Exponential technology allows us to
scale up like never before. Small groups can have huge impacts. A team of passionate innovators can alter the lives of a billion people in an eyeblink. To say that this kind of impact is unfathomable is putting it mildly.
A quartet of entrepreneurs have
harnessed exponential technology to build multibillion-dollar companies that forever changed the world: Elon Musk Richard Branson Jeff Bezos Larry Page
Each of these entrepreneurs mastered
a rarely discussed skill fundamental to bold pursuits and exponential entrepreneurship: THE ABILITY TO THINK AT SCALE Humans don’t grok scale. Our brains evolved to process a simpler world, where everything we encountered was local and linear. Yet these four men have pushed through the limitations of linear thinking, and understanding their strategies for thinking at scale can help us do the same.
Entrepreneurs have a high tolerance
for risk. But, having said that, one of the most important phrases in my life is ‘protect the downside.’ It should be one of the most important phrases in any businessperson’s life. So okay, we made a big, bold move going into the airline business. But the most important negotiation with Boeing was that we had the right to give the plane back after twelve months. That meant I could put my toe in the water, I could see whether people liked the airline. But if it didn’t work out, it wasn’t going to bring everything else crashing down. I’d be able to look my record company bosses in the eye and we’d still be friends because they’d still have jobs. Protecting the downside is critical. Make bold moves but make sure to have a way out if things go wrong. SIRRICHARD BRANSON RISK TAKING & RISK MITIGATION LEARN THE VALUE OF EACH STRATEGY
Failure comes part and parcel
with invention. It’s not optional...We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right. When this process works, it means our failures are relatively small in size (most experiments can start small), and when we hit on something that is really working for customers, we double down on it with hopes to turn it into an even bigger success. JEFFBEZOS RAPIDLY ITERATE AND CEASELESSLY EXPERIMENT UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT
BE DRIVEN BY PASSION &
PURPOSE I didn’t go into the rocket business, the car business, or the solar business thinking this is a great opportunity. I just thought, in order to make a difference, something needed to be done. I wanted to have an impact. I wanted to create something substantially better than what came before. ELON MUSK
We always try to concentrate
on the long term...When we ﬁrst looked at YouTube, people said, ‘Oh, you guys are never going to make money with that, but you bought it for $1.4 billion. You’re totally crazy.’ And, you know, we were reasonably crazy, but it was a good bet. We’ve actually been doubling revenue on YouTube every year for four years. And if you’re doubling things, no matter where you start from, it starts to add up pretty quickly. Our philosophy is that the things that people use often are really important to them and we think that over time, you can make money from those things. LARRYPAGE THINK LONG-TERM
Unless you’re customer-centric you might
be able to create something wonderful, but you’re not going to survive. It’s about getting every little detail right. It is running your airline like you would an upscale restaurant— the kind where the owner is there every day. Virgin Atlantic started out with one plane against British Airways’ hundred planes. On paper, we should not have survived. But because we were customer-centric, people went out of their way to ﬂy us. We have survived for thirty years, during which almost every single airline that we were competed against—Pan Am, TWA, Air Florida, People’s Express, Laker Airways, British Caledonian, and about twenty others—went bust. SIRRICHARD BRANSON EMPHASIZE A CUSTOMER- CENTRIC APPROACH
Outcomes are usually not deterministic,
they’re probabilistic. But we don’t think that way. The popular deﬁnition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over & expecting a different result— that’s only true in a highly deterministic situation. If you have a probabilistic situation, which most situations are, then if you do the same thing twice, it can be quite reasonable to expect a different result. ELONMUSK BROADEN YOUR VIEW BY THINKING IN PROBABILITIES
BE A RATIONAL OPTIMIST I’m
tremendously optimistic. I’m certain that whatever challenges we take on, we can solve with a little bit of concerted effort and some good technology. And that’s an exciting place to be. [It means] our job is really to make the world better. We need more people working on this. We need to have more ambitious goals. The world has enough resources to provide a good quality of life for everyone. We have enough raw materials. We need to get better organized and move a lot faster. LARRYPAGE
[People] will do things because
others are doing them, because there is a trend, because they see everyone moving in one direction and decide that’s the best direction to go. Sometimes this is correct, but sometimes this will take you right off a cliff. Thinking in [fundamental truths] protects you from these errors. RELIANCE ON FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS ELONMUSK
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