We seldom post alternative electronic dance music news, but in certain cases like these we just cant resist.
This world, and technology is changing fast. The world is not the same as it was 50 years ago, technology has allowed our world to be much more efficient and easier to live life, but are we moving fast enough?
Billions in Change is a project by Manoj Bhargava, the founder of 5-Hour Energy, who has pledged to give 99% of his $4 billion net worth to charity. The Billions in Change charity. It’s also very fascinating that Bhargava amassed a $4 billion net worth mostly on the strength of the so-called energy shots. It’s just as fascinating that he’d still have $40 million left, after giving away 99% of his fortune.
People often complain about paying a monthly electric bill, but what if electricity was free?
The billionaire and his team developed the free energy bicycle to take advantage of mechanical energy created by humans to solve one of the world’s most pervasive problems.
Everything requires energy. Energy is the great equalizer
Says Bhargava, adding that over half of the world’s population have no access to electricity or access to electricity for two or three hours per day.
When an individual pedals the bike, the action drives a flywheel, which turns a generator and charges a battery. This means from just one hour of pedaling, a rural household can be supplied with energy for 24 hours. This free power invention has the potential to lift the 1.3 billion people who currently live in poverty, out of poverty.
And this is just one of the MANY cool inventions Manoj Bhargava has invented.
The goal of Billions in Change is to have a direct impact on the fundamental needs of the world. It is developing and distributing its own inventions to bring immediate relief in three basic areas:
Why only water, energy, and health?
Water, energy and health are three of the most basic human needs. These three affect food, health, livelihood, education, quality of life, poverty, crime, war and almost every aspect of our lives.
After you watch Billions in Change, from an entrepreneurial perspective, you’ll find yourself just as captivated by Bhargava’s philosophies around innovation. Here are some highlights from the 40-minute film:
The first question Bhargava asks when someone approaches him with a project. “Is it useful?” he says. “And if it’s not useful, it better be entertaining. And if it’s not useful or entertaining, there’s only one other basket left.”
Bhargava used his wealth to build a philanthropic invention shop. The shop, called Stage 2 Innovations, has its own facility on 5-Hour Energy’s 10-building, 25-acre base in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Its mission, says Bhargava, is to “invent stuff that makes a difference in other people’s lives.”
Specifically, Stage 2 focuses on inventions that can “help the poorer half of the world make their lives better,” he says. “That’s what we define as a great invention.”
Stage 2’s invention philosophy is: Go big or go home. Jack Juni, a Stage 2 engineer in the film, says that Bhargava is constantly telling the engineers: “If it doesn’t make a big difference, find something else to do.”
Bhargava elaborates: “If it doesn’t make us money but it really changes the lives of people, we’re going to do it … And if you come up with something cool that’s not [useful], we don’t do it. I have no interest. I don’t want to be cool.”
On what an entrepreneur’s job is all about. “My job, I think, is to make complex simple,” Bhargava says. “Whereas it seems a consultant’s job is to make simple complicated.” That sounds like a cliché, until you see the philosophy in action in the simplicity of Stage 2’s inventions.
Stage 2 has built a generator that uses bicycle-peddle power. The film states that three billion people worldwide have no electricity or electricity for just two or three hours a day.
One of Stage 2’s inventions is a hybrid bicycle that you peddle for an hour–and it creates enough pollution-free power to provide 24 hours’ worth of electricity.
The bicycle is called the Free Electric. In its simplicity, you can see the creative imprint of Bhargava, especially when you consider what a simple (but revolutionary) idea 5-Hour Energy was. Stage 2 envisions the bicycle helping not only the poorer half of the world but also wealthier parts, whenever there’s a blackout or natural disaster that knocks out the power.
On the only two things an entrepreneur needs. Common sense and a sense of urgency.
On whom an entrepreneur should study to learn about those two things. Your mom. “She’s done more than your MBA professor,” Bhargava says in the film. “She has this budget, she has kids running around, seven days a week. That’s hard work, learning on the job.”
Stage 2 is working on cables made of graphene that pull energy out of the earth’s mantle. Why graphene? Because it’s lighter than air, stronger than steel, and a better conductor than copper, notes Ravi Sajwan, CTO of Renew, an energy company housed at Stage 2. (Graphene itself is, essentially, a thin molecular layer of graphite.)
Once Bhargava’s engineers told him that graphene had the power to pull energy out of the earth in an efficient, pollution-free manner, Bhargava invested resources in building graphene cables. The project is still in the testing phase. “This would be the greatest invention, maybe ever,” he says. “Because if you can get unlimited energy from beneath the earth, pollution free–that’s everything.”
Here, too, you can see the connection between a game-changing Stage 2 invention and a product like 5-Hour Energy. They both involve energy, simple as it sounds. And they both are attempts to simplify a process that–for one reason or another–has become convoluted by human hands.
So by all means–watch Billions in Change for its compellingly philanthropic hook. But pay attention as you watch for lessons from an entrepreneur who’s learned how to invent solutions to problems most of the world overlooks.