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

Ignorance, Arrogance and Humility

I was judging a pitch practice 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 innovation.

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

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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