Vacation Time Giving | Finding Today’s Lost Einsteins
This is a guest post from Michael Vo, a former engineering director at Tesla.
The premise is pretty simple… Most extrapolations had Einstein’s IQ at 160. The probability of having a IQ of 160+ is about one in 11,307. Now with over a billion people living in poverty today, the simple math estimates that there are well over 88,000 potential Einsteins out there, struggling to find their next meal for themselves and their family. Understandably that a certain population reading this will make the argument that through some way of natural selection, this group of impoverished people do not have the same probability of having such a high IQ. Or, even if there were 88,000 potential Einsteins, their impact to humanity would be minimal as there’s still an abundance of genius in the world. Well, we’ll walk through why the former assertion is wrong and the latter thinking is mathematically incorrect.
For those who think that people in poverty do not have the capacity to be intelligent or have children with that potential, here’s a quick sanity check;
For most of us that migrated to the US or had parents that migrated, ask this question — if your parents hadn’t made the move, would you have the same opportunities you have today? Some of the most influential people of our era migrated from distressed countries, and regions all over the world. What if they weren’t presented the opportunity to escape the harsh conditions? Would they still be working to solve some of humanity’s toughest challenges today or would working at a fruit stand be their calling?
Einstein’s parents weren’t geniuses. In fact most ‘geniuses’ had rather ordinary parents and to compound the point, also had ‘normal’ children. Nature tends to level the playing field with such ironies.
Now to the population that don’t see the significance. Imagine a world without Einstein. His work has had an immense impact on our everyday lives ranging from today’s TV’s, digital cameras,
GPS, nuclear energy, and even the alarm clock. Yes…your alarm clock! Now would other intelligent people eventually come to the same solutions, maybe… but on what time
scale? How behind would humanity be today? With 88,000 more potential Einsteins out there, imagine the impact they would have working to solve today’s biggest issues on healthcare, poverty, energy and education. Believing that 1/7th of our intelligent resources being wasted away has little impact is not only naive, but also foolish. While it can be argued that 88,000 may not be absolute or precise, it can’t be argued that the impact is not significant or perhaps even catastrophic.
The question now becomes what can we do to ensure that ALL Einsteins out there have the same opportunities to do future GREAT things? Where do the resources come from to solve this 1 Billion | 88k problem? Before we roll up our sleeves, let’s look at the current landscape..
Philanthropy and charitable giving has been stagnant at 2% of US GDP since the ’70s.
Philanthropy and the charity space as a whole, lack innovation and technology that excites and inspires.
Last year, there was $52.4 BILLION worth of unused vacation time in just the US.
Yes, these are staggering and sobering points, however, they also lead us to the solution. With philanthropy and charitable giving stagnant at 2% GDP, how do we find new buckets of money to move that needle to 3%, 4% or even higher? Yes! Ding ding ding! Imagine, if we were able to take just 1% of the $52.4 billion of unused vacation time every year and funnel that to charities around the world that does impactful work. That would mean, an additional half a billion dollars a year going towards feeding the hungry, providing education to the underprivileged, give hope to climate change, perhaps even medical research to cure cancer. And of course, the underlying technology that integrates, make the user experience wonderful and fulfilling. we2o was spawned to help expedite this vision, solve those two fundamental equations, 1. funnel new buckets of money to facilitate charities and 2. innovate on technology necessary to bring philanthropy to equal footing to all other industries. we2o helps unify charities, companies and donors through a social giving community. The platform allows employees to use vacation and salary to support the charities they truly care about. How many Einsteins would we be able to find if everyone donated just an hour of their time across the world? Finding all 88k right away would be unrealistic, but starting with 500 or even 1000 would be great progress for humanity. The question then no longer is ‘how many Einsteins lost’ but rather ‘What’s An Hour?’
About Michael Vo:
Michael Vo, a former engineering director at Tesla who is passionate about technology and now focuses on bringing technology disruption to philanthropy.
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