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当“不是不可能”遇到“不合理”,会说些什么?

柳仕鲁(Andrew Nusca) 2019年04月09日

其中一家公司的高管说,你只需要看到荒谬的地方,然后问为什么。之后“不自觉的作战计划”会自然出现,解决问题。

想登上月球,并不一定需要航天飞机。

这话出自不是不可能实验室公司(Not Impossible Labs)的首席执行官米克·艾伯林和不合理公司(Unreasonable)的首席执行官丹尼尔·爱普斯坦,这两位创业家活跃在拓展可能性的最前沿。两人于上周二现身在圣迭戈举办的《财富》头脑风暴健康会议,对与会者说,每个人都能够成为推动世界变革的代理人。

艾伯林说,改变当然不需要专业技能。“我们需要的不过是人。”他在说起自己公司的项目时表示,“只要你能呼吸空气,具有造血功能就符合条件。”

他说,你只需要看到荒谬的地方,然后问为什么。之后“不自觉的作战计划”会自然出现,解决问题。

例如,艾伯林承认他过去以为所有患肌萎缩侧索硬化症(ALS)这种神经系统疾病的人都能像已故天体物理学家斯蒂芬·霍金一样使用计算机系统,拥有独一无二的声音和交流方式。但事实并非如此。艾伯林在洛杉矶遇到了一位瘫痪的涂鸦艺术家,他交流时用的是“一张纸”。

艾伯林说:“我想,‘这太扯了,必须要改变。’”于是他的公司准备了便宜的太阳镜,在上面缠上电线和摄像头,把摄像头转过去以追踪这位艺术家的瞳孔,这样就能在屏幕上画画。“有一天早上我醒来后,发现我们入选了《时代》周刊(Time)的年度50大发明。”他说。

现在这位艺术家可以写作,可以交流,而最棒的是,他可以创作涂鸦了。“这件事的意义在于可以发挥一个人的潜力,赋予他们原本可能无法享有的权利。”艾伯林说。

爱普斯坦则认为,如果我们致力于给创业家提供支持,这种变革可以在很多领域里得到复制。“伟大的创意有几百万个。”他说,“至少在美国,缺少的并不是资本。而是勇气。“

为了把想法变成现实,创业家并不害怕用他们拥有的一切去冒险,而且可能已经这么做了。爱普斯坦说:“那段旅程孤独得难以想象,艰辛得难以想象,而且胜算不大。”这也是为什么他要给这些人提供支持。不合理公司投资的业务已经筹资21亿美元,经营范围覆盖36个国家。他补充道,他们公司为180位成长型公司的首席执行官提供支持,但“对人们的影响”——这180名创业家共能影响3亿人——“才是最重要的。”

在电影人、制片人艾伯林看来,变革的根源来自于对个体的关注。他说,他的不是不可能实验室没有太多资金进行项目投资:“对我们来说,要使用最得天独厚的工具”讲出最引人入胜的故事。比如说,别想着要讲一个关于饥饿的故事,要讲一个关于某一个人的故事。“我们为一个人解决问题。”他说,“这样他们就有了讲故事的机会。”

艾伯林讲了个故事。他用设备给一个苏丹人制作了一条假臂——也因此建起了全球首个3D义肢打印实验室。等他飞回洛杉矶时,当地的村民们已经又制作了三条新的假臂。“这就是我们所说的帮助一个人,就帮助了很多人。”艾伯林说。

爱普斯坦说,他们公司的守护神是19世纪的剧作家乔治·萧伯纳,原因是下面这段话:“讲理的人适应世界。不讲理的人坚持尝试让世界适应自己。因此,所有进步都取决于不讲理的人。”

“萧伯纳说的对。”爱普斯坦说,“当今世界里,如果进步取决于不讲理的人,我们就必须得把赌注押在他们身上。”

他又补充道:“同理心可以建立帝国。这是我们的信条之一。”

艾伯林说,任何人都可以做出改变——我们都有这种能力。“我们不是要解决世界的问题;我们知道我们做不到。”他说的是自己公司,“我们要做的不是激励人们——因为[这么做就意味着]我在赋予你权力。我们想提醒人们,你有权这样做。这和学历或文凭无关,重要的是潜力。”

而且不是一定要开发花哨的新设备才能实现愿景。“不一定得是复杂的让人啧啧称奇的设备。”他说,“答案可以非常简单。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

You don’t need a space shuttle to take a shot at the moon.

That mantra comes courtesy of two entrepreneurs operating at the cutting edge of possibility, Not Impossible Labs CEO Mick Ebeling and Unreasonable CEO Daniel Epstein. The pair appeared at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego on last Tuesday to explain how attendees could be change-agents for the world.

It certainly doesn’t require specialized skills, Ebeling said. “We look for things that you see as a human being,” he said, speaking to his company’s projects. “Your qualifications are that you breathe air and pump blood.”

All you need to do, he said, is see an absurdity and ask, why? An “ego-less attack plan” to solve the problem is sure to follow.

For example, Ebeling acknowledged that he had assumed people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurological disease known as ALS, all had access to the computing equipment that gave the late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking his distinct voice and means of communication. That’s not true. Ebeling met a paralyzed graffiti artist in Los Angeles who used “a piece of paper” to communicate.

“I thought, ‘That’s F’d, gotta change that,’” Ebeling said. So his company took cheap sunglasses, taped wire and a camera to them, and turned it around so that it could track his pupil to draw on a screen. “I woke up one day and we were a Time magazine Top 50 Invention of the Year,” he said.

Now the artist can write, communicate, and—best of all—create graffiti. “It’s about channeling what potential a human has and giving them access that they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Ebeling said.

That dynamic can be replicated in a number of areas if we commit to backing entrepreneurs, Epstein argued. “There are millions of great ideas,” he said. “And in the United States, at least, there’s not a shortage of capital, either. But there’s a dearth of courage.”

Entrepreneurs are not afraid to risk everything they have, and could have, to will something into existence. “That journey is incredibly lonely and incredibly hard—the odds are stacked against you,” Epstein said. That’s why he bets on them. The businesses that Unreasonable supports have raised $2.1 billion and operate in 36 countries. The company supports 180 growth equity CEOs, he added, but “the impact on people”—some 300 million within reach of those 180 entrepreneurs—”is what matters.”

For filmmaker and producer Ebeling, change comes by focusing on a single person. His Not Impossible Labs didn’t have much money to invest in its projects: “For us, you use the tools that you have been blessed with” to tell a compelling story, he said. Don’t try to tell the story of, say, hunger; try to tell the story of a single individual. “We solve a problem for one person,” he said. “It gives people the chance to relate to them.”

Ebeling offered an anecdote. His outfit built a prosthetic arm—and in doing so, stood up the world’s first 3D printing prosthetic lab—for a person in Sudan. By the time he flew back to Los Angeles, fellow villagers had made three more arms. “That’s the help one, help many,” Ebeling said.

Epstein said his company’s patron saint is 19th century playwright George Bernard Shaw, owing to the following passage: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

“George Bernard Shaw is right,” Epstein said. “In the world we live in today, if progress depends on unreasonable people, we can’t afford not to bet on them.”

He added: “Empathy builds empires. That’s one of our beliefs.”

Anyone can make change, Ebeling said—we all have that capacity. “We don’t want to solve the world’s problems; we know that we can’t,” he said of his own company. “We don’t want to inspire people—[that would be] me granting power to you. We want to remind you that you have permission to go do it. It’s not about degrees or diplomas, but potential.”

And you don’t need to develop fancy new equipment to see your vision through. “It doesn’t have to be complicated and confangled,” he said. “It can be very simple.”

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