In this video, David G. Thomson, founder and Chairman of Blueprint Growth Institute, Inc., demonstrates the physics of exponential growth. Thomson uses an analogy of space shuttle launch and charts the velocity and the change in velocity.
My take, on the other hand, is that the curves that Thomson shows on this video look more typical of a Sigmoid growth curve, or the S-shaped curve.
It’s your call to decide which is more like it. Any comments?
Look around you for a clue to the secret of growth, and you’ll find one S-shaped curve after another. Be it growth of population of people (as is proposed by Thomas R. Malthus) or bacteria, nature is full of Sigmoid curves. Web 2.0 sites or communities also grow in an S-shaped curve.
If this is the case, is it possible for an organization to achieve exponential growth, instead of Sigmoid growth? In other words, is an L-shaped growth possible at all, in the face of all these S-shaped curves?
David G. Thomson, management guru and founder and Chairman of Blueprint Growth Institute, Inc., says, “Yes.” Based on the analysis of companies that have done the IPO’s since 1980, Thomson found that the blueprint to a billion dollars or more in revenue is none other than an exponential growth.
One of the reasons why an exponential growth slows down is the scarcity of resources or carrying capacity of a society, a marketplace, or an organization. If businesses can overcome this limitation, they can achieve exponential growth. Or, they can accomplish a series of S-shaped growths, as is the case with the evolution of a complex system, like animals, humans, and civilizations.
So, what do you think? Do you agree that you can achieve exponential growth?
It dawned on me lately that an S-shaped Sigmoid growth curve may be a series of small S-shaped curves, instead of a single curve. If it is true, it may shed some light on how a complex system, like animals, humans, and civilizations, have evolved.
In complexity theory, there’s a famous saying that goes, “complexity begets complexity.” And it is generally accepted that complexity increases with evolution. Look at the famed fractal curves! They all comprises a series of a smaller version of the whole. It’s like you can find a tree in any of its leaves.
If we take a step back and ask, “What if a series of growth in spurts, or in step-function, is the secret to real growth and evolution?” If that is really the case, we need to take a long view, as well as a short view. That way, and only that way, you can achieve a series of growth, in place of a single hit.
Another implication is that you need to get ready for the next growth spurts when you’re at an inflection point (the point at which your growth rate reaches the top). Intel’s Andy Grove also pointed out that, as a business, you need to prepare for your next growth opportunity when you’re at a Strategic Inflection Point.
All in all, life goes on. There’s always another opportunity to grow and evolve, even after you’ve achieved a great deal already. That, I believe, is a blessing in disguise. What it tells you is pretty simple: Don’t sit on your laurels. You can always be better off, no matter how good your conditions are right now.
Think about it.