If change is hard”…is “exponential change” harder? or easier?

Gil Friend
2 min readJul 6


As I wrote last month, “Change is hard.” but “hard” is an assessment — an interpretation — not a testable, provable truth. “Hard” drives some people away — and it invites some people to buckle up and head on in — people like Peter Diamandis of the X Prize and Salim Ismail of ExO. I spent three hours last month listening to them lay out their distilled methodology for driving 10X — not 10% — improvement.)

The “exponential organization” strategy may be just the ticket for the challenge I posed — “What if we had to? What if we had to drop GHGs rapidly? What if we had to transform the entire economy on a dime — as the US did effectively in 1942? What if we had to reinvent everything?”

The <tl;dr>:

- a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)

- 5 External Attributes: Staff on Demand, Community & Crowd, AI & Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, Engagement (SCALE)

- 5 Internal Attributes: Interfaces, Dashboards, Experimentation, Autonomy, Social (IDEAS)

All good. In fact, very good. But, in my listening, something was missing from the very compelling presentation — a grounding in biology and ecology, and the richly intertwingled dynamics of living systems.

Yes, there was concern for the living world — expressed in commitments to ending hunger, building health, providing clean water — but through an all too familiar reductionist/mechanistic/extractive lens, not on its own terms. (Just one example: the fascination with high-intensity, closed environment agriculture, with little regard to the role of living soils in both the nutritional quality of the food produced and the moderation of the global climate.)

So I wonder:

What might it look like to infuse living systems perspective — and a sense of belonging to the living world — into the ExO methodology?

I might just try to find out. Please let me know if you try too.



Gil Friend

Gil Friend is CEO of Natural Logic Inc., founder of Critical Path Capital, and an inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame.