Read the first 2/3rds, which are absolutely fantastic at helping you think bigger and setting more ambitious goals. The last third focuses on crowdsourcing, which felt really out of place. Required reading if you want to change the world.
The US’s first military jet was delivered to the Pentagon just 143 days later, a staggeringly short time frame that was, more incredibly, seven days ahead of schedule. In a typical military project, contractors can’t even get their paperwork signed in that window, forget about building anything.
The world’s grandest challenges contain the world’s biggest business opportunities. The best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion-person problem.
The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
If you’re looking for a quick and dirty definition of the term rapid iteration, try the unofficial motto of Silicon Valley: “Fail early, fail often, fail forward." As most experiments fail, real progress requires trying out tons of ideas, decreasing the lag time between trials, and increasing the knowledge gained from results
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman famously said, ‘If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.’
Often it’s literally easier to go bigger. If you choose to make something 10 percent better, you start from the status quo, with all its existing assumptions, locked into the tools, technologies, and processes that you’re going to try to slightly improve. It means you’re putting yourself and your people into a smartness contest with everyone else in the world. Statistically, no matter the resources available, you’re not going to win. But if you sign up for moonshot thinking, if you sign up to make something 10x better, there is no chance of doing that with existing assumptions. You’re going to have to throw out the rule book. You’re going to have to perspective-shift and supplant all that smartness and resources with bravery and creativity.
Clear goals tell us what we’re doing; immediate feedback tells us how to do it better. If we know how to improve performance in real time, the mind doesn’t go off in search of clues for betterment; we can keep ourselves fully present and fully focused and thus much more likely to be in flow.
You don’t spend your time being bothered that you can’t teleport from here to Japan, because there’s a part of you that thinks it’s impossible. Moonshot thinking is choosing to be bothered by that.
In each of our minds we have a line of credibility. When you first hear a new idea, you place it above or below this line. If you place it below, you dismiss it immediately, often as ridiculous. If you place it above, you’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, follow it over time, and continue to make serial judgments. But we also have a line of super-credibility. When a new idea is born above this line, you accept it immediately and say, “Wow, that’s fantastic! How can I get involved?” The idea is so convincing that your mind accepts it as fact and your focus shifts from probabilities to implications.
The very best people to help you with your next project are those who helped you or watched you succeed with your last. The folks most likely to invest in your success are those who have already watched you succeed. So if you’re lacking a track record, make one. Start your bold project with a much smaller effort aimed at letting others see you pull it off. Then tap that network for your next step.
Investors love ideas, but they fund execution.
Big goals only increase motivation when the person setting those goals is confident in their ability to achieve them. This means breaking big goals apart into achievable subgoals.
We broke down our moonshot into five executable steps:
You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The same is true for ideas.
When someone says no, it’s often because they’re not empowered to say yes. In many organizations, the only person who can say yes is the one atop the food chain.
The best predictor of future success is past action. It doesn’t matter how small those actions. Doing something, doing anything, is always so much more important than just talking about doing it.
No one ever considers himself expert if he really knows his job. A man who knows a job sees so much more to be done than he has done, that he is always pressing forward and never gives an instant of thought to how good and how efficient he is.
One of the first things one learns from Musk’s example—he is relentless in his pursuit of the bold and, the bigger point, totally unfazed by scale. When he couldn’t get a job, he started a company. When Internet commerce stalled, he reinvented banking. When he couldn’t find decent launch services for his Martian greenhouse, he went into the rocket business. And as a kicker, because he never lost interest in the problem of energy, he started both an electric car and a solar energy company.
"Even if the probability for success is fairly low, if the objective is really important, it’s still worth doing. Conversely, if the objective is less important, then the probability needs to be much greater. How I decide which projects to take on depends on probability multiplied by the importance of the objective."
He is quick to rapidly iterate his ideas, and quicker to shut down a failure. In total, while Richard Branson is known to have started some five hundred companies, he has also shut down the two hundred of them that didn’t work.
“I have a very simple metric I use: Are you working on something that can change the world? Yes or no? The answer for 99.99999 percent of people is no. I think we need to be training people on how to change the world.”
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Don’t think outside the box. Go box shopping. Keep trying on one after another until you find the one that catalyzes your thinking. A good box is like a lane marker on the highway. It’s a constraint that liberates.
In a world without constraints, most people take their time on projects and assume far fewer risks, while spending as much money as you’ll give them. They try to reach their goals in comfortable and conservative ways—which, of course, leads nowhere new.