Self Help

Bold - Peter H. Diamandis

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Matheus Puppe

· 17 min read
  • Exponential technologies like computing, AI, biotech and digital networks are enabling rapid change that threatens slow-moving companies. However, they also enable entrepreneurs to solve big problems and achieve ambitious goals.

  • The book compares today’s technological changes to the asteroid strike that wiped out dinosaurs and allowed mammals to dominate. It builds on the authors’ previous book “Abundance” but focuses on how entrepreneurs can leverage change.

  • The world’s biggest challenges represent the biggest opportunities. Entrepreneurs now have the tools and resources to solve huge problems and be successful.

  • The book covers exponential technologies, the mindset of bold thinking, and strategies like crowdsourcing that can help entrepreneurs drive change. It aims to inspire and provide practical advice.

  • Kodak invented the digital camera but failed because of linear thinking. They did not anticipate how quickly digital cameras would improve and disrupt film. They were in the memory business but failed to adapt.

  • Exponential thinking is needed to see opportunities, adapt to change and solve problems. Linear thinking does not account for today’s pace of progress. Strategies for exponential thinking include understanding trends in technology, computing, crowds, and global connectivity.

  • The lessons apply to both big companies and entrepreneurs. But companies must adapt quickly to avoid disruption. The opportunities for entrepreneurs to achieve impact are huge.

  • Examples of exponential startups include Quirky, Airbnb and Uber. They built billion-dollar companies quickly by utilizing spare rooms, luxury vehicles and crowdsourced ideas. They require little investment and can scale fast.

  • Successful entrepreneurs have vision to see the potential of technologies and opportunities. They follow the Gartner Hype Cycle - monitoring new technologies, investing early and achieving success before hype fades.

  • Exponential entrepreneurs should look for convergence of technologies, focus on solving big problems, build platforms and networks, utilize assets in new ways, and scale quickly using exponential tools. The future belongs to those who think big and move fast.

That’s a high-level summary of the key concepts and ideas presented in the introduction and preview. Please let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of this summary.

  • Exponential technologies like AI, robotics, biotech, and 3D printing are moving beyond hype and disillusionment into disruptiveness. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated, affordable, and widespread.

  • 3D printing allows for customized, on-demand manufacturing without the waste of traditional methods. It is transforming industries like medical devices, consumer goods, and transportation. Startups like Made in Space and MakieLabs show the potential.

  • Networks, sensors, and computing are enabling an exponential increase in connectivity and data. This data can be used for automation, optimization, and new business models. Opportunities exist in areas like home automation, traffic management, and energy efficiency.

  • AI and robotics are reaching human-level capabilities. Self-driving cars, AI assistants, robotic surgery, and more are emerging. Startups can apply these technologies in innovative ways.

  • Synthetic biology allows us to engineer biological systems and organisms. We can improve health, agriculture, materials, and more. Although risky, the opportunities for startups are substantial.

  • Crowdsourcing and behavior tracking provide data for creating solutions without expensive sensors. Opportunities exist in areas like mapping, healthcare, insurance, and retail.

  • Infinite computing makes vast computing resources available at little cost. This enables new approaches like “brute force” optimization and experimentation. Infinite computing has democratized innovation.

  • AI is progressing rapidly, with human-level AI like Iron Man’s JARVIS on the horizon. AI will soon transform and disrupt major industries. Opportunities exist for startups in all areas of the service economy.

  • Overall, exponential technologies are enabling an era of abundance and new possibilities for entrepreneurs. But they also bring risks and challenges that must be considered. Visionary startups can leverage these technologies to create innovative solutions.

Environmental triggers that can drive flow states include:

• High consequences or perceived risks: This focuses our attention and motivation. Taking creative risks helps achieve flow.

• Rich, stimulating environments: Novelty, unpredictability, and complexity grab and hold our attention, enabling flow.

• Deep embodiment: Using multiple senses, like learning through physical practice or simulation, focuses attention and enhances flow.

Psychological triggers for flow include:

• Clear goals: Well-defined, specific sub-goals focus attention and make it easier to achieve flow. Our mind doesn’t have to search for what to do next.

• Immediate feedback: Quick feedback on progress helps keep us in flow by allowing adjustments to stay focused. Without feedback, attention can drift.

• Challenge/skills balance: Flow happens when challenges and skills are balanced - difficult enough to fully engage us but still achievable. This focused balancing of challenges and skills drives attention into the present moment.

Social triggers that can contribute to flow include:

• Emotional contagion: The emotions of those around us can influence our own emotions and flow states. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious.

• Altruism: Doing something for others gets our attention off ourselves and enhances flow. Our mind focuses on the task, not our ego or desires.

• Competition: Competing at an optimal level of challenge, where skills seem evenly matched, drives attention and flow. This effect can be achieved through competition with others or oneself.

• Cooperation: Working with others toward a shared goal helps focus collective attention and enables group flow. We shed self-consciousness and become absorbed in the collaborative challenge.

In summary, flow states can be cultivated by manipulating environmental, psychological, and social triggers. Mastering attention through these triggers is key to optimizing flow, performance, learning, creativity, and well-being.

•To achieve flow states, focus attention in the present moment by setting clear goals, managing challenges, and receiving feedback. This allows for increased productivity, creativity and optimal performance.

•Group flow can be achieved through shared concentration, clear goals, good communication, equal participation, risk taking, familiarity, blending egos, sense of control, close listening, and building on each other’s ideas.

•Creativity triggers like pattern recognition, cognitive flexibility and metaphorical thinking can drive flow in creative work. Stimulating environments, experiences and ways of thinking also boost creativity and flow.

•Peter Diamandis and the International Space University achieved a “moonshot” goal through building credibility over time. They recruited experts, staged the idea, rallied community support, and attracted funding incrementally. Their story shows how passion and vision can achieve bold goals.

•There are different types of passion. The passion of the explorer sees possibilities but remains open, willing to learn and change course. This passion attracts others and rallies support. Peter Diamandis developed “Peter’s Laws” to guide thinking during difficult times. Some laws are: fix problems, seek challenge, escalate to higher authority, and create your future.

•Elon Musk relies on risk taking, rapid experimentation, passion and purpose, long-term thinking, customer-centrism, probabilistic thinking, and rational optimism to achieve ambitious goals. He tackles challenges likely to become increasingly important, aiming to benefit humanity through reducing costs and solving global problems.

•The “stone soup” metaphor represents how bold ideas and the contributions of believers can come together to achieve big goals, even starting from little. Shared passion and vision attract the resources and support to make ideas come true.

•An example of achieving a moonshot goal is Planetary Resources, which aims to mine asteroids. Diamandis developed credibility for the idea over 30 years and announced the company in 2012 with the support of expert co-founders and billionaire investors.

• Richard Branson founded Virgin Records in the 1970s, then launched Virgin Atlantic airlines in the 1980s out of frustration with existing air travel options.

• Branson is passionately focused on fun, adventure, and customer experience. His businesses are driven by what he thinks would excite and delight customers. This attitude has fueled Virgin’s success and ability to expand into many industries.

• Branson believes in experimenting and taking risks. He tries new ideas to see if customers enjoy them. By putting the customer first, Branson has grown Virgin into a brand spanning mobile, travel, space, and more.

• Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 based on the long-term potential of e-commerce. He is focused on long-term thinking, customer obsession, high-velocity decision making, and constant experimentation.

• Bezos believes in having a vision but being flexible in how it’s achieved. The details change but the vision remains. Speed and action matter more than perfection. Experiment, learn from failures, and double down when you see customer delight.

• Larry Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998. Page is intensely curious about technology and pushing boundaries. He frequently asks “Why not?” and “Why not bigger?” to challenge assumptions.

• Page grew up around technology, earned degrees in computer science, and co-created Google to make information more accessible. He is passionate about technologies that can change the world for the better.

• Threadless and Second Life launched in the early 2000s, demonstrating the potential of crowdsourcing and online communities. They crowdsourced t-shirt designs and the development of a virtual world.

• Crowdsourcing is outsourcing tasks to a large, undefined group. It gained popularity in the 2000s and is used by companies for product design, research, problem-solving, and more. Sites like Kickstarter and Kiva showed the potential of crowdfunding, raising money from the crowd.

• These leaders and companies have been able to achieve impact at scale by tapping into online networks, focusing on long-term potential, constantly experimenting, and looking for ways to delight customers. A passion for progress and changing the world for the better unites them.

  • Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding have become very popular and powerful in recent years. The crowd, technology, and tools are all growing exponentially, making crowdsourcing much more useful.

  • This section explores several “exponential crowd tools” like crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, building communities, and incentive prizes. It provides case studies and advice for entrepreneurs.

  • Crowdsourcing lets you outsource almost any task to a huge, online crowd. Examples are Freelancer, Tongal and CAPTCHA. Best practices for effective crowdsourcing include:

  1. Do your research and choose the right platform
  2. Craft a compelling brief with clear instructions
  3. Set appropriate incentives and rewards
  4. Cater to your target crowd
  5. Build credibility and share past success
  6. Closely monitor campaigns and engage contributors
  7. Rigorously evaluate submissions and provide feedback
  8. Consider micro-contributions for simple tasks
  9. Build ongoing relationships with top contributors
  10. Review and optimize your process
  11. Consider partnerships to tap into communities
  12. Protect any IP involved
  • Crowdfunding provides access to funding from large groups. The major types are donation-based, reward-based, equity-based, and lending-based. The market has grown hugely, raising over $34B on over 700 platforms.

  • Tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign include:

› Choose the right platform for your project › Build your network and audience before launching › Create a compelling campaign page and video › Offer enticing rewards at various levels › Promote actively on social media and with PR › Continue engaging with backers after the campaign › Be prepared to share ownership/financials (for equity crowdfunding) › Set a 30 to 45 day campaign duration

  • In summary, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding allow entrepreneurs to tap into the power of the crowd. By following best practices, businesses can solve problems, drive innovation, gain insights, design new products, and raise funds in new ways. But they must invest to build effective campaigns and long-term crowd relationships.

Does this summary cover the essence and key highlights from the introduction and passage? Let me know if you have any other questions!


•Hire experts to enhance credibility and assist with planning and preparation. Do extensive planning to develop materials, strategies, timelines, budgets, etc.

•Craft a meaningful story and pitch to emotionally connect with your audience. Focus on the why and how it meets a need. Use persuasive language and storytelling.

•Create a viral video highlighting three use cases or target markets. Show how people interact with the product. Keep it under 5 minutes. Get feedback.

•Build your audience by capturing contacts, partnering with influencers, and recruiting activists and advocates. Engage them leading up to the launch.


•Have a super-credible launch with endorsements from influencers, experts, media, etc. to establish instant credibility. Respond quickly to engage backers and make them feel like insiders. Reach out to media for coverage.

•Offer good rewards at $25, $50, $100, $500, and $1000 levels. Limit quantities to create scarcity. Add new rewards and stretch goals as needed.

•Set a 30-45 day campaign length. It can take 30-120 days to fully prepare. Shorter campaigns tend to perform better.

•Account for 10% in fees (4-5% platform, 4-5% processing) and the full cost of rewards in your funding target.

•Build a great team with a Celebrity (face), Campaign Manager (strategist), Experts, PR/Marketing, Designer, Operations, and Community Manager. The team depends on the scale of your campaign.

•Make data-driven optimizations during the campaign based on backer and traffic analytics. Continue to engage backers and promote to new audiences.


•Say thank you! Send updates on your progress fulfilling the campaign promises and product development. Continue engaging your community and customers.

•Take advantage of the momentum and attention to further promote your product or next campaign. The success and credibility from one campaign leads to the next.

That covers the key highlights and process for running a successful crowdfunding campaign according to the advice given in the original response. Please let me know if you would like me to explain or expand on any part of this summary.

•Respond quickly to all donors and backers. Thank them and make them feel like insiders who are part of the team. Offer regular updates and behind-the-scenes looks to keep people engaged.

•Build hype before launch through hints, events, and media outreach. Have supporters help spread the word.

•Engage media, bloggers, and journalists relevant to your project. Trade exclusives for coverage. Reference major media in outreach to others.

•Stay engaged with backers and would-be backers throughout the campaign through updates, promotions, contests, live streams, and more. Engaged backers refer others and often donate more.

•Consider market and launch timing. Test interest before launch. Launch early in the week. Activity peaks at beginning and end.

•Trend surf by launching around the rise of a related search term or topic. Position yourself to take advantage of increased interest.

•Look for trends in data to improve your campaign.

•DIY and exponential communities can support bold projects if you build reputation and trust. Provide value and meaningful work.

•Define a shared purpose. Build a platform. Establish rules. Contribute value. Provide opportunities. Share impact. Onboard new members.

•Today’s communities are global, large-scale, self-organizing, and innovative. “Reputation economics” allow exchanges without money.

•Local Motors used crowdsourcing and community engagement to build niche vehicles. They tapped passion and creativity, starting small and scaling. Engage with a two-way conversation.

•Build a community if you have a shared passion. First-mover advantage helps. Offer something new. Drive interactivity. Don’t do it for greed or fame.

•Building a community takes time. Share a bold vision. Platform, resources, content, engagement, management, growth, partnerships, impact assessment. Start small, listen, establish rituals.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key points? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

  • Incentive competitions or prizes can attract unconventional solvers to problems by tapping into a wide range of expertise. They draw in new money, players, and cross-disciplinary solutions. Because you only pay the winner, prizes can generate a lot of innovation for little upfront cost.

  • Well-designed prizes raise awareness of problems, inspire hope and risk-taking, launch industries, drive entrepreneurship, and create new products and services. They provide financial leverage and stimulate market demand.

  • Prizes work best for challenges with a clear goal but no clear path to a solution. They target technological roadblocks, market failures, and areas with too much risk for traditional investment.

  • Careful design, qualified judges, transparency, and fairness are key to successful prizes. The goal should be solving the problem, not just awarding money.

  • Examples of successful prizes include the Orteig Prize (transatlantic flight), Ansari XPRIZE (private spaceflight), DARPA Grand Challenges (autonomous vehicles), and Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE (improved oil spill capture). HeroX helps democratize prizes.

  • Prizes can drive breakthroughs where other efforts have stalled. But designing an effective prize is difficult and success is not guaranteed. When done right, prizes catalyze innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry growth.

In summary, incentive competitions attract unconventional solutions to challenges by tapping diverse expertise and risk-taking. With the right design and oversight, prizes can achieve breakthrough innovation and accelerate progress.

  • Thinking big is required to drive real-world solutions, launch new industries, and benefit humanity. Success requires bold thinking.
  • Set bold goals. Specific, challenging goals motivate higher performance. Entrepreneurship demands bold goals and action.
  • Promote autonomy, risk-taking, and tolerate failure. Rules should give teams independence, minimal bureaucracy, and permission to fail.
  • Maintain a startup mentality of experimentation and long-term thinking. Failure is inevitable, so fail fast by learning from failure and iterating quickly.
  • Thinking big starts at the top. Surround yourself with bold, smart people. Give them autonomy and permission to take risks. Then let them work.
  • Achieving “moonshots” requires hard work and perseverance but the rewards are worthwhile. With a bold mindset, teams can change the world.

Strategies for thinking big:

  • Elon Musk thinks at massive scale,establishing life on Mars. Despite nearly failing,his “reality distortion field” got funding.
  • Richard Branson uses publicity stunts and storytelling to promote Virgin. He got funding for bold ideas that others thought crazy.
  • Jeff Bezos takes a long-term view and obsesses over customers. He founded Blue Origin to establish space tourism and space mining.
  • Define a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to galvanize your team. It should be a daunting challenge that ignites passion.
  • Start small and scale fast. Advance incrementally while thinking exponentially. Small teams with autonomy can accomplish more.
  • Ignore the doubters and naysayers. Believe in yourself and your vision. But be open to feedback and willing to make hard decisions.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver. Exceed stakeholders’ expectations through relentless effort and incremental progress.

In summary, thinking big is essential to drive breakthroughs. Bold visionaries set audacious goals, give teams the freedom to fail, learn quickly, and scale their ideas exponentially. Despite facing doubters and obstacles, they persevere through passion and belief in their mission. The strategies discussed can apply at any scale to achieve outsized goals that benefit the world.

  • Think at massive scale. Set hugely ambitious goals to drive progress, even if they seem impossible. Scale is needed to solve major problems.

  • Tell stories to captivate people. Build excitement for your vision through storytelling, media, and publicity. Help others see what’s possible.

  • Take the long view. Make decisions that pay off in 10 to 20 years, not just next quarter. Success needs time to unfold.

  • Go from “zero to one.” Persevere with unproven ideas until they become real and self-sustaining. Many transformative ideas seem like science fiction at first.

  • Learn from failures and try again. View setbacks as learning opportunities, not reasons to quit. Success comes from determination, not genius.

  • Build strong partnerships. Achieving scale often depends on collaboration and strategic relationships. Work with others who share your goals.

  • Create a “reality distortion field.” Convince others that seemingly impossible things are actually possible with work and vision. Inspire belief in what the future could be.

  • Short-term results aren’t everything. Be willing to sacrifice gains today for bigger opportunities years from now. The most ambitious goals require patience.

  • Take smart risks to drive progress. Technology and human ingenuity can solve humanity’s greatest challenges if we have the courage to advance new ideas. The future is unwritten.

The summary highlights the importance of thinking big, storytelling, taking a long-term perspective, persevering against obstacles, learning from failures, building partnerships, inspiring others, focusing beyond short-term gains, and taking risks to drive change. Success at massive scale requires determination, vision, collaboration, and a belief in progress through human creativity.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key insights from the original entries? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand my summary in any way. I’m happy to revise it.

Here is a summary of the key topics:

Setting visionary “moonshot” goals: Set ambitious goals that push the limits of current capabilities. Google’s “moonshot factory” Google X aims for 10x improvements, not incremental progress. Visionary goals can lead to breakthroughs and new technologies.

Creating goals that trigger a flow state: Set clear goals that balance challenge and skill. Focus attention, lose self-consciousness, get immediate feedback, feel in control, and enjoy the activity. This mental state leads to greater creativity, enjoyment, and performance. Techniques include setting direction, balancing skills and challenges, focusing attention, receiving feedback, feeling in control, and intrinsic motivation.

Using constraints to spur innovation: Limitations and scarcity can boost creativity. Set constraints around time, resources, technology, etc. to spark new ideas. Constrained optimization leads to more innovative solutions.

Techniques for mapping long-term goals into concrete steps:

• Set big, visionary “moonshot” goals to work toward. Then break them into smaller milestones and targets.

• Use “backcasting”: Start from the visionary future goal and work backwards to the present, mapping out the steps required to achieve that goal.

• Set short-term deadlines and incremental progress points. Continually revisit and revise the plan.

• Run pilot projects and experiments to gain insights, validate assumptions, and continue progress. Iterate based on feedback.

• Bring together interdisciplinary teams and outside perspectives. Crowdsource ideas and possibilities.

• Develop a minimal viable product as a starting point, and build upon it over time based on feedback.

• Be willing to take risks, fail fast, learn from failure, and try alternative paths. Visionary goals often require unconventional approaches.

• Maintain passion and determination. Celebrate milestones and wins, big and small, along the way.

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About Matheus Puppe