Sunday, April 27, 2008

More X PRIZE Foundation Insights From Diamandis Talk

I took some notes on the Peter Diamandis podcast from the Stanford Entrepreneurs program, but am only now getting a chance to post them. It was a wide-ranging interview, and I only noted things that were new to me, or at least a different perspective on something old ... and also I only noted things about prizes. In other words, the notes are quite selective, and barely give an idea of the content of the talk. Your interests or background may be different, in which case you might want to listen to the podcast. Here are my notes:

They're working on various new X PRIZEs:

- a series of deep ocean prizes, for example, to map the ocean floor

- a cancer prize with Lance Armstrong

- a human longevity prize, with a goal to double or triple the healthy human lifespan

For those interested, they do have summer internships.

They're investigating an idea on "Mega-Prizes" for things that seem almost impossible now.

In the Q/A session, someone asked Peter to expand on the undersea X PRIZEs. His response:

They're working with various people, including advisory board members like James Cameron, on the prize. Only 3% of the ocean floor has been mapped, and even with that small fraction we've found the biggest "waterfalls", underground lakes, and mountain ranges. Deep ocean thermal vents are of special interest. Over the next year they'll decide what the ocean prizes should be. Possibilities:

- design of robotic technology to swarm and cooperatively map the ocean floor

- new human exploration technology (we're still using the MIR submersibles from 30 years ago for deep ocean exploration)

- ocean health

The deep ocean exploration community is stuck in the same way that the space community was stuck.

Peter also described an idea called "My X PRIZE". This is for people to join together to form prize concepts for their local community, or perhaps for a "thin community" around the world like those interested in curing a rare disease. They would make a set of prize rules. It's meant for lower prize amounts like $1,000 to $1M. The idea is to make efficient marketplaces for problems and problem solvers. (My comment: That sounds a bit like an Innocentive for communities).