You’ve surely heard of “Moonshot Thinking” — the fabled breakthrough way of thought that (formerly Google) X described as the following:

Instead of a mere 10 percent gain, a moonshot aims for a 10x improvement over what currently exists. The combination of a huge problem, a radical solution to that problem, and the breakthrough technology that just might make that solution possible, is the essence of a moonshot.

At Singularity University, we ask our participants to develop solutions that affect a billion people in ten years. So far so good. The question is: How do you actually do this? How do you change your mindset from 10 percent to 10x? What are the questions you should ask yourself to get yourself into moonshot thinking?

Here’s my hack, which works particularly well for entrepreneurs, and is something I do all the time when I have my VC hat on:

When you pitch your idea/product/company, you typically have a very good sense for how much money you want or need to raise. Say it’s a million USD. You have a clear plan surrounding what you want to spend the money on, what the milestones are that you want to hit, and where it will get you. When you present this plan to me, I will ask you a simple, seemingly innocent question: “What would change if I give you 10 million USD?”

That simple question — the 10x question — stupefies 99 percent of the entrepreneurs I ask. They fumble around, tell me something about hiring more people, going into more markets in a quicker succession, etc. Truth be told, this is never the right answer.

The best entrepreneurs I encounter tell me that they have to think about it. And once that question is in their heads, they rethink the basis for all of their assumptions, their strategies, the way they look at their markets and the way they think about their product. It’s an incredible forcing function to get yourself to moonshot or to breakthrough thinking.

With that being said, ask yourself: what would you do if you had ten times the resources?


This post originally appeared on Pascal’s Medium.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.