Hardship – It fuels innovation

Daryl Oster & Russ Derickson – Hardship – How hardship fuels Innovation & problems inspire solution based thinking.

I come from both farm people and city people. so I know both lives. My father was an airline pilot, so I got to see a lot of the country at an early age. I’ve always been pressed with modes of transportation. And I’m often frustrated with things like traffic jams. And so I think we need a better mouse trap.

Similar to Russ, my parents were professionals and farmers also. I grew up on a farm. My dad’s dad was a farmer, and his grandfather was also a farmer on the same farm. Southeast of Wiselle. When I was three years old, I was out on the track. My dad would get me started. I could steer. I was too small to push the clutch in. I stood on it with both feet, I couldn’t push the clutch in. I would go round and round the patch until I was done. I’d shut off the key and walk home.

Growing on a farm, my dad was also a chemistry and physics teacher too. And he made a lot of his own farm equipment. If I would ask him what 2+2 was, he would be giving me an algebra lesson. He always took a lot of time to explain everything really carefully. My mom was a social sciences teacher. She always took a lot of time to show me to appreciate art and to draw and use the other side of my brain.

So growing up, there was always a lot of work on the farm. That’s about all there was. my dad made a lot of his own farm equipment, and we would go to the scrap yard to select steal to build the equipment out of. He would weigh it out at one guy’s scrap yard in Greeley, Colorado. Would weigh out the steel. They’d send a little weight ticket in a little glass container in a glass pneumatic tube that would shuttle through the building and across the dirt road there to the office where the clerk in the office, she would take the weight ticket out, print out the invoice, and send it back through the glass pneumatic tube.

I was about four years old and wondering what it would be like to ride in that little glass pneumatic tube. And it would go back and forth three times, because then my dad would write the check for the material and he would send it back in that glass pneumatic tube across there. Maybe those were some of the seeds that planted the idea of travel and tubes. Of course, ET3 is a lot different than that.

I’m starting to pitch too, I guess. Growing up, my dad taught me a lot about math and science and you know, just took a lot of time to explain everything. How engines worked, just from a young age. I was interested in engineering and math and science. Studied mechanical engineering and I think I was in my thermonomics class or physics class—we had a lab where we were doing wind time tests. And that’s where I came up with the first ideas about ET3 and I wrote them in the back of my physics book, back in the early 80s.