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Summary

Paul has a discussion with several patreons via zoom, invited by prior email, to suggest answers to the question of what could Paul do if someone donated $500,000 with 2 stipulations:
1) the money must be spent on something which creates a positive global change and
2) the investment must return $500,000 so that it's self-perpetuating.

Paul mentions that last year he received 2 generous donations with no strings attached, but feels that the money hasn't all be spent wisely.

It's not clear how fast the $500,000 should be earned back.  Paul suggests within a year.

Jay suggests that money could be spent increasing the numbers of people who attend at Paul's place.  They talk over various suggestions on this theme throughout the podcast, at least some of which have already been tried with mixed results.  Paul admits that they didn't sell all the tickets for the PTJ, and sales are slow for the upcoming October event.

Cindy reminds us that not every thing succeeds: it took Edison 2700 attempts to make a viable electric lamp.  She also suggests that they need to reach more people and mentions TikTok as an example.  Paul is wary of paying people to create content as it can eat a lot of money for little return.

Katie suggests that, with the experience gained in building, for example, WOFATIs could become a revenue earner by having a team which people could hire to build a WOFATI for them.  Paul mentions that Josiah has not been inundated with people asking him to build WOFATI greenhouses after the production of the video about it.  Paul also mentions that there are RMH builders now who will come build an RMH for you.

Paul says many people live in areas with building codes, but if you get an engineer to sign off your WOFATI build, it doesn't have to be built to code.  Also, if enough get built codes will eventually change.

Cindy mentions that there are similar operations in other places and they could co-operate more, and Amy also makes a similar point about getting the word out.

Relevant Threads

Low Tech Laboratory 2: experiments with rocks, wood and mud Kickstarter

Wofati and Earth Berm forum
Devious Experiments with a Truly Passive Greenhouse - full movie

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COMMENTS:
 
steward
Posts: 3384
Location: Maine, zone 5
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Paul mentioned the thread for "List of Rocket Mass Heater Builders" and it's right here!
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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--insulation company making exploded recycled glass insulation with rocket kiln and selling for cheap
--medium-volume ceramic tile company wth wood-fired rocket kilns

some brainstorms.
haven't finsihed listening but am out of time for today
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Overall, I think the money is a distraction, and it's best just ignored.  This is because it is a tool that isn't really compatible with permaculture.  It doesn't motivate creativity or even simple marketing or sales activities.  The desire to sell is what motivates salespeople, and they mostly don't want to work for something like this--too much work to hunt them down.

The money is a little like handing Fukuoka a warehouse supply of Roundup.  What Fukuoka needed he already had.  

Maybe blow it all o adword campaign for the Better World Book or a TV spot on a primetime show and if it doesn't make back money, well, in this case it's because the customer is wrong.


Rocket businesses--my thinking:

how these serve mission:
you demonstrate how permaculture thinking gets something simple done better, cheaper, and with local labor vs. exploitative, and now people will want to know where that good research came from that came up with this kind of innovation.  Oh, Wheaton Labs, low-tech technologies improved upon.  What else might be of value there that actually works, actually "green"? Maybe I can change my whole way of living, not just get more affordable and greener X.

it's something you've helped get developed already.

--no need for food regulation, it's not getting put in anyone's body.  Probably some regulation, testing for toxicity of air particles

Forget patenting it or anything, just start making the stuff.  If a competitor steals the idea and takes up some market share, so what.

The cons:
Worse than having it not make the money back, if it becomes another cotton gin or steam engine.  Then it can be used for polluting more efficiently.  What is there to stop it from being this? "oh now we can just log this Amazon forest for fuel and set up shop there.

There's some regulation.  There's hiring people, there's labor and insurance and all that, not your style.  It might be more than just boots earning extra cash would cover.  

Solutions to cons:
--boots/residents of the Labs can do a lot
--if you get to move the labs and have job security as long as you put in a few hours in the factory each week (a very few, and no more than 4 in a day), OK, now I can afford to quit my job and go live there


I think it's better not to try to flesh out any more than this.


--
One last thought--
Maybe make microloans to people who will build themselves a rocket mass heater and then pay the money they save on their heat bill back to the Labs.  
 
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