Adam Parris – Volta Prize

twitter twitter facebook

Adam is trying to fail his way to success by challenging the defaults (the status quo) that exist in our everyday life, to increase our living standards and decrease our cost of living. Adam got his first taste of business from both grandparents; one owned a café and the other a cordial factory and real estate. His grandfather introduced him to the letters of Warren Buffett, which is where Adam learnt the fundamentals of business.

Adam is trying to fail his way to success by challenging the defaults (the status quo) that exist in our everyday life, to increase our living standards and decrease our cost of living. Adam got his first taste of business from both grandparents; one owned a café and the other a cordial factory and real estate. His grandfather introduced him to the letters of Warren Buffett, which is where Adam learnt the fundamentals of business.

Adam is trying to fail his way to success by challenging the defaults (the status quo) that exist in our everyday life, to increase our living standards and decrease our cost of living. Adam got his first taste of business from both grandparents; one owned a café and the other a cordial factory and real estate. His grandfather introduced him to the letters of Warren Buffett, which is where Adam learnt the fundamentals of business.

Adam has failed but will try again to disrupt the two largest supermarkets in Australia; they’re ripe for disruption. Throw in a few failed fitness apps and that’s Adam’s past entrepreneurial journey.

Create a purpose for your life. The grander the purpose, the more fulfilled and inspired you will feel to go ahead and achieve it.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

The Volta Prize is simply a competition for anyone globally to enter to win prize money plus bonus prize money.

The requirements to win is simply to build a 100% electric truck (prime mover size), capable of travelling 700 kilometres on a single charge with autonomous capabilities.

To determine the winner, all teams will be required to race from Sydney to Perth via Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. There will be specific testing for other requirements.

The total prize purse is $14million. 1st Prize is $11m; 2nd Prize is $1.5 million & 3rd is $500k. Bonus Prize money $1 million. The teams will own any Intellectual Property that they develop, so they can build a business during or after the competition.

Wow, why a solar powered truck?

There are several reasons:

The ordinary Australian today with current technology can change the world!

Go back 1,000 years it was only that the Kings, Queens, Emperors and Pharaohs were the only ones who could solve large-scale problems and only 100 years ago, this power expanded to the industrialists like Carnegie, Rockefeller and National Governments.

But today, the passionate and committed individual has access to the technology, access to the cognitive surplus of global citizens through crowdsourcing, and the capital required through crowdfunding to take on any challenges.

As Peter Diamandis has repeated, “The world’s biggest challenges are now today’s biggest business opportunities”.

That is one message I want to get through to fellow Australians. I worry about Australians becoming complacent considering we had over 22 years of economic growth, and this expectation exists within society that the government has to solve our problems.

As Bill Gates once said “Success is a lazy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”.

With the federal government’s lousy uninspiring commitment to reduce Australia’s fossil fuel emissions, I knew we needed to take action now. Can you imagine if JFK said back in the early 60s ‘We are only going 20% of the way to the moon by the end of the decade’, that is essentially what the government is saying with their 20% or something renewable targets.

We citizens can help make a real difference by solving this large puzzle one piece at a time. That is why I’m targeting the transport industry. With little innovation occurring by truck manufacturers worldwide, it is time to disrupt.

Electric vehicles are the future of road transport. The amazing and exciting thing about electric vehicles is they not only help reduce global emissions but have the ability to increase our living standards and decrease our cost of living. Even if you don’t believe in climate change you’d still prefer an electric car because it works out cheaper and you can upgrade the cars performance over the internet, as Tesla has proven!

The main reason I’m pushing autonomous capabilities is to advance further the technology and acceptance on our roads, as it will dramatically increase the mobility of our citizens with a disability, our aging population, it will save lives and provide relief to our paramedics, nurses and doctors.

Most importantly I want the competition to inspire our children. Every generation before us has inspired us with their innovation and ingenuity.

Elon Musk, Larry Page, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezo and Paul Allan, who are pioneering the private space travel industry were inspired by the Apollo astronauts who risked their lives to go to the moon, which was occurring while they were growing up.  The kids growing up now are being inspired by SpaceX or Blue Origin land a reusable rocket, will go on to expand our space travel as we know it.

If I can inspire one child today that grows up and improves upon the current technology we develop today that makes a sufficient contribution to the world, I’ll die a happy man.

Can you explain your business model for us?

We rely on donations and sponsorship for money. There is a wealthy person out there that will donate the total prize money $14 million and we will include their name in the title The Volta (X) prize.

What are you most excited about in the next year?

The Volta Prize competition and also an idea for an app that will help people save money for their specific goal, say for example a holiday or saving a deposit on a mortgage or paying off their mortgage.

How do you make ideas happen?

Firstly idea generation.

By reading a wide range of books in different disciplines, I’m trying to grasp the elemental models. Biology, psychology, chemistry, physics and engineering for example. Having a multi-disciplinary framework of different models helps connect the dots and helps formulate ideas.

Also having a wide range of life experiences, like traveling through Asia and experiencing different cultures.

“If you’re gonna make connections which are innovative”, Steve Jobs said back in 1982, “you have to not have the same bag of experience as everyone else does.”

Secondly Execution.

This quote by Adam Grant is probably why people fail to execute.

“Fear is marked by uncertainty about the future: We’re worried that something bad will happen. But because the event hasn’t occurred yet, there’s also a possibility, however slim, that the outcome will be positive.”

Personally, I’m still learning how best to do this. It is emotionally tiring getting feedback on ideas when people think the ideas are too crazy.

Communicating the idea is extremely important. But I try to apply the 80/20 rule. I try to work out 20% of activities will produce 80% of the results that I’m trying to achieve with Volta.

Just doing anything that gets me closer to fulfilling my vision is what I do when fear creeps in.

Adam Grant has written out a road map for how to make ideas happen in his book Originals.

What role have mentors played in your business life?

Role models have played an important role, not just in business life but life in general.

They taught me that success leaves clues and mentors are great at focusing on the clues left by successful people. Role models do also affect your personality if you look up to someone like Donald Trump you’ll probably act like an arsehole. So be careful who you pick.

Role models have taught me to ask better questions and to check my self-talk.

What does your typical day look like?

I have a morning routine to prime myself for the day ahead. I get up around 6 am and go for a walk. While walking, I think about everything I’m grateful for and then focus on my vision for my life and lastly focus on the day ahead.

If I am not working at my casual day job, I’m at home working on Volta.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

Only making the right connections with the right people.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Create a purpose for your life. The grander the purpose, the more fulfilled and inspired you will feel to go ahead and achieve it. It is during the dark times when you hopeless that you remind yourself of your purpose, as Viktor Frankl who is a Holocaust survivor once said: “he who has a WHY to live for can endure any HOW”.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

The World Solar Challenge – The Sunswift team from UNSW (Solar Racing Team Sunswift).

The Canberra entrepreneurial community – Entry29,  The CBR Innovation Network, CSIRO, NICTA and also ANU and UC.  All are doing exciting work.

Adelaide FabLab – at the cutting edge of digital fabrication.

Sequence EV – Australia’s first fully electric vehicle manufacturer, here in Canberra.

What about internationally?

Elon Musk – Tesla, SpaceX & Hyperloop

Peter Diamandis – Singularity University & XPrize

Bryan Johnson – Founder of the OS Fund and Planetary Resources (mining asteroids).

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

I believe business plays the main role in social change.

Name three websites you would recommend to our readers.

Renew Economy – Great Aussie news source to keep updated with renewable energy tech.

Facebook – Don’t create a website to sell an item, just create a Facebook business page to sell the product. The community is already on Facebook, so Facebook is like a supermarket; if you’re selling apples you try and sell them in a supermarket or sell them at a fresh food market because people are already there.

Just find for community forum of people that share your passion and beliefs. You’ll have more fun and opportunities to make money.

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.

@Daniel Flynn – co-founder of Thankyou water.

@WomenSciAUST – Women in STEM. I’m excited at the prospect of more women contributing to the sciences and the world as a whole. I believe we have missed out on some truly advanced breakthroughs throughout history by excluding women from participating in the STEM, the workforce and the world at large.

Simon Hackett – Energy storage, EV’s, Broadband NBN.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?

I welcome anyone who can add value to the competition and increase our chances of success.

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

What is the best way to make the first sale without spending a dollar on advertising?

 

Learn from over 200 Australians making ideas happen.

Tags from the story
, , , ,
More from The Social Deck

Marcus Lim – founder of One Flare

Marcus is the founder of Oneflare, an online platform which connects customers and...
Read More