Yasser Ansari is, what I would consider, the prototypical mobile entrepreneur. His ideas are borne of a place and time where, without mobile, there would be no way to fulfill his grandiose dream – to measure the pulse of the planet.
The lure of mobile pulled him from the lab to start Project Noah, an ambitious, insane, important and innovative tool to document all the world’s nature and wildlife by crowd sourcing a legion of growing citizen scientists.
Picking up on mega trends often blamed on the advancements of technology – things like nature deficit disorder, humans disconnecting from nature and no child left inside – he is on a quest to create an “unstoppable army of nature nerds” entirely enabled by mobile.
This quest is called Networked Organisms and Habitats – Project NOAH – and shows the undeniable power of mobile to do good. The concept, stemming from an inefficient process of paper work and delays, was ripe for disruption and mobile was the answer. How else could you collect enough information to measure the real-time state of biodiversity on the planet? The perfect convergence of connected devices and a constant human thirst for knowledge made this opportunity too great to pass up.
The mark of a true innovator is one that takes the tools available and challenges the norm which is exactly what Yasser is doing with Project Noah. Can you imagine sitting in the boardroom of one of America’s greatest brands in National Geographic and holding the executives sitting around the table to the fire about moving beyond “inspiring people to care about the planet” to getting them to participate in caring for the planet? Mobile is here to reinvent and that is exactly what Yasser and his team are inventing.
In this first segment with Yasser we set the stage for why he started Project Noah, the inspiration for building a platform for citizen scientists, where the desire to be an entrepreneur came from, and how the early days of constant pitching his idea landed him in the National Geographic boardroom.
About Yasser Ansari
Yasser Ansari studied molecular biology and bioinformatics at U.C. San Diego and spent time researching plant genomics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. After the lab, he moved into the wireless industry where he helped design and develop hand-held radiation detectors, gaming accessories, and new mobile software at companies including Kyocera, Qualcomm, and Peek. He earned his Master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and holds several technology patents.
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