“When Kennedy said that we will put a man on the moon, it’s about the fact that he said, ‘We don’t know how to do this yet, and we are gonna to do it anyway,’ and that sends chills up everybody’s spines, because if that happens, what couldn’t we do?”
We believe that to fundamentally change outcomes for students, we need to fundamentally change the way we do school. Moonshot edVentures’ name was inspired by this YouTube video, Moonshot Thinking, whose transcript (and many inspiring quotes) inspire the way we do our work.
Transcript of video above:
The actual moonshot is wonderful, inspirational, poetic, beautiful; involved great technical challenges, genuine heroism, it brought the world together.
But think about the Polynesian islander on the dugout canoe, deciding one day they were going to go that way. No one had ever been that way before, no one even knew if there was anything that way before; it was amazing and it changed the world.
People can set their minds to magical, seemingly impossible ideas and then through science and technology bring them to reality. And that then sets other people on fire. The other things that look impossible might be accomplishable.
Gallileo was such a hero, you know, in thinking big, and what he represents to me is both curiosity and wonder that humanity had–that he had–that pushed him and drove himself to invent and work on the first telescopes that allowed us to see the moon, and here we are.
These aviation pioneers were figuring it out as they went, no one really knew how to build an airplane, right? No one knew how to fly an airplane. So it was amazing and crazy and wonderful and they wanted to explore. Many years ago, the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said “because it is there.”
There are so many challenges in the world, and you can feel daunted by that, you know, and sort of repressed by that, or you say how might we think differently about this?
Everyone else in the world is working on that next ten percent. If you can be the one that delivers that ten times improvement, you have a chance to really change things.
If you want cars to run at fifty miles per gallon, fine, you can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you it has to run on a gallon of gas for five hundred miles, you have to start over.
You need a lot of courage in this work and you need a lot of persistence. One of the things that is really critical is not only having the courage to keep trying every day or thinking big. Even if you don’t really 100 percent believe it’s possible, like, you might think this might be possible, have the courage to try, that’s how the greatest things have happened.
You don’t spend your time being bothered that you can’t teleport from here to Japan, because there is a part of you that think’s it’s impossible. Moonshot thinking is choosing to be bothered by that.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
Humanity’s progress has been a series of amazing audacious things from the very small and personal, to the very great big and grand, and we are a species of moonshots, and to me that’s like the really amazing poetic and inspirational thing. I think our ambitions are a glass ceiling in what we can accomplish.
When you find your passion, you are unstoppable.
You can make amazing things happen; it’s been true throughout all of history.
I believe in the human spirit and I believe that there are always going to be crazy people who will get out of bed one morning and say, “you know what, I think I can build a space zone.”
I think that if we become afraid to take these great big risks, we stop inspiring people, we stop achieving things.
And the biggest nightmare scenario is that we won’t have what it takes to solve the really big challenges. When Kennedy said that we will put a man on the moon, it’s about the fact that he said, ‘We don’t know how to do this yet, and we are gonna to do it anyway,’ and that sends chills up everybody’s spines, because if that happens, what couldn’t we do?