Jerry Lujan | Elevation180 |linear vs exponential

Linear vs. Exponential: Why the way we are thinking is hindering our future

You may never believe me, but I once met Evel Knievel.  We met one day while in a bar enjoying a cold beer.  As we talked, I remembered that he enjoyed playing golf.

Thinking how fun it would be to play a round with him, and also thinking I could probably beat him, I brought it up.

Knievel said he did enjoy the game and I was feeling pretty good until he said he would play if we bet on the round. I was hesitant at first, but then he said we would start at 10¢.  I was thinking if he were any good he'd be betting more, I wasn't going to play for money I was going to play for the chance to beat Evil Knievel.

He pulled me back in by saying he played 10¢ the first hole, then it doubled each successive hole. Now I was still feeling good until I started to do the math. First hole 10¢, second 20¢, third 40¢, still looking good, but doing the math and we are suddenly talking $13,107 for the 18th hole!

That was my first real visualization of exponential growth. Let me give you another example.

Imagine me asking you to stand up and take thirty steps in a straight line. Look around and envision how far you would be in relation to where you started.  Now, imagine taking thirty exponential steps. Where would you end up?

Would you believe over 26 times around the planet?

That distance is hard for our brain to compute because we are taught to think using linear methods.  But exponential growth is precisely where we are because of technology.

Moore’s Law (1965) boiled down for someone like me, “low-tech Lujan,” says that technology will double its speed at half the cost every 18-24 months.

Jerry Wtih TechnologyMaybe this will explain it more, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I am holding in my hand, a smartphone similar to the one you have. It has replaced all of the items sitting on that table.

Cameras, video cameras, GPS, books, email, video games, Skype, calendar, alarm clock, encyclopedia, music players, flashlights, language translator, notepad, internet access where you can buy nearly anything, social media, and that is truly just the beginning of what they can handle.

All of this in just a few years. Think of the implications this has for business.

I have written recently about the opportunities and challenges that technology brings. Technology is disrupting virtually every business now. It is predicted that 40% of Fortune 500 Companies will no longer exist in 10 years.

Technology is getting better, faster, and those remain behind their industry are playing with fire.

Think of the disruption technology has had on the Music Industry with the advent of online streaming and digital downloads; Consider what has happened to bookstores; Think about the impact of ride-sharing services on taxi services.

That is just the beginning of where the world is going.

With the proliferation of artificial Intelligence, technology is changing exponentially again. AI learns the more information you feed it, the smarter it gets, it is not static.

How do you see exponential technological growth affecting your industry now? We should talk about it.


The Elevation180 program is a premier sales coaching program with proven results. Born out of a 30-year career as a top producer in the commercial insurance industry, Jerry Lujan has developed a series of leading-edge sales tools that allow you to double, or even triple, your business while working far less. If you are tired and out of ideas to get the results you want, reach out to Jerry at Every producer in the program had their best year ever in 2014 and 2015—including producers with less than 3 years in, as well as 20+ year veterans. Let’s find what works for your book of business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *