The Power of One Article

The value from one tidbit of information can go a long way.

Netflix’s new documentary, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates gives the world a look into how Bill Gates thinks about problems and priorities. Bill and his wife, Melinda, are very active solving some of the world’s gravest challenges as their 2018 annual letter covers in detail.

Watching the documentary, I wondered how they decide which problems to focus on. Some seem obvious; other’s unclear. One specific problem The Gates focus on came from an article. Journalist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an article titled For Third World, Water Is Still a Deadly Drink. Bill Gates read it. This single article was the small crack spawning an avalanche of resources towards clean water and overall sanitation. Fast forward to 2011, The Gates Foundation called for a contest to reinvent to toilet. Over $200M in research has been funded by the Gates Foundation to attack the global epidemic and the hundred+ billion dollar market.

When writing a story, or a blog post, or even sending a tweet, the effects can change a moment, an entire day, a life, or even hundreds of thousands of lives.

As the segment in the documentary concludes, Kristof candidly says: “This article was quickly forgotten, except that it had a couple of important readers in Seattle.”

That’s inspiring.

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