Episode #1488 Safi Bahcall: Why Breakthroughs Start With Loonshots

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In a fascinating conversation about ingenuity & innovation, Biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall joins Moe Abdou to discuss a thinking process that breakthrough entrepreneurs share but hardly reveal. 


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Safi Bahcall

Physicist, Biotech Entrepreneur, and Author View Full Profile

Why Real Breakthroughs Start With Loonshots, not Moonshots

Late last year, I received an advanced copy of Safi Bachcall’s book Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries - and like many, the title not only caught my attention, but it added an entirely new dimension to my thinking - one that will forever be linked to the word 'Loonshots'.  Needless to say - I dove in and when I emerged seventy-two hours later, I had discovered a hidden component to real breakthroughs - both in business and in science, that few ever reveal.

This is a book that is as convincing as it is original, and as you’ll discover in my conversation with Safi - it offers a thinking process that will ignite the outer limits of your ingenuity as much as it will distinguish the manner in which you evaluate ideas.  Here’s a sampling of the questions we discuss:

  • What is a “Loonshot” and how can you recognize it?
  • How the research & interviews for “Loonshots” influenced Safi’s thinking?
  • How does a ‘beginner’s mind’ ignite innovation and creativity?
  • What does a ‘phase transition’ really mean and how does it relate to ‘Loonshots’?
  • How does an early stage company apply the rules of ‘Loonshots’?
  • What does a ‘Loonshot’ team look like?
  • The correlation between the makeup of a team and its ability to execute?
  • The lesson behind Nobel Laureate Sir James Black’s comment ‘it’s not a good drug unless it’s been killed 3 times’?
  • Why distinguished leaders “listen to the suck with curiosity”?
  • What to do when you stumble on a big & unconventional idea?
  • Why do good people - with the best intentions - kill great ideas?
  • The two competing forces that every growing business deals with?
  • Why luck is the residue of design?
  • Why it’s essential to separate the artists from the soldiers?
  • how do you know when to give up?
  • Resources: