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The Unicorn-Powered, Faster-Than-Light, Perpetual-Motion Time-Machine

Ignorance, Arrogance and Humility

I was judging a event where an enthusiastic but obviously naive, out-of-touch team presented their Unicorn-Powered, Faster-Than-Light, Perpetual-Motion Time-Machine.


Of course, it wasn't exactly this, but it's close enough to be so clearly impossible as not to be worth even a question in real life.

 I took a moment to google for a remedial paper to give them, and in doing so, I found out that was wrong.

Their idea is brilliant and might actually work and if so, could generate billions in profit.

At the time, I thought about how ineffective presentations can mask incredible .

It is impossible to distinguish between a brilliant idea presented badly and a terrible idea being presented accurately.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized that through my aggressive ignorance and arrogance, I could miss out on the truly fantastic opportunities. I might even confidently but wrongly kill them.

Perhaps I need to start practicing humility more often and focusing less on other people's presentation skills.


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  1. Brilliant, Russell! I facilitate workshops on predictable & repeated methods of achieving “impossible” results. The first thing I must do is to convince intelligent, capable, successful people that they cannot trust their brain’s initial assessment of feasibility. I do this through demonstrating to them how our brains trick them, specifically showing them that our consciousness cannot be relied upon to see, hear, add or count, so we should be skeptical of our judgements about what’s possible. Given that even brilliant people know less than 1% of everything, the other 99% is of great intere

Written by Russell Brand

Entrepreneur in residence at Founder Institute, he has mentored, performed due diligence on and invested in numerous early stage companies. Hundreds of these early stage companies have described Russell’s insights and advice as the most useful thing in the history of their companies. He has always had an inborn ability to find more valuable uses of new ideas and faster ways to achieve results.


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