Book Reports

BOLD – Peter Diamandis is Optimistic

The post covers Peter Diamandis and Steven Kolter’s optimistic work: “Bold, How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World.” Some things that caught my eye:

  1. p. 74: “…in dozens and dozens of studies, Latham and Locke found that setting goals increased performance and productivity 11 to 25 percent.”
  2. p. 77: “…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.”
  3. p. 77: “Instead of launching a finely polished gem, companies now release a ‘minimum viable product,’ then get immediate feedback from customers, incorporate that feedback into the next iteration, release a slightly upgraded version, and repeat.”
  4. p. 79: “Three [extrinsic rewards] in particular stand out: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.”
  5. p. 79: “The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive (our survival needs) or our reward-and-punishment drive, but out third drive – our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to fill our life with purpose.”
  6. p. 83: “GoogleX demands that all their projects be measurable and testable. They won’t start a project if they don’t have ways to judge its progress.”
  7. p. 84: “People think that bold projects don’t get funded because of their audacity. That’s not the case. They don’t get funded because of a lack of measurability. Nobody wants to make a large up-front investment and wait ten years for any sign of life. But more often than not, if you can show progress along the way, smart investors will come on some pretty crazy rides.”
  8. p. 84: “Google’s Eight Innovation Principles:
    1. Focus on the User
    2. Share Everything
    3. Look for Ideas Everywhere
    4. Think Big but Start Small
    5. Never Fail to Fail
    6. Spark with Imagination, Fuel with Data
    7. Be a Platform
    8. Have a Mission That Matters”
  9. p. 88: “Flow’s Environmental Triggers:
    1. High consequences/taking risks
    2. Rich environment
    3. Deep embodiment/total physical awareness”
  10. p. 89: “Flow’s Psychological Triggers:
    1. Clear goals
    2. Immediate feedback
    3. The challenge/skill ratio (should be just right)”
  11. p. 91: “Flow’s Social Triggers:
    1. Familiarity
    2. Sense of control
    3. Close listening
    4. Always say ‘yes, and…'”
  12. p. 103: “Usually, capital comes in stages as entrepreneurs find new ways to mitigate risk. Instead of one lump sum, money arrives in discrete waves: seed capital, crowdsourced capital, angel capital, super-angel capital, strategic partners, series A venture, series B venture, and sometimes even a public offering.”
  13. p. 109: “The future is not preordained. It unfolds as a result of action – the choices you make and the risks you take. At a very fundamental level, this is exactly what it means to be an entrepreneur. Have a vision for tomorrow, pull yourself toward it.”The popular definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result – that’s only true in a highly deterministic situation. If you have a probabilistic situation, which most situations are, then if you do the same thing twice, it can be quite reasonable to expect a different result.”
  14. p. 133: “I think the amount of useful invention you do is directly proportional to the number of experiments you can run per week per month per year. So if you’re going to increase the number of experiments, you’re also going to increase the number of failures.”
  15. p. 134: “Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about. I tell people that when we acquire companies, I’m always trying to figure out: is this person who leads this company a missionary or a mercenary? The missionary is building the product and building the service because they love the customer, because they love the product, because the love the service. The mercenary is building the product or service so that they can flip the company and make money. One of the greatest paradoxes is that the missionaries end up making more money than the mercenaries anyway.”
  16. p. 144: “Howe defined the word [crowdsourcing] as ‘the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.'”
  17. p. 163: “All the tools you need to build and Internet company today are basically free – all the software: Linux, MySQL, voice-over-Internet protocol, Gmail, and so on. The best thing I would suggest you do is browse the projects on, and look at the mobile phone section or the web development section or whatever your area might be, and see what other people are doing and how they’re wording their project and what they’re paying. Start from there.”

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