TLDR; To create the future you need to envision it in great detail, and then make it happen through precise execution.
What distinguishes strong founders from the rest is a massive vision; clarity of details on what the future should look like.
Strong founders don’t necessarily know the exact path, but they do know their true North; they know where they are going.
To create the future you need to understand the world as it is today, and think of the world in the future that you want to exist. You need to be both a historian, and a dreamer.
The other key thing is to have a very specific, very detailed vision of the future.
Elon Musk is famous for being able to envision the future perhaps more than anyone else on the planet today. He has a remarkable level of clarity about how unfamiliar things like Hyperloop and Neural lace should work.
Steve Jobs was also famous for his remarkable ability to envision the future. He thought of products like the iPhone and iPod before anyone else knew we would want them.
Musk, Jobs and other visionaries use mental frameworks to come up with their visions.
The foundations of these frameworks are strong mental models of how things should work and how things fit together. In essence, visionaries hold in their heads models of science, history, industries, software, machines, mechanisms, businesses — all neatly fitting together.
Visionaries have very strong opinions on whether things do and don’t make sense.
When the visionaries look to invent the future, they go through a process like this:
- What exists today?
- What’s not great about what exists today and what is great about it?
- What would be a way better version?
- Map out details of how technology works / enables the solution.
- Simplify until it is as simple as possible without compromising quality
- Go build
Once the visionaries get clarity on what to build they go ahead and execute. They are patient and methodical. They never compromise on what matters. They never compromise on user experience.
The visionaries challenge themselves and everyone around them to be better—to be the best they can be.
The visionary founders have incredible strength and conviction, and through that strength and conviction they inspire everyone around them.
The visionaries literally create the future they envision.