The origin of x10 Thinking: Powers of Ten

For more than thirty years I have been globally spreading the x10 meme through lectures, books, blogs and x10 thinking enterprise solutions. Occasionally I am asked about the origin of x10 Thinking.

As you no doubt know, Powers of 10 is long established in mathematics. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of tenpower and have included it as a key topic in most of my books.

Thirty-three years ago I first wrote about cvs2bvs in my book NewSell (p 137, Boardroom Books, 1984 New York) that:

“The BVS is always ten times better than the CVS”.


BVS = CVS x10″.

Later, I wrote about the googol (10100) and the googolplex as exotic examples of tenpower in my best-seller Software For the Brain (1989). And again in 2012 in English Thinking: The Three Methods.

I was first to apply powers of ten in neuroscience as a simple but powerful way of escaping from the established patterns of inside the square thinking to outside the square thinking and coined the term ‘x10 Thinking’.

In 2000, I wrote it all up in what has been called the ‘gospel of x10’: The x10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten! (Prentice Hall).

Originally, however, I was inspired by the Charles and Ray Eames movie – Powers of Ten – which I bought in order to screen at SOT instructor classes in New York.

I was first shown the movie while doing speaking engagements in Monte Carlo for IBM Europe in the mid-80s. This brilliant Eames thought experiment is now online and you can watch it here. I have great pleasure in recommending this short film to you. It’s a classic!


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