Safi has delivered keynote presentations at industry conferences, leadership retreats, investor events, medical meetings, and leading academic institutions around the world.
Recent and upcoming appearances include 360i, Amazon, Amplitude, the Boston Globe, CableLabs, the CIA, Fidelity, Gartner, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Google, IRI, Johnson + Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Khosla Ventures, Microsoft, the NIH, Paypal, Samsung, Sequoia Capital, Snap Inc., Spark, Spotify, St. Jude’s Hospital, the US Air Force, the US Navy, Viacom, and Vizient. Safi has also presented at leading academic institutions including business schools and science, mathematics, or medical departments at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Cornell, Bell Labs, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
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Safi is the author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, a national bestseller that that has been translated into 18 languages; recommended by Bill Gates, three Nobel laureates, Malcolm Gladwell, and Tim Ferriss; and selected as a best business book of the year by Amazon, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc., Newsweek, Strategy + Business, Tech Crunch, and the Washington Post. It was the #1 most recommended book of the year in Bloomberg’s annual survey of CEOs and entrepreneurs.
Safi received his BA from Harvard summa cum laude, completed his PhD in physics at Stanford, and served for three years as a consultant at McKinsey and Company. In 2001, he founded a biotechnology company developing new drugs for cancer. He led the company’s IPO and served as its CEO for 13 years. In 2008, he was named E&Y New England Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011, he worked with President Obama’s council of science advisors (PCAST) on the future of national research.
Safi advises CEOs and leadership teams on strategy and innovation, and is working on his next book. He lives with his wife and two children in Cambridge, MA.
1—(Keynote) Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars and Transform Industries
Why do good teams kill great ideas? Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, and using stories that range from the hunt for U-boats in WWII to the search for new cancer drugs, Safi shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them. Hear fresh insights from this new kind of science and learn three techniques that creatives, leaders, and visionaries can use to liberate the ideas trapped inside small and large companies everywhere.
2—Three Rules for Strategy in Times of Crisis
How did the music industry escape death? How did one mall succeed while all others failed? Why did Amazon beat Google in the race for cloud services—what did Amazon do right and Google get wrong? Learn three strategic principles for turning crisis into opportunity. Hear about the science of spotting, the need to balance the two types of loonshots, and the hidden gaps that must be closed in launching new ventures during uncertain times. Learn how the best innovators have applied these principles to emerge leaner and stronger on the other side of a crisis.
3—Leadership team workshop
Read the Loonshots Letter
Read the Five Laws of Loonshots
“A groundbreaking book that spans industries and time” –Newsweek
“If the Da Vinci Code and Freakonomics had a child together, it would be called Loonshots” –Senator Bob Kerrey