3 Quick Questions with .NEXT Europe Speaker Mick Ebeling

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Mick Ebeling is the chief innovation instigator and founder of Not Impossible Labs, an award-winning content and technology solution creator based in Los Angeles. Operating under the motto “help one, help many,” The Not Impossible team improves the lives of individuals in need by developing low-cost, tech-based solutions, and then shares their powerful stories to teach and inspire others to do the same.

We reached out to Mick prior to his speaking engagement at .NEXT Europe to learn more about the people he’s helped, and how the movement is proliferating.

Not Impossible seeks out the “absurdities” of the world and sets out to fix them. Where do you tend to find those absurdities? The news? Walking around town? Or do people come to you?

Here at Not Impossible, we like to say that we find an absurdity and then decide to revolt against it. We get our ideas from everywhere that you mentioned, the news, hearing a story from a friend, etc. That is the key to our innovation, identifying what really needs changing. An artist that can’t move? That has no canvas on which to express himself? That’s absurd. A boy in war-torn Sudan gets his arms blown off and wishes he were dead so he won’t be a burden to his family? That’s just not right. These things shouldn’t be. This can apply to your daily work, too. Look for the absurd around you. Is that weekly conference call with a dozen people really making an impact? Whatever it is, you’ll know it, because you’ll feel the passion burn in your belly. If you can’t stop thinking about it, then you have the passion to do something about it. Don’t ignore that feeling. Act!

Your mission is inspiring people around the world to “do the impossible.” Any stories of people not associated with Not Impossible taking matters into their own hands and creating tech for the sake of humanity?

One story that always sticks out in my mind was from a few years ago, 2015 I think…a 13-year-old kid named Shubham Banerjee created a braille printer out of Lego pieces for a school science project. He called it the “Braigo”, which is an awesome name, and with the help of his family, he turned that school project into a startup company. That company ended up getting financial backing from Intel Corp. I mean, this kid was only 13! But he saw an absurdity and committed to making a difference. Now, a machine that was around $2,000, he made for a little over $300, just to help make this technology more accessible for everyone. I had read that he had also planned to release it via “open source” format so that anyone could build it. That was truly amazing and inspiring.

Do you tend to keep in touch with the people you help?

As best as we can, but the purpose of what we do at Not Impossible is to empower people to find scalable solutions without us. With that being said, last year, we went back to the Sudan to expand and deploy a new prosthetic limb for Daniel that did not require electricity. Although, through the implementation of that project, we had an additional motive. We executed a plan to smuggle Daniel, his brother, and friend out of the country across the border into Kenya with the purpose to enrolling them in a private school in Nairobi. We successfully completed that objective and I am happy to report that they are all thriving!

One last question: We searched the dark recesses of the internet (Wikipedia) for info on you, and learned you played basketball for the Air Force Academy, Colorado. Any tips on getting the perfect 3-pointer?

It’s all about the back spin! And actually, in my book Not Impossible: The Art and Joy of Doing What Couldn’t Be Done, chapter 12 is very apropos: “Fail, Fail, Fail, Succeed. Repeat As Necessary.” Although it wasn’t written regarding basketball, it can definitely apply.

Hear more from Mick Ebeling at .NEXT this November in Nice, France! Visit www.nutanix.com/next to register today.

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