Notes From BOLD -Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler



How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World

Humans are local and linear thinkers. This was due to our days in the savannahs of Africa, where everything we needed was within a day’s walk.

Today’s Growth Is exponential.

Big Ideas: 
  • The biggest problems present the biggest opportunities 
  • The best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion person problem 
What’s Bold?
  • Bold is the playbook for entrepreneurs who want to do MORE!
  • Go big, create wealth and solve the worlds problems.
The Kodak Example:
  • A company like Kodak was successful because they made things more convenient for people. They developed the first digital camera. In the 90s they had a 90% market share over the film industry. They allowed us to record our memories.
  • They thought the digital camera would undercut their film business and ignored it. As a result they became extinct.
  • They ignored Moore’s law, which has held constant for 60 years!

The D’s of Exponential Technology
  • Digitalization
  • Deception
  • Disruption
  • Demonetization
  • De-Materialization
  • Democratization
Exponential Growth Leads to The Extinction of Companies that Don’t embrace it:
  • In 15 years 40% of the current S&P 500 companies will not exist due to the exponential growth of the D’s listed above.
The Instigram Example:
  • Instigram made photo sharing even easier. Because they make photo sharing easier for people their company expanded through the network effect.
  • Further destroying Kodak.
  • They were bought by Facebook for 1 Billion in 2012.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is changing the world 
  • Tooling used to be expensive 3D printing makes it easier and faster.
  • 3D printing is on an exponential growth curve much like computers.
  • Current and future entrepreneurs are harnessing this technology to create everything from Dolls to manufacturing replacement spacecraft parts.
Sensors are Changing the Game:
  • Sensors are changing dumb systems to smart ones
  • They gather data and transfer it to a central processing location in real time.
  • It is accurate and real time info.
  • It follows an exponential growth curve


  • Baxter the Robot is an example of major improvements in robot ease of use. Baxter can work for about $4 an hr.
  • Amazon is going into the Drone business
  • Robots will replace the blue collar work force in the next 5-10 years.
  • Autonomous cars are part of this movement.

For the Exponential Entrepreneur: 

  • look for the human jobs that are not favorable: Garbage Man, Wiping someone’s ass, bedside nurse, Outhouse cleaner, brick layer,
  • Robots will replace all of these blue collar jobs

Genomics and Synthetic Biology:

  • Biotech is expanding at the rate of 5X Moore’s law.
  • DNA is much like software in a computer. Like all software DNA can be reprogrammed.  This will allow us to genetically engineer our bodies.
  • Today DNA is manipulated by computers (Drag and drop easy)
  • Custom designed probiotics, a brand of toothpaste which is designed to eliminate your specific bad breath,
  • AutoDesk: Project Cyborg


The BOLD mindset

  • The Psychological Techniques Needed to Go Bold
  • Going bold requires crowd sourcing and crowd funding. Crowd sourcing is done by soliciting ideas, services and funding from a large group of people.
Skunk Works (The Secrets of Skunk):
  • A separate facility with a focused group of people.
  • The world’s grandest challenges contain the biggest industries.
  • Mindset is the foundation of success
  • The Purpose of Skunk: When business needs to be unusual and tackle herculean issues.
  • Check out Book: Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed

Ways to Increase Performance (BOLD Performance):

  • Goal Setting: increased productivity 11-25%
  • Big Goals lead to the best outcomes. They lead to increased focused and persistence.

The Remaining 7 Rules:

  • Enforce Isolation: Most important to success

    • Entrepreneurs need to be isolated from the rest of the “experts”. They need to allow their ideas to grow without being shot down by outside influences.
  • Reduce number of people involved and outside access.
  • Very similar to Agile Design: which involves rapid iteration.
Reed Hoffman ” if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you released too late

Money is not a great motivator

  • Kahneman: Happiness and life satisfaction overlap until $70,000 (the point at which money stops being an issue)
Humans Top 3 Motivators:
  • Intrinsic Rewards are more critical

    • Autonomy: desire to steer our own ship

      • Google Engineers are required to spend 20% of their time on their own projects.
    • Mastery: our desire to steer it well

      • Zappos is a company driven by mastery
    • Purpose: the need for the journey to mean something. It’s our deep seeded desire to fill our lives with purpose is what really drives people.

Entrepreneurs should decide their Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose early and plaster it on their walls. 


Why Google Thinks Bigger
  • They are always considering 10X ideas.
  • They run many different experiments and shoot down the ones that don’t work out. The ones that do get re-purposed, reinvented or make it into the mainstream.
The Stone Soup Analogy
  • Three soldiers walk into a town and the town people hide because they know the soldiers are hungry. One soldier convinces a women to bring a pot of water and a fire to create “stone soup”. The townspeople have never heard of stone soup so they are curious. One by one, the soilders convince them to add other ingredients like potatoes, carrots, garlic, leeks etc. Soon enough they have an awesome soup.
  • Crowd sourcing and bringing in capital is much like this. To be a successful exponential entrepreneur you have to be able to make stone soup.
How can you create super credibility?
  • Team Planetary Resources was able to create credibility because they started small and conviced the Canadian space agency to join the conference. From there, they were able to convince the Euro’s because the Canadians had already joined. From there, the Japanese, Chinese, Indian and finally NASA joined the conference as well.
  • They started small and let the dominoes fall.

Passion and purpose scale.
  • Want to bring in a lot of other people in on your vision? Sell them on your passion and your purpose.
The Amazon Reasons for success (steal them)
  1. Long Term Thinking. Be willing to put off short term gains for long term growth.
  2. Customer Centric Focus. How can I make this more convienient, easier, better, faster, smarter, for the customer.
  3. Drive as Many Experiments as Possible at the same time. Double down on the one’s that show promise.

Billionaire Wisdom: How to Think Like Elon Musk

  • Billionaires can think in a way that scales big
  • Our brains are wired to think locally and linear (not exponential)

Billionaire Thinking is about:

  1. Risk Taking and Risk Mitigation

    1. Example: Richard Branson starting Virgin Atlantic and being able to give the 747 back if it didn’t work out.
  2. Rapid Iteration

    1. Agile/Scrum/Lean Principles
  3. Passion and purpose

    1. Example: They all do things that are fun and they have a huge passion for solving. Musk with space travel, Branson in the music industry, Bezos with books and customer centric thinking.
  4. Long term thinking

    1. Example: Amazon’s vision for long term growth
  5. Customer centric thinking

    1. Example: Amazon screwing over the book publishers to create lower prices for the customer.
  6. Probabilistic thinking

    1. Example: Elon Musk thought that each of his companies had less than a 50% change of working.
  7. Rationalistic Thinking
  8. Reliance On Fundamental Truths

Elon Musk:

  • Entered college at 17 and studied business and applied physics. Was too shy to interview at Netscape. Started PayPal a few years later.
  • He went out to solve billion dollar problems with space, the internet and energy.
  • He thought NASA should be sending people to Mars. But NASA had no policy to send people to Mars or talk about sending people to Mars. He then learned that launch technology had not improved in decades. In 2002, launched SpaceX and created the SpaceX Dragon vehicle.
  • Musk is relentless in his pursuit of the BOLD and completed unfazed by Scale.
  • He gets direct and BLUNT feedback from friends. This allows him to adjust course as needed.
  • Physics training is a great training for reasoning. It allows you to figure out things that are not obvious. Physics forces you to ask: “What are the FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS?”
  • Thinks in probabilities: Example: this business has a 60% chance of succeeding.
  • He decides to work on projects using the equation: Probability X Importance = Yes/no
Passion and Purpose Scale
Elon Musk is the Real World Tony Stark (Iron Man)
  • He’s started 3 billion dollar companies
  • He looks at everything and breaks down the probability.

The Two Cognitive Biases That HOLD us BACK:

  1. Loss Aversion: Humans have a tendency to weigh potential losses greater than potential gains. Example: we would rather not lose $50 vs. potentially gain $100.
  2. Narrow Framing: We tend to look at problems in isolation, instead of looking at the whole. Example: We try to solve one small problem instead of looking at the whole.
Richard Branson’s Success
  • He Shoots for the moon and mitigates risk.
  • Perfect example is when he started Virgin Atlantic. He was allowed to rent a 747 from Boeing and return it after a year if it did not work out. The first year was a test. Virgin Atlantic has worked because of its customer centric focus.
  • Virgin is now the umbrella company for 500 separate companies.
  • Fun matters more. FUN allows him to think at SCALE. Because his fierce devotion to fun creates a devoted following.
  • He’s always thinking customer centric.

Crowd Sourcing:

Creative Asset Development

Crowdsourcing (todays poor man’s AI):

  • Tongle
  • 99 Design: Crowd sourced graphic designs,
  • Quirky

Crowdsourcing Best Practices:

  1. Do your Research

  2. Get busy

  3. Turn to the message boards and community forums

  4. Establish Context and be specific.

  5. Prepare your data set

  6. Qualify Your Workers.

  7. Find clear simple and specific roles. Be Very clear.

  8. Communicate clearly and leave no room for interpretation

  9. Do not micromanage.

  10. Pay to play. Go for quality first. It’s always way cheaper than traditional models.

  11. Prepare for the flood. You will get too many good ideas.

Crowd Funding

  • Raising money is always the biggest problem.
  • Lack of capital is why most businesses fail.
  • Crowd funding is the antidote for traditional capital

Types of Crowd funding:

  • Donation (charity)
  • Debt (peer to peer)
  • Equity (cash in exchange for stock)
  • Reward Based (pre-sale): Has a long track record of success.

    • Pebble Watch: connects to your phone, allows users to check their calendar, SMS. They created a campaign based off of previous winners and created a fun 70’s style video for their campaign (took 6 weeks).
    • Planetary Resources:
  • Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum: Indegogo. They created a funny video, it went viral, and raised $145,000 per day.  This is a perfect example of a Purple Cow.
  • Planetary Resources: The first crowd controlled space telescope, they used the association bias by getting people like Bill Nye to back it. A “Space Selfie” was the Purple Cow that allowed the project to go viral.
  • Occulus Rift: another great example.

Who Should Do It?

  • Late Prototype Phase
  • Team Assembled
  • Access to large community of followers
  • Tells a new story

Why Do it?

  • Customers vote with their wallets.
  • Free advertising
  • You create a community

Key Steps for Execution

  • Fundraising Target
  • Campaign length
  • Rewards incentives and stretch goals
  • Planning Materials and resources
  • What story are you telling
  • Create a great video

The Galaxy Zoo Example:

  • Allows the user to participate in a large-scale project of galaxy research. People signed up to help because they want to feel like they are a making meaningful contribution.
  • It’s now a smorgasbord of crowd sourced research projects.

  • brizone

    It seems like all the images in this article source to Evernote, but they’re all broken due to some security issue.

    • Sorry about that.

      I will see if I can dig up the old images and repost them.

  • Byond

    Great set of notes! Thank you for sharing it with us budding entrepreneurs!

    It would also be helpful if you could list the companies (specially service providers/sourcers) that Bold cites throuhgout the chapters. They are all shortcuts for business development.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Byond! Glad you got something out of it.

      Next time i dive back into the book (there’s a lot of information there), I’ll update these notes.