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Mike Maples Part 2: exponential vs. linear reasoning

Unconventional thinking is a key to great success

Lessons learned from investor by Steven Loeb
July 19, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/30bd

Continuing his keynote address at Wednesday night’s Venture Shift, Floodgate creator Mike Maples took the stage to talk about two terms he has coined: thunder lizards and exponential entrepreneurship. 

Here is the second part of his theory on how a company can become a thunder lizard: exponential reasoning vs linear reasoning.

Linear reasoning, he explained, is intuitive, like brushing your teeth or driving to work. These are things that you just do without thinking about them.

Exponential thinking, on the other hand, is theoretical. It cannot be seen. Like Einstein's theory of relativity. Its something that goes beyond the physical.

So what does this have to with entreprenuership?

Because, Maples said, one of the problems that he sees in entreprenuership is people "reasoninging by analogy, rather than reason up from first principals."

Reasoning by analogy is like linear thinking; it involves copying what others do, and starting with a tangible idea. Reasoning by first principal, requires boiling things down to essential truths, and starting with a thought experiment.

An example of reasoning by analogy is asking, "What pain do you solve?" Whereas an example of reasoning by first principals is when Bill Gates said that personal computers would one day become inexpensive, something that went against what everyone knew to be true at the time. 

"It's a different thought process," Maples explained.

An example of reasoning by analogy is being a "company by analogy, or saying that the company is just like another one, except for a different space; what Maples calls a "this for that."

And those companies are immediately eliminated because that thought process simply not compatable with what he wants to do. 

“No one has unconventional success with conventional thinking ever," he said. "Now, you can have unconventional thinking and be wrong, in which case you're hosed. But having some unconventional idea about the way the world is about to be is a precusor to great success."

So who are come people who had this type of unconventional thinking?

Some examples that Maples pointed to were Twitter creator Evan Williams. And Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX.

Williams, he said, understood that if he could get a certain number of people blogging, he could get even more to do microblogging. And Musk figured out that only .3% of space travel is rocket fuel, and the rest is the rocket itself. So a reusable rocket could greatly impact cost of space travel.

Both of these guys had a "big secret," or an insight into the world that nobody else has. 

Look out for part 3 of Maples' speech!


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