It was my honor to interview one of Hawaii's most successful leaders and ask him some meaningful yet fun questions about his life philosophy.
Henk Rogers is the man who "brought Tetris out of the Soviet Union and secured the rights for Nintendo," as described by the New Yorker.
In Moving to Mars: Preparing for the longest, loneliest voyage ever the New Yorker also described him as "Henk Rogers, who made a fortune in computer gaming...holds licensing rights for the game Tetris, and once hosted a weekend gathering for space experts at his Big Island ranch. "
Henk has also seen great success from his efforts as an angel investor and founder of a technology-focused startup incubator, Blue Startups, which was ranked among the top 20 accelerators in an MIT study.
LUSSIER: Henk, What drives you?
ROGERS: Our species is reaching the point where it can soon self destruct. Evidence: Climate Change. Given the choice, in fact, many would pull the self-destruct trigger today if given the choice. We must a) take our finger off the trigger b) make a back up of life as we know it in case (a) doesn't work. Life as we know it must survive.
LUSSIER: What is your mission?
Mission #1: end the use of Carbon Based Fuel
Mission #2: end War
Mission #3: make a back up of Life As We Know It
Mission #4: figure out How the Universe Ends and Do Something about it
LUSSIER: Who is your favorite historical person and why?
ROGERS: Buckminster Fuller. He changed the way we think by enabling us to re-examine all of the assumptions we live life by and come up with completely new and innovative approaches. Ignore the box.
LUSSIER: What public figure do you most admire/respect and why?
ROGERS: Elon Musk, because he is going to get it done (going to Mars, ending internal combustion cars, distributed home energy). He has planet size dreams and planet size balls to realize them.
LUSSIER: What is the greatest invention in history?
ROGERS: The computer because is amplified human intelligence by orders of magnitude. It has enabled us to do things that were never possible in human history before. It may even one day become Artificially Intelligent.
LUSSIER: What is your favorite charity or charitable cause?
ROGERS: Blue Planet Foundation because it's is working to end the use of carbon based fuel (My mission #1). Going to space is not a charitable cause. It will make the people who succeed huge amounts of money just like what discovering the "New World" did for Europe.
LUSSIER: What message would you like to leave for the youth in our country?
ROGERS: You live in the country with the greatest freedom and the greatest power in history. Use the freedom to keep others from telling you what to think. Use the power to save our environment.
LUSSIER: What do you want your legacy to be?
ROGERS: I would like to have made a measurable difference in the fight to stop anthropomorphic climate change.
LUSSIER: What is your favorite time of the day?
ROGERS: Dusk. I like to watch the transition from daytime to night. I particularly like watching the satellites passing overhead for an hour after dark to the background of the Milky Way (Mission #4). Makes me feel like we're going somewhere.
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I want to thank Henk for his time answering these great crowd-sourced questions.
Henk was quoted by Pacific Business News telling a group of business leaders: "Why can't Hawaii produce enough of its energy?...We have enough sun, much more than Holland, and we've got enough wind. It's incredible that we haven't explored geothermal energy past 38 megawatts in Hawaii. Maybe I have to bring politicians to Iceland and Holland."
I named my Huff Post column "Pursuing Happiness" because I believe that freer markets and limited accountable government is part of the formula to allow "We the People" to better pursue happiness. I also believe we must learn from each other's different perspectives so we can all succeed in a civil and prosperous society.
This year I spoke privately to Henk about how influential conservative leaders must hear this message.
I've helped elect community leaders to public office, including the newest U.S. Senator from Alaska this past 2014 election, and have recently hosted Congressmen and members of the United States Senate who traveled out here to Hawaii from Washington D.C. to visit. I'd like to bring more conservative leaders to Hawaii to hear this message and challenge perspectives all around. Henk's vision for a sustainable future, beyond Earth, should be heard.
My offer to Henk still stands: We must unite diverse opinion leaders and stakeholders and including other conservative perspectives, beyond preaching to the choir in the green community. We have only one earth, we must come together and agree upon ways to tackle many of life's greatest challenges.
Thank you Henk. Cheers to pursuing happiness. As my Father Robert always says, "Dream Big!" Thank you for tackling some major issues and helping our planet to be forever better. Let's work together.