- When done right,
can be the single best wealth engine ever. One thousand dollars
) 10 years ago today would now be worth $20,610; the same amount
, GOOGL) a decade ago would now be worth $5,228.
Of course, not every company is an Apple-sized profit machine.
That's why tech investors are always looking for a "Eureka!"
"The beauty of the 'eureka moment' is that you find a great
long-term investment - and you get out in front of Wall Street and
Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson told readers in February.
For that reason I was excited to pick up
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World
on its Feb. 3 release. I wanted to see what kind of moonshot
thinking coauthors Steven Kotler (best-selling author and science
journalist) and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis (Chairman and CEO of the X
PRIZE Foundation) had in store.
Back in 2012, the two authors published
Abundance: The Future Is Better than You Think
. That book debuted at No. 2 on the
New York Times
best seller list, and also launched at No. 1 on both Amazon.com's
and Barnes & Nobles' best seller lists. And
itself just hit No. 2 on the
New York Times
business list and has been there for five straight weeks.
, Kotler and Diamandis talk about how tech entrepreneurs come to be
successful - not just in terms of wealth creation, but also in
terms of having a worldwide impact. They preach "to become a
billionaire, help a billion people."
The innovators in focus will drive the sector's best
wealth-creation opportunities for years.
That's why this 336-page manifesto - that wasn't explicitly
written for tech investors - has more to offer them than any other
book due out this year.
I phoned Steven Kotler to talk more about
and tech investing in 2015. He talked about how to spot a
disruptive technology, his favorite sectors in tech right now, and
why two U.S. CEOs are his favorites today.
Take a look (and keep reading to get our just-released
"Million-Dollar Tech Portfolio" with five stocks and two ETFs for
for Tech Investors
: Steven, thanks for taking the time to talk to our readers.
First, I'd love to know how the average
can recognize a technology that will disrupt
We don't think it's tricky. Technologies become exponential once
they become information technologies (that is, can be translated
into the "ones" and "zeros" of binary code). That's when it hops
onto an exponential growth curve - the Gartner Hype Cycle.
There are 10 technologies right now on this growth curve - but
all of these go through the six Ds first.
The Six Ds
- Digitalization: The technology can rapidly advance and
becomes "exponentially empowered."
- Deception: Enormous exponential growth is not noticed by
the players in the field.
- Disruption: The old business processes don't work well any
- Demonetization: There is no longer much money in the old
- Dematerialization: The tech advancement is making entire
product lines disappear.
- Democratization: The tech becomes available and affordable
to just about everyone.
Right now a lot of these techs are moving out of deception and
into disruption, like Uber and AirBnB.
But specifically what we look for is a user-friendly interface
that a company can build a business on - that's our signal.
For instance, look at the invention of the web. It had been
around for 20 years, but only scientists and the military used it.
Then Marc Andreessen came along and created Netscape, a
Suddenly everyone can play, and you immediately get exponential
growth. People got online. Then small businesses were built around
MM: What are some examples of tech subsectors that are
just now developing user-friendly interfaces?
Right now, 3D printing can disrupt the factory segment. Now there
is a user-friendly interface for 3D printing and it's so easy a
child could use it. A woman recently used a 3D printer to create
makeup - the cosmetics industry is $265 million. She was a Harvard
grad living with her parents when she figured this out.
Also, robotics. Artificial intelligence is on the way. It's not
quite user-friendly yet, but it's getting there. And so is
MM: We think AI is one of the most fascinating - and
eventually profitable - areas of tech to watch today. What else
do you consider among the most exciting tech subsectors right now
in terms of growth and opportunity?
Psychology is becoming digitalized - it's coming to scale. For
example, the military found soldiers are more comfortable
discussing their emotions with AI than they are human therapists.
They feel less worried about confidentiality, chain of command,
shamefulness, and other issues when dealing with AI. Computers that
can read your emotions are becoming more and more possible.
I personally work on flow and am passionate about it. [Flow is
that "in the zone" feeling when your productivity spikes because
you achieve a certain mental state.] Flow research goes back 150
years to some of the earliest experiments in cognitive psychology
in the 1870s. I first got interested in it in roughly 2000. At that
time, one of the top flow scientists told me he didn't think we
were going to understand flow in our lifetimes, much less in the
next 50 years.
Well, if you look at the research at that time, it was on the
low end of an exponential curve. Now it's exploding. This is a
puzzle that 15 years ago we didn't think we were going to crack,
and now we're already 60% there. Neurobiology and neuroscience are
on these curves.
I'm also very interested in environmental issues. One of the
best things we could do is get off eating cattle and start eating
in vitro meat. This tech is moving quickly and I'm paying a lot of
attention to it because with it, you can free up land that can be
repurposed for wild animals and plants. It will slow the
devastating loss of biodiversity.
, you talk about four CEOs who changed the world: Google Inc.'s
Larry Page, Amazon.com's (
) Jeff Bezos, Virgin America Inc.'s (
) Richard Branson, and Tesla Motors Inc.'s (
) Elon Musk.
Which tech leader do you like today? Are there any
up-and-comers who have your attention?
It's split! I really like Phillip Rosedale, the CEO of Second Life
and also of High Fidelity. I like him for two reasons.
First, the biggest revolution in Silicon Valley right now isn't
in tech; it's it people management. Phillip is doing really
interesting things on that front.
And second is virtual reality tech. People are terrified when
they read about tech - they wonder, where are the jobs are going?
But something always comes along to replace them, and I believe
there's an Internet-sized opportunity sitting inside VR tech.
Phillip's at the forefront of VR and is doing cooler stuff than
anyone I know. He's poking at it from some really different angles
and I think he's super, super bright.
I'm also a huge fan of Carl Bass, the CEO of Autodesk. Autodesk
does professional 3D design software. Carl is fundamentally a maker
himself - he's very down-and-dirty, likes to work with his hands,
humble, and in that fun way, extraordinarily creative. His company
is at the forefront of 3D printing and synthetic biology. I think
that one day this tech is going to bring about coding in DNA
instead of computer code.
MM: At the conclusion of
, you tell readers how they can start a business by implementing
their big ideas. But what about tech investors - how should this
book help inform their tech investing decisions?
Lots of different reasons. For one, I think tech investors - the
good ones - are good because they have access to great info.
In the book we talk about crowdsourcing technology [like Tongal,
Quirky, and Kaggle]. It's expertise on demand. Investors need to
start using the power of a hyper-connected crowd to source their
Also in the book we talk about the importance of thinking to
scale. The billionaires we talked about thought to scale - that's
why they're in our book, not because of how much money they
I don't want to invest in anyone who can't think to scale right
now. All the big plays are global plays today, one way or another.
The same reasons that entrepreneurs want to insert themselves into
exponential equations - so do investors. An organization must think
at scale, it must utilize rapid experimentation, and it must
Tara Clarke is an Associate Editor at
. You can follow her on Twitter
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