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What is a 10X technology?

I wrote about the four points a company must have to reach a significant value in a previous post. The list comes from Peter Thiel's book "Zero to One".

Thiel points out that is that the use of Proprietary Technology is critical to a company's success. He suggests that the technology backing the offering must exceed rivals by a factor of ten.

What is a 10X technology?

Genrich Altshuller proposes five levels to classify innovation by its impact, an index of sorts.

Apparent solution

A technology that seems new but doesn't offer any enhancement over current solutions. According to Max McKeown's book "The Innovation Book", 68% of new ideas fit into this category.


An improvement is the optimization of a current solution. While it doesn't improve the solution's result, it does advance the path to the outcome. An estimated 27% of ideas fit into the improvement category.


Inventions offer significantly new offerings but from within the same frame of thinking as the alternatives. These ideas account for 4% of all ideas in use.

New Generation

Technologies that enable disruptive innovation fits within the "new generation" category. These systems define new rules for the entire system of interaction rather than a sub-section. 0.24% of ideas fit into this category.

New System

New systems have the same outputs as old systems but delivery those outputs in an entirely new way. 0.05% of all ideas implemented fit into this category.

Altshuller's pyramid gives a suitable means to classify the technologies driving the business to find a 10X technology. A 10X technologies are "New Generations" or "New System" levels of technologies and, as a result, promote the business offering to levels that convert to significant market share.


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