If you've ever wondered like I have about the actual value of a piece of advice given to you by a friend long ago, you might be intrigued to discover that I recently found out that a good friend of mine's dad once gave me advice worth my wife, family and approximately $2.5 million.
How do I know? Well, apparently that's the price that a professor, inventor, and scientist named Rene Nunez Suarez paid to figure out precisely what my friend's dad told me almost a decade ago while sitting in his den late one night when I was still in college; "Charity begins at home."
It seems that Suarez embarked on his self-imposed journey towards enlightenment while struggling to create a cooking device which utilizes 95% less energy than traditional cooking devices that people in poor areas of the world use. And that adventure started after discovering that 65% of the people in his native El Salvador still utilize wood as their primary source of fuel for cooking when he was asked to help write a book back in the mid-90's for a friend.
His original goal was simple enough Invent a device that enables the world's poor to cook cheaply and cleanly without deforesting some of the most important, forested areas on Earth. But he ran into more than a few problems that led to mounds of personal trouble.
First off was the task of actually inventing the device, but by persevering through both trial and tribulation he actually came up with one capable of doing exactly what he wanted, and even received a U.S. patent on it.
Unfortunately, what he discovered soon afterwards was that while environmental groups were more than happy to stand and applaud from the sidelines they simply didn't have the funding to make his dream happen. If they did, they simply chose not to use their resources to fund someone else's endeavor. And government officials in El Salvador showed little interest in the project despite it's benefits.
Of course, as his wife had pointed out before she left the poor themselves don't have the $325 to lay out for even the most efficient cooking device imaginable; so without a potential customer base there's no business on Earth that will touch his idea because they can't turn a profit.
Now he's found himself at the age of 61 without his wife, two children, and his not inconsiderable personal fortune of $2.5 million; much of which was lost in the bitter divorce proceedings with his wife resulting from his obsession with his invention to help the world's poor. And he's back living with his mom to top it all off.
But amazingly, he's still working to make his brilliantly worthwhile device go global because he's become convinced that the only way to win back his two grown children is by proving to them that he was right all along as to what his invention could do.
And I'm certainly willing to wish him success, but I'd be willing to bet that his kids really don't care much at all whether his invention succeeds or falls on its face. Rather, only if they are, in fact, worth more to him than inventing a device that can potentially change the world.
I guess there's really no way for any of us to know if that's even the case Maybe he could start by saying so if it's true?
via:: The Seattle Times