If You Want to Change the World, Talk to the Right People

Peter Diamandis:  So, you’ve got an idea and you think it’s a great idea.  Ultimately, two things are important. Number one, that you’re not fooling yourself. So what I end up doing in this phase of designing an X Prize is really going out and bouncing the idea off of enough experts that I feel confident that I haven’t missed something.

Ultimately, you have to be careful though because if you’re trying to drive a radical change in the world, a lot of experts are going to tell you, it can’t be done or it’s impossible. You know,
I define sometimes an expert as someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done. When I was trying the build the Ansari X Prize, I went to the traditional aerospace players at Boeing and Lockheed or NASA and some of them said, “Listen, this is big boy
business. This is large corporations and governments. Small teams aren’t going to be able to build private spaceships and I had to be careful about really understanding what they were saying and saying,“Okay, that’s true for them. I’m working under a different paradigm.”

But other folks that we talked to, when we were looking at flying your suborbital flight, originally we had it at 100 miles altitude as the peak altitude and we did the re-entry thermal
characteristics of coming in from 100 miles and said, you know, it’s going to be really… coming in from that altitude the velocity coming in is very high, it’s going to be a lot of heat loading. So we lowered it from 100 miles to 100 kilometers.

So we used experts to help shape the idea. So we didn’t lose the concept of private space flight or suborbital flights, but by going from 100 miles to 62.5 miles, 100 kilometers, it made the prize achievable because the last thing you want to do is announce a prize or a bold idea and have no one get there. That does no one any good. So we had to… we used the expert feedback to develop a point of audacious, but achievable. And so shaping that was really important.

The other thing was, if you try to change the world and to solve a market failure, it’s really important to understand, what’s their root cause. Why does that market failure exist?  Why doesn’t the goal you want to achieve in the world exist right now? What’s keeping it from happening? And you have to attack those problems.

So with the Ansari X Prize as we peeled away the situation, the realization was that capital wasn’t flowing into the private space flight market. Why? Because there were no demonstrations; no one believed it was really possible. Another reason was that the regulations didn’t exist to allow for private space flight. And those were root causes, not having the regulations that allowed, not having great examples that demonstrated what young
private teams could do.

So when we built the rules, we made sure that when this prize was won that it would address those root cause problems and in so doing, would help launch this industry.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

if you’re trying to drive a radical change in the world, a lot of experts are going to tell you, it can’t be done or it’s impossible. You therefore need to talk to the right people, and ask the right series of questions.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less