Solvey Time Zones

‘Different Timezones, Different Mindzones’ 

-Rachel Manchester

This, a phrase written by a dear friend is all too true for me at the moment as I am living on California time, 9 hours behind my girlfriend in London.

It is not that Kate and I can’t find any time to talk, In fact we speak most days on facetime and whats app, the challenge is the mindset, energy levels and intensity disparity that come with falling asleep versus downing the second flat white of the morning!

A couple of weeks ago I started writing my thoughts on how best to represent the worlds population in next years Solvey process given that we will be looking to find 7 finalists from around the world. 

Yesterday I spent the morning putting the world to rights with a deeply clever man named George who is a historical african map specialist. This is one of the original maps of part of Africa, early 16th Century.

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After learning about counting, imaginary numbers, mapping and hearing his views that there is no true learning other than self learning, I took the opportunity to share my thoughts above and he helped move the ideal along and think about longitude as an appropriate tool for grouping people.

We found a longitudinal map showing population here and then overlaid it with 7 potential zones. The latitudinal one was less interesting as it was grouped more heavily and sits more in alignment with current disproportionate wealth distribution trends.

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This morning I am looking at all the 24 timezones and think that more or less I have group 3 hour timezones together to make 7 timezone groups


Time is the only true currency. No matter what your situation, age or education, if we are still breathing we all wake up under the same sun and have choices what to do with the day.

 In the complex world we now live in I think that timezone grouping is much more natural than countries, continents or languages.

My brain is fried, next blog I will do the precise groupings and precede to give the zones names – Any ideas are very welcome.

Solvey – The Next Generation



We are currently having a great time working with OneWave the guys who grabbed the Solvey Spotlight this year but I have to say I am very excited about many of the Solvey applicants who have continued to move forwards with their ideas and I am loving that some of them are keeping me in the loop!

Take Mac Rithvik for example, a 15 year old lad from Bangalore who is working on a way of killing bacteria through a hardware plugin to a smartphone.

When he applied to Solvey with the experiment he had done he said that he could only kill around 75% of the bacteria and this solution is only interesting if equal to hand sanitizer solution of 99.9%

 I asked him could you get it to 99.9%? He said yes

I asked ‘What would it take for you to get to 99.9%? He said a $10 part.

He sent me the link, I ordered him the part and he emailed me back!

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I cannot wait to see what he does next, I have no idea where this journey will lead but working with genius people who appreciate the help is an absolute delight when I have spent so much of my time trying to work with charities who frankly don’t want it.

Solvey is not a competition it is a community.

A community of smart risk takers who dare to put themselves and their ideas out there for the sake of others, not because they are right or because it will work but because it is good work and its fun! 🙂

I think more than business, or charity, or social enterprise I am just getting excited about helping people with good ideas and good intent take one exponential meaningful step forwards in their project.

I look forward to sharing plenty more stories like Rithvik’s with you as they take a step 🙂

The Risk of #Solvey

I thought I would run this whole #solvey process on my blog to ‘show my working rather than produce one surprise result.

Firstly a few notes on what I have noticed. Really young average applicant age, good balance between girls and guys, reasonable global response although western dominates and disproportionately white focused. All applications were in english which again is evidence of our implicit biases and constraints.

I threw out a tweet yesterday saying Screenshot 2015-07-02 09.43.30

I find it interesting to see that I got hit with around 100 ‘favourite’ tweets but all for just four projects out of the 80. Typically ones where young people had already gone out and done something good and possibly already have a fundraising / activist community rallied around them.

To me this is an interesting dilemma as I want to support the quietest voice with the loudest idea, I want to support the person who is daring most greatly! Even if not one person has ever listened to them before. BUT having said that, showing that someone can create momentum around their idea also shows fantastic leadership skills.  Social media can be little more than an echo chamber, amplifying people and ideas who already have a foothold in our society.

This is why I think the ‘winner’ of The Solvey Project shouldn’t be the idea that simply has the most ‘sellable’ idea, the most supporters, the nicest video. or coolest brand.

As Michael Green states in my interview with him, his ‘Biggest critique of philanthropy is it doesn’t take enough risks.

We are easily attracted to the person who has more status, is de-risked, sometimes due to hard work and often linked to opportunity based on where they were born. It is easier to invest in this bigger person if their idea is small and palatable that possibly only challenges one of our assumptions or better still solves an immediate need that we already understand. 


The most efficient role I see for philanthropy or ‘giving’ in society is as insane risk capital to invest in the least well resourced people with the craziest world changing ideas. Therefore I though Givey and the #solvey project want to find the person with a quiet voice who has the loudest idea and give them the stage.

Risk is called risk for a reason. By taking this approach the person we support may not succeed in the way that we hoped but I believe this to be the most holistically helpful direction we can head in for the Givey community to leverage our small contributions to make the biggest change in society.

The only way I think the Solvey Project will fail is if we choose a safer project with a bigger person or smaller idea because we think we will be more likely to save face. I wrote this recently when speaking to a group in Derry / Londonderry in Northern Ireland….

‘Please do not try things you know you can do, your avoidance of embarrassment does not serve your city, neither does allowing your thinking to be defined by it’

Time to suck on my own words!

I am now looking at the 84 applications through this lens and will announce the TOP10 tomorrow.

Stay tuned, something is happening here!

Over Half Way.

When we set out 4 years ago in my first TEDx talk we were asking the question, ‘How do we get 1 billion people into the habit of giving?’ If a billion people gave $1 to brave projects risking it all to try and solve our worlds deepest and biggest problems we would be a real force to be reckoned with!

Last month we moved $150,000 in donations from awesome people like you to amazing charities solving real problems and in the next couple of weeks we will have moved more than $1,000,000 in the last 365 days!!!

Our social network helps you make social donations in the moment and share that ‘feel good’ moment with your friends.

Network effects are not linear, The goal is not to grow from $1m to $2m, the leap of development is to go from $1m to $10m

A personal goal for me is to get to $1,000,000,000 of $1-$100 donations processed within 365 days globally for amazing causes

We’re currently running at $1,000,000 per year

The next step is to get to $10,000,000 per year

My goal is to get to $1,000,000,000 per year

Many would argue we are 0.1% of the way and still have 99.9% to do.

I say we are well over half way!

Of the 10 digits I want to see we have already achieved 7 of them!!

I wrote the following blog almost 4 years ago when we launched, this was where we achieved our first 2 digits

Social Web adoption works unlike any other kind of growth we are conditioned to understand.

I have moved to Palo Alto because I need partners who also believe that that we are over half way and also have the resources and scale to help us sort out the next 3 digits.

Who knows after that, I just take one step at a time. I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful we are over half way!

Addicted to Giving?

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Reading a tech crunch article by @nireyal on habit forming products has brought to the surface some thoughts that I acted on many moons ago but never articulated (

We are trying to get people to habitually give as part of their every day lives which means making it as easy, rewarding and pleasurable as possible

There is an extent to which you can have ‘too much of a good thing!’ I wouldn’t want someone to use Givey to donate if it was going to cause them personal financial problems especially if was driven from a place addiction or people forgetting the value of their gift altogether, in a ‘What the Hell!!’ Moment

(See this article :

“Companies who know when a user is overusing their product have both an economic imperative and a social responsibility to identify addicts and intervene.” – Nir Eyal”

I agree with Nir and even in attempting to drive good behaviours we must critique the value of our efforts and this is why we focus on giving ‘something’ everyday.

There are deep philosophical reasons why I believe engaging in a giving lifestyle is vital to our wellbeing and goes way beyond ‘Charitable Donations’ but it is a good place to start and drive these behaviour sets from.

Laying the Philosophical reasons aside for the purpose of this post and looking purely at the behaviour drivers, we needed to think carefully about who we wanted to be the winners in Givey’s giving community.

If we focus on the ‘amounts donated’ then we reward those who earn more money and can make big one off donations.

If we celebrated ‘recurring passive donors (Setup and forget)’ then there maybe very little active engagement in the givers consciousness

If we focused on ‘number of donations’ then we may be celebrating binge donors who want to give 100 times in a day to hack their profile to look good over the year.

We wanted the winner in the Givey community to be a person who authentically and openly engages with the online and physical world around them and allows themselves to be moved by issues they encounter and choose to take action on a daily basis.

We exist to reinforce the link between Empathy and Action in our modern society.

Our goal with Givey is to reduce barriers and increase incentives to complete a ‘real donation’ once someone has been authentically moved to contribute.

I believe what we measure defines our culture, defines what is cool and ultimately, how we define ourselves. Whether we adhere or rebel, we are affected, so have to consider carefully what we measure as it will end up defining us.

At the heart of Givey is a metric called ‘Wavelength’ or λ  

A Givey users wavelength is the length of time in days since their last Givey donation Moment

If a user ‘Binges’ and makes 20 donations in a day, only one will count towards their ‘wavelength’

Equally a donation of £1 or £1000 has the same value when calculating the metric we celebrate most, A Givey Users Wavelength.

This is our attempt to drive no more, and no less than the behaviour we want to see more of in the world. Engaging in an active giving culture in which we give a little every day.

There are 3 simple factors I believe the pursuit of which are paramount to the underpinning a progressive global society.

  1. Freedom
  2. Safety
  3. Education

Please check out @shepleyGreen work at the Social Progress Imperative as I learn heaps from him and they go into a bunch more very helpful detail.

Addiction looks to an external source of energy or escapism to feed our wellbeing. It inhibits our freedom and sense of autonomy and responsibility by giving that right to other sources.

I hate how addiction affects people! It limits principle 1, our freedom so I can’t allow it to be a part of the product we are building, even if it would be ‘Good for Business’ to have ‘Bingy Users’

Having said all this I Googled ‘Addicted to Giving’ and found this 🙂 I enjoyed it

Enjoy! Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts….