We all fail from time to time. I think you learn more about someone from how they failed rather than how they succeeded. Plus, you may find some of my bloopers entertaining. So, here are my major fiascos:
Avon Smart Helmet
In 2019, the college freshman was dreaming of starting his own company and make billions one day. So he combined his life passion (cycling) with his major (engineering) to create the Fortune 500 Most Unknown Startup: Avon Smart Helmet. So he brought together a team of 8 hopeful friends from Brown and Princeton to make this happen. They even made a nice souped up website for it! They did manage to get Brown to write us a $2000 check so they can squander it on circuit boards, soldering irons, and Raspberry Pis (and a lobster dinner, but don’t tell anyone). Of course, the now senior is still no billionaire today. But one day it will happen.
A beautiful, dysfunctional helmet.
Smart Lower School Chicken Coop
In Spring 2018, the high school senior was getting too bored after he submitted his college applications. So he devised a plan to outfit the Lower School Chicken Coop with internet-connected gadgets like live-stream cameras, thermometers, and remote door openers. He did make it all happen (actually it was his Thai scholar roommate Sirapop Theeranantachai who made it work for the most part). It was even featured in an all-school gathering. But the project came with no warranty! The water tank leaked, and the door jammed. Sincere apologies for the poor hen still living there at the Cluckingham Palace. We wish them well.
Sirapop installing solar panel. Presenting to primary school kids something that would soon break...
Swimming and Lacrosse
He proved to have zero talent for these two sports. Over the course of 3 years (2014-2017), he remained in Lane 1 (slowest lane) and consistently did not make the JV roster. As for Lacrosse, he never scored a single goal in the two (and a half) seasons that he played.
Duckweed Experiments and Biodiesel
Living true to his passion in renewable energy, Yiheng came up with a master plan on installing a campus bio-diesel reactor, turning our deep fryer oil into bio-diesel and then pumping them into our lawn mowers. Of course, our school’s security staff was not a huge fan of putting 50 gallons of flammable liquid into a water heater along with a bunch of electrical components and lye. So the project got shut down before it got started. But Yiheng is resilient, he then devised a plan to harvest the annual duckweed bloom at our local ponds, and turning the it into bio-ethanol. Yum, brewing duckweed wine. We do have a few freezer bags full of duckweed, if you’d like to give it a try!
High School and College Apps
Yiheng moved to the US in 2014 as a 9-th grader. But before then, he was rejected to all but one high school. Whew, that was a bit scary. But he had a blast living and studying in rural Pennsylvania for 4 years. It always works out.
Again in 2018, Yiheng was rejected from about a dozen universities, including his dream school. We conclude that kids nowadays are just too talented. It also turned out Brown was just the right place for him. So it all worked out in the end again!
You know what? I’m excited to add more to this list as I go out there and embarrass myself again.