Given the continued disaster in the Golf of Mexico and the urgency of finding solutions to address our cruel and unsustainable chain of consumption, I have set aside all my free time in July, August and September to work on a project to offer a solution.
E.T.A: We have submitted the Atomic Rave Engine to Google’s RE<C and GE’s ecomagination Challenge. Our gas photo-displacement engine is a non-toxic and non invasive power generator for homes and cars. Our stand-alone no-maintenance unit manipulates the atoms in a pressurized inert gas to create motion in a previously unexpected way. Our solution is inexpensive to build. We are looking for financing to build a prototype within one year. In 2005 John Doerr said “I am really afraid because I think the kinds of changes we can reasonably expect from individuals are gonna be clearly not enough.” Personally, I am really afraid when billionaires like Bill Gates and John Doerr say they are afraid but I understand what he is saying! We plan to address this grave issue by simply offering consumers a product that saves them an immense amount of money on utilities and gas. The ensuing reduction in GHG emissions will be a by-product of consumers choosing a product that is beneficial and useful to them for purely economic reasons even without subsidies or tax credits.
Recently I pitched an idea for an iPad application and of the 70 submissions that were returned, I won. The other ideas were great too and I hope they get development attention as well. This is not the idea I am talking about in the first paragraph but a business application for the company I work for. I look forward to being involved in the actual development because I have many other ideas for solutions to pitch in the next year. I will be able to see first hand the priorities and concerns of my employer when comes time to choose new business opportunities to invest in. This experience, including access to key executives and their feedback is priceless regardless of whether or not my iPad application is deployed. In fact, I created my application idea to get the most chance of pitching it to the judging panel as I felt that this experience (which was done over video conferencing) was the most valuable part of ‘the prize’. Receiving praise on my idea and presentation skills was even better but there was also an actual physical prize .
So I won an iPad and this week I will get to see if there is anything work-worthy I can accomplish using an iPad or if this is yet another device that will constantly fail leaving me frustrated and unproductive. I currently have access to three PC (Desktop, Netbook and Notebook) that leave me profoundly frustrated with my inability to afford a decent quality computer!!!
The two applications I will install on my iPad right out of the box are the Glee TV Show app and the Girlworks app for my daughter. Girlworks is an awesome new magazine for smart girls. When I found out about this magazine I ran out to get it for my 9 year-old. It is full of interesting articles about DOING and BEING rather than LOOKING. This magazine features articles about adventurous sports, high tech careers and innovation and none about what jeans to buy to make you butt look better. I wrote to the editor-in-chief and will try my darnedest to contribute articles (having her invite me to do so helps LOL). I will champion this excellent magazine across all my networks. This Canadian magazine may not be available in your area but the subscription price is low compared to the content value of the magazine. All of us who have daughters should make sure this magazine can survive and grow because launching a magazine today is not easy!
My health has improved tremendously in the past few month. While I still have general pain my mobility is improving and my migraines are decreasing. I credit this to Systema, which I have been practising with Stéphane Beaudin of Nagaika since April (editorial disclaimer: Stéphane is my spouse) Russian Martial Arts is tough. It’s meant to improve strength and mobility, not make you look more cosmetically appealing. So the exercises are done freely without fancy equipment. Even the weapons of Systema are makeshift tools such as 9 inch nails, sticks, shovels or anything you could find laying around a remote camp. But it’s mostly about moving and breathing because those are the true foundations of self protection skills. It took me two months to be able to make it through a class because my body is so scared of moving, doing simple exercises gave me nausea.
But I digress…
This morning I am marvelling at how Philanthropy and Social Media go so well together and since I recently conceived of a Social Game to that incorporates Philanthropy and Social Media, I am doing a review of my own micro lending portfolio. Over the past few years I have been too underemployed and broke to contribute much to my Kiva fund, however, I did contribute all of the proceeds from my Etsy sales of cute PDFs of embroidery floss winders. But now with new social media sites devoted to helping others such as DonorsChoose.org and Kickstarter.com, I am itching to have some funds to open new accounts and GIVE! This experience will help me decide how I plug these new networks effectively into my Social Philanthropy Game. Last year Bill and Melinda Gates urged the richest Americans to give away 50% of their fortune. I am on that bandwagon all the way since my actual life goal is to be a Billionaire Philanthropist Superhero. However, it may be a while until I make 2 billion dollars to give 1 billion of it away… And with the current need for investment in technology and massive amounts of people requiring help to recover from grave environmental and man-made disasters, I cannot wait that long. I have therefore decided to build a company that will give 50% of its net profits away. This will ensure a steady flow of funding to important R&D and Philanthropic projects right now, rather than when I am older and greyer. It is Jane McGronigal who said that we should use games to save the World, and she is absolutely right.
That is my answer to Scott Sterling’s question, posed on CNN today, What does ‘video game’ mean, anyway?.
I have never made games, I make work flow systems to help businesses streamline processes for making decisions. Now you probably think that is no fun and kinda boring, and you would be mostly right, but there are business processes that involve so many people and so many decisions, in so many steps, that these systems can save an immense amount of time and money to companies. In fact, my most successful implementations of such systems have been outside of traditional business in the field of education. There is here an opportunity to improve Philanthropic management that will result in more money ending up in the hands of people who need it. Throw Social Media and gaming into the mix and there is an additional opportunity to make the process fun, educational and engaging for young people (13 and over) to actively create the best future they can imagine by playing an addictive social game that impacts the real world. Most of my friends will know that my most Mouhaha! world takeover plan is to harvest the idle time of teenagers through a human version of Berkeley’s SETI@Home system. I have used this concept as a source of much comedy to entertain friends for many years but my Social Philanthropic Game is the practical application, of exactly that.
There are enough grumpy adults who spend all their time imagining the worst possible future and attempt to control our life according to these nightmarish fantasies. All they are doing is creating a Work Breakdown Structure to, you guessed it, the worst possible future. The catastrophes we face now were not predictable and neither are the one we will face tomorrow. In, what my spouse calls, a post-Talebian world, we must work diligently together to help world communities increase their general tool and skill sets to cope with sudden challenges.(After the excellent Life, Inc. and inspiring Rework, I am now tackling Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
With the recent improvements in my health, I find myself able to thing and the drive to find solutions to EVERYTHING has come back, stronger than ever, fuelled by all the information I kept reading and seeing while I was not able to program or output much. I currently have so many ideas for solutions, applications and games that I sometimes find it hard to focus. But my Social Philanthropy Game is a fun conceptual challenge to ponder and develop while I am stuck in airports, on the train or bus to work!
I am excited to be involved in so many projects that seem to use all the skills I have been developing over the past 30 years. It is now that I realize that paying attention to so many things since childhood, really pays off in the end.
Over the past 6 months I have used most of my money to make a dent in the debt load I acquired while being handicapped. Right now my goal is 0 (zero). Once I am worth zero dollars (i.e. have no debt, I will feel immensely rich!) Soon, I should be able to return to a more aggressive giving and lending schedule adding kickstarter.com and donorchoose.org to the mix. I plan on outsourcing the management of my portfolio to my daughter as a means to start talking about the lives and challenges of people around the world I can onceive of a system that engages her into the process of deciding where the money should go.
I made about my current micro lending portfolio and will check back in a year to see how things have changed.