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Exponential Theory:  The Power of Thinking Big
by Aaron Bare with N. Forbes Shannon

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"A Blueprint for Future Entrepreneurs"- Daymond John, Shark Tank Investor

Sample Chapter- "Becoming A Tech Company"
Domino's, Starbucks, Airbnb, & Uber:  How to become an industry giant

“Every company is now a technology company.”
-Gary Shapiro  

The Pizza and Coffee Wars

As disruption through digitization continues to spread, it provides companies with opportunities to capitalize on the digital habits of their customers. 

The brands that can make the customer experience a digital one wields a major advantage over their competitors, regardless of industry. 

Domino's Pizza and Starbucks Coffee are two brands that effectively capitalized on changing customer habits, and as a result, are now titans in their respective food and beverage industries.

Sample Chapter "Becoming a Tech Company" Highlights

Why Starbucks Made Star-Bucks A Currency Of It's Own

Starbucks’ previous value proposition, otherwise known as a “selling point” for customers, used to be about the atmosphere, customer service, and experience ordering from a barista off a menu laced with words made up by corporate marketing, straight from the coffee houses in Italy. 

With its platform, Starbucks cut out waiting in line, customer service, and atmosphere altogether and improved customer experiences throughout the ordering process.
Most importantly, though, Starbucks was able to make cash disappear through its app.

What if We Said Domino's Wasn't Actually a Pizza Company?

In 2008, Domino’s Pizza stock value hit rock bottom. By 2020, its stock value was 112x higher.

It is the only company growing at a faster rate than Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, or Google in that same period and it is one of the few businesses able to thrive throughout the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The exponential growth of its brand was possible thanks to one crucial pivot: Domino’s stopped being a pizza company and became a tech company that sells pizza.

How is Airbnb Wiping Out Hoteliers, Without Owning Any Property?

Airbnb disrupted the trillion-dollar travel industry with its new marketplace that connected landlords with couch surfers. 

Airbnb started with just two guys—co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia—and in a matter of a few years, the company has been able to disrupt business for major long-standing brands like Hilton and Marriott. 

The concept of Airbnb is not a new one: people have been crashing on couches and spare bedrooms for as long as they’ve been traveling. 

What is new and successful for Airbnb is the digital marketplace that proved that spare couches and bedrooms were marketable.

Uber and the Transportation Democratization

Uber became the highest-valued startup in the world by building a platform marketplace between car owners and passengers. 

Much like Airbnb, Uber tapped into the sharing economy and disrupted transportation as we know it

Uber also helped popularize a new economy—the gig economy—while wielding even more disruptive power. 

Praise for 
Exponential Theory: The Power of Thinking Big

"A Blueprint for Future Entrepreneurs"- Daymond John, Shark Tank Investor

"Exponential Theory provides a blueprint for future entrepreneurs through stories from today's biggest innovators." - Daymond John, Shark Tank investor

"Innovating Through Extreme Uncertainty"- Ash Maurya, Lean Canvas Creator

"This book presents a powerful mental model for leading and innovating through extreme uncertainty." - Ash Maurya, Author of Running Lean and Scaling Lean; creator of Lean Canvas

"Reinventing the Way We Think"- Richie Norton, Bestselling Author

"In Exponential Theory, Aaron brilliantly shares how great entrepreneurs are reinventing the way we think about business for good and how you can do it too." - Richie Norton, Bestselling author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid 

"Perfectly Timed. Perfectly Put."- Todd Woods, Bestselling Author 

"Perfectly Timed. Perfectly Put. Exponential Theory is a must read for any business owner or Entrepreneur competing in 2020 and beyond. Very well researched with excellent, implementable ideas. Explained through examples of companies that have thrived due to disrupting and digitizing, to massive brands collapsing due to not changing with the times. Simply put, Bare and Shannon capture it best with "The customer wins, or the company dies." - Todd Woods Co-Author Guerrilla Marketing for Franchisees, & Service...Some People Just Don't Get It

"A User's Manual for Disruption"- Trip Hawkins, Founder EA Sports

"Exponential Theory is a user's manual for disruption, well-organized and offering numerous insights, all backed up by great stories." - Trip Hawkins, Founder of EA Sports, Creator of John Madden Football

What is the Exponential Theory Online Course?

Four Week Live Online Course
Built for Full Time Professionals
First Course of the XMBA:  eXponential Mindset, Beliefs, Attitudes

Module One:  Exponential Theory; The Power of Thinking Big

  • Accelerated Change: Define and Recognize Accelerated Growth
  • Disruption: Conceptualize 6D's of Disruption on an Exponential Curve
  • Future Leaders: Begin Developing Your Future Leader Skills

Module Two:  Leadership Theory; The Power of Creating a Shared Vision

  • MTP: Developing a Massive Transformative Purpose
  • Cultured: How to Build a Culture of Success 
  • Team Development: Assessing Team Needs and Filling Roles

Module Three:  Creativity & Innovation; Solving for a Greater Good

  • Creative Brain: Understand Why/How Our Brains Achieve Creativity
  • History of Innovation: What We Can Learn From Past Innovators
  • Conscious Capitalism: Grasp the Theory of Conscious Business

Module Four:  Business Model Strategy; Iterating on Feedback and Mastering the Pivot

  • The Lean Canvas: Master the Lean Canvas and Lean Model Processes
  • MVP: Developing the Minimum Viable Product
  • Iteration: Collecting, Interpreting, and Implementing Feedback

Module Five:  Project Execution; Manage Projects, Not People

  • Strategize: How to Build an Effective Project Strategy
  • SMART: Set Goals for the Company and the Team
  • Budget: Efficient Budgets Save Valuable Resources

Module Six:  Growth Hacking; Creating Customer Value While Growing a Profit Center

  • Hacking 101: Start Developing Your Growth Hacking Skills
  • MVP 2.0: How to Create Value and Achieve Project Progress
  • Capturing Value: The Final Step in Entrepreneurship

Module Seven:  Venture Development; Leveraging Technology to Scale

  • ExTech: Familiarization of all the Exponential Technologies Available
  • Digitization: How to Digitize Any Business Model
  • Stacking Revenue: The Key to Cash Flows and Asset Building

Module Eight:  Managing the Complex; Mental Models to Solve Any Problem

  • VUCA: Master Your Vision, Understanding, Clarity, & Agility
  • Foresight: Assess the Realm of Possibilities and Likelihoods
  • Rhodium Rule: How to Consider the Entire Ecosystem

Module Nine:  Creating Value and Negotiating with Big Thinking

  • MTP 2.0: How to Impact a Billion People
  • Negotiating 101: How to Leverage Yourself
  • Multi-Sided: How to Develop Multiple Customer Segments

Module Ten:  Capstone Project; Launch an Exponential Company

  • Strategy: How to Plan Your Short and Long Term Futures
  • Accelerate: Learn to Pitch Your Own Business
  • Next Steps: We Give You the Tools, Now What?

Online Course 
FREE with Book Pre-Order!  
$199 Value

About the Authors

Aaron Bare
Entrepreneur, Strategist, Author

  • Author of Exponential Theory:  The Power of Thinking Big
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation Educator that taught at Arizona State University, Thunderbird, Singularity University, and the Arizona Commerce Authority
  • CEO of several venture backed companies and managing director of an award winning digital strategy firm
  • Speaker & Facilitator that has worked with over 500 organizations in 90+ countries and all 50 states

Forbes Shannon
Entrepreneur, Writer, Comedian

  • Marketing Consultant for several companies including an X-Prize winner
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation Fellow at Arizona State University, and certified facilitator of ASU's Startup School
  • Comedian & Speaker that has performed at venues and conferences around the country
  • ​Published author, musician, and documentarian 

Which Do You Want First, the Good News or the Bad News?

The good news is, the future is bright. The bad news is the present is not. 

With the rise of digital technology, business moves at unprecedented speeds, now an exponential pace. This pace is wreaking havoc on the business landscape as we know it. Disruption has brought "too big to fail" companies to their knees in a matter of months. It has made some industries obsolete.

Any company or leader that doesn't move at an exponential pace will be crushed by the new, massively transformative exponential organizations. These organizations are quickly expanding their purpose and invading new industries every day. Guides like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and more continue to provide us a roadmap for navigating the exponential horizon.

Exponential Theory provides ten keys of exponential leadership, and authors Aaron Bare and Forbes Shannon explain why the world must employ them in order to solve the most alarming problems. It is time for a new generation of leadership-one that is purposeful, conscious, digital, and above all, exponential.

Join us for a journey to reimagine our future. 

Book Outline

Chapter One:  What is Exponential Theory?

“Imagination is the most powerful force in the universe.”
-Albert Einstein


Exponential Theory: The Power of Thinking Big will examine a variety of companies that are seeking to solve big problems and have become more conscious than other companies focused on just profit. 

In return, these companies have grown beyond comprehension. 

Their leaders have their eyes on impacting a billion people and understand the importance of their role in the planet, in assisting in human rights, and in living up to a massive purpose that solves an equally big problem.  When people work on projects that focus on impacting a billion people, they are forced to think about the system rather than just satisfying one group of customers. 

At this level, entrepreneurs and innovators are starting to focus on universal problems and change the way the system works. 

Therefore, these future Goliaths are starting to do the right thing, even when no one is looking.

Chapter Two:  Embracing the VUCA World

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
-Charles Darwin

The United States Army and its leaders were troubled: in 1987, the Cold War imploded in Afghanistan into a theater of disillusionment.

The volatility in Afghanistan required military leaders to create a shared vision that extended beyond the immediate chaos into the future of what the country could be. 

During times of uncertainty, leaders sought new levels of understanding of the Afghan people and their needs in order to properly assess the situation and move forward. This meant better listening, empathy, and accepting critical feedback from those most affected by the civil war. 

The complexity of the war expanded leaders' horizons by forcing them to rethink aspects they might previously have ignored, like the difficult combat terrain or the large number of civilians in between them and the enemy. Leaders needed to create clarity in the complexity. 

Lastly, ambiguity forced military leaders to be agile and flexible, so that they could adapt to the unpredictable nature of the changing war. The four facets of VUCA guide military and exponential leaders alike by focusing on traits necessary for success in today’s world.

Chapter Three:  Thinking Exponentially

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” 
-Albert Allen Bartlett

To better understand exponential growth, here’s a short story. 

A little girl is negotiating her allowance with her parents. “Just pay me a penny and double my pay every week.” 

Sounds easy enough. At first glance, this sounds like a great deal.
By week four, she’s only making eight cents a week. Her parents still feel like it’s a good deal. 

After two months, she’s making $2.56 a week. 

In six months, she’s making $335,544.32 a week, and after one year, her earnings are equal to the GDP of the United States of America.
Exponential growth is a game changer. This is why traditional companies are not able to compete with exponential companies.   

What People on Amazon Are Saying...

"Opening My Eyes"

"This was an interesting take on innovation and productivity in an evolving society. I found that the stories presented opening my eyes to how rapid change is affecting my life right now."

"A Fantastic Read"

"Certainly not restricted to the business-minded, this book serves as a great reminder of the need for agility and understanding in overcoming the challenges presented by today's chaotic world. A fantastic read for innovators of all fields and backgrounds."

"Others who do not, simply die..."

"I was impressed by the interlocking stories, how particular companies and individuals are able to innovate and flourish while others who do not, simply die on the vine."

"Easy to Read"

"I am so glad I bought this book - it’s very well laid out and easy-to-read while outlining some very novel ideas."

"A Cache of Case Studies"

"There is a quote in this book that captures the spirit of this book, “Technology is exponential, yet humans are linear.” This book is a cache of case studies on how to be an “exponential leader” in a time when technology is driving so much of what we see in the world."

"The Formula to Success"

"I love reading about why some businesses succeed and why some fail. As a millennial, I've experienced a huge chunk of the birth and death of exponential technologies without even realizing I was living in an extremely important time. This book lays out the bare bones of the blueprint to success of this generation: the formula to success for exponential companies, and why every company has to think like them or else risk falling behind."

"Read and Re-Read"

"This is a book that every business leader, or would-be business leader, should read and re-read."

"Fascinating"

"This is a well-written and well-laid-out treatise on the current state of technology with regard to business. It is thought-provoking and at times, fascinating."

"I Loved This Book"

"I loved this book, not only was it full of great stories and examples, it had a very optimistic outlook."

"I Couldn't Put This Book Down..."

"As an avid history reader and a naturally curious person, I couldn’t put this book down (I read it in one sitting). The book is full of insights into the companies and technologies that have transformed our world."

"Encourage the Spirit of Innovation"

"As an innovator myself, I found this book a very good read at a high level to encourage the spirit of innovation. With all the examples provided the authors do a great job to explain the fundamentals of exponential leadership."

"Inspiration for Growing My Own Business"

"Overall, I enjoyed reading this book...and it gave me lots of inspiration for growing my own business."

"I Was Captivated"

"A fascinating concept and this book provides great insight into how innovation progresses. I was captivated from beginning to end."

"Practical and Instructive"

"I loved this book, not only was it full of great stories and examples, it had a very optimistic outlook. It explains this new world we live in and how sharing resources has become the launching point for how we do business today. It is very motivational but it is also practical and instructive...they have set it up so beautifully that you see the possibilities."

Book Outline Continued

Chapter Four:  Digitizing the Model

“Technology is exponential, yet humans are linear.”
-Gerd Leonhard

Kodak is an epic example of what happens on the ugly side of disruption. 

Kodak was a camera and film photography giant. In the 1990s, they had $19 billion in sales and over 145,000 employees worldwide. 

Then the film industry became digitized with the advent of the digital camera. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
Here’s the unfortunate part of that story: Kodak invented the digital camera.

Chapter Five:  Becoming a Tech Company

“Every company is now a technology company.”
-Gary Shapiro  

The Pizza and Coffee Wars

As disruption through digitization continues to spread, it provides companies with opportunities to capitalize on the digital habits of their customers. 

The brands that can make the customer experience a digital one wields a major advantage over their competitors, regardless of industry. 

Domino's Pizza and Starbucks Coffee are two brands that effectively capitalized on changing customer habits, and as a result, are now titans in their respective food and beverage industries.

Chapter Six:  Finding the Massive Transformative Purpose

“10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000”
-Definition of a Google, 10^100

The New Toothbrush

The internet is much simpler than we think.
Most people use the internet to do one of the following: search, browse, check email, and/or use social media (including posting photos or watching videos).

Apps used for accessing and sharing information across the internet have been dubbed “killer apps,” because of the massive disruption each one has caused.
For any app, being an industry leader is tremendously powerful. 

Google leads in four of five major areas.

Chapter Seven:  Launching Disruption

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently . . . While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
-Rob Siltanen

Timing is Everything

No other event in the brief history of the exponential world was as perfectly timed as Apple’s iPhone release in 2007. 

This moment was so important that we argue that technology will be defined as pre-iPhone and post-iPhone. 

The iPhone was a major catalyst for mass digitization and mobilization of technology. 

This was not just another product launch; rather, Apple launched disruption that would forever change the world.

Chapter Eight:  Leveraging the Viral Loop

“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired, or not networking, then you are using it wrong.”
-Germany Kent

The Social Network Wars

The stories of Facebook’s beginning are etched into pop culture lore. 

A drunk undergrad, Mark Zuckerberg, created a crude hot-or-not game comparing Harvard coeds (dubbed FaceMash) that crashed the Harvard internet network with its popularity in a few hours. 

He then (allegedly) stole the idea for Facebook from fellow classmates and rowing Olympians, the Winklevoss twins, who sued Zuckerberg and won. 

That only added to his legend, complete with his infamous drunk coding binges and all-night parties after he dropped out of Harvard and moved to Palo Alto. 

He wore flip flops and hoodies to U.S. depositions. 

There is a lot of myth in the creation of Facebook, but one thing is certain: Facebook has won the social network wars, for now.

Chapter Nine:  Playing the Long Game

“If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you're going to double your inventiveness.”
-Jeff Bezos

Not Just Another Book Company

Exponential companies like Amazon begin in a shroud of deception. 

When Amazon launched, did any of us think that an online book retailer would take turns with Google, Apple, and Microsoft as the wealthiest company in the world? 

Highly doubtful.

Chapter Ten:  Executing the MVP

"When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."  
-Elon Musk

The Exponential Leader

There’s a legendary story that after Elon Musk sold PayPal, he netted $180 million. He was rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams. 

Immediately, Musk invested all the money he made into three of his companies—$100 million into SpaceX, $70 million into Tesla, and $10 million into SolarCity. 

Only after his major investment did Musk realize he was short on rent. 

How can someone be that crazy to take everything as he was set for life, and risk it all? 

Elon Musk thinks differently. He is deeply rooted in exponential theory and the clearest example of big thinking in our lifetime.

Chapter Eleven:  Accelerating Innovation

“Because the world is changing, we can never assume that the way we have done things in the past is adequate for the future.” 
-Yvon Chouinard 

Jumping to Hyperdrive

Somewhere in the Yucca Mountains of Nevada, near Groom Lake sits a top-secret US Air Force base. 

Built in the 1950s, the base, shrouded in secrecy, has been the linchpin of dozens of conspiracy theories. It is a military test center in the desert that the CIA didn’t even publicly acknowledge existed until 2013. 

Though we (still) don’t know anything specific about what they do at Area 51, the idea of setting up a top-secret lab outside of headquarters and day-to-day operations is a model we have seen repeated in many industries. 

Apple, a company that continues to thrive on secrecy and launch unexpected ideas, has its own Area 51 called the Pirate Ship.

Chapter Twelve:  The Great Reset

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
-Marianne Williamson

A New Beginning

As the Earth took a deep breath in 2020, we got a glimpse into the much-needed reset. 

The environment glaringly showed the benefit of a reset during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Small changes in human habits, such as orders to work from home, drastically improved many parts of biodiversity. 

In March 2020, after only four days of quarantine, Los Angeles recorded the best air quality in 40 years.

Embrace Your Future!

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