A fun game that helps you to acquire Bill Gates’s “10-year” skill

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Last updated: April 2020

When we discuss our clients’ progress, we often find ourselves saying “It’s like Osmos.” You might be interested to hear what we mean by that.

Osmos is an unusual and enjoyable game for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC and Linux, in which you control a strange circular bubble-like organism. (Be sure to wear headphones—the sound is immersive.)

A screenshot of Osmos. You control the bright bubble-like organism.

Your goal is to grow, which you do by absorbing bubbles that are smaller than you. If you come into contact with bubbles that are larger than you, you die.

To understand how it works, watch a minute or so of this video:

A video of Osmos being played.

Osmos gives you a good feel for a phenomenon that occurs when you’re growing a business—except in business it takes several years to experience what takes just a few minutes in Osmos:

  1. At first, many challenges seem impossibly big—so big that it feels delusional to even contemplate them. But contemplate them you should, and you should plan for them, because…
  2. Sooner than you think, the challenges become within your grasp, and you need to be ready for them.
  3. Then, soon after, you look back and they seem so small as to be quaint.

And so it continues.

We’ve seen the “Osmos Effect” happen many times with our clients. As their company grows, they experience it in many ways:

  • Media and publicity opportunities that once they’d have given their right arms for, later aren’t even worth the hassle.
  • Business opportunities that once they’d have jumped at, later they feel guilty for not following up
  • Competitors that once seemed like giants, later become irrelevant.
  • Sales targets that once seemed like fantasy, later feel almost cute.
  • An office that once seemed recklessly large, soon seems uncomfortably small.

In fact, the Osmos Effect applies to almost every aspect of a growing business. Visions that at first sound delusional later seem tame. The daunting becomes the trivial.

It’s important for you to gain an appreciation for this phenomenon, because otherwise you’ll never have the boldness to create the “delusional” plans in the first place. This is what Bill Gates was referring to when he said that “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Unfortunately, in business this phenomenon takes years to experience, so even if things go well it takes a long time to get a feel for it.

We know no better way to get a feel for it than by playing Osmos.

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