Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World


This remarkable book presents experiences and lessons learned about exponential technologies, business mindset and crowd power as told through the perspective of chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, co-founder and chairman of Singularity University, co-founder and vice-chairman of Human Longevity Inc. and co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, Peter Diamandis, and best-selling author and award-winning journalist, Steven Kotler.

In the late 2000s, they wrote Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You ThinkOpens in a new tab.. Upon its success, they decided to write a new book focused on inspiring and enabling entrepreneurs to create this world of abundance.

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the WorldOpens in a new tab. is written in narrative form, the book is a synthesis of confessions and case studies that spotlights what impressed the authors and what they discovered and learned from their and others experiences in making their biggest dreams come true while simultaneously positively impact the world. Filled with insightful stories, Bold is a useful reference source for entrepreneurs, activists, and leaders, anyone interested in going big, creating wealth, and impacting the world. (Check out the latest price on Amazon HEREOpens in a new tab.)

BoldOpens in a new tab. is organized into three themed parts unfolding the three main pillars of the authors’ perspective. All chapters include interesting, insightful case studies that enrich the writing.

Part 1: BOLD TECHNOLOGY

The first part focuses on explaining what exactly exponential technologies are and how they enable upstart entrepreneurs to go from “I’ve got a new idea” to “I run a billion-dollar company”.  Exponential technologies are those which don’t just grow in a linear fashion but keep on doubling over and over. According to authors’ Six Ds of Exponentials framework, a chain reaction of technological progression creates to business enormous vibes of development that always leads to upheaval and opportunity.

The Six Ds of Exponentials framework includes the following:

D1 Digitalization – once a process transitions from physical to digital, exponential dynamics kick in

D2 Deception – the early stages of exponential growth often go unnoticed and is unremarkable

D3 Disruption – eventually new markets are created and existing markets are disrupted

D4 Demonetization – people stop buying the old technology and it basically becomes free

D5 Dematerialization – the technology becomes embedded in other products

D6 Democratization – objects are turned into bits and hosted on a digital platform for everyone

Two perfect examples of the phenomena of exponential technology in action are digital cameras and additive manufacturing, otherwise called 3-D printing. Particularly, made-to-order manufacturing, which is poised to explode over the next five years, will completely revolutionize several multi-trillion-dollar industries such as: Commercial aerospace and defense, Space exploration, Automotive manufacturing, Healthcare, and Consumer products/retail.

In order to further understand the nature of exponential technologies, the Gartner Hype Cycle illustrates user interface and their powerful biases. The “Hype Curve” looks like this:

Innovation Trigger is the point when a potential new technology comes along. Early enthusiasm triggers significant publicity. Often commercial viability is unproven because users can only envision the technology in its final form.

Peak of Inflated Expectations is when early publicity produces a number of success stories uprising the expectations.

Trough of Disillusionment expresses the fact that inevitably, the early prototypes disappoint and leads to a trough of disillusionment. It’s not unusual for exponential technologies to linger in that trough for many years. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

Slope of Enlightenment represents when eventually, the technology moves up the slope of entitlement. More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood.

Plateau of Productivity is when mainstream adoption starts to take off. Massive productivity transforms entire industries.

From an entrepreneurial perspective, the perfect time to get involved with an exponential technology is when it is just about to exit the trough and start up the slope of entitlement. At the present time, there are five technologies which are primed for exponential growth in the very near future: Networks and sensors, Infinite computing, Artificial intelligence, Robotics, and Synthetic biology.

Part 2: BOLD MINDSET

The second part discusses in depth the psychology of Bold and provides practical advice from technology gurus such as Larry Page, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos. Also in this part, Steven Kotler reveals the keys to ultimate human performance, while Peter Diamandis reveals his entrepreneurial secrets harvested from starting seventeen companies.

To survive and ultimately thrive in an exponential world, according to authors, one needs a mental toolkit for thinking at scale. They suggest being prepared to go skunk, think big and scale up because the technology coming makes that possible for all.

Going skunk means, as suggested by Diamandis and Kotler, the ability to provide an enriched environment where a small group of individuals can design a new idea by escaping the routine, as Johnson’s team did in 1943. When a company sets up a skunkworks, it signals something interesting in the air which will act as an innovation accelerator. The three characteristics which make a skunkworks viable are first, the need to be isolation, secondly, the importance of going after an awe-inspiring goal and thirdly, the high tolerance for experimentation and failure.  Furthermore, regarding Kotler’s research on human performance, a good skunkworks program will increase motivation and performance so that flow – an optimal state of performance where everyone performs at their best – is triggered. A skunkworks will provide the environmental, psychological, social and creative triggers of flow.

Think big. Bold ideas are always big. Authors explain through examples and personal experiences that to be bold, there is always a need of having an idea which is above the threshold of super-credibility but which then gets broken down into bite-sized. The more of those sub-goals are achieved, the more believable the overall audacious goal will become. When passion is combined with a bold idea and achievable subgoals, impressive achievements can be reached.

Peter Diamandis says: Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible” and continues by saying that “Over the years I started collecting principles and truisms that have guided me in times of difficulty and opportunity. The maxims – “Peter’s Laws” – are the ones that have worked for me, but that’s no guarantee they will work for you. So come up with your own. Borrow from anyone you like. Start collecting mind hacks by examining your own life and seeing what worked.”

PETER’S LAWS

1. If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)

2. When given a choice – take both!

3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

4. Start at the top, then work your way up.

5. Do it by the book … but be the author!

6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.

7. If you can’t win, change the rules.

8. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.

9. Perfection is not optional.

10. When faced without a challenge – make one.

11. No, simply means begin one level higher.

12. Don’t walk when you can run.

13. When in doubt, THINK!

14. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.

15. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

16. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

17. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.

18. The ratio of something to nothing is infinite.

19. You get what you incentivize.

20. If you think it is impossible, then it is for you.

21. An expert is someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done.

22. The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.

23. If it was easy, it would be done already.

24. Without a target, you’ll miss it every time.

25. Fail early, fail often, fail forward!

26. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

27. The world’s most precious resource is the persistent and passionate human mind.

28. Bureaucracy is an obstacle to be conquered with persistence, confidence, and a bulldozer when necessary.

Scale up. By studying and analyzing successful entrepreneurs who built multi-billion-dollar companies that changed the world, authors noticed that all of them pursued bold ideas. Billionaires like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page all use the same following eight mental strategies to think and act at scale:

1. Risk-taking and risk mitigation

2. Rapid iteration and ceaseless experimentation

3. Passion and purpose

4. Long-term thinking

5. Customer-centric thinking

6. Probabilistic thinking

7. Rationally optimistic thinking

8. Reliance on first principles aka fundamental truths

Through their case studies, authors presented detailed advice and lessons on how to raise the game by thinking at scale. 

Part 3: THE BOLD CROWD

The last part of this book talks about today’s hyper-connected crowd and poses a particular emphasis on essential best practices on how to leverage the incredible emerging crowd power. Although the entire book is rich with lessons on exponential technologies and thinking at scale, this part focuses specifically on people’s communications and the use of crowd-powered tools.

To perform today’s emerging exponential technologies and interact with today’s hyper-connected customers, there are four things a firm should be done instantly:

1. Start figuring out how to use crowdsourcing to speed up business

The fact that over the next decade, approximately 3 billion people will start using the Internet for the first time means that the crowd is becoming hyper-connected and hyper-responsive to an extent never before seen in history. A direct consequence of this phenomenon is the flourishing and massive use of crowdsourcing. There are now some very powerful tools which are available to everyone, while at the same time crowdsourcing companies like Freelancer.com and Tongal, are growing strongly. Some very useful practices of crowdsourcing as suggested by the authors are:

– Do your research

– Just get busy

– Turn to the message boards

– Be specific

– Prepare your data

– Qualify your workers

– Keep roles clear, simple and specific

– Communicate clearly in detail and often

– Don’t micromanage

– Always go for quality first

– Prepare for the flood

– Be open to new working methodologies

2. Learn how to make use of crowdfunding to raise the capital needed

One of the greatest limits to starting a new business has always been the ability to raise the money required to operate. In today’s economy, what has changed thanks to crowdfunding, is that millions of backers have already poured billions of dollars into start-ups through crowdfunding and this trend is going to rise exponentially.

The four main types of crowdfunding proposed by the authors, each based on what the investor receives in return for contributing to fund a campaign, are:

Donation – you give a worthy cause money and expect nothing in return.

Debt – you provide funds which will be repaid with interest.

Equity – you ask investors for cash in return for stock in your company.

Reward or incentive – the funder provides money to support the creation of some product or service they intend to use themselves or which inspires them.

3. Build communities and use them to tackle big and bold challenges

Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler believe that communities are now empowered to tackle jobs which are impressive in scale and scope. The chances of doing something bold increase significantly by building an exponential community. One of the most important characteristics of these communities is that they can be self-organizing. They’re built on reputation economics rather than financial exchanges. Communities comprise a way to find others and to create a platform which will serve firm’s needs and tackle bold challenges, either for building a business or for dealing with social challenges. Communities of believers can be a great asset and the perfect way to be bold and undertake bold projects.

4. Run incentive competitions to generate the breakthroughs you need

Finally, referring to crowd power, one of the most powerful mechanisms available for solving big and bold global challenges, is to run incentive competitions, a tool used by powerful companies and successful exponential entrepreneurs. Incentive competitions are incredibly powerful. They raise visibility and attract new ideas and financial backing for potential solutions. This mechanism pulls together the use of exponential technologies, thinking at scale, crowdsourcing genius, providing opportunities for crowdfunding, and stimulating the creation of DIY communities. They really only work if the objective is clearly set but not yet understood how to be achieved. The big three motivators which will attract teams to compete in the incentive competition will generally be money, recognition and frustration with the status quo and as authors conclude the design of the incentive competition has to deliver on each of those key motivators so as to be successful.

In short, Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the WorldOpens in a new tab. is full of incitements and advice for today’s exponential entrepreneurs, anyone interested in going big, creating wealth, and impacting the world. Written as a manifest and a manual, at the heart of each lesson is the importance of “leveling up your abilities and your ambition. It is about moonshot thinking and global impact”. The narrative nature of the book makes authors’ research and experiences far more valuable than just an instructional list of rules. The numerous and specific examples through important case studies illustrate how the authors learned that “the world’s biggest problems are now the world’s biggest business opportunities”. They strongly believe that “the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion-person problem”.

Buy your copy on Amazon Here – Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the WorldOpens in a new tab.

Watch How To Get Into The Flow State | Steven KotlerOpens in a new tab. on OSW

Anna E.

Anna EfstratiadiOpens in a new tab. : Academic writer / Economist / Architect

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