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Cultivated Abundance

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Cultivated Abundance explores how new transformative technology entrepreneurship can solve humanity's most challenging problems.

Synopsis

What does it take to build startups that fundamentally change the world? And of the startups that attempt to create this change, what separates those who succeed from those who fall short?

In Cultivated Abundance: How We Can Build a Better Future through Transformative Technology Entrepreneurship, serial entrepreneur Mihir Pershad challenges common Silicon Valley wisdom. Drawing on insights from The Good Food Institute, Effective Altruism, and Impossible Foods, Pershad argues that truly transformative startups need to follow a new playbook—one that takes into account the long-term effects of their decisions.

In Cultivated Abundance, you’ll learn how to...

* identify a Big Intractable Problem to solve,
* develop a startup to maximize your impact on that problem, and
* increase your startup’s chance of success with a tried and tested methodology.

Pershad notes, “What the most ambitious people do with their lives matters.” Whether you’re looking to tackle climate change, food scarcity, water shortages, or any other massive problem, you can use this book as a tool to create positive change in the world through entrepreneurship.

There are many intractable situations that affect humanity today. In Cultivated Abundance, Mihir Pershad discusses the types of transformative technologies that are likely to solve some of these intractable problems. The author explores solutions to the most challenging problems primarily through the lens of the agricultural system. Pershad draws attention to certain principles that are based on prior transformative solutions. According to Mihir Pershad, if entrepreneurs incorporated these principles into their building and scaling strategies, that could maximize success.


I wanted to read this book because of the author’s unusual spin about solving some of humanity's most challenging problems. Looking at food as one of our oldest technologies is brilliant, and this analogy made me smile. Using food as a medium to discuss global challenges is a great way to take the sting out of the discussion and make it more personal. The book is not an easy read if you are not focused. However, once the reader is focused, they can glean a lot of new information.


Mihir Pershad uses the agricultural system to discuss a sensitive topic in a way that will elicit deep conversations. The author believes that the same principles that help entrepreneurs solve challenging agricultural problems can be used to solve similar problems in other major sectors. Pershad uses the agricultural sector as the primary lens because most persons can relate to food on a deeply personal level, regardless of their background.


Pershad stated that he hopes his book captures the imagination of others and he has captured my imagination. I believe this book will also capture the imagination of many others, especially those who are interested in transformative solutions. Persons who read this book will learn that applying the right transformative technologies can solve many of humanity’s serious problems.  I recommend this book for industry experts, researchers, startup entrepreneurs, non profit advocacy groups, and science communicators.

Reviewed by

Mardene Carr is from the beautiful Island of Jamaica. She is a trained Librarian, doctoral student, blogger, journal reviewer, proofreader,and editor. She has authored several journal articles and blog posts. Mardene is also a motivational speaker and international student coach.

Synopsis

What does it take to build startups that fundamentally change the world? And of the startups that attempt to create this change, what separates those who succeed from those who fall short?

In Cultivated Abundance: How We Can Build a Better Future through Transformative Technology Entrepreneurship, serial entrepreneur Mihir Pershad challenges common Silicon Valley wisdom. Drawing on insights from The Good Food Institute, Effective Altruism, and Impossible Foods, Pershad argues that truly transformative startups need to follow a new playbook—one that takes into account the long-term effects of their decisions.

In Cultivated Abundance, you’ll learn how to...

* identify a Big Intractable Problem to solve,
* develop a startup to maximize your impact on that problem, and
* increase your startup’s chance of success with a tried and tested methodology.

Pershad notes, “What the most ambitious people do with their lives matters.” Whether you’re looking to tackle climate change, food scarcity, water shortages, or any other massive problem, you can use this book as a tool to create positive change in the world through entrepreneurship.

Preface

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

ROBERT SWAN


BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR HUMANITY


What does it take to build companies that fundamentally change the world? And of the companies that attempt to create this transformative change, what separates those who succeed from those who fall short?


This is a book about how we can solve humanity’s most challenging problems with Transformative Technology entrepreneurship. This book explores the nature of these Intractable Problems and their shared characteristics. It delves into the characteristics of the kinds of Transformative Technologies that will likely form the basis of the best solutions to these problems. And it illuminates a set of principles, drawn from the successes of prior transformative solutions, that can maximize the chances of success for entrepreneurs who incorporate them into their strategy for building and scaling their solutions.


Though the book explores these problems, technologies, and principles for success in the context of several critical industries, the primary lens is of the agricultural system. This is due in part to the importance of our current moment in the history of our food system: we appear poised to undergo the biggest revolution in agricultural production since the domestication of plants and animals over ten thousand years ago. It is also because food is something anyone can understand. Whether through our fond memories of childhood foods or our experiences buying food at the grocery store each week and cooking for loved ones, we all experience our food at a deeply personal level.


In this way, the personal and emotional connections we have to food are unique, given its place as one of our oldest technologies. We don’t feel that same connection to electricity or the Internet. This makes food a unique vehicle for discussing global challenges that would otherwise be impersonal and technology solutions that would appear disconcerting.


My journey into learning about the power of Transformative Technologies began in college, born from my deep interest in human health. When my exploration began, I was primarily interested in learning about the technologies and avenues through which I could have an impact on improving healthcare for people around the world. At the time, I was narrowly focused on the healthcare system itself—on the treatments, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices doctors could apply to treat people who were sick or injured. The more I learned, the more I began to realize my myopic view of human health was blinding me to the potential for Transformative Technologies to improve the human condition more broadly.


For me, the key moment of understanding came in the form of a scientific review article. It detailed the ways in which changing a cancer patient’s diet could improve their strength during chemotherapy, reduce their symptoms, and even treat conditions that could not be targeted with medications. After I read this article, my eyes were opened to the vast opportunity we have to solve our most pressing problems if we can understand them in their broader contexts. In this case, food could be medicine and could outperform our most advanced medical treatments in addressing burdensome ailments. What other problems could we solve if we understood them more deeply and applied the right Transformative Technologies to them in the right ways?


Using the agricultural sector as a primary example, this book demonstrates how the very technologies and systems that helped us build our modern society are now creating intractable problems that we must overcome to build a sustainable future. Through the emergence of cellular agriculture, the book describes the ways in which technologies can both produce transformative solutions and fizzle out without leaving a lasting impact. And through an assessment of animal agriculture, the book posits a vision for an abundant future for humanity and what it will take to achieve that vision.


These ideas and principles transcend the field of agriculture. Anyone who aspires to build a better future for humanity and solve the greatest challenges that stand between our present and that future can use these principles to do so. Overcoming intractable problems requires leverage, and the principles and frameworks presented in this book can help to increase the leverage of those who implement them. I hope this book captures the imagination of others who see the opportunity to positively impact billions of people by tackling these problems, in agriculture or other sectors, and inspires them to build the solutions that we need.


AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY


In writing this book, I interviewed many of the thought leaders and pioneers in the cellular agriculture industry, including nonprofit advocacy groups, researchers, startup entrepreneurs, investors, and science communicators. I also had conversations with agriculture industry experts, scientists who study climate change, and scientists who investigate the environmental and social impacts of our food system. With their knowledge, I intend to provide a more comprehensive context around the broader impacts of the cellular agriculture movement and its importance to building a sustainable and resilient agricultural system. In addition to these interviews, I sought out the best available research on industrial agriculture—covering everything from costs to externalities and important process innovations to key challenges. My goal is to provide you with sufficient data from independent sources to draw your own conclusions about the future of food beyond the hypotheses I present in this book.


As I conducted research for this book, however, I began to recognize there was a larger story to be told. Much of my exposure to these global, pressing challenges, and transformative technologies came through working with professors to commercialize their biotechnology and medical technology research and from my experience as a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare and agri-food sectors. As a result, my initial research was limited by the scope of my own personal experience. Only during the process of writing this book did I begin to appreciate that many of the questions I was asking of these industries were also applicable more broadly.


In defining a set of principles for succeeding in food and agriculture innovation, I noticed that our agricultural industry is not unique in the challenges it faces or in its importance to our collective human future. Indeed, a number of industries are essential for our individual survival and the continued existence of our civilization. Most of these essential industries face large-scale intractable problems that will require transformative solutions in the coming years.


Could the same principles that have enabled entrepreneurs to solve challenging agricultural problems also pave the way for successful solutions to emerge in energy, transportation, and other critical sectors? If these principles could be applied more broadly to facilitate solutions to our most pressing, intransigent problems, how could I attract more entrepreneurs to work on these problems? These were key questions that stuck with me as I began writing this book and shaped my thinking in it.


HISTORY IS DEFINED BY MOMENTS


The birth or death of a great leader. The rise and fall of a civilization. The invention of a Transformative Technology. History is defined by pivotal moments.


By my reckoning, we are currently witnessing the beginning of the greatest change in agricultural technology in ten thousand years. We are also facing a number of challenges unprecedented in the history of our species. In this moment, at the confluence of a rising global population, a changing climate, and dwindling resource availability, the decisions we make will determine the future of our species. Under this perfect storm of conditions that conspire to make our current systems and practices obsolete, we must develop technologies that will enable our civilization to endure sustainably if our civilization is to thrive in the twenty-first century and beyond.


A more abundant future for mankind is in our grasp. Will we seize it or let it go by?


About the author

Serial entrepreneur Mihir Pershad has founded or scaled technology startups in the medical device, biotechnology, aquaculture, and education sectors. Pershad is currently the CEO of Umami Meats, a cultivated seafood startup, as well as Venture Partner at Early Charm Ventures. view profile

Published on July 27, 2020

Published by New Degree Press

60000 words

Genre: Business & Economics

Reviewed by

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