An asteroid killed off the dinosaurs in a blink of an eye. Your company might get killed off the same way the dinosaurs went. Killed by an exponential change in robotics, ICT, sensors, AI, synthetic biology, genomics, nanotechnology, 3D, infinite computing, to name but a few of the asteroids. Some of these trends going 5X as fast (biology).
Entrepreneurs will survive
The same way the mammals survived the dinosaurs, so will the entrepreneurs survive the next wave of destruction. In fact, they will thrive.
Your time to make a dent
For the first time in history, a committed individual can have access to the technology, the capital and the minds to make a dent in the universe. But to make a dent in the universe, you need to understand how exponential works.
Exponential has become the new buzz word. The trend that makes everything possible. The trend that will change the world. Probably best described in “The second machine age”, but that book comes with a huge health warning. Exponential also means winners take all.
You can do it too
And now the winners have decided to jump on the bandwagon and help others to win as well. It started with “From zero to one” and then “Exponential organisations” and now “Bold”. You can do it too.
There is no doubt that digitisation leads to disruption, to demonetisation, to dematerialisation and eventually to democratisation when it becomes available to everyone for nearly free (as predicted by Chris Anderson in his book with the same title). In between these five Ds is deception. You don’t see it coming, and suddenly it is there. And that is the phase where most of the large companies like to stay in. For large companies, the 6 Ds are the six horsemen of the apocalypse.
The six horsemen of the apocalypse
They are also the six horsemen of the apocalypse for your job too. 80% of the jobs can be done better by computers. So you might as well accept it, poke the box and become an entrepreneur or in case of a large company, disrupt yourself out of a job.
What do you need to do according to BOLD:
- Learn from the old skunk works set up
- Focus on business as unusual
- Set high hard goals and create a higher purpose
- Belief in what you do
- Create a siege mentality
- Isolate your team
- Built for speed and for rapid iteration (if you are not embarrassed you launched too late)
- Focus on at least 10X better (that why Google has a “captain of moonshots”) so normal assumptions are not applicable and you need to shift perspective
- Cut ties between you and expert assumptions
- Vocally commit so there is no way back
- Create a family
- Built a reputation
- Always say yes, and……
When you strive for truly high goals, you are tapping into the collective creative accelerant. If you are lucky, it will result in flow, the moments of total absorption. Flow follows focus and follows clarity of goals. When goals are clear the mind does not need to wander. Entrepreneurs are more likely to achieve flow for those reasons. Novelty, unpredictability and complexity all add to this as well. So does passion. And finally a high challenge/skill ratio. Entrepreneurship is the ultimate computer game. And flow, particularly collectively becomes a critical success factor.
The authors then share some of their gold rules. I am sure they mean well, but here they are, and they are as glib as the “Create your own monopoly” from “Zero to one” by Peter Thiel.
- If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
- When given a choice—take both!
- Multiple projects lead to multiple successes
- Start at the top, then work your way up.
- Do it by the book . . . but be the author!
- When forced to compromise, ask for more.
- If you can’t win, change the rules.
- If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
- Perfection is not optional.
- When faced without a challenge—make one.
- No, simply means begin one level higher.
- Don’t walk when you can run.
- When in doubt: THINK!.
- Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
- The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
- The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.
- The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!
- The ratio of something to nothing is infinite.
- You get what you incentivise.
- If you think it is impossible, then it is for you.
- An expert is someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done.
- The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
- If it were easy, it would have been done already.
- Without a target, you’ll miss it every time.
- Fail early, fail often, fail forward!
- If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
- The world’s most precious resource is a persistent and passionate human mind.
- Bureaucracy is an obstacle to be conquered with persistence, confidence, and a bulldozer when necessary
Musk, Bezos, Branson, Page
It then takes some further lessons from Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Larry Page. Passion, first principles, having fun, experiment, protect the downside, don’t leave it on the table, you need to go all in and radical customer centrism. Disregard the impossible. Being negative is not a way to make progress. Experiment. Fail. Ask the question “What is NOT going to change?” Ask whether you are a missionary or a mercenary? Ask “Why not?” and “Why not bigger?” Apply the toothbrush test.
Are you wasting your time
Are you working on something that is changing the world? If you are not, according to BOLD, you are wasting your life. 99.99999% of us are in that mode at the moment. Are you making a dent in the universe?
All building blocks are there
Once you have established that as a principle, the authors argue that all the building blocks are in place to allow you to do it. You have 5 billion people to have a collective conversation with, access to trillions of free hours and access to the best minds. The crowds are there (Fiverr, Freelancer, Tongal, 99designs, Gigwalk, Topsider, uTest, Topcoder) the funding is there (Kiva, Kickstarter) and the technology platforms (Amazon, Google, TechShop, Etsy) are there for you to do anything you want. There are even competitions to point you in the right direction (Xchallenge, Netflix, Qualcomm).
The only thing stopping you is you. Instigation capital. The just DO IT. If the purpose is transformative and interesting enough, others will follow, and you will become a movement. Together you will start solving the big problems in the world. You will be expressing your creativity and passion, and you will access the (collective flow). You will be happy. You will make a difference.
Taleb, Godin, Priestly, Robinson, Gratton, Kelly
And although it is highly unlikely you will become the next Elon Musk, it does confirm everything that Ken Robinson (The Element), Seth Godin (Poke the box), Nicolas Taleb (Antifragile), Jason Priestly (The entrepreneur revolution), Linda Gratton (The Shift), Kevin Kelly (Do it!) and many others are saying. Entrepreneurship is the future.
This book, if you believe in exponential, suggests you are running out of time and choice.