In the age of Coronavirus, ocean acidification, plastic overload, and insect apocalypse what does the world need to think more boldly and optimistically about our future? Some say its more entrepreneurs like Ben Lamm, whose company Hypergiant recently announced its EOS algae bioreactor that is 400 times more effective at sequestering CO2 as trees.
I recently sat down with Ben to talk about his journey as an entrepreneur, what drives him and what keeps him optimistic in these apocalyptic times. It was an insightful conversation and an encouraging window into the brain of a hyper-focused man looking to leave his mark on humanity in a positive way.
Grit Daily: What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
Ben Lamm: I think I was born an entrepreneur. I just can’t do any other job; I’m not suited to them in large part because I’m someone who has big ideas, big vision and then wants to execute on that. I don’t want to make someone else’s company, I want to make my own and do it my way. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the direct impact of your decisions.
GD: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
BL: Do exactly what you are doing but find more people with crazier bigger ideas and get them involved in those things even earlier.
GD: What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
BL: I’m an entrepreneur. I live, breathe and dream about the projects I work on and don’t really have a ton of free time. I believe that there is an explorer’s nature in all true entrepreneurs though. I love to travel whether it’s for work or pleasure. I always try to find experiences off the beaten path in the cities I am in to either learn more of the history or experience the culture
GD: How do you handle adversity and doubt?
BL: I run into every problem. All of them. All of the time. I don’t back down or run away when trouble creeps in. So, in a strange way, I often find myself running towards adversity and use that approach to eliminate doubt. It’s truly about not being afraid of hard problems and conversations and tackling them head-on.
GD: Have you experienced failures? If so, what did you learn from them?
BL: Who hasn’t on some level? But, I don’t see failures as these big epic things. Failures are moments to learn. If you learn from it, is it really a failure or a lesson? The more we learn, the further along we get in our quest to do the things we want to do. I have a lot of things I want to do and a ton of stuff I am learning as I go along. The biggest thing I have learned from failing is to really focus on quickly learning from it and moving forward. There is no reason to dwell on the past or mistakes. It is better to quickly move forward and continue to grow as a person and an entrepreneur.
GD: To what do you attribute your success?
BL: Relentless curiosity, passion, and amazing people who have supported me. Nothing is more exciting to me than a passionately curious team who is determined to solve a problem, overcome adversity, or attempt to change the world.
GD: How did you know when you had the right idea?
BL: You just know. It’s like a pit in your stomach kind of thing where all of a sudden it all totally makes sense and it seems like the only path forward. It is the moment when there is a raging conviction in you to risk everything to try and help people see what you see. It often takes time to convince the world of your vision and your product or solution is the right one at the right time.
GD: What is the most impactful book you have read?
BL: Most recently Sapiens and Moneyland were the two books that had great core messages while being highly interesting. Because I love space, I also highly recommend Astrophysics for People in a Hurry since its a quick guide to the universe for your pocket.
GD: What excites you most about the future?
BL: I don’t believe in this doomsday apocalyptic future everyone has been selling lately. Human potential is unbelievable and nothing is impossible. Literally the things humans do blows my mind. That’s the stuff that excites me the most. I’m constantly awake thinking “What are we all going to be able to do next? Flying cars? Cures for cancer? The fountain of youth?” Sign me up. I find myself inspired every day by innovations and inventions that happen because of our human existence. I choose to focus on this part of humanity and hope more continue to.
GD: What will it take for humanity to reverse course and move to a regenerative vs extractive future?
BL: Voting. We need to vote in the politicians who support the change we care about. It’s literally that simple for most people: just vote. Also, make sure the companies you work at are doing good and if they aren’t, push them to do better. It’s shocking what a few people who care can do in companies of any size. So, care about where you work and vote.
In these times, it’s more important than ever that we as Ben puts it focus on the beauty and awesomeness of human potential and what we can achieve when we come together in the service of our common good. It’s exciting to see what Ben and company are up to, to keep up to date on the latest Hypergiant happenings, be sure to sign up for the company’s newsletter and check out their website!