DiscoverInventing The Future#21: Building Exponential Organizations & Transforming Broken Systems w/ Salim Ismail, Chairman at OpenExO, Founding Executive Director at Singularity University, Author, & Serial Entrepreneur
#21: Building Exponential Organizations & Transforming Broken Systems w/ Salim Ismail, Chairman at OpenExO, Founding Executive Director at Singularity University, Author, & Serial Entrepreneur

#21: Building Exponential Organizations & Transforming Broken Systems w/ Salim Ismail, Chairman at OpenExO, Founding Executive Director at Singularity University, Author, & Serial Entrepreneur

Update: 2021-12-03
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The companies that end up going bankrupt do so because they fail to disrupt themselves. In other words, they generate such an insane amount of revenue that they develop a corporate immune system that will attack any idea that poses a threat to the company's core business.


It was during his time at Singularity University that Salim did his seminal research on the attributes that the fastest growing companies in the world had in common. Salim compiled this research to write his popular book, Exponential Organizations.


🧑🏼‍🦲 More About Salim


Salim is a sought-after business strategist who presents globally to the leaders of many of the world’s largest companies and Heads of State.


He is the Chairman at OpenExO, the Author of Exponential Organizations, a Board Member at X Prize Foundation, and the Founding Executive Director at Singularity University.


Salim is a serial entrepreneur. Most recently, he founded OpenExO and ExO Works. He previously founded several technology companies, including New York Grant Company, Confabb, PubSub Concepts, Fastrack Institute, and Ångströ, which Google acquired in 2010. In addition, he led Brickhouse, Yahoo!’s internal incubator.


🚀 How To Start a Startup (According to Salim)



  1. Finding your MTP (Massively Transformative Purpose) is the first and most important step.

  2. After you find your MTP, either create or find communities that are trying to solve that problem. In those communities, you will be able to learn more about the problem and find the people you need to form a team.

  3. Put together a founding team with a few key roles such as engineering, business, product, etc.

  4. Come up with your breakthrough Idea (aka your Moonshot) that is at least 10x better than the status quo.

    If your product is not 10x better than the status quo, the market will ignore you. If your product is 10x better, the market can't ignore you.

  5. Follow lean startup thinking, such as iterating on your MVP until you find product-market fit. You must go from 0 to 1 before you can begin to scale (going from 1 to n).

  6. Set up the rest of the ExO attributes


📱 Socials



💣 Value Bomb


💥 1. To transform a system, it is better to create an entirely new system rather than trying to restructure an existing system. After studying examples from history, Salim has found that you can never ever fix the old. The only way to transform a system is to go to the edge of the existing system and build a new capability and let people migrate to it and let that become the new center of gravity. When Salim and his team work with big companies, they do not try to do disruptive innovation in the mothership. Instead, they create an edge organization and let it become the new center of gravity.


Visit inventingthefuture.ai for the full show notes, which includes a full transcription of the conversation, a link to the YouTube Video interview, the top 3 value bombs, people & resources mentioned, and more!


This podcast is hosted by Julian Alvarez, the Co-Founder & CTO at Vize and a Software Engineer at Facebook.

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#21: Building Exponential Organizations & Transforming Broken Systems w/ Salim Ismail, Chairman at OpenExO, Founding Executive Director at Singularity University, Author, & Serial Entrepreneur

#21: Building Exponential Organizations & Transforming Broken Systems w/ Salim Ismail, Chairman at OpenExO, Founding Executive Director at Singularity University, Author, & Serial Entrepreneur

Julian Alvarez