 would then have a more positive connotation. No? Why do we always go for the worst interpretation?

That said, there is no doubt that 13 holds more sway over the bad luck crowd, than ’team good luck’.

So much so, that some people today will refuse to dine with 12 others at the table. I’m not making this stuff up. Next time you are in London, book a table at the Savoy for 13. When you get there, the table will be set for 14, with the 14th seat taken by a three foot sculpture of a cat called Kasper.

But back to goodness, Colgate University in New York is actually only named for William Colgate (of Colgate-Palmolive fame), it was actually founded by 13 men (supposedly with 13 dollars and 13 prayers), but I haven’t been able to validate that. But I do know that if you travel to Madison County, New York, you will find the University at 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton.

On the spiritual front, in Egypt, 13 is seen as the penultimate step on the ladder that leads to eternity. “Upon the 13th step it is said the soul reaches the source of itself and attains spiritual completion. ”Who knew?

Taylor Swift was born on December 13. She considers 13 her lucky number due to lucky events happening to her when the number appears (her first album going gold in 13 weeks, being seated at awards shows in the 13th seat, row or section). She also wears the number written on her hand at her concerts so she has it with her everywhere she goes.

(Source – Wikipedia)

Still sticking with the positive angle for a moment …. Mary Kay (the cosmetic company) was founded on Friday 13th, September 1963, and the headquarters boasts 13 floors and 13 elevators.

Finally, Mrs Sarah Winchester, famous for being the wife of William – who owned the ‘Winchester Repeating Arms Company’ – once widowed was so fearful of the spirits of people who had been killed by the Winchester rifle. Her house – which you can visit in San Jose next time you are passing through – has 13 bathrooms, clothes hooks grouped in ‘13s’, stair cases with 13 steps …. it goes on … and her will had 13 sections – and was signed by her 13 times.

The famed, and oft maligned, Christmas Pudding from Great Britain must contain 13 different ingredients – representing Christ and the twelve disciples.

Lace is the traditional way to celebrate the 13th wedding anniversary. Curiously lace is also the modern way to celebrate your ‘13th’.

13 is of course when children officially become teenagers and in Judaism (at least according to Reform Jews) a boy becomes ‘bar mitzvah’, a girl ‘bat mitzvah’. One of the things they will learn is that God has 13 Attributes of Mercy.

And the cube of the Metatron (an angel found in medieval Jewish mystical texts) contains 13 circles.

MetratonWhile thinking about shapes, take note that Archimedes enumerated just 13 polyhedras over 2,000 years ago … and we haven’t yet found a 14th!

13, to the power of 13, is 302,875,106,592,253 … that’s a lot ! In trying to see what I could learn about that number I discovered that

In Tarot, the 13th cards archetype is death. Theories claim that the 13 is connected to the 13 high-grades secretly established in the american order of the Illuminati.

The Illuminati are in fact the fate of the world control. It will give 13 crystal skulls, artifacts from Mesoamerica. In native american legends this 13 crystals are inherent in the highest spiritual qualities which brought the alien livelihoods to earth.

and then in numerology ….

The number 13 has great power. If this power is used for selfish purposes, it will bring destruction of the self, and in turn, this will bring dis-ease and illnesses. Adapting to change gracefully will bring out the strength of the 13 vibration, and decrease any potential for the negative.


Oh – and ‘13s’ are traditionalists, hard workers and organisers.’ … Maybe THAT explains Taylor?

Finally, if you are wondering how many times I have used the term ’13’ in this article, the answer is 78 (that is 13*6). Note – this is not including the three mentions of ‘thirteen’ or the single mention of ‘TH1RT3EN’.

What do you think – any insights? Personally would like to see 13 comments on the bottom of this post by the end of the week.


John Philpin
John Philpin
JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE