Stupid ideas don’t move us — we simply don’t connect with them. We don’t believe in them, or the people who’ve come up with them. If we bother to say anything it’s simply to say how stupid they are. Remarkable Ideas — we viscerally connect with them, we believe in them, and we share them.
It gets into your head and it won’t go away.
Something about it appeals deep down to some really basic part of you.
You begin to think of possibilities.
You start to imagine “what if” and “maybe” and “I could” and “this would mean that”.
And so you talk about it. Tell others about the idea and its possibilities.
They get excited too.
We’re onto something.
All because of a Remarkable Idea.
Now, more than ever, we need bold entrepreneurs with Remarkable Ideas.
Technological innovation and disruption. Robots ‘stealing’ our jobs. An ageing population. All of these forces and more mean that we are at modern civilisation’s greatest ever inflection point.
Incrementalism. More of the same. Small tweaks. They’re simply not good enough.
Every morning you should be waking up excited about what you are going to create that day.
When people ask you what you are doing, you DON’T say, “I work for” and you DO say “I’m working TOWARDS.”
To thrive in this near future you need to be working towards something audacious. Something that some people will walk away from you and say, “Crazy. That’ll never happen.”
What these mediocre, incremental thinkers and doers say to you doesn’t matter.
Because you’ve got a Remarkable Idea.
So, what is a Remarkable Idea?
All Remarkable Ideas come in three parts: we viscerally connect with them, we believe in them, and we share them.
Part 1: Connection
Remarkable Ideas are incredibly exciting. Once you’ve encountered them, they stick in your head and they won’t go away.
At the end of the fifteenth century the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry. Trade in spices were so valuable that it helped create and destroy empires. Advances in shipping and navigation enabled Portugal in 1497, under the command of Vasco da Gama, to circumnavigate Africa and reach the Spice Islands by the East. It was the foundation of the Portuguese Empire, which made tiny Portugal become the most powerful nation on Earth. 20 years later another Portuguese adventurer declared:
The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow of the earth on the moon and I have more faith in the Shadow than in the Church.
Ferdinand Magellan believed that he could find a shorter route to the Spice Islands by sailing west, across the Atlantic Ocean, around South America and across the Pacific. Because the world is round.
Magellan’s Remarkable Idea — the world is round and so I can reach the riches of the Spice Islands more easily and quickly — utterly compelled the King of Spain who funded this unknown Portuguese adventurer.
It was not only the King of Spain who connected with this idea — preparations for Ferdinand’s epic journey were the talk of Europe. Once the idea was out there, it compelled everyone.
Magellan’s expedition was successful at the cost of his life. This didn’t worry the King too much because he got what had compelled him from the very start — a faster route to the Spice Islands and ownership of all the lands to the West.
Part 2: Authenticity
The British Inventor Sir Clive Sinclair in 1985 was one of the first entrepreneurs to produce an electric vehicle: the Sinclair C5. The C5 became known as “one of the great marketing bombs of postwar British industry” and a “notorious example of failure”.
Sinclair was the brains behind the ZX Spectrum, among the first mainstream-audience home computers in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the USA.
A Remarkable Idea is authentic with its source. We believe in it because we trust where the idea is coming from. Sir Clive, it was obvious, knew nothing about how people wanted to get about. He was not an authentic source.
“A Tesla vehicle will drive in fully autonomous mode from LA to New York City by the end of 2017.”— Elon Musk
The idea of being driven by a car at speed without our hands on the controls is both scary and exciting. But I trust Elon to get this right. This is a man who is making more progress in space than NASA, and who wants us to go to Mars. Driverless cars are easy compared to that.
Elon Musk has high authenticity and that is why people believe in his ideas; however remarkable they may seem.
Part 3: Sharing
Remarkable Ideas you HAVE to share. Much like Magellan’s expedition being the talk of Europe. Or, as you might be learning now for for the first time, what is going to happen to us humans because of computers:
“2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence. I have set the date 2045 for the ‘Singularity’ which is when we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion fold by merging with the intelligence we have created.”
This prediction is by Ray Kurzweil. He’s authentic — he’s Google’s Head of Engineering. He goes on to further describe this impact of the Singularity:
That leads to computers having human intelligence, our putting them inside our brains, connecting them to the cloud, expanding who we are. Today, that’s not just a future scenario. It’s here, in part, and it’s going to accelerate.
And just to make it clear how significant this is — Kevin Kelly has described the Singularity as the point at which:
All the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes.
Let’s add in a bit of context here. 2029 is 12 years away. 12 years ago, Facebook was only a year old. 12 years ago nobody had an iPhone.
Now, if computers as smart as us in 12 years and the Singularity where we merge with them in 28 years aren’t Remarkable Ideas that you just have to share with people; then I don’t know what is.
My Remarkable Idea
I believe that Remarkable Ideas have the potential to be 10Xed — to be made 10 times better — and change the lives of a billion people.
We can take something that seems remarkable now, and make it 10 times more remarkable.
That’s my mission: to work with bold entrepreneurs who want to change the world, and help them by 10Xing their Remarkable Ideas.
“Crazy. That’ll never happen,” the mediocre incrementalists might say.
Doesn’t matter. That’s what I’m working TOWARDS.
What about you?
What’s your Remarkable Idea?