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Big Idea - Moonshot Thinking

The Big Idea - Moonshot Thinking Audacity - The Moon


Well, I could write something here, but it’s been said better before by JFK himself in his speech on September 12th, 1962:


We shall send to the moon 240,000 miles away, a giant rocket, more than 300 feet tall on an untried mission to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to Earth. But why some say the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why 35 years ago fly the Atlantic? We choose to go to the moon. We chose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept. One we are unwilling to postpone. And therefore, as we set sail, we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure that man has ever gone.”

Lots of speeches have lots of jewels of oration. You may hear teachers *cough* tell you to upgrade your language and add ever more complex lexis, but sometimes, saying it simply and directly is far more powerful:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” JFK’s speech was the founding touchstone for Moonshot Thinking

Internet balloons - Project Loon



Imagine that the internet upped and scarpered from your life in 10 minutes. Imagine that banishment lasted for 60 days. How would your life be altered without this basic technological convenience? You may well think that you’d be fine and dandy without it, but you’d be severely misguided. We love to imagine that we live in a self-sustained fashion, but the reality is that we depend on the internet to an almost unfathomable degree. In New Zealand, a sheep farmer lived without access to the internet in the precipitous and isolated mountains where his sheep roamed. X (Actually Google X, but X sounds massively cooler), a tech company that aims to create latent and forward thinking solutions to pain points (problems) in the world, wanted to help this humble sheep farmer. They hatched a plan, as part of Project Loon (Looney!!!) to fly balloons 60,000 ft in the air, above planes and weather systems, to basically beam the internet down to whoever was underneath. It worked, though the world news quickly jumped onto the idea that it was a UFO! X created a chain of balloons with solar-powered computers that could link across the sky and hook up anyone who needed the internet to their system. When Peru was hit by devastating floods in 2017, X’s balloons arrived two hours later to restore connectivity to the populations below in desperate need of help.


Smash the status quo - bash into walls


Humans set foot on the Moon on July 20th, 1969. Humans discovered fire in…I have no idea. Humans discovered how to use oil as a refined fuel in the 4th century in China. It’s been done. That’s the status quo. A car powered by gasoline or oil is heavily outdated as I write this (this will sound even more absurd if you’re reading this 5 years in the future). The status quo is to do things more or less as our parents did without changing the basic principles. Moonshot thinking doesn’t adhere to that comfort blanket. Instead, it seeks to begin from an entirely new and radical Moonshot touchstone. It might sound nuts, but that’s the point. Icarus flew too high and melted his wings, but his father told him not to fly too low because the waves would soak them and drown him. Your thinking should soar above what already exists. Ask yourself, what do you want to do or…dun dun dun…BE? If you say you want to be a lawyer or teacher or doctor, you’re flying too low. Your wings might become sodden as waves lap around them. Fly higher. If you said doctor, why not the person who eradicates cancer? That’s Moonshot thinking.


“They are not that smart.”

Better than I could ever say it V2.0:


"The question I ask myself— 'am I good enough?—that haunts us, because the messages that are sent from the time we are little is: Maybe you are not. Don't reach too high. Don't talk too loud……I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart."

Michelle Obama - 2018 Oh, all right v3.0: “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”


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