Let's Bridge the Exponential Gap!

A conversation with Azeem Azhar about the Exponential Age, the Exponential Gap, techno-optimism v. pessimism, and the process of writing a book.


For this new episode of the Building Bridges podcast, I’m delighted to share my interview of Azeem Azhar, tech investor and creator of the successful Exponential View newsletter and Harvard Business Review podcast (of which I was one of the lucky guests nearly two years ago).

In a new book titled Exponential: Is Leaving Us Behind and What to Do About It, he explains that while technology continues to develop at an exponential rate, our institutions (norms, policies, organisations) only change slowly, incrementally (if at all), which results in an exponential gap that can explain many of society’s problems.

Azeem and I talked about his life story, his EV newsletter, the process of writing a book, the exponential gap, tech pessimism, the winner-take-all mindset, the future of work, the skills of the future and much more.

On the one hand, there are technologies that develop at an exponential pace—and the companies, institutions and communities that adapt to or harness them. On the other, there are the ideas and norms of the old world. The companies, institutions and communities that can only adapt at an incremental pace. They get left behind—and fast. The emergence of this gap is a consequence of exponential technology (…)

For all the visibility of exponential change, most of the institutions that make up our society follow a linear trajectory. Codified laws and unspoken social norms; legacy companies and NGOs; political systems and intergovernmental bodies—all have only ever known how to adapt incrementally. Stability is an important force within institutions. In fact, it’s built into them (…)

The gap leads to extreme tension. In the Exponential Age, the divergence is ongoing—and it is everywhere. (Exponential)

👉 I also shared some thoughts inspired by Azeem’s book in my newsletter Laetitia@Work: Mind the Exponential Gap. Laetitia@Work

👉 And I recommend Azeem’s book Exponential 🚀 📚

I hope you enjoy this podcast! Do not forget to share it with people who might be interested 👇


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(Credit: Franz Liszt, Angelus ! Prière Aux Anges Gardiens—extrait du disque Miroirs de Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)