Self‐made men and women just look at the world differently. Where most see problems, Future‐Proofers see unmet needs. Where most are afraid of failure, they embrace it and harness it. Those striving to achieve don’t worry about what others think.
Future Proofing You will walk you step‐by‐step through the process of attaining wealth and mastering your own life by shattering the misconceptions that hold most people back. Each new innovation that creates a Future‐Proofer makes our lives more productive, fun, and rewarding.
Truth #1 The Growth Mindset
While visiting a logging camp in Myanmar, an American tourist watched how at the end of each day, the loggers secured their elephants with just a small piece of tattered rope tethered to a teak tree. The tourist couldn’t understand how such a thin flimsy rope could restrain a powerful 8,000 lb. bull elephant. Having watched the pachyderm haul over a dozen one‐ton logs that afternoon, surely, thought the tourist, this massive creature had the brawn to destroy the cord and break free. Quite perplexed, the American asked the trainer, “Why don’t the elephants just break free?” The trainer explained that from birth, the elephants are tied up with the same size rope, and since as babies they weren’t strong enough to break free, they were conditioned to believe that the rope is inescapable. By the time they are full‐grown adults, they stopped trying and accepted their lot in life. What’s tying up your future?
Truth #2 Obstacles Are Opportunities in Disguise
One of the biggest misconceptions about the business of making money is the belief that wealth is achieved from selling products. Buy low. Sell high. Sure, it may appear that Sam Walton built a multi billion‐dollar empire by selling lots of items for a low markup at Wal‐Mart, but that’s not what made Sam the richest man in America. Before Wal‐Mart, there were thousands of retailers selling the very same discounted goods in every major city in America.
What catapulted Sam’s business to do over $500 billion a year was that he had the insight to see an unmet need. What differentiated Wal‐Mart from those that came before is that while all the leading chains built their stores in major cities, Sam focused on the obstacles facing families in smaller towns. He removed the obstacle of having to plan a major shopping trip to the big city to load up on supplies. Walton made buying convenient for the millions of people who lived in rural towns.
Truth #3 Fear Is Good
What happens if you don’t try to launch your business and play it “safe”? You most certainly won’t get rich at your current job. Without earning more money, how will you fund your children’s college education, pay off your mortgage and credit cards, or save enough to retire comfortably? The longer you put off trying for a better future, the less time and chances you will have to succeed before you die. These fears of inaction are also equally real. By recognizing the consequences of inaction, you can heighten your awareness of one set of fears while diminishing the power of your initial set of fears. Choose and prioritize your fears wisely. Either you control your fear or your fear controls you.
And here’s the real paradox – if your job isn’t fulfilling, why are you so afraid of losing it?
Truth #4 Failure Is Great
Don’t give up because you failed. You may be just one little step away from success. When you fail, even if you lose all your money, you are not “starting from scratch.” While failing, you have gained invaluable skills and knowledge that will make you more prepared the next time.
Before founding Alibaba and amassing a personal fortune of over $46 billion, Jack Ma failed his college entrance exams for three years and was even turned down for a job at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
Larry Ellison, now the tenth‐richest person on the planet, had to mortgage his home to keep Oracle afloat when no one believed in his vision.
Even Arianna Huffington, who sold the Huffington Post for more than $300 million, couldn’t make it as a writer. In her twenties, Arianna was rejected by 36 publishers and nearly gave up on her profession. Only going into debt with a bank loan enabled her to hold on.
Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Lady Gaga, George Foreman, and Henry Ford all went broke before achieving greatness.
We could literally fill an entire encyclopedia with stories of famous people who bounced back from bankruptcy, debt, and failure.
Truth #5 Your Unique Superpower Makes You Successful
You have something inside you that makes you so different that it is your competitive secret weapon. Tap your superpower and you’ll be as unbeatable as Michael Phelps. The challenge is identifying your unique genius early enough in life to harness it.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” A fabricated quote popularly attributed to Albert Einstein.
Superpowers aren’t about walking through walls or having telepathy; superpowers are natural talents that we all have from birth. LinkedIn co‐founder Reid Hoffman has super vision. Reid can, from a business perspective, see farther into the future than anyone. As a founder and an investor, Reid’s super vision propelled him to be a powerful force behind PayPal, Facebook, Airbnb, and LinkedIn.
Truth #6 Passion Makes You Unstoppable
“I never took a day off in my twenties,” Microsoft founder and world’s richest man for nearly 20 years, Bill Gates, proudly proclaims. “Not one.” One of the most persistent founders in the world, Bill Gates wasn’t motivated by the money (or he would have stopped working by 30). Gates had a higher purpose. He had a vision for there to one day be a computer in every home and the good that it could accomplish. The universality of computers, and the positive impact they would have, became his personal passion.
The belief that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. The more meaning we can put into our work, the more fulfillment we will feel. Having a purpose puts you in control of your destiny. You are not creating wealth to be rich, but rather, to enrich the world by fulfilling your purpose.
“Three bricklayers are asked: ‘What are you doing?’ The first says, ‘I am laying bricks.’ The second says, ‘I am building a church.’ And the third says, ‘I am building the house of God.’ The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third has a calling.”
Truth #7 You Can’t Go It Alone
Drake had rapper Lil Wayne. Kareem Abdul Jabbar had UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Vincent Van Gogh had post impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. Mark Zuckerberg had Apple co‐founder Steve Jobs. Actress Lena Dunham had filmmaker Nora Ephron. Frank Sinatra had crooner Bing Crosby. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff had Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Even Mother Teresa credits the mentorship of Father Michael van der Peet.
The mythology of being self‐made is so strong in our culture that too many people perceive themselves as weak or incapable if they ask for help. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Success is a team sport. No one ever built a billion‐dollar company without employees, investors, business partners, and customers. Consider, for a moment, how many people it takes to make a smartphone. We all rely on our phones every day to run our lives, and yet, there is not a single person on the planet who can make an iPhone from scratch: from mining to swiping. Knowing how to mine yttrium, terbium, lithium, and gadolinium from the earth is a vastly different field of knowledge than knowing how to manufacture a silicon chip or program in Swift or Objective‐C. It takes thousands of discrete knowledge sets to make the phone and thousands more to create the network infrastructure that makes it useful. No one person possesses all of the knowledge and skillsets to do what it takes to succeed.
Truth #8 Everything Is a Tech Startup
Every business is a tech startup. If you are serious about maximizing wealth, harnessing technology is the only way you can scale. Think about your own life for a moment. What is the first thing you do in the morning, even before your feet touch the ground? You check your phone. And for most of us, it’s the last thing that tucks us into bed each night.
Now think about how you spend your money. We all earn different incomes, but on a percentage basis, how much of your monthly income do you spend on digital goods?
During the pandemic, we also learned that many more things could be virtualized and made digital. Distanced learning online replaced sitting in a classroom. Business conferences didn’t have to require airplane flights or hotel ballrooms when conducted virtually on Zoom or Google Hangouts. With online delivery services and collaboration software tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, the company you worked for didn’t even need to have a physical headquarters as people continued to do their jobs remotely.
If you are spending most of your time and money in the digital world today, why not build your career and business there. Unilever, the giant conglomerate that produces everything from Dove soap and Lipton Tea, to Axe body spray and Best Foods mayonnaise, recognizes that even tangible consumer goods must focus on the digital world. “We should no longer be talking about digital marketing,” Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed announced, “but marketing in a digital world.”
Truth #9 You Must Fill a Void
“The characteristic of great innovators and great companies is they see a space that others do not,” says former Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. “They don’t just listen to what people tell them; they actually invent something new, something that you didn’t know you needed, but the moment you see it, you say, ‘I must have it.’”
Too many entrepreneurs struggle and fail because they try to create an entirely new industry. Developing disruptive world‐changing products such as the iPhone can take years to achieve and is really, really hard to do. Making money by filling a void that disruptive world‐changing products create is, by contrast, much easier. If you want to become Future Proof, the truth that must become your guiding mantra is: fill the void..
Think of all the new product categories that didn’t exist just a few years ago: 3D printers, smart speakers, video doorbells, Internet of Things (IoT) appliances, Wi‐Fi mesh networks, drones, virtual reality, and augmented reality glasses. Each of these new product introductions creates two voids for the savvy entrepreneur.
The first void that needs filling is mortar products. If the big multinational corporations are making the bricks, you can make millions supplying the mortar that holds their market together. The second void created by new products is demonstration use cases. Large company marketers need to be able to immediately explain their products by showing them in use.
Truth #10 Spatial Reality Is a Trillion‐Dollar Opportunity
Just as the internet’s increasing presence disrupted virtually every business at the beginning of this century, spatial computing will cause seismic realignments in both the public and the private sector. Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Amazon’s business models will all be disrupted. If information is provided when needed, what happens to search? If every location and moment has selling potential, what happens to ecommerce and advertising? What new forms of entertainment, esports, and interactions will smart glasses enable for social networks? How will personal data and privacy be protected – or exploited – by governments and corporations? How many businesses will be rendered obsolete, and how many new ones will be created? Within the answers to these questions lies your fortune.
Luckily, we have M.O.V.E. Method to take advantage of the billions of dollars flowing into spatial reality. Follow these four steps to guide you to success:
- Mindset is everything. Keeping a positive growth mindset, start dreaming about how your life can be even better living in an augmented world.
- Obstacles are opportunities. How will spatial reality solve your problems?
- Voids will be created. Just as the internet and smartphones created new solutions, they also created massive voids.
- Execution is the difference between a good idea and creating generations of wealth. Find the right mentors, partners, and employees to bring your vision to life.
Truth #11 Working Hard Doesn’t Make You Rich; Working Smart Does
What George Lucas, Brandon Steiner, and the Russell sisters’ fortunes have in common is the creativity of their deal structure. Steven Spielberg became a billionaire from getting a percentage of Universal theme park ticket sales, not from directing movies. McDonald’s founder made his money from real estate, not selling hamburgers. Marc Benioff became a billionaire because he saw Salesforce’s software as a service and not a product. As you build your business, you will quickly discover that how you structure a business opportunity is even more important than what you are paid. Mastering the creative ways to structure capital transactions has the potential to catapult you into becoming a millionaire or billionaire and Future Proofing You.
It makes no difference if you are being hired to create online marketing, write a piece of software, or invent a new product. The truth is that working hard doesn’t make you rich; working smart does. A well‐structured deal can even make you the richest man in the world!
Truth #12 Remote Workers Are Your New Competitive Advantage
Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft gave all employees the option to work from home. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey went so far as to tell his employees that they could work remotely forever and never be required to work from the office again.
With the remote‐work genie out of the bottle, most employees are looking for a way to maintain the flexibility of working when and where they choose. This is the competitive advantage of any startup; you can let people work from their homes. You now have access to a global talent pool eager to maintain their freedom. Employees can travel the world while still maintaining a full‐time job and not have to wait until they retire to enjoy life. Understanding the evolving needs of today’s wage earner gives you the best chance at competing for the top talent. “Remote work isn’t a privilege or a special accommodation,” cautions Atlassian’s Head of Talent Programs Nickie Bellington. “It’s a way of working, and that’s a strong statement for some people. It shouldn’t be a question of rewarding top performers with the ability to work remotely.”