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Can You Tweet @JeffBezos?

Friday, September 1st, 2017

As most of you know, in June, Jeff Bezos turned to Twitter for philanthropy ideas and received nearly 47,000 responses.

The story got more interesting after Unanimous AI got interested.

Unanimous AI is an artificial intelligence platform that claims to make super-intelligent decisions based on the wisdom of the crowd, but not in small numbers.

Apparently, crunching big numbers can provide some amazing results.

When the company has held these swarms, the group has correctly predicted the winners of the 2015 Oscars, the first four horses of the 2016 Kentucky Derby in 2016, and the eight teams that would make it to the 2016 MLB playoffs, including the Chicago Cubs’ victory.

You have to admit those results are pretty impressive (especially the Cubs’ victory).
Long story short, after crunching the data access to clean water was the “winner.”

Two things have happened since then — one you couldn’t help noticing and the other more esoteric.

  • Hurricane Harvey brought the issue of clean water front and center in most people’s minds; Harvey changed the focus from “somewhere else” to “home.”
  • A product called the OffGridBox.

Pre Harvey, OffGridBox estimated 720,000 US families needed the box.

Post Harvey, the need is in the millions — and bottled water won’t cut it, even ignoring the environmental effects of all that plastic.

To date, only 28 OffGridBoxs have been installed.

But those 28 units have impacted 12,100 people!

The basic unit costs a reasonable $15,000.

Certainly Bezos and his network have the chops to help the business scale quickly, which should bring the cost down much further.

Now I need help from you, my readers.

As you all know I’m no social media maven, so I’m asking those of you who are to tweet @JeffBezos the link to OffGridBox.

I honestly don’t care if he sees my post; the important thing is for him to see OffGridBox.

Harvey left unbelievable devastation in its wake.

Irma and (possibly) another storm may not be far behind.

Support Ocean Guardian Robot On Kickstarter

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Can you spare a few Starbucks visits to help

  • save Atlantic reefs and fish;
  • assure yourself a gourmet dining treat;
  • create a new online sport;
  • all of the above?

Easy to do.

Just donate to this Kickstarter campaign by June 3.

The problem is the unchecked proliferation of lionfish in the Atlantic; they are voracious eaters, have no local predators and females can spawn 2 million eggs a year.

Colin Angle, executive chairman of iRobot, a consumer robot company that builds and designs robots, and founder Robots In Service of the Environment (RSE), a nonprofit organization set up to protect the oceans, built a machine named the Guardian specifically designed to hunt and capture lionfish.

He also wants to turn lionfish hunting into an online sport.

“With advances in wireless technology, we can actually have an app where people pay to go hunt lionfish and capture the fish by remotely operating the robot,” he said, adding that, if robots can catch lionfish, a new market in which chefs can turn an environmental hazard into gourmet cuisine might emerge.

I’m not a gamer, but I’d play this one frequently!

So click to donate; think what a difference donating just the value of a week’s worth of Starbucks visits — or more — will make.

Video via BI

If the Shoe Fits: a Prize Worth Having

Friday, February 13th, 2015

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mI have a great appreciation for those in the 1% that give back, especially those like Richard Branson, who became an entrepreneur specifically to finance his desire to give back or, as he says, “do good by doing well.”

But even the most philanthropic like their toys — especially the kind with four wheels.

Maseratti, Lamborghini, Tesla and others.

But they pale in comparison to the AeroMobil 3.0.

Which was developed in just 10 months.

AeroMobil was designed in a way to fit into existing road infrastructure – its size is comparable to a limousine or a large luxury sedan. It has low maintenance costs and can be parked in regular parking slots in cities. It uses standard gasoline instead of kerosene, and it can therefore be fuelled at a regular gas stations.

You’ll need flying lessons, but it sure beats those fancy, earthbound cars — they’re so common.

Image credit: HikingArtist and youcar

If the Shoe Fits: You Can Change the Dialog

Friday, April 11th, 2014

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here


The uncivil war between Bay Area techies and the rest of the citizenry is common knowledge.

London is facing similar problems, as exemplified by what’s happening in Shoreditch, a rundown neighborhood in East London (think the Mission before tech discovered it) now a home to co-working spaces from the likes of Google.

While it is gentrifying rapidly, with housing prices rising 17% last year, and hipsters and 20somethings moving in all boats aren’t being lifted by the tide.

Over the same period, however, the level of child poverty in the area remained one of the highest anywhere in London, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, a local charity, while unemployment now stands  around 11 percent, well above the national average.

But a different approach is being taken by some of the tech crowd, in order to craft sustainable, long-term solutions, rather than throwing a few million dollars (which is a rounding error to companies such as Google and Facebook) here and there.

To build bridges between the two communities, a group of local tech founders has started to run monthly programs to connect successful entrepreneurs with those who either have nontech businesses or who want to start their own company.

Over three hours, Niklas Zennstrom, a co-founder of Skype and Richard Reed, a co-founder of the British smoothie maker Innocent Drinks, shared business advice and marketing tips with the small business owners, including the founder of a local fitness company and a maker of custom bike clothes.

Think about it.

How much time/effort would it really take to stop by the small businesses near you, invite them to discuss and brainstorm ways and means to grow their businesses over coffee and even set up a similar mentoring program?

Besides helping them you may be surprised at how much you learn through the interactions.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Expand Your Mind: Tidbits for Culture Vultures

Saturday, May 29th, 2010


Once again EYM is dedicated to culture. Five excellent articles showed up this week, mostly fairly short and very informative.

If you have followed Microsoft for many years you’ll know that it has never been known for its great caring, give-back culture. But times are changing; Microsoft is aging and it needs to get its cool back if it wants to have a shot at hiring the quality and quantity of people needed to remain relevant. Part of that effort is focused and driven by the philanthropic actions of alumni and employees.

“To attract the next generation of employees, making a social mission part of the company’s DNA has become a vital recruiting tool,” said Lisa Brummel, senior vice president for human resources.

Microsoft isn’t the only company changing its culture; take a look at what SAP has done.

…the effect on SAP of the co-CEOdom of Bill McDermott and J.H.Snabe seems to be truly dramatic. Without hesitation, I would say that I have never, in all my years of experience with high tech companies, or companies of any kind, seen such a fundamental transformation in the outlook, direction, and tenets of company life from any company than the one I’ve seen at SAP.

Now see how a national retailer of computers, electronics appliances and furniture has used sports to infuse its culture, brand its business and reach its customers.

Sports is something our employees and franchisees embrace, but most importantly, sports are engines we use to brand our company.

Next, from Working Mother learn how the five Best Companies for Multicultural Women are embedding diversity deeply in their cultural DNA.

Diversifying the workplace is one thing. Creating a companywide sense of belonging, and a deep knowledge that all employees are playing on the same team as equals, is quite another.

Finally, a quick note from Portland, OR wondering if the following is the start of a trend. What do you think?

“People have actually been coming up to me and telling me that they are in too nice of a building for their corporate culture.” Considering corporations on the whole have taken a beating in the forum of public opinion since the recession started, lots of them have set policy on what class of space local affiliates can be in. Some corporations have even cut back on the types of cars executives can drive and how flashy the offices can look.

Flickr photo credit to: pedroCarvalho on flickr

Taking Stock For Your Tombstone

Monday, June 1st, 2009

What do you think about when you take stock of your life? What do you strive for? What makes you feel successful?

Before I go into this there is a caveat I want to make very clear.

What I’m about to write is NOT a judgment call—having been brought up in a judgmental family I don’t judge. Sure, I have opinions, we all do, but I don’t judge. The most I can say is “X isn’t right for me, but Y is.”

I might recommend Y; I might even argue passionately regarding the merits of Y, but in the end it’s your decision and you need to tweak/modify/change Y to fit your MAP—if you decide you have any interest in it at all—because Y is a product of my MAP and no two MAPs are identical.

Back to taking stock.

In a post at LeaderTalk, Becky Robinson says, “I still have more than half my life left to live… Still, with each birthday I feel the anxiety of wondering if I am living up to my potential. … Often, I can’t wake up from my daydreams of a disciplined and directed life long enough to make that life happen. … I have learned from experience that I need both [self awareness and willingness to change] if I want to be successful in life and leadership.”

To me, it was a very sad post. Sad because the focus seemed to be both personally judgmental and set such store on such an intangible as ‘leadership’—which is, in fact, a description applied and substantiated by others.

But that is probably just me. I’m very different.

I’m substantially older than Rebecca and have bounced, and occasional blundered, through life opening doors as the mood moved me.

I’ve made and lost money as well as friends as our lives diverged.

To paraphrase something I read somewhere, “a person should be judged by the number of people s/he brings to success,” and based on that I am enormously successful.

If I have any guiding philosophy it’s the same as Google’s—do no evil. I work very hard at not hurting anyone by word or deed, advertently or inadvertently. I doubt that I’m always successful, but it’s a goal about which I’m passionate.

I do not lie, cheat or steal.

If I were to have a tombstone when I die (I won’t, since I’m being cremated and scattered) I think I’d like it to say, “Miki worked hard to do no evil, hurt no person and give back more than she took.”

What would you want on yours?

Your comments—priceless

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