Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Peace Prize’

What are you starting and what will you leave behind?

Friday, February 19th, 2010

I am in a history book club, which I’ve talked about before on this blog. We met last night, and the topic was winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Everyone read about a different winner, all amazing people. But the most interesting thing to come out of the meeting was the story about Alfred Nobel and why he may have started the Nobel Prizes.

Apparently, Nobel and his brothers were the most famous inventors of their time. Most notably, Alfred Nobel is credited with the invention of dynamite. In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died when visiting in France, and a French newspaper incorrectly published an obituary for Alfred reporting, “the merchant of death is dead” and claimed that “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” (As an aside, there is an interesting list of other premature obituaries here.)

Alfred NobelMany speculate that it was this bizarre and premature report of his death that led Nobel to (unexpectedly) leave the majority of his money in a trust to fund the Nobel Prizes.

Fast forward to today. One of viagra online shop in uk the best things about being an entrepreneur is the ability to create new things. But the implications of inventing or building or creating something that didn’t exist before can be serious. I’m certain that the founder of Craigslist didn’t anticipate it being used for murder, that MySpace’s founder didn’t plan for it to lead to suicide and that the inventors of these top 10 inventions that went bad for mankind didn’t plan for them to be used the way that the ultimately were.

Nobel’s invention has been used in mining, quarrying and construction to great results. But it has also been used to kill, murder and maim. That was a legacy that he wasn’t comfortable in leaving – so he did something about it.

I am an entrepreneur, but more specifically, I like to build things that didn’t exist before. I get a lot of joy out of envisioning something new, and then bringing it to life. This story of Alfred Nobel, though, was a good reminder to consider the cost. I’m also thinking hard about what I can to leave a legacy of which I can be proud.

The greening of the world

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Environmental protestBeing environmentally conscience is trendy right now. Let me be quick to say that I think this is a good thing, I don’t mean to belittle the movement with my choice of words. I also think that the United States has hit a tipping point, and that environmental causes will never go back to being just left-wing issues, due in part (at least) to the work that Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has done to educate the masses on environmental issues. Along the way, Gore has managed to recruit a large number of high-profile celebrities to the cause. The verdict? It is now “cool” to be green. Today is “Blog Action Day” and 19,745 bloggers (including myself) have signed up to blog about the environment. Along with bloggers, companies are moving to earth-friendly messaging. When something is as cool as “being green” is cool, it’s time to market that angle for all its worth. Some examples:

GM has a corporate responsibility section of its Web site with numerous assertions of its greenness.

Steve Jobs wrote a letter about Apple being green. (Greenpeace disagrees, claiming that the iPhone contains hazardous chemicals.

P&G’s Environmental Science Department is (thankfully) asking the same questions as consumers of its products, such as “When the ingredients in Tide and Crest disappear down the drain, where do they end up?”

My verdict: Green may be getting popular, but we still have a long way to go before we get it right.

* The little girls in the picture are my friends Charlotte & Rob’s daughters.

~ Red Door ~