Issue #44
#44 - The more things change, the more they ̶r̶e̶m̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶ force us to learn
November 18, 2022

What's up, everybody?

There’s a reason Usman and I get on the way we do. Over the years, whether we were talking about startups, the leadership journeys we were on, or the twists and turns of our careers, we kept coming back to the same themes:

The need to grow with intent, vs. growing reactively, or for the sake of growth.

Continuous learning, how to foster curiosity -- and how to hire it onto our teams.

Awareness of self as a form of superpower, and a prerequisite to learning and improving.

And when we chatted about the macro of it all -- about technology, and the world of work? We came to the same conclusion, over and over again:

“It is all changing. So fast.”

Lo and behold, 10 years after we first connected, these are now the themes that animate TalentStories.

Today then, we use our stories to explore:

  • The writing of a well-known futurist, to get at how fast change will come in the future, compared to decades past.
  • A book that asserts that because we struggle to appreciate exponential growth, the many technologies which are now growing exponentially will seem to appear “out of nowhere.”
  • A pithy quote from an entrepreneur that offers us some guidance amidst all this change, and reminds us just how old -- and downright biological -- the process of change and response is.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Aki + Usman



We’ve talked about the accelerating rate of change in past issues: the idea that the speed of change is itself getting faster. But the challenge is two-fold: one, it's an abstract concept. Two, we struggle as humans to appreciate exponential growth, or compounding, and how powerful a force they can be.

Enter Raymond Kurzweil, an American computer scientist, inventor, and “futurist”. The scale and numbers he provides 👆🏻 make things a bit more concrete. But they also make for a mind-boggling prediction: that an accelerating rate of change will lead to the equivalent of 20,000 years of progress this century. Which is more than 1,000 times the amount of progress we made in the last one. 🤯


#ExponentialGrowth #Compounding #Change

Azeem Azhar is an author and investor, and this quote comes from his book, "The Exponential Age". One of the book's main themes: technologies like AI, renewable electricity, synthetic biology, and energy storage will grow exponentially in the years to come. But organizations and institutions will continue to adapt linearly.

The resulting “exponential gap” explains governments’ struggles to respond to the power of social media giants, for instance, whose network effects have created exponential growth. But according to Azhar, this gap between exponential technology growth, on the one hand, and linear institutional adaptation, on the other, will be a defining feature of the years to come. So below in story #3, we explore how to think about coping with this kind of change. ↓


#RateOfChange #RateOfLearning #Adaptation

Harley Finkelstein is the president of software giant Shopify. He cites a law of ecology here, but the lesson in his Tweet -- that we need to learn and adapt in order to keep up with change -- applies as much to individuals and organizations as it does to any other “organism”.

And it prompted us to ask ourselves:

If the pace of change is accelerating -- what would it take to accelerate our "rate of learning”? What would it mean to learn better as individuals, or s organizations -- faster than we had in the past? Concretely, what would it mean to learn faster in 2023, compared to this past year? 🤔

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏻

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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