Today, as part of the overall business development plan, I started working on the accounting. This is not a trivial action. It will take some time to figure this out. Once I do, I will share with you some of the graphs and charts, and other details.
I’m doing this for transparency. I realize that many of you asked for this a long time ago. I’m doing this now because I’m tired of the lies and fictions that some people are telling about me. I’m tired of the guesses and suppositions. So let’s start with how the money was spent, o.k.? I don’t mind if we disagree on the priorities and choices I made – but if we start with the facts, then you can honestly critique my performance based on what actually happened.
I’m also doing this as a component of the help I’m getting from the business professor, and the attorney. They need to know where things stand, in order to be able to give the best advice.
Not much else to tell on this subject. It will take a while to complete – it’s almost three years’ worth of data.
In other news, there was some minor follow-up from that reporter last week. I’ve got a couple fact-checks and a couple to-do’s from her. I expect to have this for her Wednesday/Thursday. I don’t know when she’s gonna post the article.
Take care, mjl
I’m torn. On the one hand, I said I wasn’t going to make any more promises that I couldn’t keep, and that I wasn’t going to talk about projects that are ‘someday/maybe’. On the other hand, I also want you to know that I had a big, productive and (potentially) eventful day, today.
So all I’m going to say about this, is that later – if this works – I’ll let you know what I was working on. In other news, I had a short but useful conversation with Professor Lynette (PhD, Chair of the entrepreneurial program) about reviewing my business plan, and forming a plan to move forward with the KS project, as well as the business in total. We’re going to have a 1.5 hour meeting to get into specifics on Wednesday. I’m really looking forward to this. (This is one of the meetings that got postponed from last week.)
Speaking of catching up with missed meetings, I was able to spend another hour with our attorney, Arthur. (By the way, I miss-spoke last week. He’s not our “staff attorney”, he’s an independent attorney that is – for the moment – doing pro bono research on our behalf. Calling him a “staff attorney” implies that he’s on payroll of LiftPort and he isn’t. Sorry if this was confusing to anyone.) Anyway, it was a well invested hour. I’m going to introduce him to Lynette later this week.
Beyond those meetings and calls, it was a typical day spent on email, PowerPoints, and mail/web server.
As of last night, I’ve answered all the comments on all the days except for the first ‘restart’ day. I’ve answered a few of those, and I’ll tackle a few more tonight. Once that’s done, I’ll start responding to comments on the main campaign page.
Take care, Mjl
Tonight’s update is brief. It’s more of the same stuff I’ve already told you about:
I’ll start working backwards on the main comments section.
I hope all is well for you and yours.
Take care, mjl
For two reasons, today was a bittersweet day. It started off normal, up before 7am, working before 8. It’s pretty hot here in the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted to get my stuff done before the heat of the day hit. (I live in a 100 year old condo, and like most stuff around here, there’s no central air, and it’s not cost-effective/energy-efficient for air conditioning. So I knew I was gonna be sweating as the day wore on.)
This morning I was going through old photos, old company art, and old video. I consider this stuff to be of historic relevance… because someday, humanity is going to have (at least) three Elevators – Earth, Moon, and Mars. And when that happens, there will be people who look back at their humble beginnings. And those first steps, those false starts, those triumphant moments, and those visions of an amazing future – they began with us! (“Us” as in the global Space Elevator community; I’m not so egotistical to think that it was ‘just’ LiftPort’s accomplishments!)
I’m honored to have been there since the beginning – with NASA’s first Advanced Concepts award; with NASA’s Centennial Challenges Competition; as four pivotal and critical non-profits carried to torch. I’m proud of the work that my team at LiftPort has accomplished – trying (and failing) for a breakthrough in carbon nanotubes, building robots that first were made of Lego, and then evolving into ‘bots that could climb a mile into the sky! I’m amazed at their talent, creativity, dedication to a noble pursuit, and the perseverance they have shown – despite overwhelming obstacles.
And I’m reviewing the images that we captured along the way. I’m thinking about the stories of that each picture represents. I’m thinking of 14 years of my life that I’ve focused on this thing. I’m thinking about the men and women who have been a part of this grand idea. Some of them I’ve lost track of. Many have gotten married, and quite a few have had babies. Some have died slowly, in agony, others unexpectedly/suddenly, and one was so very very tragic that it still breaks my heart. Some have gone on to get their PhD, their Captain’s bars, some have volunteered to rebuild bombed-out cities. Others have chosen more simple pursuits – mortgages, kids, and traditional careers. I miss them. I miss their hope, their optimism, and their certainty that we were building something great.
I’m reviewing tens of thousands of pictures. There is a local artist that would like to put on a showing, probably in August. He needs material, and he needs the stories that go with them. This is very hard for me. It reopens festering wounds. But I’m proud to tell their stories. Their stories deserve to be told.
These Flickr albums are just a glimpse into the past. But they are also the only online archive available. Eventually, I’ll have to post current work, and to organize this in a way that other people can use it. For now, this is my personal Flickr account. Please ignore/be respectful of random scenery, trips, and photos of my grandmother or family weddings. All of these images are pre-crash of LiftPort 1.0. I do not have current online archive of images.
Now, I’m going to go off-script and talk from my heart; a rant that is unrelated to our Space Elevator journey.
Today, I’m also sad because three people in my family are gay. One is ostracized for this, and has chosen to live far from his core family. One died during the bad old days, 20 years ago, doped on morphine to dull the agony of AIDS; his shamed brother unwilling/unable to acknowledge him. The third has been living ‘in the closet’ for 35 years because, again, the people around her don’t/won’t/can’t understand. I’m happy for yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. I really am. Yet on this day of remembering, I can’t help wondering if this decision had been made a decade or two earlier, how much sorrow, suffering, and grief could have been eliminated?
I grew up a product of my generation; I grew up homophobic. My uncle’s life, and death, shaped me in ways he never knew. I had my social blinders removed – forcefully – by some drag queens I’m now proud to call my friends. I’m happily ‘straight’, but I’ll never again be ‘narrow’. Congratulations to the United States of America… It’s about Goddamn time!
Take care, mjl
p.s. Here’s a selection from my Flickr set. The link is to the overall directory of all my 3000 photos. Feel free to explore the relevant Space Elevator photos. Some are more interesting than others. Each image has its own story. If you have a Flickr account and want to ask a question about an image, I'll try to respond. For this art exhibit, I’ll endeavor to tell some of those stories (and I will share them with you, too, if you’re interested).
Not much of an update today. The two meetings I had scheduled got postponed to Thursday and Friday.
I did chat, again, with the reporter from yesterday for some follow-ups and clarifications. She’s gonna run the story in about two weeks, after she interviews a few more people. It’s a much deeper article than they had originally planned.
On mundane news, the old website is up, as a placeholder, while the new one gets some updates. I think that will be finished by the weekend. That stuff is minor, but time consuming. And email seems to be back. Sometimes the day is filled with little things; only occasionally does something big happen.
I’ve now responded to ALL of the comments over the past eight updates – except for the firestorm ya’ll unleashed on that first day. It will take until tomorrow to tackle that one. I’ll also start responding to the stuff on the main comments page. I am NOT going to rehash ancient history – I’m only going back to my restart date of June 16. But I wanted to invest the time and respond to every criticism, critique, and compliment. Thank you for your feedback and support.
Take care, mjl
Today I spent two hours on the phone with a reporter, Andrea from Tech Times. She was thoughtful, and asked insightful questions. Some of these were things that no one had ever asked… That was unexpected. We went into a lot more personal stuff about my history and how one becomes “The Space Elevator Guy”. I don’t usually do those sorts of interviews. I usually say: “it’s not about me; it’s about the project.” As a personal favor to her editor, I went ahead with it. She was persistent; she kept coming back, saying that folks already knew a little about the Elevator, but that most people didn’t know anything about how I got to this place. It was an odd conversation. The act of linking my experiences together was strange. Seriously, how would you compress 47 years into 2 hours – and justify the choices/serendipity/luck/mistakes you’ve made along the way? Try it!
Despite her science / biology background, this was her first exposure to space stuff in general, and the Space Elevator specifically. We had to go into a lot of detail about how the Lunar system is constructed, and why it matters. I was relieved that I didn’t have to explain that the Ribbon does not connect the Earth to the Moon, or that there was no such thing as ‘anti-gravity’. You’d be surprised how many people don’t understand that. I’m constantly amazed!
She recorded the interview, but I’m not sure how she will use it. There’s way more in that conversation than she could use in a simple article. So she’s going back to her editor (Brian) to get some direction on how to handle it. She says we can expect this to be posted either this Thursday (unlikely) or next Thursday.
Of note, Brian backed our campaign back when he was working for Edgadget. It was he and Ben that did this early interview of David and I working on the ‘bot.
Unrelated and coincident, I talked to Alexis (also a backer, also worked for Engadget, also working with Ben on the documentary) for a recent update. Their movie is getting closer. They have an ultra-rough draft. I asked if I could see it, or it if was still ‘top secret’. No luck; still a secret. I have no idea what they are going to ultimately end up with. Recently, they were in Arizona talking with a couple PhD’s. They said that trip went well… I don’t know anything more about it.
Our webserver and mail server are down for upgrades, and we’re switching over some aspects of the website. So expect some glitches for the next few days. We’ll be adding some new elements soon.
Finally – and some of you will find this ironic – I spent several hours talking to folks about crowdfunding. I served as the ‘cautionary tale’. I used my own story as a scare-tactic for what can go wrong with a campaign (even when, on the surface, it looks like I did everything right with the campaign, and everything wrong with the execution afterward).
Take care, mjl
Heya, Today was an interesting day.
At long last, we’re beginning development and rolling out our formal “Technical Advisor Council” (TAC).
What is this? What does it mean for the Lunar Space Elevator? What does it mean to our Backers?
For years, since the earliest days of the project, we’ve had many very smart people swirling around on the edges of this thing. Most are engineers (space/electrical/mechanical etc.), but some are senior military officers and anthropologists, others are political experts, economists, and others are knowledgeable in theology, mining, energy, and international law… You get the picture – a broad range of talent and skills. Academically, these folks have PhD’s and Masters’ degrees; professionally, they have 10-25 years of experience. Many of these folks got involved during the time LiftPort was focused on Earth’s Elevator. However, since we began working on the Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure, a whole new crop of experts have stepped in.
I think we have something north of 400 or so that could join our TAC. But the truth is, I don’t really know. Also, not all of these folks are going to like the terms of the proposed agreements.
So one of the tasks I’ve set for myself in this re-invigoration process, is to identify current allies, and to formalize these individual alliances with documentation. I’m doing this for a number of reasons:
I believe this is the first significant step in getting this Elevator of ours designed, launched, deployed and constructed.
With this in mind, I’m writing our agreements, policies, and procedures, and testing these with a few experts. Once we work through this process, I’ll expand my efforts, and begin active recruitment and enrollment. My goal is 100 by the end of the year.
That said, if there are backers in this community that would like to get involved in the TAC (given the above required credentials), please let me know. Within the next two weeks, I’ll have a dedicated set of forms on the website, with links.
Additionally, I will also (within two weeks) begin sending out surveys to the folks that committed at the $100 (or more) levels. I value your insights.
Take care, mjl
Good evening. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
To all the dads out there – thanks!
This morning, I gave the first interview in many months, for a podcast. It was fun. The topics ranged from the history of the project, materials needed for the Earth Elevator, and the differences between that one and the Lunar Elevator. The conversation meandered for a while, but the interview was reasonably deep, and the interviewer was pretty knowledgeable.
The point of the podcast is to focus on space settlement, so naturally we talked about the vision and how building a Lunar Elevator enables things like space stations, Lunar and Martian outposts, asteroid mining and space based solar power.
Liam, the interviewer, said he’ll post it Thursday. There were some minor technical glitches that he wants to edit before he posts. I’ll share the link when it’s live.
Other than that, I continued to work on the PowerPoint for the lecture series.
Take care, mjl
It’s Saturday. Mostly, I did my own thing.
But I promised an update every day for 30 days, so I’m doing that. The only aspect that relates to our Lunar Space Elevator is a 45 minute report, via Hangout, from one of our technical advisors in Bucharest. He gave a lecture early in the week, and gave me a status report. It went well.
Other than that, I continue to work on the set of PowerPoints for the lecture series.
Take care, mjl