This month at Santex, we had the pleasure of hosting Peter Wicher, Director of Strategic Relations at Singularity University. Over his extensive career, Peter has held executive positions in Silicon Valley in the industries of consumer electronics, semiconductors, education, and integrated systems.
We asked our Director of Operations, Eduardo Coll, to tell us a bit about the experience.
SANTEX: Tell us a bit about what Singularity University is and what it stands for.
Eduardo Coll: We had the pleasure of having Peter Wicher from Singularity University (SU) visit our Tech Pub. SU is a university created and founded by Peter Diamandis and has sponsorship from Google, NASA, and Autodesk, among other large companies.
Its vision is to create technology solutions that can make a positive impact on a billion people. There are 7 billion people in the world, and SU is trying to impact 1 billion. The university has unique programs for both individuals and organizations. They also have an incubator where they work on projects across verticals, which are selected because they aim to resolve some of the great problems facing humanity today – like renewable energy and access to drinking water. One of the concepts that they promote in SU, which Peter Wicher explained to us during his visit, is the concept of “exponentiality” – exponential technology and exponential growth.
SANTEX: Elaborate more on this concept. Where does this exponential growth in technology go?
EC: For humans by nature, it’s easier to understand linear growth. We grow older lineally; we don’t pass from 2 to 50 years old without turning 3, 4, etc. We physically grow in the same way, as we gain weight in successive numbers, and therefore we tend to forget that there can also be exponential growth in certain things. SU strives to leave its students with the ideology that exponential growth can be applied to our daily lives and that we don’t have to act within a linear mindset. This enables people to more rapidly achieve their visions, and helps the university reach its goal of impacting 1 billion people.
The motto at SU is “don’t make something better by 10%, make it 10x better!” When you think about changing or creating something, you don’t have to make something new that’s 10% better than what already exists. You should strive to make it 10 times better! When you do this, your business or your technology or idea will grow exponentially. Some familiar examples that they point out are: Uber generated a revolution in the transportation industry using technology that was already over 10 years old – cell phones, GPS, web services. They simply made it into an app and the number of trips, drivers, and passengers increased exponentially. They created an exponentially better transportation system.
SU also mentions Airbnb, who also revolutionized the hospitality system with the idea of renting homes and individual rooms for a lesser cost than staying in a hotel or vacation house. These technologies and systems are disruptive, and obviously have their flaws. They have problems that occasionally need to be fixed that need to be observed in their entirety, but we’ll save that for another article.
SANTEX: How do some of concepts learned during SU’s visit pertain to Santex currently?
EC: Peter brought us some lessons that really dazzled us, lessons that we should apply to our lives daily both as an organization and individually. With existing technology and new technologies to come, the objectives that SU presented to us will be made simple.
At Santex, we are beginning to understand and work with the concept of exponential growth and the use of technology to solve some of humanity’s biggest problems. As a company, we want to support our clients with the knowledge needed to help them grow, which in turn will help us grow as well. We’ve set the goals of improving 10x more for every new project that we take on, and striving to solve problems that help not only our clients, but us as an organization and the community we’re involved in.
About Singularity University (SU)
SU is an academic institution in Silicon Valley whose focus is to bring together, educate, and inspire leaders about the exponential power of technology to solve some of the greatest challenges facing mankind.