The Investment Capital Growth Blog

Welcome To The ICG Blog

Strategic Insights For Business Leaders & Their Teams

Investment Capital Growth is dedicated to the personal and professional development of C-Level Executives and the management teams that run modern business. Our blog shares insights and strategies culled from years of entrepreneural and executive experience. Our thought leaders regularly publish business articles to inspire and empower.

Get Inspired, Stay Connected:

  • Subscribe To Our Blog For Updates
  • Follow ICG on Social Media
  • Engage Our Consultants

Subscribe To The ICG Blog

Oops! We could not locate your form.

Posts by Topic

The Future of Work in the Age of Web 3.0

Posted by Cliff Locks On January 9, 2019 at 10:20 am / In: Uncategorized

The Future of Work in the Age of Web 3.0

What is the future of work?

Is our future one of ‘technological socialism’ (where technology is taking care of our needs)?

Or is our future workplace completely virtualized, whereby we hang out at home in our PJ’s while walking about our VR Corporate HQ?

This blog will look at the Future of Work during the age of Web 3.0… Examining scenarios in which AI, VR and the spatial web converge to transform every element of our career, from training, to execution, to free time.

 In the past weeks,I explored the vast implications of Web 3.0 on news, media, smart advertising and personalized retail. You can see the blogs here: https://www.investmentcapitalgrowth.com/icg-blog/

A Quick Recap on Web 3.0: 

While Web 1.0 consisted of static documents and read-only data (static web pages), Web 2.0 introduced multimedia content, interactive web applications, and participatorysocial media, all of these mediated by two-dimensional screens.

But over the next 2 to 5 years, the convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence, VR/AR, and a trillion-sensor economy will enable us to both map our physical world into virtual space and superimpose a digital data layer onto our physical environments.

Suddenly, all our information will be manipulated, stored, understood and experienced in spatial ways. 

In this third installment of the Web 3.0 series, I’ll be discussing the Spatial Web’s vast implications for:

  1. Professional Training
  2. Delocalized Business & the Virtual Workplace
  3. Smart Permissions & Data Security

Let’s get started…

Virtual Training, Real-World Results….

Virtual and augmented reality have already begun disrupting the professional training market.

As projected by ABI Research, the enterprise VR training market is on track to exceed $6.3 billion in value by 2022.

Leading the charge Walmart has already implemented VR across 200Academy training centers, running over 45 modules and simulating everything from unusual customer requests to a Black Friday shopping rush.

Then in September 2018, Walmart committed to a 17,000-headsetorder of the Oculus Go to equip every U.S. Supercenter, neighborhood market, and discount store with VR-based employee training.

 In the engineering world, Bell Helicopter is using VR to massively expedite development and testing of its latest aircraft, FCX-001. Partnering with Sector 5 Digital and HTC VIVE, Bell found it could concentrate a typical 6-year aircraft design process into the course of 6 months, turning physical mock-ups into CAD-designed virtual replicas.

But beyond the design process itself, Bell is now one of a slew of companies pioneering VR pilot tests and simulations with real-world accuracy. Seated in a true-to-life virtual cockpit,pilots have now tested countless iterations of the FCX-001 in virtual flight, drawing directly onto the 3D model and enacting aircraft modifications in real-time.

And in an expansion of our virtual senses, several key players are already working on haptic feedback. In the case of VR flight, French company Go Touch VR is now partnering with software developer Fly Inside on fingertip-mounted haptic tech for aviation. 

Dramatically reducing time and trouble required for VR-testing pilots, they aim to give touch-based confirmation of every switch and dial activated on virtual flights, just as one would experience in a full-sized cockpit mockup. Replicating texture, stiffness and even the sensation of holding an object, these piloted devices contain a suite of actuators to simulate everything from a light touch to higher-pressured contact, all controlled by gaze and finger movements.

When it comes to other high-risk simulations, virtual and augmented reality have barely scratched the surface. 

 Firefighters can now combat virtual wildfires with new platforms like FLAIM Trainer or Target Solutions. And thanks to the expansion of medical AR/VR services like 3D4Medical or Echopixel, surgeons might soon perform operations on annotated organs and magnified incision sites, speeding up reaction times and vastly improving precision. 

But perhaps most urgent, Web 3.0and its VR interface will offer an immediate solution for today’s constant industry turnover and large-scale re-education demands. 

VR educational facilities with exact replicas of anything from large industrial equipment to minute circuitry will soon give anyone a second chance at the 21st century job market.

Want to be an electric,autonomous vehicle mechanic at age 15? Throw on a demonetized VR module and learn by doing, testing your prototype iterations at almost zero cost and with no risk of harming others. 

Want to be a plasma physicist and play around with a virtual nuclear fusion reactor? Now you’ll be able to simulate results and test out different tweaks, logging Smart Educational Record credits in the process.

As tomorrow’s career model shifts from a “one-and-done graduate degree” to continuous lifelong education, professional VR-based re-education will allow for a continuous education loop, reducing the barrier to entry for anyone wanting to enter a new industry.

But beyond professional training and virtually enriched, real-world work scenarios, Web 3.0 promises entirely virtual workplaces and blockchain-secured authorization systems.

Rise of the Virtual Workplace & Digital Data Integrity

 In addition to enabling an annual $52 billion Virtual Goods marketplace, the Spatial Web is also giving way to “virtual company headquarters” and completely virtualized companies, where employees can work from home or any place on the planet.

Too good to be true? Check out an incredible publicly listed company called eXp Realty.

Launched on the heels of the 2008 financial crisis, eXp Realty beat the odds, going public this past May and surpassing a $1B market cap on day one of trading.

But how? Opting for a demonetized virtual model, eXp’s founder Glenn Sanford decided to ditch brick and mortar from the get-go, instead building out an online virtual campus for employees,contractors and thousands of agents.

And after years of hosting team meetings, training seminars, and even agent discussions with potential buyers through 2D digital interfaces, eXp’s virtual headquarters went spatial.

What is eXp’s primary corporate value? FUN! And Glenn Sanford’s employees love their jobs.

In a bid to transition from 2Dinterfaces to immersive, 3D work experiences, virtual platform VirBELA built out the company’s office space in VR, unlocking indefinite scaling potential and an extraordinary new precedent:

Foregoing any physical locations for a centralized VR campus, eXp Realty has essentially thrown out all overhead and entered a lucrative market with barely any upfront costs.

Delocalize with VR, and you can now hire anyone with Internet access (right next door or on the other side of the planet), redesign your corporate office every month, throw in an ocean-view office or impromptu conference room for client meetings, and forget about guzzled-up hours in traffic.

Throw in the Spatial Web’s fundamental blockchain-based data layer, and now cryptographically secured virtual IDs will let you validate colleagues’ identities or any of the virtual avatars we will soon inhabit.

This becomes critically important for spatial information logs — keeping incorruptible records of who’s present at a meeting, which data each person has access to and AI-translated reports of everything discussed and contracts agreed to.

But as I discussed in a previous Spatial Web blog, not only will Web 3.0 and VR advancements allow us to build out virtual worlds, but we’ll soon be able to digitally map our real-world physical offices or entire commercial high rises too.

As data gets added and linked to any given employee’s office, conference room or security system, we might then access online-merge-offline environments and information through augmented reality.

Imaging showing up at your building’s concierge and your AR glasses automatically check you into the building, authenticating your identity and pulling up any reminders you’ve linked to that specific location.

You stop by a friend’s office,and his smart security system lets you know he’ll arrive in an hour. Need to book a public conference room that’s already been scheduled by another firm’s marketing team? Offer to pay them a fee and, once accepted, a smart transaction will automatically deliver a payment to their company account.

With blockchain-verified digital identities, spatially logged data and virtually manifest information, business logistics take a fraction of the time, operations grow seamless and corporate data will be safer than ever.

Final Thoughts

 While converging technologies slash the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies, bring on the rise of vast new industries and transform the job market, Web 3.0 is changing the way we work, where we work and who we work with.

 Life-like virtual modules are already unlocking countless professional training camps, modifiable in real-time and easily updated, including Peter Diamandis’ Singularity University.

Virtual programming and blockchain-based authentication are enabling smart data logging, identity protection and on-demand smart asset trading.

And VR/AR-accessible worlds (and corporate campuses) not only demonetize, dematerialize, and delocalize our everyday workplaces, but enrich our physical worlds with AI-driven, context-specific data.

Welcome to the Spatial Web workplace.

Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

Web 3.0 is coming, let’s get you ready for it

Posted by Cliff Locks On December 5, 2018 at 10:05 am / In: Uncategorized

Web 3.0 is coming, let’s get you ready for it

The boundaries between digital and physical space are disappearing at a breakneck pace. What was once static and boring is becoming dynamic and magical.

For all of human history, looking at the world through our eyes was the same experience for everyone. Beyond the bounds of an over-active imagination, what you see is the same as what I see.

But all of this is about to change. Over the next 2 to 5 years, the world around us is about to light up with layer upon layer upon layer of rich, fun, meaningful, engaging and dynamic data. Data you can see and interact with.

This magical future ahead is called the Spatial Web and will transform every aspect of our lives, from retail and advertising, to work and education, to entertainment and social interaction.

Massive change is underway as a result of a series of converging technologies from 5G global networks and ubiquitous artificial intelligence, to 30+ billion connected devices (known as the IoT), each of which will generate scores of real-world data every second, everywhere.

The current A.I. explosion will make everything smart, autonomous, and self-programming.

Blockchain and cloud-enabled services will support a secure data layer, putting data back in the hands of users and allowing us to build complex rule-based infrastructure in tomorrow’s virtual worlds.

And with the rise of online-merge-offline (OMO) environments, two-dimensional screens will no longer serve as our exclusive portal to the World Wide Web.

Instead, Virtual and Augmented Reality eyewear will allow us to interface with a digitally mapped world, richly layered with visual data.

Welcome to the Spatial Web.

Let’s dive in. 

What is The Spatial Web?

While we humans exist in three dimensions, our web today is flat.

The web was designed for shared information, absorbed through a flat screen.

But as proliferating sensors, ubiquitous AI and interconnected networks blur the lines between our physical and online worlds, we need a spatial web to help us digitally map a three-dimensional world.

To put Web 3.0 in context, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

In the late 1980s, the newly birthed World Wide Web consisted of static web pages and one-way information — a monumental system of publishing and linking information unlike any unified data system before it.

To connect, we had to dial up through unstable modems and struggle through insufferably slow connection speeds.

But emerging from this revolutionary albeit non-interactive infodump, Web 2.0 has connected the planet more in one decade than empires did in millennia.

Granting democratized participation through newly interactive sites and applications, today’s web era has turbocharged information-sharing and created ripple effects of scientific discovery, economic growth and technological progress on an unprecedented scale.

We’ve seen the explosion of social networking sites, wikis, and online collaboration platforms. Consumers have become creators; physically isolated users have been handed a global microphone; and entrepreneurs can now access billions of potential customers.

But if Web 2.0 took the world by storm, the Spatial Web emerging today will leave it in the dust.

While there’s no clear consensus about its definition, the Spatial Web refers to a computing environment that exists in three-dimensional space — a twinning of real and virtual realities — enabled via billions of connected devices, and accessed through the interface of Virtual and Augmented Reality.

In this way, the Spatial Web will enable us to both build a twin of our physical reality in the virtual realm and bring the digital into our real environments.

It’s the next era of web-like technologies:

  • Spatial computing technologies, like augmented and virtual reality;
  • Physical computing technologies, like IoT and robotic sensors;
  • And decentralized computing: both blockchain — which enables greater security and data authentication — and edge computing, which pushes compute power to where it’s most needed, speeding everything up.

Geared with natural language search, data mining, machine learning, and AI recommendation agents, the Spatial Web is a growing expanse of services and information, navigable with the use of ever more sophisticated AI assistants and revolutionary new interfaces.

Where Web 1.0 consisted of static documents and read-only data, Web 2.0 introduced multimedia content, interactive web applications, and social media on two-dimensional screens. But converging technologies are quickly transcending the laptop and will even disrupt the smartphone in the next decade.

With the rise of wearables, smart glasses, AR / VR interfaces and the IoT, the Spatial Web will integrate seamlessly into our physical environment, overlaying every conversation, every road, every object, conference room and classroom with intuitively presented data and AI-aided interaction.

Think: the Oasis in “Ready Player One,” where anyone can create digital personas, build and invest in smart assets, do business, complete effortless peer-to-peer transactions, and collect real estate in a virtual world.

Or imagine a virtual replica or “digital twin” of your office, each conference room authenticated on the blockchain, requiring a cryptographic key for entry.

Peter Diamandis discussed with his good friend and “VR guru” Philip Rosedale, he is  absolutely clear that in the not-too-distant future, every physical element of every building in the world is going to be fully digitized.

This digitization of life means that suddenly every piece of information can become spatial, every environment can be smarter by virtue of AI, and every data point about me and my assets — both virtual and physical — can be reliably stored, secured, enhanced and monetized.

In essence, the Spatial Web lets us interface with digitally enhanced versions of our physical environment and build out entirely fictional virtual worlds — capable of running simulations, supporting entire economies and even birthing new political systems.

How Does It Work?

Let’s start with the stack.

In the PC days, we had a database accompanied by a program that could ingest that data and present it to us as digestible information on a screen.

Then in the early days of the Web, data migrated to servers. Information was fed through a website, with which you would interface via a browser — whether Mosaic or Mozilla.

And then came the Cloud.

Resident at either the edge of the Cloud or on your phone, today’s rapidly proliferating apps now allow us to interact with previously read-only data, interfacing through a smartphone.

But as Siri and Alexa have brought us verbal interfaces, AI-geared phone cameras can now determine your identity and sensors are beginning to read our gestures.

And now we’re not only looking at our screens but through them, as the convergence of AI and AR begins to digitally populate our physical worlds.

While Pokémon Go sent millions of mobile game-players on virtual treasure hunts, IKEA is just one of the many companies letting you map virtual furniture within your physical home — simulating everything from cabinets to entire kitchens. No longer the one-sided recipients, we’re beginning to see through sensors, creatively inserting digital content in our everyday environments.

Let’s take a look at how the latest incarnation might work. In this new Web 3.0 stack, my personal AI would act as an intermediary, accessing public or privately authorized data through the blockchain on my behalf, and then feed it through an interface layer composed of everything from my VR headset, to numerous wearables, to my smart environment (IoT-connected devices or even in-home robots).

But as we attempt to build a smart world with smart infrastructure, smart supply chains and smart everything else, we need a set of basic standards with addresses for people, places and things. Just like our web today relies on the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and other infrastructure, by which your computer is addressed, and data packets are transferred, we need infrastructure for the Spatial Web.

And a select group of players is already stepping in to fill this void.

Proposing new structural designs for Web 3.0, some are attempting to evolve today’s web model from text-based web pages in 2D to three-dimensional AR and VR web experiences located in both digitally mapped physical worlds and newly created virtual ones.

With a spatial programming language analogous to HTML, imagine building a linkable address for any physical or virtual space, granting it a format that then makes it interchangeable and interoperable with all other spaces.

But it doesn’t stop there.

As soon as we populate a virtual room with content, we then need to encode who sees it, who can buy it, who can move it…

And the Spatial Web’s eventual governing system (for posting content on a centralized grid) would allow us to address everything from the room you’re sitting in, to the chair on the other side of the table, to the building across the street.

Just as we have a DNS for the web and the purchasing of web domains, once we give addresses to spaces (akin to granting URLs), we then have the ability to identify and visit addressable locations, physical objects, individuals or pieces of digital content in cyberspace.

And these not only apply to virtual worlds but to the real world itself. As new mapping technologies emerge, we can now map rooms, objects and large-scale environments into virtual space with increasing accuracy.

We might then dictate who gets to move your coffee mug in a virtual conference room, or when a team gets to use the room itself. Rules and permissions would be set in the grid, decentralized governance systems or in the application layer.

Taken one step further, imagine then monetizing smart spaces and smart assets. If you have booked the virtual conference room, perhaps you’ll let me pay you 0.25 BTC to let me use it instead?

But given the Spatial Web’s enormous technological complexity, what’s allowing it to emerge now?

Why Is It Happening Now?

While countless entrepreneurs have already started harnessing blockchain technologies to build decentralized apps (or dApps), two major developments are allowing today’s birth of Web 3.0:

  • High-resolution wireless VR/AR headsets are finally catapulting Virtual and Augmented Reality out of a prolonged winter.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the VR and AR headset market will exceed 81 million units per year shipped in 2021, with revenues reaching $170 billion by 2022. Already in the next 18 months, two billion devices will be enabled with AR. And tech giants across the board have long begun investing heavy sums.

In early 2019, HTC is releasing the VIVE Focus, a wireless self-contained VR headset. At the same time, Facebook is charging ahead with its Project Santa Cruz — the Oculus division’s next-generation standalone, wireless VR headset. And Magic Leap has finally rolled out its long-awaited Magic Leap One mixed reality headset.

  • Mass deployment of 5G will drive 10 to 100 gigabit connection speeds in the next 6 years, matching hardware progress with the needed speed to create virtual worlds.

We’ve already seen tremendous leaps in display technology. But as connectivity speeds converge with accelerating GPUs, we’ll start to experience seamless VR and AR interfaces with ever-expanding virtual worlds.

And with such democratizing speeds, every user will be able to develop in VR.

But accompanying these two catalysts is also an important shift towards the decentralized web and a demand for user-controlled data.

Converging technologies, from immutable ledgers and blockchain to machine learning, are now enabling the more direct, decentralized use of web applications and creation of user content. With no central point of control, middlemen are removed from the equation and anyone can create an address, independently interacting with the network.

Enabled by a permission-less blockchain, any user — regardless of birthplace, gender, ethnicity, wealth or citizenship — would thus be able to establish digital assets and transfer them seamlessly, granting us a more democratized Internet.

And with data stored on distributed nodes, this also means no single point of failure. One could have multiple backups, accessible only with digital authorization, leaving users immune to any single server failure.

Implications Abound – What’s Next…

With a newly built stack and an interface built from numerous converging technologies, the Spatial Web will transform every facet of our everyday lives — from the way we organize and access our data, to our social and business interactions, to the way we train employees and educate our children.

We’re about to start spending more time in the virtual world than ever before.

Beyond entertainment or gameplay, our livelihoods, work and even personal decisions are already becoming mediated by a Web electrified with AI and newly emerging interfaces.

Could you use an expert in your corner? Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

What does the future look like, with Sensors, IoT, AI, Blockchain and Connectivity.

Posted by Cliff Locks On November 21, 2018 at 10:05 am / In: Uncategorized

What does the future look like, with Sensors, IoT, AI, Blockchain and Connectivity.

We profit from it, we fear it, and we find it impossibly hard to quantify… risk.

While not the sexiest of industries, insurance can be a life-saving protector, pooling everyone’s premiums to safeguard against some of our greatest, most unexpected losses.

One of the most profitable in the world, the insurance industry exceeded $1.2 trillion in annual revenue since 2011 in the U.S. alone.

But risk is becoming predictable. And insurance is getting disrupted fast.

By 2025, we’ll be living in a trillion-sensor economy, according to Stanford research. And as we enter a world where everything is measured all the time, we’ll start to transition from protecting against damages to preventing them in the first place.

But what happens to health insurance when Big Brother is always watching? Do rates go up when you sneak a cigarette? Do they go down when you eat your vegetables?

And what happens to auto insurance when most cars are autonomous? Or life insurance when the human lifespan doubles?

For that matter, what happens to insurance brokers when blockchain makes them irrelevant?

In this blog, I’ll be discussing four key transformations:

  1. Sensors and AI replacing your traditional broker
  2. Blockchain
  3. The ecosystem approach
  4. IoT and insurance connectivity

Let’s dive in.

AI and the Trillion-Sensor Economy

As sensors continue to proliferate across every context — from smart infrastructure to millions of connected home devices to medicine — smart environments will allow us to ask any question, anytime, anywhere.

And as I often explain, once your AI has access to this treasure trove of ubiquitous sensor data in real time, it will be the quality of your questions that make or break your business.

But perhaps the most exciting insurance application of AI’s convergence with sensors is in healthcare.

Tremendous advances in genetic screening are empowering us with predictive knowledge about our long-term health risks.

Leading the charge in genome sequencing, Illumina predicts that in a matter of years, decoding the full human genome will drop to $100, taking merely one hour to complete. Other companies are racing to get you sequences faster and cheaper.

Adopting an ecosystem approach, incumbent insurers and insurtech firms will soon be able to collaborate to provide risk-minimizing services in the health sector.

Using sensor data and AI-driven personalized recommendations, insurance partnerships could keep consumers healthy, dramatically reducing the cost of healthcare.

Some fear that information asymmetry will allow consumers to learn of their health risks and leave insurers in the dark. However, both parties could benefit if insurers become part of the screening process.

A remarkable example of this is Gilad Meiri’s company, Neura AI. Aiming to predict health patterns, Neura has developed machine learning algorithms that analyze data from all of a user’s connected devices (sometimes from up to 54 apps!).

Neura predicts a user’s behavior and draws staggering insights about consumers’ health risks. Meiri soon began selling his personal risk assessment tool to insurers, who could then help insured customers mitigate long-term health risks.

But artificial intelligence will impact far more than just health insurance.

In October of 2016, a claim was submitted to Lemonade, the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance company. Rather than being processed by a human, every step in this claim resolution chain — from initial triage through fraud mitigation through final payment — was handled by an AI.

This transaction marks the first time an AI has processed an insurance claim. And it won’t be the last. A traditional human-processed claim takes 40 days to pay out. In Lemonade’s case, payment was transferred within three seconds.

However, Lemonade’s achievement only marks a starting point. Over the course of the next decade, nearly every facet of the insurance industry will undergo a similarly massive transformation.

New business models like peer-to-peer insurance are replacing traditional brokerage relationships, while AI and blockchain pairings significantly reduce the layers of bureaucracy required (with each layer getting a cut) for traditional insurance.

Consider Juniper, a startup that scrapes social media to build your risk assessment, subsequently asking you 12 questions via an iPhone app. Geared with advanced analytics, the platform can generate a million-dollar life insurance policy, approved in less than five minutes.

But what’s keeping all your data from unwanted hands?

Blockchain Building Trust

Current distrust in centralized financial services has led to staggering rates of underinsurance. Add to this fear of poor data and privacy protection, particularly in the wake of 2017’s widespread cybercriminal hacks.

Enabling secure storage and transfer of personal data, blockchain holds remarkable promise against the fraudulent activity that often plagues insurance firms.

As explained by Peter Diamandis and Symbiont’s President Caitlyn Long, “The centralized database model of insurance companies and other organizations is becoming redundant.” Developing blockchain-based solutions for capital markets, Symbiont develops smart contracts to execute payments with little to no human involvement.

But distributed ledger technology (DLT) is enabling far more than just smart contracts.

Also targeting insurance is Tradle, leveraging blockchain for its proclaimed goal of “building a trust provisioning network.” Built around “know-your-customer” (KYC) data, Tradle aims to verify KYC data so that it can be securely forwarded to other firms without any further verification.

By requiring a certain number of parties to reuse pre-verified data, the platform makes your data much less vulnerable to hacking and allows you to keep it on a personal device. Only its verification — let’s say of a transaction or medical exam — is registered in the blockchain.

As insurance data grow increasingly decentralized, key insurance players will experience more and more pressure to adopt an ecosystem approach.

The Ecosystem Approach

Just as exponential technologies converge to provide new services, exponential businesses must combine the strengths of different sectors to expand traditional product lines.

By partnering with platform-based insurtech firms, forward-thinking insurers will no longer serve only as reactive policy-providers, but provide risk-mitigating services as well.

Especially as digital technologies demonetize security services — think autonomous vehicles — insurers must create new value chains and span more product categories.

For instance, France’s multinational AXA recently partnered with Alibaba and Ant Financial Services to sell a varied range of insurance products on Alibaba’s global e-commerce platform at the click of a button.

Building another ecosystem, Alibaba has also collaborated with Ping An Insurance and Tencent to create ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance — China’s first Internet-only insurer, offering over 300 products. Now with a multibillion-dollar valuation, Zhong An has generated about half its business from selling shipping return insurance to Alibaba consumers.

But it doesn’t stop there. Insurers that participate in digital ecosystems can now sell risk-mitigating services that prevent damage before it occurs.

Imagine a corporate manufacturer whose sensors collect data on environmental factors affecting crop yield in an agricultural community. With the backing of investors and advanced risk analytics, such a manufacturer could sell crop insurance to farmers. By implementing an automated, AI-driven UI, they could automatically make payments when sensors detect weather damage to crops.

Now let’s apply this concept to your house, your car, your health insurance.

What’s stopping insurers from partnering with third-party IoT platforms to predict fires, collisions, chronic heart disease—and then empowering the consumer with preventive services?

This brings us to the powerful field of IoT.

Internet of Things and Insurance Connectivity

Leap ahead a few years. With a centralized hub like Echo, your smart home protects itself with a network of sensors. While gone, you’ve left on a gas burner and your Internet-connected stove notifies you via a home app.

Better yet, home sensors monitoring heat and humidity levels run this data through an AI, which then remotely controls heating, humidity levels, and other connected devices based on historical data patterns and fire risk factors.

Several firms are already working toward this reality.

AXA plans to one day cooperate with a centralized home hub whereby remote monitoring will collect data for future analysis and detect abnormalities.

With remote monitoring and app-centralized control for users, MonAXA is aimed at customizing insurance bundles. These would reflect exact security features embedded in smart homes.

MonAXA connects homes to homeowners’ smartphones via IoT. Source: MonAXA

Wouldn’t you prefer not to have to rely on insurance after a burglary? With digital ecosystems, insurers may soon prevent break-ins from the start.

By gathering sensor data from third parties on neighborhood conditions, historical theft data, suspicious activity and other risk factors, an insurtech firm might automatically put your smart home on high alert, activating alarms and specialized locks in advance of an attack.

Insurance policy premiums are predicted to vastly reduce with lessened likelihood of insured losses. But insurers moving into preventive insurtech will likely turn a profit from other areas of their business. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the connected home market will reach $149 billion USD by 2020.

Let’s look at car insurance.

Car insurance premiums are currently calculated according to the driver and traits of the car. But as more autonomous vehicles take to the roads, not only does liability shift to manufacturers and software engineers, but the risk of collision falls dramatically.

But let’s take this a step further.

In a future of autonomous cars, you will no longer own your car, instead subscribing to Transport as a Service (TaaS) and giving up the purchase of automotive insurance altogether.

This paradigm shift has already begun with Waymo, which automatically provides passengers with insurance every time they step into a Waymo vehicle.

And with the rise of smart traffic systems, sensor-embedded roads, and skyrocketing autonomous vehicle technology, the risks involved in transit only continue to plummet.

Final Thoughts

Insurtech firms are hitting the market fast. IoT, autonomous vehicles and genetic screening are rapidly making us invulnerable to risk. And AI-driven services are quickly pushing conventional insurers out of the market.

In 2017, there were 3.8 billion digitally connected people on the planet.

By 2024, roll-out of 5G on the ground, as well as OneWeb and Starlink in orbit are bringing 4.2 billion new consumers to the web — most of whom will need insurance.

Yet, because of the changes afoot in the industry, none of them will buy policies from a human broker.

While today’s largest insurance companies continue to ignore this fact at their peril (and this segment of the market), thousands of entrepreneurs see it more clearly: as one of the largest opportunities ahead.

Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

Breakthrough Opens Door To $100 Ultrasound Machine

Posted by Cliff Locks On November 7, 2018 at 10:08 am / In: Uncategorized

Breakthrough Opens Door To $100 Ultrasound Machine

This a big breakthrough in MedTech.

What it is: University of British Columbia engineers recently built a new ultrasound transducer that can lower the cost of ultrasound to under $100. The patent-pending sensor is smaller than most bandages and can be powered by a smartphone. Conventional ultrasounds operate using a piezoelectric transducer; the UBC team synthesized a polymer resin (I.e. polymer capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers) to replace the expensive piezoelectrics. The sonograms produced from this new polymer-based transducer are as clear as traditional sonograms; in addition, the new polymer is flexible and can be built into a variety of wearable devices. “You could miniaturize these transducers and use them to look inside your arteries and veins,” said engineer Robert Rohling. “You could stick them on your chest and do live continuous monitoring of your heart in your daily life. It opens up so many different possibilities.”

Why it’s important: We are rapidly approaching a 1-trillion-plus sensor economy, where you’ll be able to know anything, anywhere, at anytime. A variety of sensors will augment our five biological senses with unthinkable data acquisition capabilities. Healthcare is one of the first areas that will benefit from sensors. Imagine a future where we no longer need to worry about curing cancer, because our personal tumor-seeking sensor-shell can detect early signs of cancer before cells even become cancerous.  

Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

New Electric Drone Has Groundbreaking Flight Time

Posted by Cliff Locks On October 24, 2018 at 10:04 am / In: Uncategorized

New Electric Drone Has Groundbreaking Flight Time

Impossible Aerospace has announced the US-1, an unmanned quadcopter that can fly for over 2 hours on a single charge. That’s over four times as long as similar battery-powered drones, and on par with gas-fueled systems. US-1 can carry a payload of up to 2 kg (~4.4 pounds), with options like multispectral sensors, survey cameras and optical cameras. Hydrogen Fuel Cells will increase this capability even further. Why it’s important: Beyond its substantial flight time improvement, the US-1 demonstrates the engineering breakthroughs enabled by first-principles thinking. “Most drones are designed with the philosophy that once you are done figuring out the payload and propulsion, you add the battery pack,” Impossible Aerospace CEO Spencer Gore, who previousy worked at Tesla, told IEEE. “Instead, from the very beginning, we designed a battery pack that was meant to fly.”  http://bit.ly/2Q7pbir Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Machines Will Do More Work Than Humans By 2025, Says The WEF

Posted by Cliff Locks On October 17, 2018 at 10:08 am / In: Uncategorized

Machines Will Do More Work Than Humans By 2025, Says The WEF

The World Economic Forum has just released its latest AI job forecast, projecting changes to the job market on a historic scale. While machines currently constitute roughly 29 percent of total hours worked in major industries — a fraction of the 71 percent accounted for by people — the WEF predicts that in just 4 years, this ratio will begin to equalize (with 42 percent total hours accounted for by AI-geared robotics). But perhaps the report’s most staggering projection is that machine learning and digital automation will eliminate 75 million jobs by 2025. However, as new industries emerge and technological access allows people to adopt never-before-heard-of professions, the WEF offers a hopeful alternative, predicting the creation of nearly 133 million new roles aided by the very technologies currently displacing many in our workforce.

Why it’s important: Already, more than 57 million workers — nearly 36 percent of the U.S. workforce — freelance. And based on today’s workforce growth rates as assessed by 2017’s Freelancing in America report, the majority of America’s workforce will freelance by 2027. Advancements in connectivity, AI and data proliferation will free traditional professionals to provide the services we do best. Doctors supplemented by AI-driven diagnostics may take more advisory roles, teachers geared with personalized learning platforms will soon be freed to serve as mentors, and barriers to entry for entrepreneurs — regardless of socioeconomic background — will dramatically decline.  http://bit.ly/2xCrKCD

Please keep me in mind as your life coach, openings for senior executive engagements, and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

Five Challenges with Today’s Elementary Schools and Five Guiding Principles for Future Education

Posted by Cliff Locks On September 19, 2018 at 10:07 am / In: Uncategorized

Five Challenges with Today’s Elementary Schools and Five Guiding Principles for Future Education

As kids worldwide head back to school, I’d like to share some thoughts on the future of education. Without question, the #1 driver for Education = Inspiration.

This blog covers five subjects related to elementary school education:

  1. Five Issues with Today’s Elementary Schools
  2. Five Guiding Principles for Future Education
  3. An Elementary School Curriculum for the Future
  4. Exponential Technologies in our Classroom
  5. Mindsets for the 21st Century

Excuse the length of this blog, but if you have kids, the details might be meaningful. If you don’t, then next week’s blog will return to normal length and another fun subject.

OKAY, let’s dive in…

Five Issues with Today’s Elementary Schools

There are probably lots of issues with today’s traditional elementary schools, but I’ll just choose a few that bother me most.

  1. Grading: In the traditional education system, you start at an “A,” and every time you get something wrong, your score gets lower and lower. At best it’s demotivating, and at worst it has nothing to do with the world you occupy as an adult. In the gaming world (e.g. Angry Birds), it’s just the opposite. You start with zero and every time you come up with something right, your score gets higher and higher.
  2. Sage on the Stage: Most classrooms have a teacher up in front of class lecturing to a classroom of students, half of whom are bored and half of whom are lost. The one-teacher-fits-all model comes from an era of scarcity where great teachers and schools were rare.
  3. Relevance: When I think back to elementary and secondary school, I realize how much of what I learned was never actually useful later in life, and how many of my critical lessons for success I had to pick up on my own. (I don’t know about you, but I haven’t ever actually had to factor a polynomial in my adult life.)
  4. Imagination – Coloring inside the Lines: Probably of greatest concern to me is the factory-worker, industrial-era origin of today’s schools — programs so structured with rote memorization that it squashes the originality from most children. I’m reminded that “the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Where do we pursue crazy ideas in our schools? Where do we foster imagination?
  5. Boring: If learning in school is a chore, boring or emotionless, then the most important driver of human learning, passion, is disengaged. Having our children memorize facts and figures, sit passively in class and take mundane standardized tests completely defeats the purpose.

An average of 7,200 students drop out of high school each day, totaling 1.3 million each year. This means only 69% of students who start high school finish four years later. And over 50% of these high school dropouts name boredom as the No. 1 reason they left.

Five Guiding Principles for Future Education:

I imagine a relatively near-term future in which robotics and artificial intelligence will allow any of us, from ages 8 to 108, to easily and quickly find answers, create products or accomplish tasks, all simply by expressing our desires.

From ‘mind to manufactured in moments.’ In short, we’ll be able to do and create almost whatever we want.

In this future, what attributes will be most critical for our children to learn to become successful in their adult lives? What’s most important for educating our children today?

For me it’s about passion, curiosity, imagination, critical thinking and grit.

  1. Passion: You’d be amazed at how many people don’t have a mission in life… A calling… something to jolt them out of bed every morning. The most valuable resource for humanity is the persistent and passionate human mind, so creating a future of passionate kids is so very important. For my 7-year-old boys, I want to support them in finding their passion or purpose… something that is uniquely theirs. In the same way that the Apollo program and Star Trek drove my early love for all things space, and that passion drove me to learn and do.
  2. Curiosity: Curiosity is something innate in kids, yet something lost by most adults during the course of their life. Why? In a world of Google, robots and AI, raising a kid that is constantly asking questions and running “what if” experiments can be extremely valuable. In an age of machine learning, massive data and a trillion sensors, it will be the quality of your questions that will be most important.
  3. Imagination: Entrepreneurs and visionaries imagine the world (and the future) they want to live in, and then they create it. Kids happen to be some of the most imaginative humans around… it’s critical that they know how important and liberating imagination can be.
  4. Critical Thinking: In a world flooded with often-conflicting ideas, baseless claims, misleading headlines, negative news and misinformation, learning the skill of critical thinking helps find the signal in the noise. This principle is perhaps the most difficult to teach kids.
  5. Grit/Persistence: Grit is defined as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals,” and it has recently been widely acknowledged as one of the most important predictors of and contributors to success.

Teaching your kids not to give up, to keep trying, and to keep trying new ideas for something that they are truly passionate about achieving is extremely critical. Much of my personal success has come from such stubbornness. I joke that both XPRIZE and the Zero Gravity Corporation were “overnight successes after 10 years of hard work.”

So given those five basic principles, what would an elementary school curriculum look like? Let’s take a look…

An Elementary School Curriculum for the Future

For the purpose of illustration, I’ll speak about ‘courses’ or ‘modules,’ but in reality these are just elements that would ultimately be woven together throughout the course of K-6 education.

Module 1: Storytelling/Communications

When I think about the skill that has served me best in life, it’s been my ability to present my ideas in the most compelling fashion possible, to get others onboard, and support birth and growth in an innovative direction. In my adult life, as an entrepreneur and a CEO, it’s been my ability to communicate clearly and tell compelling stories that has allowed me to create the future. I don’t think this lesson can start too early in life. So imagine a module, year after year, where our kids learn the art and practice of formulating and pitching their ideas. The best of oration and storytelling. Perhaps children in this class would watch TED presentations, or maybe they’d put together their own TEDx for kids. Ultimately, it’s about practice and getting comfortable with putting yourself and your ideas out there and overcoming any fears of public speaking.

Module 2: Passions

A modern school should help our children find and explore their passion(s). Passion is the greatest gift of self-discovery. It is a source of interest and excitement, and is unique to each child.

The key to finding passion is exposure. Allowing kids to experience as many adventures, careers and passionate adults as possible. Historically, this was limited by the reality of geography and cost, implemented by having local moms and dads presenting in class about their careers. “Hi, I’m Alan, Billy’s dad, and I’m an accountant. Accountants are people who…”

But in a world of YouTube and virtual reality, the ability for our children to explore 500 different possible careers or passions during their K-6 education becomes not only possible but compelling. I imagine a module where children share their newest passion each month, sharing videos (or VR experiences) and explaining what they love and what they’ve learned.

Module 3: Curiosity & Experimentation

Einstein famously said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity is innate in children, and many times lost later in life. Arguably, it can be said that curiosity is responsible for all major scientific and technological advances — the desire of an individual to know the truth.

Coupled with curiosity is the process of experimentation and discovery. The process of asking questions, creating and testing a hypothesis, and repeated experimentation until the truth is found. As I’ve studied the most successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies, from Google and Amazon to Uber, their success is significantly due to their relentless use of experimentation to define their products and services.

Here I imagine a module which instills in children the importance of curiosity and gives them permission to say, “I don’t know, let’s find out.”

Further, a monthly module that teaches children how to design and execute valid and meaningful experiments. Imagine children who learn the skill of asking a question, proposing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, gathering the data and then reaching a conclusion.

Module 4: Persistence/Grit

Doing anything big, bold and significant in life is hard work. You can’t just give up when the going gets rough. The mindset of persistence, of grit, is a learned behavior and I believe can be taught at an early age, especially when it’s tied to pursuing a child’s passion.

I imagine a curriculum that, each week, studies the career of a great entrepreneur and highlights their story of persistence. It would highlight the individuals and companies that stuck with it, iterated and ultimately succeeded.

Further, I imagine a module that combines persistence and experimentation in gameplay such as that found in Dean Kamen’s FIRST LEGO league, where 4th graders (and up) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy and so on, and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a tabletop playing field.

Module 5: Technology Exposure

In a world of rapidly accelerating technology, understanding how technologies work, what they do and their potential for benefiting society is, in my humble opinion, critical to a child’s future. Technology and coding (more on this below) are the new “lingua franca” of tomorrow.

In this module, I imagine teaching (age appropriate) kids through play and demonstration. Giving them an overview of exponential technologies such as computation, sensors, networks, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, genetic engineering, augmented/virtual reality and robotics, to name a few. This module is not about making a child an expert in any technology, it’s more about giving them the language of these new tools, and conceptually an overview of how they might use such a technology in the future. The goal here is to get them excited, give them demonstrations that make the concepts stick, and then to let their imaginations run.

Module 6: Empathy

Empathy, defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another,” has been recognized as one of the most critical skills for our children today. And while there has been much written, and great practices for instilling this at home and in school, today’s new tools accelerate this.

Virtual reality isn’t just about video games anymore. Artists, activists and journalists now see the technology’s potential to be an empathy engine, one that can shine spotlights on everything from the Ebola epidemic to what it’s like to live in Gaza. And Jeremy Bailenson has been at the vanguard of investigating VR’s power for good.

For more than a decade, Bailenson’s lab at Stanford has been studying how VR can make us better people. Through the power of VR, volunteers at the lab have felt what it is like to be Superman (to see if it makes them more helpful), a cow (to reduce meat consumption) and even a coral (to learn about ocean acidification).

Silly as they might seem, these sorts of VR scenarios could be more effective than the traditional public service ad at making people behave. Afterwards, they waste less paper. They save more money for retirement. They’re nicer to the people around them. And this could have consequences in terms of how we teach and train everyone from cliquey teenagers to high court judges.

Module 7: Ethics/Moral Dilemmas

Related to empathy, and equally important, is the goal of infusing kids with a moral compass. Over a year ago, I toured a special school created by Elon Musk (the Ad Astra school) for his five boys (age 9 to 14). One element that is persistent in that small school of under 40 kids is the conversation about ethics and morals, a conversation manifested by debating real-world scenarios that our kids may one day face.

Here’s an example of the sort of gameplay/roleplay that I heard about at Ad Astra, that might be implemented in a module on morals and ethics. Imagine a small town on a lake, in which the majority of the town is employed by a single factory. But that factory has been polluting the lake and killing all the life. What do you do? It’s posed that shutting down the factory would mean that everyone loses their jobs. On the other hand, keeping the factory open means the lake is destroyed and the lake dies. This kind of regular and routine conversation/gameplay allows the children to see the world in a critically important fashion.

Module 8: The 3R Basics (Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic)

There’s no question that young children entering kindergarten need the basics of reading, writing and math. The only question is what’s the best way for them to get it? We all grew up in the classic mode of a teacher at the chalkboard, books and homework at night. But I would argue that such teaching approaches are long outdated, now replaced with apps, gameplay and the concept of the flip classroom.

Pioneered by high school teachers Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams in 2007, the flipped classroom reverses the sequence of events from that of the traditional classroom.

Students view lecture materials, usually in the form of video lectures, as homework prior to coming to class. In-class time is reserved for activities such as interactive discussions or collaborative work — all performed under the guidance of the teacher.

The benefits are clear:

  1. Students can consume lectures at their own pace, viewing the video again and again until they get the concept, or fast-forwarding if the information is obvious.
  2. The teacher is present while students apply new knowledge. Doing the homework into class time gives teachers insight into which concepts, if any, that their students are struggling with and helps them adjust the class accordingly.
  3. The flipped classroom produces tangible results: 71% of teachers who flipped their classes noticed improved grades, and 80% reported improved student attitudes as a result.

Module 9: Creative Expression & Improvisation

Every single one of us is creative. It’s human nature to be creative… the thing is that we each might have different ways of expressing our creativity.

We must encourage kids to discover and to develop their creative outlets early. In this module, imagine showing kids the many different ways creativity is expressed — from art to engineering to music to math — and then guiding them as they choose the area (or areas) they are most interested in. Critically, teachers (or parents) can then develop unique lessons for each child based on their interests, thanks to open education resources like YouTube and the Khan Academy. If my child is interested in painting and robots, a teacher or AI could scour the Web and put together a custom lesson set from videos/articles where the best painters and roboticists in the world share their skills.

Adapting to change is critical for success, especially in our constantly changing world today. Improvisation is a skill that can be learned, and we need to be teaching it early.

In most collegiate “improv” classes, the core of great improvisation is the “Yes, And…” mindset. When acting out a scene, one actor might introduce a new character or idea, completely changing the context of the scene. It’s critical that the other actors in the scene say “Yes, and…” accept the new reality, then add something new of their own.

Imagine playing similar role-play games in elementary schools, where a teacher gives the students a scene/context and constantly changes variables, forcing them to adapt and play.

Module 10: Coding

Computer science opens more doors for students than any other discipline in today’s world. Learning even the basics will help students in virtually any career, from architecture to zoology.

Coding is an important tool for computer science, in the way that arithmetic is a tool for doing mathematics and words are a tool for English. Coding creates software, but computer science is a broad field encompassing deep concepts that go well beyond coding.

Every 21st century student should also have a chance to learn about algorithms, how to make an app or how the Internet works. Computational thinking allows preschoolers to grasp concepts like algorithms, recursion and heuristics — even if they don’t understand the terms, they’ll learn the basic concepts.

There are more than 500,000 open jobs in computing right now, representing the No. 1 source of new wages in the United States, and these jobs are projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs.

Coding is fun! Beyond the practical reasons for learning how to code, there’s the fact that creating a game or animation can be really fun for kids.

Module 11: Entrepreneurship & Sales

At its core, entrepreneurship is about identifying a problem (an opportunity), developing a vision on how to solve it, and working with a team to turn that vision into reality. I mentioned Elon’s school, Ad Astra: here, again, entrepreneurship is a core discipline where students create and actually sell products and services to each other and the school community.

You could recreate this basic exercise with a group of kids in lots of fun ways to teach them the basic lessons of entrepreneurship.

Related to entrepreneurship is sales. In my opinion, we need to be teaching sales to every child at an early age. Being able to “sell” an idea (again related to storytelling) has been a critical skill in my career, and it is a competency that many people simply never learned.

The lemonade stand has been a classic, though somewhat meager, lesson in sales from past generations, where a child sits on a street corner and tries to sell homemade lemonade for $0.50 to people passing by. I’d suggest we step the game up and take a more active approach in gamifying sales, and maybe having the classroom create a Kickstarter, Indiegogo or GoFundMe campaign. The experience of creating a product or service and successfully selling it will create an indelible memory and give students the tools to change the world.

Module 12: Language

A little over a year ago, I spent a week in China meeting with parents whose focus on kids’ education is extraordinary. One of the areas I found fascinating is how some of the most advanced parents are teaching their kids new languages: through games. On the tablet, the kids are allowed to play games, but only in French. A child’s desire to win fully engages them and drives their learning rapidly.

Beyond games, there’s virtual reality. We know that full immersion is what it takes to become fluent (at least later in life). A semester abroad in France or Italy, and you’ve got a great handle on the language and the culture. But what about for an 8-year-old?

Imagine a module where for an hour each day, the children spend their time walking around Italy in a VR world, hanging out with AI-driven game characters who teach them, engage them, and share the culture and the language in the most personalized and compelling fashion possible.

Bottom line, how we educate our kids needs to radically change given the massive potential of exponential tech (e.g. artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality), per Peter Diamandis and he is right!

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

AI Superpowers USA vs. China

Posted by Cliff Locks On at 10:02 am / In: Uncategorized

AI Superpowers USA vs. China

Kai-Fu Lee is one of the most plugged-in AI investors on the planet, heading management of over $2 billion AUM between six funds, and over 300 portfolio companies in the U.S. and China.

Drawing from his pioneering work in AI, executive leadership at Microsoft, Apple and Google (where he served as founding president of Google China), and his founding of VC fund Sinovation Ventures, Lee shares invaluable insights about:

  1. The four factors driving today’s AI ecosystems;
  2. China’s extraordinary inroads in AI implementation;
  3. Where autonomous systems are headed;
  4. How we’ll need to adapt.

With a foothold in both Beijing and Silicon Valley, Lee looks at the power balance between Chinese and U.S. tech behemoths — each turbocharging new applications of deep learning and sweeping up global markets in the process.

In this blog, I’ll be discussing Lee’s ‘Four Waves of AI,’ an excellent framework for discussing where AI is today and where it’s going. I’ll also be featuring some of the hottest Chinese tech companies leading the charge, worth watching right now.

With Sino-U.S. competition heating up, who will own the future of technology?

Let’s dive in.

The First Wave: Internet AI

In this first stage of AI deployment, we’re dealing primarily with recommendation engines — algorithmic systems that learn from masses of user data to curate online content personalized to each one of us.

Think Amazon’s spot-on product recommendations, or that “Up Next” YouTube video you just have to watch before getting back to work, or Facebook ads that seem to know what you’ll buy before you do.

Powered by the data flowing through our networks, Internet AI leverages the fact that users automatically label data as we browse. Clicking vs. not clicking; lingering on a webpage longer than we did on another; hovering over a Facebook video to see what happens at the end.

These cascades of labeled data build a detailed picture of our personalities, habits, demands and desires: the perfect recipe for more tailored content to keep us on a given platform.

Currently, Lee estimates that Chinese and American companies stand head-to-head when it comes to deployment of Internet AI. But given China’s data advantage, he predicts that Chinese tech giants will have a slight lead (60-40) over their U.S. counterparts in the next five years.

While you’ve most definitely heard of Alibaba and Baidu, you’ve probably never stumbled upon Toutiao.

Starting out as a ‘copycat’ of America’s wildly popular Buzzfeed, Toutiao reached a valuation of $20 billion by 2017, dwarfing Buzzfeed’s valuation by more than a factor of 10. But with almost 80 million daily active users, Toutiao doesn’t just stop at creating viral content.

Equipped with natural-language processing and computer vision, Toutiao’s AI engines survey a vast network of different sites and contributors, rewriting headlines to optimize for user engagement, and processing each user’s online behavior — clicks, comments, engagement time — to curate individualized news feeds for millions of consumers.

And as users grow more engaged with Toutiao’s content, the company’s algorithms get better and better at recommending content, optimizing headlines, and delivering a truly personalized feed.

It’s this kind of positive feedback loop that fuels today’s AI giants surfing the wave of Internet AI.

The Second Wave: Business AI

While Internet AI takes advantage of the fact that netizens are constantly labeling data via clicks and other engagement metrics, business AI jumps on the data that traditional companies have already labeled in the past.

Think: banks issuing loans and recording repayment rates; hospitals archiving diagnoses, imaging data and subsequent health outcomes; or courts noting conviction history, recidivism and flight.

While we humans make predictions based on obvious root causes (strong features), AI algorithms can process thousands of weakly correlated variables (weak features) that may have much more to do with a given outcome than the usual suspects.

By scouting out hidden correlations that escape our linear cause-and-effect logic, Business AI leverages labeled data to train algorithms that outperform even the most veteran of experts.

Apply these data-trained AI engines to banking, insurance and legal sentencing, and you get minimized default rates, optimized premiums, and plummeting recidivism rates.

While Lee confidently places America in the lead (90-10) for Business AI, China’s substantial lag in structured industry data could actually work in its favor going forward.

In industries where Chinese startups can leapfrog over legacy systems, China has a major advantage.

Take Chinese app Smart Finance, for instance.

While Americans embraced credit and debit cards in the 1970s, China was still in the throes of its Cultural Revolution, largely missing the bus on this cutting-edge technology.

Fast forward to 2017, and China’s mobile payment spending outnumbered that of Americans’ by a ratio of 50 to 1. Without the competition of deeply entrenched credit cards, mobile payments were an obvious upgrade to China’s cash-heavy economy, embraced by 70 percent of China’s 753 million smartphone users by the end of 2017.

But by leapfrogging over credit cards and into mobile payments, China largely left behind the notion of credit.

And here’s where Smart Finance comes in.

An AI-powered app for micro-finance, Smart Finance depends almost exclusively on its algorithms to make millions of micro loans. For each potential borrower, the app simply requests access to a portion of the user’s phone data.

On the basis of variables as subtle as your typing speed and battery percentage, Smart Finance can predict with astounding accuracy your likelihood of repaying a $300 loan.

Such deployments of Business AI and Internet AI are already revolutionizing our industries and individual lifestyles. But still on the horizon lie two even more monumental waves — perception AI and autonomous AI.

The Third Wave: Perception AI

In this wave, AI gets an upgrade with eyes, ears and myriad other senses, merging the digital world with our physical environments.

As sensors and smart devices proliferate through our homes and cities, we are on the verge of entering a trillion-sensor economy.

Companies like China’s Xiaomi are putting out millions of IoT-connected devices, and teams of researchers have already begun prototyping smart dust — solar cell- and sensor-geared particulates that can store and communicate troves of data anywhere, anytime.

As Kai-Fu explains, Perception AI “will bring the convenience and abundance of the online world into our offline reality.” Sensor-enabled hardware devices will turn everything from hospitals to cars to schools into online-merge-offline (OMO) environments.

Imagine walking into a grocery store, scanning your face to pull up your most common purchases, and then picking up a virtual assistant (VA) shopping cart. Having pre-loaded your data, the cart adjusts your usual grocery list with voice input, reminds you to get your spouse’s favorite wine for an upcoming anniversary, and guides you through a personalized store route.

While we haven’t yet leveraged the full potential of perception AI, China and the U.S. are already making incredible strides. Given China’s hardware advantage, Lee predicts China currently has a 60-40 edge over its American tech counterparts.

Now the go-to city for startups building robots, drones, wearable technology, and IoT infrastructure, Shenzhen has turned into a powerhouse for intelligent hardware, as I discussed last week. Turbocharging output of sensors and electronic parts via thousands of factories, Shenzhen’s skilled engineers can prototype and iterate new products at unprecedented scale and speed.

With the added fuel of Chinese government support and a relaxed Chinese attitude toward data privacy, China’s lead may even reach 80-20 in the next five years.

Jumping on this wave are companies like Xiaomi, which aims to turn bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms into smart OMO environments. Having invested in 220 companies and incubated 29 startups that produce its products, Xiaomi surpassed 85 million intelligent home devices by the end of 2017, making it the world’s largest network of these connected products.

One KFC restaurant in China has even teamed up with Alipay (Alibaba’s mobile payments platform) to pioneer a ‘pay-with-your-face’ feature. Forget cash, cards and cell phones, and let OMO do the work.

The Fourth Wave: Autonomous AI

But the most monumental — and unpredictable — wave is the fourth and final: autonomous AI.

Integrating all previous waves, autonomous AI gives machines the ability to sense and respond to the world around them, enabling AI to move and act productively.

While today’s machines can outperform us on repetitive tasks in structured and even unstructured environments (think Boston Dynamics’ humanoid Atlas or oncoming autonomous vehicles), machines with the power to see, hear, touch and optimize data will be a whole new ballgame.

Think: swarms of drones that can selectively spray and harvest entire farms with computer vision and remarkable dexterity, heat-resistant drones that can put out forest fires 100X more efficiently, or Level 5 autonomous vehicles that navigate smart roads and traffic systems all on their own.

While autonomous AI will first involve robots that create direct economic value — automating tasks on a one-to-one replacement basis — these intelligent machines will ultimately revamp entire industries from the ground-up.

Kai-Fu Lee currently puts America in a commanding lead of 90-10 in autonomous AI, especially when it comes to self-driving vehicles. But Chinese government efforts are quickly ramping up the competition.

Already in China’s Zhejiang province, highway regulators and government officials have plans to build China’s first intelligent superhighway, outfitted with sensors, road-embedded solar panels and wireless communication between cars, roads and drivers.

Aimed at increasing transit efficiency by up to 30 percent while minimizing fatalities, the project may one day allow autonomous electric vehicles to continuously charge as they drive.

A similar government-fueled project involves Beijing’s new neighbor Xiong’an. Projected to take in over $580 billion in infrastructure spending over the next 20 years, Xiong’an New Area could one day become the world’s first city built around autonomous vehicles.

Baidu is already working with Xiong’an’s local government to build out this AI City with an environmental focus. Possibilities include sensor-geared cement, computer vision-enabled traffic lights, intersections with facial recognition and parking lots-turned parks.

Lastly, Lee predicts China will almost certainly lead the charge in autonomous drones. Already, Shenzhen is home to premier drone maker DJI. Named “the best company I have ever encountered” by Chris Anderson, DJI owns an estimated 50 percent of the North American drone market, supercharged by Shenzhen’s extraordinary maker movement.

While the long-term Sino-U.S. competitive balance in fourth wave AI remains to be seen, one thing is certain: in a matter of decades, we will witness the rise of AI-embedded cityscapes and autonomous machines that can interact with the real world and Peter Diamandis says it will help solve today’s most pressing grand challenges.

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with David Hunter, CEO of Star Rapid – A Global Injection Molding Manufacturer Using, Augmented Reality, Predictive Analytics, and We Review the Benefits in Building a Team Learning Culture

Posted by Cliff Locks On August 15, 2018 at 10:06 am / In: Uncategorized

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with David Hunter, CEO of Star Rapid – A Global Injection Molding Manufacturer Using, Augmented Reality, Predictive Analytics, and We Review the Benefits in Building a Team Learning Culture

I interview David Hunter, CEO of Star Rapid. David and his team have perfected the design for manufacturing when developing a new product to avoid costs and delays down the line. Star Rapid is working on cutting-edge technology including Augmented Reality, Predictive Analytics, Robotic Exoskeletons, creating components for smart-clothing and IoT devices. Podcast Discussion includes the positive contribution continuous learning makes, supporting a vibrant team environment. Star Rapid continues to add automation to its manufacturing lines, freeing up line workers. These team members are re-educated and promoted to higher value jobs; it allows the company to continue to accelerate its growth and seamlessly onboard new clients.

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with Zvi Band is the CEO and Founder Contactually, one of the fastest growing companies on the INC 5000 list, listed at 513; raised $17.8 million in investors’ funds.

Posted by Cliff Locks On August 8, 2018 at 10:05 am / In: Uncategorized

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with Zvi Band is the CEO and Founder Contactually, one of the fastest growing companies on the INC 5000 list, listed at 513; raised $17.8 million in investors’ funds.

Contactually is a leader in business software, Zvi, and his team early on recognized software is something, people are forced to use, not enjoy using. This is a challenge. Zvi knew that needed to change. So, his team doesn’t design its software products to fit into an existing mold; they design it to help people with their work. Contactually software identifies past clients and others in the users’ contact sphere of influence and prioritizes relationships with them. Their customers are seeing a 42% increase in Gross Income. That’s huge.   Podcast  

Visionary Analysis – Are You Ready for the Fastest Internet Connection in the World

Posted by Cliff Locks On July 25, 2018 at 10:16 am / In: Uncategorized

Visionary Analysis – Are You Ready for the Fastest Internet Connection in the World

In the next 6 years, 4 billion “New Consumers” are about to be connected to the World Wide Web, at Gigabit connection speeds, at near zero-cost.

 

 

By 2024, we are connecting every person on Earth to the web with bandwidths far beyond what Fortune 500 CEOs and heads of nations had daily access to just a couple of decades back.

This revolution will ignite a renaissance of innovation, and once again transform our planet.

In the next 4 to 7 years, every person on Earth will gain access to the world’s information.

What will these 4.2 billion new consumers discover? What will they consume? What new companies will they build? What industries will they disrupt?

We’ve already seen unprecedented acceleration of network growth and connectivity. But as the other half of our planet plugs into the web, this acceleration will only accelerate.

So where are we going and how are we getting there?

Networks are currently being deployed in 3 different areas:

  1. 5G, ushering in a wireless world
  2. Balloons connecting all 8 billion of us from the atmosphere
  3. Space-based networks

Let’s dive in…

5G for Gigabit Connection Speeds, Worldwide

The jump from 3G to 4G brought you the revolutionary era of smartphones, mobile banking and e-commerce.

But if you thought that was big, think again.

With plans for wide-scale deployment in 2020, 5G will be 100X faster than 4G, and 10X faster than your average broadband connection.

To get a sense of what that actually means, imagine downloading a movie on your phone in a matter of seconds —or better yet, having your autonomous vehicle communicate with smart city sensors in real time.

With 1 to 10 Gbps connection speeds, 5G is at the core of tomorrow’s trillion-sensor economy.

Powering autonomous vehicles, smart factories (IIoT), remotely controlled drones, VR and AR, in-home IoT, and the world’s first smart cities, 5G is about to allow every person on the planet to tap into data from billions of sensors around the globe.

It’s the promise of on-demand knowledge for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

As Peter Diamandis and his friend and former Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob explains, “5G networks will allow you to measure 100,000 sensors in a city block.”

Imagine the extraordinary possibilities that such a smart world could unlock. No question about your environment is unanswerable, and answers are less than a split second away.

With companies like Qualcomm and Intel leading the charge, some estimates put 5G infrastructure spending at over $326 billion by 2025.

And while major players are linking the world’s devices and sensors at gigabit connection speeds on the ground, others are working from the atmosphere.

As Google places high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere, SpaceX is beginning to populate space with constellations of Internet-transmitting satellites.

Balloons Blanketing the Earth

With balloons and drones hovering about 20 to 50 kilometers off the ground, companies like Google are working to connect 4 billion people to the web at unprecedented speeds.

Coming out of Google’s X — commonly known as the ‘Moonshot Factory’ — Google Loon is building out balloons that can direct themselves up and down the stratosphere, creating an aerial wireless network with up to 4G LTE connection capacities.

Project Loon has essentially redesigned the key components of a cell tower to be light and durable enough for a 15x12m balloon navigating 20 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

Powered by solar panels that charge their batteries, Loon’s balloons are guided using predictive models of wind patterns and decision-making algorithms. Depending on where coverage is needed, balloons are quickly navigated into the right wind stream for directed migration.

Each with a coverage area of 5,000 square kilometers, balloons can be deployed in no time. Using custom-built Autolaunchers, Project Loon can now fill and launch a new balloon into its network every 30 minutes, per crane.

And by August of last year, Google had shown data transmission between balloons over 100 kilometers apart (in the stratosphere) and back down to Earth with connection speeds of up to 10 Mbps, directly to LTE phones on the ground.

Having successfully provided connectivity to over 100,000 Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria in 2017, Loon aims to put thousands of balloons in the stratosphere, giving you connectivity anywhere on the planet.

But Alphabet isn’t alone. Travel out another several thousand kilometers, and companies from OneWeb to SpaceX are powering satellite networks in the thousands.

Space-Based Networks

Imagine a swarm of thousands of satellites, migrating across the horizon, delivering a constant stream of broadband to the most remote corners of the globe.

Now imagine this as early as 2020. With OneWeb and SpaceX deploying satellite constellations in low Earth orbit, science fiction is only years away.

Backed by billions in funding from Qualcomm, Richard Branson and SoftBank, among other investors, OneWeb is working on a constellation of about 1,980 satellites in total.

Aiming to be fully operational by the mid-2020s, OneWeb’s initial constellation is set to offer download speeds of up to 50 Mbps worldwide.

In the meantime, OneWeb founder Greg Wyler has projected that customers will start receiving 500 Mbps of bandwidth in 2019 as OneWeb’s second generation satellites aim for 2.5 Gbps by 2021.

And just this past June, the satellite broadband company received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to serve U.S. customers with a constellation of 720 satellites.

But OneWeb isn’t stopping there. Using Amazon’s Blue Origin rockets to launch their satellites into space, OneWeb is gearing up for Round 2, recently requesting FCC approval of another 1,260 satellites, aiming for global, high-speed broadband.

With targets of “connecting every unconnected school” by 2022, OneWeb hopes to entirely “bridge the digital divide” by 2027.

And beyond OneWeb, we’ve already seen SpaceX launch numerous satellites into orbit aboard its Falcon 9 this year.

Charging full speed ahead with its ambitious project Starlink, SpaceX has unveiled plans for a 4,425 satellite constellation in low Earth orbit to cover the globe with megabit and gigabit speeds.

Finally granted a license from the FCC in March 2018 to operate an array of broadband internet satellites, SpaceX has been predicted to gain over 40 million subscribers for Starlink by 2025, translating to about $30 billion in revenue.

But while revenue potential and connection speeds skyrocket, one primary challenge to satellite internet is latency.

Even with strong broadband, it takes much more time for communications to travel to a satellite and back than via terrestrial connections.

But as OneWeb and Starlink jump onto the scene, their low Earth orbit constellations are predicted to offer broadband speeds with unprecedentedly low latency. As of 2016, OneWeb’s constellation was designed to have just 30 milliseconds of latency — a remarkable leap for satellites.

And with satellites placed closer to Earth, Starlink shows promise for much lower latency in the long-term. In addition to its initial 4,425 satellite constellation at about 1,150 kilometers above Earth, Starlink plans to place another 7,500+ satellites even closer at 340 kilometers in altitude.

As tweeted by Musk, the two experimental satellites deployed from one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, “TinTin A [and TinTin B] are both closing the link to ground with phased array at high bandwidth, low latency (25ms).”

And with SpaceX’s intended proximity to Earth, latency delays would only continue to plummet, one day reaching comparability to current cable and fiber response times. As explained by SpaceX VP Patricia Cooper to the U.S. Senate Chamber of Commerce, Starlink’s network would provide 25ms latency and 1 Gbps speeds.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Zoom out another several thousand kilometers and you’ve reached O3b’s fleet.

Working at an altitude about 8,000 kilometers above the Earth, O3b — or “Other 3 Billion” — has already built out an initial fleet of 16 satellites, including 4 new ones launched just this past spring.

It’s already provided connectivity to multiple small island nations, but O3b is only getting started. Partnering with Boeing, O3b plans to launch an upgraded network in 2021, an ‘mPower network’ set to become the first ‘multi-terabit’ satellite constellation in space.

(As of September 2017, Boeing Satellite Systems International agreed to build a fleet of seven superpowered satellites to provide connectivity from medium Earth orbit for SES’ O3b network.)

Ushering in a new era, SES promises the “most powerful, flexible, and scalable satellite-based network ever, [delivering] multiple terabits of throughput to connect exponentially more people.”

Having contracted its first O3b mPower partner, Boeing Satellite Systems, SES’s constellation is planned to have 30,000 fully shapeable and steerable beams, which can be shifted in real time to align with consumers’ changing needs and connectivity demands.

Offering coverage to almost 400 million square kilometers — four-fifths of the Earth’s surface — O3b mPower could become the most bandwidth-efficient system ever.

Combined, these privately run fleets could one day meet the internet traffic needs of entire countries, far-flung islands smattering the Earth, and the most remote of peoples, now accessing a trillion-sensor economy on-demand, and at historic speeds.

The Big Picture

With 5G on the ground, balloons in the air and private satellites blanketing the Earth from space, we are on the verge of connecting every person on the planet with gigabit connection speeds at de minimis cost.

As 5G electrifies a world of trillions of sensors and devices, we’re about to live in a world where anyone anywhere can have access to the world’s knowledge, crowdfund ready capital across 8 billion potential investors, and 3D print on the cloud.

And as the population of online users doubles, we’re about to witness perhaps the most historic acceleration of progress and technological innovation known to man. Thank you Peter Diamandis for sharing your wisdom!

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with John Bennett of Sunny Days in Homecare – INC 5000 Company

Posted by Cliff Locks On July 11, 2018 at 10:04 am / In: Uncategorized

Cliff Locks Host Angel Investors Network Podcast with John Bennett of Sunny Days in Homecare – INC 5000 Company

I interview John Bennett of Sunny Days in Homecare. John and his team added automation technology to their senior living business, which allowed for seamless execution for his 684 employees. The company has enjoyed close to 200% growth in 3 years and has a solid plan for rapid and significant growth. Including taking in qualified investors funding and franchising. Podcast We also discuss how seniors can continue to enjoy life and live in their homes by aging in place. For example, my Dad is 90 and my Mom is in her late 80’s, living in the home I grew up in, close to 60 years ago. Sunny Days in Homecare business model is playing an important role, when we look at the demographics, they are in their favor, as there are 64.1 million Baby Boomers, which now accounts for 22.9 percent of the U.S. population. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 to 1964, so the youngest baby boome5 turned 54 and our oldest is 72, The data is from-2017 Census Bureau report.  

Cliff Locks joins Angel Investor’s Network as a podcast host.

Posted by Cliff Locks On May 30, 2018 at 10:06 am / In: Uncategorized

Cliff Locks joins Angel Investor’s Network as a podcast host.

I interview Scot Hunsaker CEO of the Ardent Group in St. Louis and author of Heroic Ownership: Build You Team, Plan Your Exit, Create Your Legacy. Podcast Angel Investors Network Podcast with Cliff Locks Ardent Group helps business owners prepare for a healthy succession and teaches their employees how to think like owners. His new book is available on Amazon and will help ensure your business a sustainable legacy. Please keep me in mind for full-time and consultative senior executive engagements and board openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way.

2 WORDS THAT GUARANTEE SUCCESS

Posted by Cliff Locks On April 25, 2018 at 10:05 am / In: Uncategorized

2 WORDS THAT GUARANTEE SUCCESS

What is really a word? Clearly, a word means a whole lot. Just one word can be so potent that it can either make or mar your day. Let’s explore together the right words we can make use of with our teams and clients and those we should refrain from using in our working place. Let’s begin by giving you an instance of just how potent or effective our words could become. A basic word such as “hopefully” or ‘try” tends to really disturb the receivers thinking system. Consequently, if you tell me ‘I hope we will see’ or hopefully, I’m going to be present, or I’ll try to be available, the truth is, I don’t have the slightest idea if you will or won’t be available, and this brings about anxiety. There are specific words we must completely avoid making use of at our workplace. When a colleague didn’t finish a task assigned to them they probably tell you ‘I was really busy I’m sorry’ well that is not a really tenable excuse, because you know that they are not the only one busy, in fact, the whole office is. At times you may hear, ‘I never realized that it was part of my duty’. As a senior executive you’re probably thinking, when I assign it to you it is part of your responsibility.  The team member may say “oh I’m really sorry, but I forget, how many times as one of the company’s leaders you’re thinking, maybe I should forget to pay you as well. You can see this needs a positive and solid resolution, to avoid losing faith in a team member. Are there any particular words that bosses appreciate hearing? Yes, you should always remember these two words, ‘no problem’. Your boss might be really stressed when he request you to carry out a task; it could be something achievable or something unrealistic, just say no problem at that moment and then find a way to negotiate later, saying no problem lessens the anxiety and stress of the moment. Here are some additional amazing words we can use: Other words which can serve as a backup to ‘no problem,’ they include: ‘I’ll handle it,’ ‘I know just how you feel’ ‘of course’ these are great words you can use to interact with your senior team members and teach your subordinates. Many thanks for viewing this blog. Please share with your friends and colleagues. I look forward to being your professional Advisor and Board Member and would enjoy working with you to enhance your leadership skills. Please click on the chat app on the lower right or use this link to schedule a call www.calendly.com/clifflocks together to help you fulfill your vision of success and opportunities for you and your company to achieve its goals.

EXACTLY WHY VACATION IS GREAT FOR THE BOTTOM-LINE

Posted by Cliff Locks On March 21, 2018 at 10:01 am / In: Uncategorized

EXACTLY WHY VACATION IS GREAT FOR THE BOTTOM-LINE

Going on vacation can really make a great influence on your team and your wellness. As a matter of fact, in one research, it was discovered that for each extra 10 hours of vacation time spent, their performance and profitability at the end of the year was discovered to have increased by 8%. It was the start of Spring yesterday March 20th and it’s undoubtedly the time to plan your vacations. I wish you a wonderful vacation and well-deserved rejuvenation and tranquility. During one of my vacations, I MindMap a new division for my company, AutoExpo which is now http://www.motortrend.com/auto-shows/, this added millions of dollars of value to my company, increasing EBITDA and the profitable exit. Many thanks for viewing this blog. Please share with your friends and colleagues. I look forward to being your professional Advisor and Board Member and would enjoy working with you to enhance your leadership skills. Please click on the chat app on the lower right or use this link to schedule a call www.calendly.com/clifflocks together to help you fulfill your vision of success and opportunities for you and your company to achieve its goals.

Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial success, exponential entrepreneur you can emulate

Posted by Cliff Locks On February 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm / In: Uncategorized

Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial success, exponential entrepreneur you can emulate

A good friend, Peter Diamandis did an interview recently where he was asked to deconstruct Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial success.

Having known Musk for 17 years, we’ve had the chance to watch his meteoric rise into someone who is arguably the greatest entrepreneur of our age.

In this blog, I’ll share what we’ve learned from Musk — lessons that I believe every exponential entrepreneur must emulate.

We’ve broken these lessons into 3 sections:

  1. Deep-rooted passion
  2. A crystal-clear massively transformative purpose
  3. First-principles thinking

Let’s dive in.

Deep-Rooted Passion

“I didn’t go into the rocket business, the car business, or the solar business thinking, ‘This is a great opportunity.’ I just thought, in order to make a difference, something needed to be done. I wanted to create something substantially better than what came before.” – Elon Musk

Musk only tackles those problems where he has deep rooted passion and conviction.

After selling PayPal, with $165M in his pocket, Musk set out to pursue three Moonshots, and subsequently built three multibillion-dollar companies: SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX.

This passion allowed him to push forward through extraordinarily difficult times and take big risks.

You might think it was always easy for Musk, but back in 2008 he was at a lowest low: SpaceX had just experienced its third consecutive failure of the Falcon-1 launch vehicle, Tesla was out of money, SolarCity was not getting financed, and Musk was going through a divorce. Musk borrowed money for basic living. Traumatic times.

Despite the 2008 economic crisis at the time, he bet every penny he had, and eventually everything turned around.

Ultimately, it was his passion, refusal to give up, and grit/drive that allowed him to ultimately succeed and begin to impact the world at a significant scale.

A “Crystal Clear” Massively Transformative Purpose

Part of Musk’s ability to motivate his team to do great things is his crystal-clear Massively Transformative Purpose, which drives each of his companies.

As I always say, social movements, rapidly growing organizations, and remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology are all backed by a powerful MTP.

Musk’s MTP for Tesla and SolarCity is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

To this end, every product Tesla brings to market is focused on this vision and backed by a Master Plan Musk wrote over 10 years ago.

Elon’s MTP for SpaceX is to backup the biosphere by making humanity a multiplanet species.

Elon has been preaching this since the founding of SpaceX back in 2002 even when he was experiencing numerous rocket failures.

“I think fundamentally the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species than if we’re or not. You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. And that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about.” – Elon Musk

These MTPs are like a north star for Elon and his employees.

They keep all efforts focused and aligned, which helps his organizations grow cohesively even in times of chaos.

First Principles Thinking

First principles thinking is a mode of inquiry stolen from physics designed to relentlessly pursue the foundations of any given problem from fundamental truths.

Elon has deployed this thinking strategy to give himself an unfair advantage when developing new batteries, a key component for both Tesla and SolarCity.

Here is Elon describing first principles thinking in this 2012 interview with Kevin Rose:

“I think it is important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [When reasoning by analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done or it is like what other people are doing — slight iterations on a theme.

First principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world. You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, “What are we sure is true?” … and then reason up from there.

Somebody could say, “Battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they will always be… Historically, it has cost $600 per kilowatt hour. It’s not going to be much better than that in the future.”

With first principles, you say, “What are the material constituents of the batteries? What is the stock market value of the material constituents?”

It’s got cobalt, nickel, aluminum, carbon, some polymers for separation and a sealed can. Break that down on a material basis and say, “If we bought that on the London Metal Exchange what would each of those things cost?”

It’s like $80 per kilowatt hour. So clearly you just need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell and you can have batteries that are much, much cheaper than anyone realizes.”

First principle thinking works so well because it gives us a proven strategy for editing out complexity, while also allowing entrepreneurs to sidestep the tide of popular opinion.

Closing Thoughts

These 3 tactics from Elon I believe have contributed to his massive success as an exponential entrepreneur. Ultimately, for you to make a difference in your business, if you’re not absolutely passionate and driven by that purpose, you will not take risks when you need to, and you will not keep going in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As you build your own companies keep this in mind and be sure to go after something you believe in with all your heart and soul. My Personal Executive Advising Program can help you, it gives you the big breath of fresh air and ideas you need to jump-start your career and your business. I help you tackle business challenges or personal ones. The choice is yours. This is a completely personalized one-on-one experience that will be perfectly tailored to your needs and desires.

The Personal Executive Advising Program Includes:

* Goal setting to help you move steadily forward

* Leadership Development for being an inspired & effective manager

* Personal Development to give you a better work/home balance

* Change Implementation to start the changes needed to help you reach your full potential

* Millionaire’s mindset; Yes, I’ve guided my clients to be successful Multi-Millionaires. I’ve done it myself and you deserve this level of success in your life, if you want it.

Advising sessions are weekly for 60 minutes by phone or Skype. We have an open, free-flowing conversation that goes wherever your interests and needs take us. These conversations take place over a one, three or six-month, or one-year period depending on your specific needs and schedule.

Click on this link to get started: popl.ink/WeMXTp

Contributor: Peter Diamandis

#1 HABIT OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

Posted by Cliff Locks On November 11, 2017 at 10:53 pm / In: Uncategorized

#1 HABIT OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

When it gets to certain stage in your career, it is not uncommon for you to hear about the kinds of habits displayed by successful people. Generally, these kinds of habits are many and comprise the newest ranging from the best attitudes in networking to focus. The best ten are generally clever in all honesty, and they are really lot more difficult than they seemed and many people have not been able to gain a mastery of them. Today I will be revealing just one and the best habit of the extremely successful leaders. As a matter of fact, it could well be something you have been doing and stopped along the line because you have so many other tasks taking your time.  It’s pretty easy and it what we all can achieve. The topmost habit is known as lunchtime. Extremely successful individual don’t work round the clock. It is not in their habit to munched their sandwiches when they are on a conference call, what they do is go for real vacation to rejuvenate and revitalize. They apply wisdom while spending their vacation. You can apply the following strategies to put your lunch hour to wise use. To start with, move around. Being stationary for the whole day will cause harm to your body, therefore, move away from your table and if there is no time for you to go to the gym just take a stroll instead. The next habit you must inculcate is eating together with other people. Make use of the lunch hour to network with fresh colleagues or to develop current relationships. Have you been making use of your lunch hour wastefully, turn your lunch hour to a great habit and pretty soon you will realize just how really efficient you can become. An additional resource: Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The Importance of Selling Yourself

Posted by Cliff Locks On October 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm / In: Uncategorized

The Importance of Selling Yourself

If I mention the word “self-promotion or probably “marketing yourself” what exactly crops up in your mind? Several people believe that self- promotion is not a good term; selling yourself has some negative meaning. Though this channel of selling can be utilized for bad purposes, it can as well be utilized for good. Moreover, when there is no selling, we won’t have the opportunity to have several amazing things since virtually everything we have and uses were sold to us. The clothes we are putting on, our mobile phones, jewelry, etc. if you really have something tangible to offer in your place of work, then it is about time to conquer your hatred for selling. I will reveal 3 strategies to overcome your hatred for selling today, in order to be able to offer your wonderful service and talents to a whole lot more people. Listed below are three strategies to take out the not so good that is associated with selling and include the good. To start with, repackage selling; begin to see selling in a different light. Have a change of orientation. Begin to realize that selling involves giving or offering service, when other people realize the different ways through which you can be of service, they would like to patronize your services Next to that is the need to concentrate on making a difference. Whenever you talk about the services you render, concentrate on the influence you can make, the results you can achieve, the advantages you offer. People love to purchase things that are useful to them. In conclusion, be enthusiastic; people love to make their purchases from those that are genuinely passionate about the service they render. If you talk with passion, vigor and enthusiastically about your services, many people will easily buy into your ideas and invest in your passion. If you render your services with the right attitude, for the right purpose and to the right folks, selling won’t have any inkling of evil. As a matter of fact, selling your special abilities and priceless contributions can really make a big difference in the world. Many thanks for taking time to read this blog post, if you enjoyed it, I consider sharing it with your loved ones and colleagues, by kindly posting it on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, and tweeting it.  I’m Cliff Locks, a professional executive advisor and Board of Director.  As I say, be passionate in everything you do, model great leadership for others, understand your strengths and use them, set positive goals, make definitive plans based on them – and execute, it’s ok to admit when you fail and move on, and always motivate others. Let’s work together to enhance your leadership skills potential, visit Investment Capital Growth.com and click on the chat app on the lower right, so we can schedule time together to help you fulfill your vision of success and opportunities help your company achieve its goals.

How To Negotiate With Colleagues

Posted by Cliff Locks On at 4:08 pm / In: Uncategorized

How To Negotiate With Colleagues

Making deals in the place of work is every task. We all wish that our suggestion to be accepted, we fight for scarce resources, we wish to have access to those who call the shots, therefore we naturally have to make deals. Making negotiation at the place of work is worlds apart from negotiating the cost of a condo or car. At our place of work, we make negotiations with our colleagues and supervisors and at times our buddies- we have a long-term relationship with these folks. Today I will be revealing 3 strategies for making negotiation with your colleagues in the workplace and thereby maintaining your relationship as well. You can apply the 3 strategies discussed here to maintain your relationship while making negotiations. The first one is that you need to concentrate on a collective future. Generally, people are more inclined to be a bit fairer if they are aware that you are together with them for the long haul. Always reiterate collective interest that will be beneficial to both of you down the road. You could say something such as I’m quite aware that both of us are devoted to effecting changes that will enhance our performance in the long-term. The second strategy is that you must steer clear of anything that will make them angry. It is totally unreasonable to say something that will make them angry when you are to develop a long-term relationship. Keep away from those topics that will get them worked up. Never say something such as all you are interested in is your final profit. The third strategy is that you must always maintain your calmness. Behavior is infectious; hence if you speak quietly and with calmness, the person you are making negotiation with will be more inclined to accept. If your partner becomes a bit angry or tempers start flaring, slow the conversation down and speak in a reduce tone. This will go a long way in calming the flaring nerves. Allow everywhere to become quiet and then tell your partner that you love to resolve the problem with them. We are all aware that careers thrive on relationships, there when making deals with your colleagues, always to maintain and even enhance your relationship with them. In future, you might have forgotten what the negotiation is all about, but how you treated the feelings of the partner you negotiated with will never be forgotten. Many thanks for taking time to read this blog post, if you enjoyed it, I consider sharing it with your loved ones and colleagues, by kindly posting it on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, and tweeting it. I’m Cliff Locks, a professional executive advisor and Board of Director. As I say, be passionate in everything you do, model great leadership for others, understand your strengths and use them, set positive goals, make definitive plans based on them – and execute, it’s ok to admit when you fail and move on, and always motivate others. Let’s work together to enhance your leadership skills potential, visit Investment Capital Growth.com and click on the chat app on the lower right, so we can schedule time together to help you fulfill your vision of success and opportunities help your company achieve its goals.

Achieving Your Goals

Posted by Cliff Locks On October 5, 2017 at 10:18 pm / In: Uncategorized

Achieving Your Goals

As a society, we are often obsessed with setting goals. It is not even impossible that you are not happy with yourself because you haven’t made sufficient progress on your list of goals for the year, or in your case, maybe you have too many goals that you don’t even have the faintest idea of where to take off and what you should be concentrating on. From one year to another, we are constantly falling short because of the goal trapped we set for ourselves. Rather than following this pattern, let’s have something different this year; let’s replace our vast goals with just one or two goals that can really make a real difference in our choices. Start by relaxing and two-part exercise to work through during the fourth quarter and the upcoming end of year holiday period. Exercise one: select two words to define this last year. As an individual, 2017 was exciting and a little disconcerting. Exercise two: select two words to explain how the New Year will be for you. As an individual, 2018 will be amazing and impactful. How many goals do you currently work on? Is it working for you? If you need help in accomplishing your goals, let’s talk. schedule a call: www.calendly.com/clifflocks

There’s Just One Key To Happiness

Posted by Cliff Locks On September 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm / In: Uncategorized

There’s Just One Key To Happiness

You’ve possibly heard may be on too many occasions on how you can achieve happiness. As a matter of fact, it seems to be the latest Holy Grail. You already know that the quest for fame or wealth does not lead to happiness. But it is not impossible that you are pondering if it is really necessary to have deep reflections and keep a thankfulness diary in order to attain that much desired happy state. Well, due to a Harvard research that has been closely monitoring the lifestyles of over 700 for almost ten decades, we currently understand that there actually exists just one big key to happiness, do you have an idea of what that is? There is no other big key to happiness other than interpersonal relationships. In the research, it was discovered that the individuals who have the most robust working relationships were not just happier, they were also healthier. Now these kinds of relationships were not just with spouses and family members but also with best friends and colleagues. Do you ever spend quality time with your friends?  23% percent of Americans admitted to not having anyone to discuss with; how terrible. We   all can do something about this ugly situation. Let’s spend lesser time with television and spend more qualitative time with people. Obviously, internet relationships have not done to make us happier. Let’s become more familiar with our neighbors. One of the most important achievements to my personal life this year has been a book society as well as spending time with my neighbors down in the hallway. Let’s welcome our co-workers to have coffee breaks with us. Relationships in the workplace bring a lot of considerable transformation to our happiness and this is awesome. Study shows that having a high five, fist bump or handshake with friends in the workplace will make the friendship bonds even stronger. Attaining happiness is actually not too complex. It’s about one basic thing, opening ourselves to others and equally allowing others to open themselves to us. Thanks for taking time to read this blog post, if you enjoyed it, I highly recommend you share with your loved ones. I’m a professional mentor; enhance up your leadership potential by making an appointment to talk. I look forward to helping you define your vision of success and achieving it. Schedule a Call: www.calendly.com/clifflocks