Your biweekly dose of all things exponential
Issue 7

For anyone looking to change the world and create exponential impact, the biggest thing that could derail that mission is their personal bandwidth - and procrastinating on things that matter, because they get tied up with "busy work", versus their life’s work. Peter shares a simple, yet profound, paradigm shift in addressing this - focusing on the ‘who, not how’. We also explore why millions of micro-drones will soon be dominating our skyline, the rise of extra-terrestrial agriculture to prepare for our ’next life’ on Mars, and new use cases for virtual reality through food tastings. And very importantly, we address a pressing question - when all is said and done, how do we prepare our next generation of workers (and re-equip the ageing ones) for this new world order? Check out the A360 clip on the future of training and let us know what you think.

Exponentially Yours,
Aman Merchant
P.S. You can contribute by sending us tips, and by encouraging your colleagues to subscribe.

Peter’s Perspectives

Who, Not How

3 min read

When most entrepreneurs (including Peter and myself) face a challenge, our first reaction is to ask: “how do I solve this problem.”

Peter's coach, Dan Sullivan (CEO of Strategic Coach), taught him a powerful management shortcut for success. Don’t ask “how.” Instead, ask “who.” In this blog, Peter explores that concept.

Peter “Live”!

Every week, Peter video-captures for his community the most exciting new developments he comes across in his many interactions with different stakeholders from across the world. This week’s video is about micro-drones becoming our go-to-handy-men for anything and everything we’d like to get done!

Micro-Drones Galore

Check out these new micro-drones, which can lift up to 40 times their own weight! The FAA predicts that there will be over 1.6 million commercial drones by 2021. What tasks do you think most of them will be doing? What would you do with these micro-drones?

Amazing Possibilities

What it is: Researchers at the University of Chicago aim to harness untapped information about how our cellular systems work by deploying a series of DNA-based molecular computing circuits. The researchers propose that specific arrangements of these molecular logic gates can give specific analog signals of the concentration of the molecules as they are released over time, opening up the information contained in the temporal portion of our cells’ communication mechanisms. Accessing the time-dependent information of these cellular signals is akin to knowing the tune of a song, rather than solely the lyrics.

Why it’s important: As we approach a trillion-sensor economy by 2020, the quality and versatility of these sensors is critical. This research is evidence that rapid improvements in biosensor technology are bringing us deeper layers of data. This higher-order, temporal microbiology data is what we need for meaningful long-term studies of our bodies, and for the development of real-time monitoring and treatment systems. What physiology do you want to precision-monitor -- and therefore optimize, treat, and/or understand -- on a molecular scale?

What it is: Our senses and memories play an important role in how we perceive taste. But it’s not always easy or cheap to put someone on a plane, for example, to run an experiment. Enter researchers at Cornell, who recently used virtual reality to address this problem. They asked 50 participants to eat the same piece of blue cheese in three VR settings: a virtual sensory booth, on a cow farm, or on a park bench. As expected, participants rated a significantly higher pungency of the cheese in the cow barn versus the bench or sensory booth.

Why it's important: As the costs of VR continue to drop, we’re seeing an explosion of new use cases that extend well beyond gaming. While many applications focus on augmenting our abilities to understand complex systems or to collaborate, many others are also tied to cost savings, which should accelerate even broader adoption and catalyze experimentation.

What it is: On Earth, a plant-fungal symbiotic relationship helps plants absorb nutrients from low-nutrient soil; in return, the plant keeps the fungus healthy by feeding it with carbohydrates. However, this symbiotic relationship degrades in microgravity. University of Zurich researchers promoted this plant-fungal symbiosis, even in microgravity, by treating the plant-fungal system with a synthetic version of the hormone strigolactone. Experiments determined that given this treatment, the plant and fungus were able to thrive even in low-gravity and low-nutrient environments.

Why it's important: One of the key challenges of Moon and Mars mission planners is producing food on other planets. Shipping soil millions of miles from Earth and producing artificial gravity are limited by the laws of physics, so explorers will need to leverage engineering to achieve sufficient crop yields, using entirely alien resources. This research out of Zurich is one of many studies focused on extraterrestrial agriculture. Even on the Moon and Mars, there’s an abundance of resources -- we just need to figure out how to efficiently use these resources to host human life (and one day, civilizations).

What it is: Led by CEO Brandon Alexander, formerly of X (formerly Google X), digital agriculture company Iron Ox built a unique robotic farm designed to operate fully autonomously. The company recently transitioned their prototype farm into a full production facility. The first of these farms, situated in a 1,000-square-foot, San Carlos, California-based warehouse, grows romaine lettuce, bok choy, cilantro, and two dozen other types of greens. The farm can produce nearly 30 times more produce than a traditional 1 acre farm and uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming. Iron Ox uses a horizontal, single-floor layout fueled by natural overhead sunlight.

Why it's important: The global food supply chain is highly inefficient. Iron Ox’s scalable, autonomous approach to locally grown food is one of the many digital agriculture solutions bringing farming closer to the table. Produce can travel nearly around the globe before it lands on your plate, resulting in nearly half the cost of food coming from transportation. What if we could dramatically reduce (or eliminate) these costs?

Exponential Tips & Tricks

Deep State for Your Website? Check out Hotjar ...the future of social media analytics through this platform allows you to understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior. It’s scary and cool all at the same time.

Experience A360

This clip from A360 2018 has Sebastian Thrun from Udacity talk about the future of training and how democratizing access to skill development will define the future of work.

Sebastian Thrun is chairman and co-founder of Udacity. Before that, he was a Google VP and Fellow, a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, and before that at Carnegie Mellon University. At Google, he founded Google X and Google's self-driving car team. Fast Company selected Thrun as the fifth most creative person in the business world. The Guardian recognized him as one of 20 "fighters for internet freedom".

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360 Dubai, Peter's 360-person executive mastermind, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for business and government leaders who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here.

to go before the Abundance 360 Dubai Summit on March 26-27, 2019

Read our past issues of the Exponential Times: | Issue 6 | Issue 5 | Issue 4 |