The 3rd Step in Your Transformation

Rubedo - Size Matters


The Alchemical Transformation (AT) framework is 3 Simple Steps that are so easy to understand you'll get the basics in 10 mins, maybe over coffee in the morning. The AT framework IS the set of ideas that will give you an edge in Turning Ideas Into Gold.

1.) Nigredo – Destroy Something
2.) Albedo – Create Something
3.) Rubedo – Standardize Something <- You Are Here

Rubedo is the step that puts the blood into your idea. The fun of both Nigredo and Albedo is that we are in creative mode. The first two steps are all about thinking about things through a different lens. Whether that thought is about an Old Rule that could be changed, or about a New Rule that could suddenly come to life, the first two steps are about exploration.

Rubedo is different. Rubedo is all about working through the steps your idea will need so that everyone can get their hands on it. That's what it means to standardized something. To come up with systems that create products/services with common features so that they can be consumed at a mass scale. Standardize = Scale & Scale = Success.

3.) Rubedo – Standardize Something
You have figured out an Old Rule that should be destroyed & a New Rule that should take its place, now it is time to figure out how you can get your idea into as many people's hands as possible.

There is a phrase that we use in Rubedo:

Simple enough for Anyone to use, Available enough for Everyone to find

This Anyone/Everyone phrase will be your mantra in this stage of your alchemical transformation. Rubedo is where the idea moves from just the synapses of your mind—just ideas—into the real world. That is why Rubedo is referred to the reddening. It is where all the blood is put into the idea.

There are two segments to Rubedo that you'll explore:

1.) Standardize
2.) Scale

1.) Standardize
Standardize solves the “Simple enough for Anyone to use” part of the Anyone/Everyone Rubedo equation. When something is standardized the pieces that are important to everyone become so easy to use the idea becomes obvious. In the book “Crossing the Chasm,” Geoffrey Moore discusses how the Early Majority segment of customers will only buy a standardized product. So it is vital that your alchemical idea can successfully navigate the Rubedo phase.

Netflix's video on demand is a perfect example of a product that executed on:  “Simple enough for Anyone to use”. Think about how incredibly easy it is to watch shows on Netflix. You type in the name of your show, and boom, it starts to play. No complicated hardware or software. So easy grandma can do it. That is a conscious decision on Netflix's part. Make it simple. Even their recommendation engine is designed to figure out what you'd like to watch and serve it up to you easily.

2.) Scale
Scale solves the “Available enough for Everyone to find” part of the Anyone/Everyone Rubedo equation. Building a product at scale means that you can spread out the costs to the standardized components (see, #1 above, Standardize) and consistently reduce the overall cost of delivering your idea. This cost part eventually means that your idea can be available to more and more people because you are driving your cost down to $0.

In 1965, Gordon Moore—Intel co-founder—posited that the number of transistors will double about every twelve months. That means that an IBM PC in 1981 was approximately $1,500 or 22% of the price of a new Mustang. However in 2017, the price of a new PC is approximately $600 or 14% of that new Mustang but with over 1 billion times as much computing power (1971 was around 2,000 transistors per microprocessor, in 2017 it is around 19 billion). That means a computer with the power of your cell phone would cost around $32 Million back in 1965 without the scale that Intel unlocked. 

That's the power of scale. Reducing pricing to allow access to everyone. There are actually two pieces of scale: 1.) Cost, 2.) Distribution. That's too much to talk about here, but something we explore in detail in the Synaptic Alchemy Masterclass.

Maybe It's Just Me
Scale & standardization are hard to get your head wrapped around, for the simple reason that we don't like killing our ideas. That's certainly sooooooo true for me. Once I fall in love with an idea, I'll find all sorts of evidence that it will work. It's basically a confirmation bias rabbit hole that I dig for myself.

That means I really, really have to be sure that I have a bunch of ideas that are percolating through the first two steps of the alchemical transformation, so that I have plenty of options if my first, second, third… twentieth idea just can't get to scale.

I alway have to keep in mind:

Simple enough for Anyone to use, Available enough for Everyone to find
Otherwise I can tend to add feature after feature to my ideas when really I should be following a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Remember feature and scope creep are the enemy of Rubedo.
Your Exercise
In working through Rubedo, there are several tools to help you get your head around standardization and scale:

* Detachment
* Rube Goldberg Curiosity
* Ockham's Razor
* Get Opinionated
* Friction Management

These are the frameworks that you'll be exploring as you dive deeper into Synaptic Alchemy. We explore these three parts in detail in the Fundamentals and Masterclass courses.

For now, start to build your Rubedo skills by creating a high-level roadmap that you'll put your new Albedo ideas through. The roadmap should list at least 3-5 ways you are going to address:

1.) Standardization
2.) Scale

Let's think about Amazon back when Amazon was just selling books. At this point in Amazon's growth, the Nigredo -> Albedo transformation was “Books don't need to be sold in bookstores” -> “You can buy ANY book you want on the internet and have it delivered to your door.”

That's a great Nigredo -> Albedo transformation. Now comes the work of standardization and scale. The Amazon team put a huge amount of effort into making their ecommerce shopping experience so easy that ANYONE could do it. That included Prime delivery and their recommendation engine. Two core examples of how thinking with Rubedo turned the Idea Into Gold.

Not Your Father's Alchemy
Synaptic Alchemy (SA) is designed to bring a simple but power framework to light and give you a simple but power way of looking at the world. SA is first and foremost a mindset.

It is a different mindset from the traditional ways of looking at innovation and ideation. By transforming the foundation of the old masters, the alchemists, you'll find a new way of thinking intentionally towards success.

What's Next
The Rubedo exercise of writing 3-5 ideas to address standardization and scale is designed to put up a screen that force your best ideas to rise to the occasion and demonstrate how they can reach their potential market. By actually doing the exercise you'll force yourself to really provide oxygen to the most viable ideas and create the best chance to turn these ideas into gold.

Synaptic Alchemy Book

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