While time’s rate of progress is fixed, humanity’s is not. Certain core inventions have been well-documented as accelerators of progress: the printing press, the automobile, the PC. But these inventions aren’t society’s only accelerators. A few rare people are accelerators too. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son is one of them.
I haven’t known Masa for long, but I’ve observed three facets that allow him to act as an accelerator:
First, he is a self-described “super optimist.” It’s easy to see problems around every corner. It’s much harder to see solutions.
Second, he focuses on the end state—where the world is going. He sees it more clearly than others and is obsessed with getting there, fast.
Third, with the Vision Fund, he has flipped conventional investment wisdom on its head. Rather than increase his stake as a business matures, he invests big right out of the gate, helps establish a category winner and holds on for a long time.
Having a vision about where technology can take us is the easy part; having the audacity to realize that vision is another matter entirely.
Khosrowshahi is the CEO of Uber, in which SoftBank has invested