I just took a vacation from the dystopian nightmare that is our reality according to most cable news networks and social media. My virtual destination: the Abundance360 Annual Summit. Our host and curator was XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis. Peter says his life mission is “to inspire and guide entrepreneurs to create a hopeful, compelling and abundant future for humanity.” It was on full display over the 3-day conference. We got to interact with humanoid robot Ameca, remotely pilot a Beomni robot avatar on the other side of the country, and experience the latest breakthroughs in autonomous transportation, brain-computer interfaces, CRISPR and gene therapy.
Like any successful vacation, I have come back refreshed, rejuvenated, and excited to share what I learned. The concepts of abundance, exponential growth, and data as critical business assets are the 3 keys to escaping survival mode and thriving in the digital economy. I’d love to talk with you about leveraging them for your company.
Mindset Matters Most
The last year of the pandemic has shown us it’s a lot easier to shut everything down than start it back up again. This is the law of inertia taken to a new level. I’m not sure Newton would agree physics-wise, but from a human-nature standpoint, it takes a lot less energy to stop than start. We saw this with the move to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic. That was easy compared to navigating the move to hybrid work, the restart of people coming back to the office. Starting requires a huge time investment to figure out what to do and how to do it. You have to face a myriad of fears and manage change.
“The concepts of abundance, exponential growth, and data as critical business assets are the 3 keys to escaping survival mode and thriving in the digital economy.”
Peter believes, and I agree, mindset is our most critical asset because it dictates how we see and respond to opportunities. Just like the data we feed our AI systems will drive the AI’s quality, what we feed our brains dictates the mindset we cultivate. A steady diet of gloom-and-doom negativity results in acting from fear and scarcity, rather than enthusiasm and abundance. If you’re struggling to get your business out of survival mode, it’s time to look at all your inputs and get intentional about curating an abundance mindset. Stop playing the game of limited resources and embrace a world of infinite possibilities.
Growing Exponential Organizations
In addition to abundance, Peter advocates for an exponential mindset, bucking our linear thinking and incremental progress instincts. A360 speaker Salim Ismail has literally written the book on this one, Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it).
It’s a daunting title, especially if you are sitting at the helm of a pre-digital company. But the second half of the book explains how established companies of all sizes can adapt the agile ways and flexible resources of start-up exponential organizations (ExOs). And there are case studies of longstanding household names like Coca-Cola and General Electric that successfully became enterprise ExOs.
The first step is identifying your Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). This interview with the author explains what an MTP is and gives well-known examples like Google’s “Organize the World’s Information.” An MTP speaks to the human need for meaning. We all need a reason to wake up in the morning beyond “make money to buy stuff.”
The book is definitely worth the read, but this CliffsNotes-esque video will get you well on your way to understanding what it’s all about. In under 5 minutes, it runs through 5 external characteristics of an ExO using one of Salim’s central acronyms, SCALE. The ‘S’ stands for Staff on Demand. The concept that there are many ways, beyond salaried employees, to fill your labor and expertise gaps, and staff up and down quickly as needed. The on-demand workforce is a specialty of mine. I call it workforce mixology, creating your company’s craft cocktail of employees, contractors, gig workers, and automations (bots).
Your Data as an Abundant Asset
Pre-digital companies must learn what Digital Age start-ups know intuitively: every data point you collect can inform operations. Every lead, every click, every sale, every review. You must recognize its value and put it to work. The ‘A’ in Salim’s SCALE is for Algorithms. Exponential organizations build algorithms to understand patterns and behavior. Then, they base all business decisions on the intelligence those algorithms produce. That’s what we mean by “data-informed,” using data to make predictions and achieve desired outcomes.
How do you build algorithms? You start by gathering and organizing your data. Our free webinar, Turning Data into Intelligence, walks you through collecting your raw data and giving it the context and connections it needs to become actionable intelligence. But first, as Abundance360 would remind us, you need to realize the value of your abundant data. Data is no longer a byproduct of operations; it’s a driver. Embrace data as a critical and abundant asset.
GitHub’s Abundance Mindset & Exponential Growth
In the wake of the A360 summit, I’ve been playing with the idea that an abundance mindset allows us to recognize and embrace the exponential technology that enables exponential growth. GitHub sprang to my mind as a company that flourished by following Peter and Salim’s principles, whether they knew they were doing it or not.
When 4 software developers founded GitHub in 2008, they had their big idea for how to make the world a better place. That MTP now has a slogan, “Where the world builds software.” They didn’t let the way the world was get them down because they were confident in their vision of the world to be. They knew the value of data, and they knew storage and computing power weren’t always going to be expensive. They also knew, as Salim puts it, “open beats closed.”
Github is now the source control repository for the world. It hosts over 73 million developers and 200 million repositories. Microsoft bought it in 2018 for $7.5 billion because it had exactly what they needed: all the training data to teach AI how to write code (among other things).
The world is changing, and that’s cause for excitement, not alarm. To get your mind out of day-to-day survival mode, you need to cultivate the abundance mindset that powers exponential growth. I’m not claiming to be an expert here, but I’ve done some reading, attended some conferences, and thought a whole lot about how to move businesses into the future. I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you. Drop me a line, and we’ll figure out how to structure your data and your company for exponential growth.
Tim Kulp is the Chief Innovation Officer at Mind Over Machines. He’s trying to change the world. His mission: Stop the automation apocalypse by empowering humans. With years on the front lines of automation, Tim leads workers and business leaders to realize the potential of a human + machine future and disavow Sci-Fi’s human vs. machine dystopian nightmare.
Kulp’s publication credits range from technical (MSDN Magazine, 2600 Magazine) to business strategy (CMSWire, Forbes, SHRM.org). In addition to his writing, Tim frequently presents across the Mid-Atlantic region. He speaks about how AI is changing the workforce and the world at internationally recognized institutions (Johns Hopkins University), national conferences (ASAE, MTForecast), and government economic policy agencies (Federal Reserve).
Kulp holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from McDaniel College, an M.S. in Applied Information Technology from Towson University, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Information Security, also from Towson. He is a member of the Forbes Tech Council.