What Does It Take to Become a Billionaire?

UPDATED: June 16, 2023
PUBLISHED: January 17, 2017

Around 70 percent of the 400 richest people in America are “self-made.”

Maybe they borrowed money from family or started a business with a group of investors based on an idea, but they weren’t born with billions in the bank. They turned their ideas into profit and built fortunes for themselves.

Among today’s richest people in the world (Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos and others) are tech entrepreneurs who seem to have caught on to something the rest of us missed and created fortunes from thin air.

We asked billionaire-mindset expert Peter Diamandis, “What do these billionaires know that we don’t?”

Related: 28 Uncommon Rules to Live By, From a Space Tech Billionaire

Diamandis is an internationally renowned thought leader, innovator and pioneer of commercial space flight, who founded the XPRIZE Foundation to incentivize private space flight. His answer: Today’s innovators use exponential thinking to make “scarce resources” abundant and accelerate results.

What is exponential thinking?

It’s a concept Diamandis’ students at Singularity University use to address massive billion-person problems—those with no known solution. It relies upon the possibilities available in our highly connected world.

At some point in your life, you might have heard the “penny doubling” story: If you start with a penny and double it every day, in 28 days you’ll be a millionaire. On day one you have $.01. Day two, $.02. Day 3, $.04, and so on.

How about the concept of a folded piece of paper that can reach the moon? An average sheet of paper folded 10 times will reach about 3 feet tall. A paper folded 20 times would reach airplane cruising altitude; a paper folded 42 times will reach to the moon. Fold the paper 53 times? You’ve reached the end of our known universe.

This is the concept of exponential thinking in action. It’s this type of thinking that is creating today’s billionaires. Of course there are limits to how much you can fold paper, but there are no limits to the progress of ideas (and many of the other resources you think are scarce). Here’s why: Technology is what makes exponential thinking reality.

Diamandis says technology has turned our world of scarcity into a world of abundance. In fact, he argues that you are living in the most abundant, opportunity-rich time in human history.

Related: 5 Ways the Rules of Success Have Changed 

Consider what it takes to change the world today compared to just 100 years ago. If you wanted to start a company in 1917, what did you need? Startup capital, a brick and mortar space with a lease, employees, access to knowledge, know-how and expertise that’s difficult for everyday people to acquire. Just 100 years ago you had to have money to make money.

To change the world 100 years ago required a massive investment in time, resources, energy. It was an investment most people didn’t have to offer.

But technology has transformed everything. If you want to launch a business today, technology allows you to access any piece of information you need to know instantly, find like-minded supporters, identify problems your business can solve, generate the funds necessary to launch and more.

All of these factors combined can create exponential growth, provided that you find a problem large enough to truly impact the world.

With the power of technology, you can double the number of people supporting a business or a project every day for 28 days and have more than 1 million supporters. You can double profit every day for 28 days, starting with just $.01 and make $1 million.

For the first time in history, exponential growth—just like the story of doubling a penny every day or folding paper 42 times to reach the moon—is possible.

For the first time in history, exponential growth—just like the story of doubling a penny every day or folding paper 42 times to reach the moon—is possible.

This is how Facebook made Mark Zuckerberg millions that turned into billions. Exponential thinking is how Amazon made Jeff Bezos millions that turned into billions. It all begins with the mindset today’s modern billionaires use to solve problems through exponential thinking.

Do you want to apply this modern billionaire mindset?

We asked Peter Diamandis to host a free video broadcast, explaining how anyone can embrace the power of exponential thinking to multiply results in their lives.

If you’d like to join us and learn how you can capitalize on the exponential thinking mindset that creates more modern millionaires and billionaires every day, click below and reserve your free seat.

Join Peter Diamandis for a free webinar that teaches the eight steps for Exponential Thinking on Jan. 17 and discover what you can accomplish.