I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working with my American colleagues in New York and San Francisco and meeting our global partners. If there’s one thing I could say is a stark difference between European entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley ones, is this 10X, or “moonshot” thinking.
But what is this “moonshot” thing? Is it just marketing jargon? The answer is no. It’s a fundamental way of thinking. The video below explains it beautifully:
In the words of Astro Teller, Google’s director of Google[x]:
If you choose to make something 10% better, you are almost by definition signing up for the status quo and making it a little bit better. That means you start from the status quo. You start with all of the existing assumptions…
..Here’s the weird thing: If you sign up for Moonshot thinking, if you sign up to make something 10 times better, there is no chance of doing that using .the existing assumptions. You’re going to have to throw out the rule book.
Every Google exec who I heard speak in recent months, from SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra to SVP of People Ops Laszlo Bock and Silicon Valley legend John Doerr subscribe to this mentality and push the envelope. Case in point, Google’s CEO Larry Page recently announced the formation of Calico, a company trying to ‘solve mortality’. Would you be inspired to work with such a company? Do you think the same way about your business? Those who do, the visionary founders who are literally ‘shooting for the moon’ are the ones that inspire us: their users, employees the media and the future entrepreneurs who see them in action. People like Elon Musk or Richard Branson come to mind.
The takeaway here is simple – don’t think incrementally or ‘small’. Think BIG and aspire to change the world. And it will make all the difference.
Finally, below are the steps for founders who are interested to experiment with moonshot thinking.
- Pick a big problem: something huge, long existing, or on a global scale.
- Articulate a radical solution — one that would actually solve the problem if it existed: a product or service that sounds like it’s directly out of a sci-fi story.
- Find some kind of concrete evidence that the proposed solution is not quite as crazy as it at first seems; something that justifies at least a close look at whether such a solution could be brought into being if enough creativity, passion, and persistence were brought to bear on it. This evidence could be some breakthrough in science, technology, or engineering that could actually make the solution possible within the next decade or so.
Decided to give it a shot? the good news are – you’re not alone. Thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators around the world shared their moonshot thinking ideas at Solve for X. What’s yours?
The Solve for X intro video below gives your a flavor of what you can expect.