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Forecasting, Futurism and Common Sense: Salim Ismail's Influences

In his interview on yesterday’s episode of Smashing the Plateau, technological visionary Salim Ismail spoke about how fast-moving tech is changing how entrepreneurship works, and how our legal, educational, and other structural social systems need to adapt quickly to accommodate this accelerating rate of change. Here, this visionary speaker and writer looks back, providing a list of the people who have influenced his thinking and how he approaches business.

1. Peter Diamandis (@peterdiamandis)

Diamandis is the founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation (, and is an engineer, physician, and entrepreneur. Ismail writes that he is characterized by “thinking big and supercredibility.”

2. Howie Baskin (

Of the Chairman of Big Cat Rescue’s advisory board, Ismail writes that “he has a PhD in common sense.”

3. Ray Kurzweil (

Ismail notes that Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, is “framing the future of technology” and “leading the charge in thinking about the future in really incredible ways.”

4. Paul Saffo (@psaffo)

This Silicon Valley-based technology forecaster has an “incredible understanding of forecasting.”

5. Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly)

The founding executive editor of Wired magazine does “brilliant framing of technology and society.”


About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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