BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler
The book BOLD is the follow up to their earlier book “ABUNDANCE: The Future is Better than You Think”. Bold explores the impact of technology on the future and three areas that interest me in the book are:
- The Six (6) D’s of Exponential Growth
- Five more technologies ripe for entrepreneurial exploitation
· Peter’s Laws: The Creed of the Persistent and Passionate Mind
The Six (6) D’s of Exponential Growth:
The main message in BOLD is that entrepreneurs can solve global-scale problems based on a framework called the “six (6) D’s of exponentials:” digitalization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization. These are a chain reaction of technological progress, the path that technology takes, to create the upheaval — and the opportunity.
- Digitalization: Once something goes from physical to digital, it gains the ability to grow exponentially.
- Deception: Initial exponential growth is such small increases (.01 to .02) that it goes largely unnoticed.
- Disruption: Either a new market is created, or an old one is overturned. You either disrupt yourself, or you are disrupted.
- Demonetization: The major assets in the industry will become free. Free music, free reading, free communication.
- Dematerialization: Removal of the original product entirely, lumping alarm clocks, cameras, notebooks, and phones into one smartphone.
- Democratization: The costs drop so low that the technology becomes available to everyone.
Digitalization: Hardly is anything not digitized these days especially, with increase in the pace of information exchange thereby causing acceleration in the pace of innovation. The book explains that this type of exchange was slow in the early days of our species when all we had as a means of transmission was storytelling around the campfire. It picked up with the invention of writing, then the printing press, later the photocopier, then exploded with digital representation, storage, and exchange of ideas that computers enabled. Anything that could be digitized could spread at the speed of light (or at least the speed of the Internet) and becomes free to reproduce and share. This spreading has followed a consistent pattern of exponential growth.
Disruption: This is what happens when an innovation creates a new market and disrupts an existing one. Kodak became a victim of its own invention, the digital camera; Uber is wreaking havoc in the taxi industry; AirBnB is challenging hotels; self-driving cars will disrupt the transportation, delivery, insurance, and many other industries; and robotics and 3D printing will cause upheaval in manufacturing. If Amazon experiments succeed, drones will replace the mailing system.
Deception: This is a period during which exponential growth goes hardly noticed and existing players downplay the threat of advancing technologies. The doubling of numbers on an exponential curve is at first so small that the numbers seem insignificant or linear. Kodak underestimated the threat from the digital camera because the earlier versions of the technology were so limited. Its first digital camera had 0.01 megapixels—which posed no threat to film. Then this doubled to 0.02, 0.02 to 0.04, 0.04 to 0.08. Then it exceeded a megapixel and doubled several times more, resulting in millionfold improvements—and the end of photographic film and the company (Kodak having filed for bankruptcy in 2012). This is how solar energy is progressing today. By reaching the One percent mark in U.S. installations, (600% increase) it is less than 14 years away from meeting practically all of today’s energy needs.
Demonetization: Technology makes things practically free. Digital cameras made film free in a way; it became digital, measured in megapixels. Computers are becoming cheaper and cheaper, with our smartphones having more processing power than multimillion dollar supercomputers once did. Many sophisticated apps are already free. It wasn’t that long ago when video-editing software — such as you can get for free in the Instagram app — cost about $2 million. Knowledge is practically free now. You can find almost any information on the web, and you can read articles such as this one for nothing.
Dematerialization: Technology advances are making entire product lines disappear. Take your smartphone, for example. It does the work of a camera, a watch, a GPS receiver, a VCR, music player, a video-game console, a calculator, a flashlight… and you can download apps that turn it into an encyclopedia, a medical assistant, and a book reader.
Democratization: The cellphone used to be an object of luxury—for the privileged few. Now, practically every family in the developing world owns one. Photographs were also for the well off—because the paper and color printing were expensive. Smartphones eliminate the need for paper, and their cost has fallen to the same level that cellphones were. Billions more people will come online in this decade and gain access to the same apps, knowledge, and technologies as we have. Medical devices that connect to smartphones already cost a tiny fraction of what their hospital counterparts do; 3D printers will become as affordable as laser printers are; energy prices will fall exponentially in price through access to sunlight. As technology advances, it becomes cheaper and more powerful. Companies such as Google and Facebook become worth billions by reaching billions. That is the key point that Bold makes: “the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion person problem.”
Entrepreneurs can, I am certain, make all of these advances happen and profoundly affect billions. We just need an exponential advance in humanity’s social consciousness so that technologies find roles in bettering humankind, not just in creating wealth for their founders and owners in the way that some Silicon Valley technologies do.
Five Technologies Ripe for Entrepreneurial Exploitation
Networks and sensors, Infinite computing, Artificial intelligence, Robotics, and Synthetic biology.
Networks and Sensors
- There are over seven billion smartphones and tablets in existence transforming a world that was once passive and dumb into one that is active and smart.
- Sensors now exist in our cars, in our parking lots, trains, and in jet engines
- The Uber network will generate $19 Trillion in value, this is bigger than the U.S. economy which hovers around $15 trillion a year.
- Cisco is saying that over the ten-year period, this new net will have an economic impact greater than America’s GDP.
Infinite Computing: The Beauty of Brute Force
- Infinite computing is the term Bass users to describe the ongoing progression of computing from a scarce and expensive resource toward one that is plentiful and free
- “The cloud is democratizing our ability to leverage computing on a massive scale”
- Until recently, mistakes were too costly for entrepreneurs to make with wanton abandon. Infinite computing demonetizes error making, thus democratizing experimentation.
- No longer do we have to immediately dismiss outlandish ideas for the waste of time and resources they invariably incur. Today we can try them all
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Expertise on Demand
- Personal AI can be activated to listen to every phone conversation you have, have permission to read your emails and blogs, eavesdrop on your meetings, review your genome scan, watch what you eat and how much you exercise, even tap into your Google Glass feed and by doing all this, your personal AI will be able to provide you with information even before you know you need it.
- Imagine, for example, a system that recognises the faces of people in your visual field and provides you with their names
Robotics: Our New Workforce
- Robots don’t unionize, don’t show up late, don’t take lunch, don’t go home, and can work an assembly line for the equivalent of $4 an hour
- Besides replacing our blue-collar workforce, over the next three to five years, robots will invade a much wider assortment of fields. “Already,” says Dan Barry, “we’re seeing telepresence robots transport our eyes, ears, arms, and legs to conferences and meetings. Autonomous cars, which are, after all, just robots, will [start to] chauffeur people around and deliver goods and services. Over the next decade, robots will also move into health care, replacing doctors for routine surgeries and supplementing nurses for eldercare.
- Exponential entrepreneurs looking to create tremendous value, may consider those jobs that are least enjoyable for humans to do. Given that the global market for unskilled labor is worth many trillions of dollars, there is a huge opportunity here.
Peter’s LawS: The Creed of the Persistent and Passionate Mind
- If anything can go wrong, fix it!
- 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 incentivize.
- 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 was 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 the persistent and passionate human mind.
- Bureaucracy is an obstacle to be conquered with persistence, confidence, and a bulldozer when necessary.
Diamadis, P. & Kotler, S.: BOLD: How to go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World. Simon & Shuster (2015), ISBN:978-1-5011-0524-1, ISBN:978-1-4767-0960-4 (e-book)