I Quit Harvard to Play in the Sun
I’ve been at Harvard nearly half my life. Through undergrad, a stint as a lab tech, graduate school, a post-doc, and then two years as research staff. Almost all of it in the same building. I slept in the lab one summer, and I proposed to my wife in the lab using a laser as a prop. From what I’ve gathered, your average city-dweller couldn’t endure this much time in the same building without going stir crazy. But as a point of reference, that one building holds nearly as many people as my hometown in Colorado. I wasn’t stir crazy, and deciding to finally quit was not easy.
I loved what I was doing at Harvard. It was challenging and exciting. But the downside to doing exploratory research is that, by definition, only a small percentage of it will translate into real world applications, and what does make it to the real world can take years to bear fruit.
So when Jacquie and Richard asked me to help them make a device, SunSprite, to measure how much light a person was exposed to, I was excited by the idea of making something that could directly make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. I figured this would be a quick and easy project that we could do in a couple rainy weekends (especially with Tom Hayes doing electronics). I was wrong; making a product is really hard.
But along the way, we learned how important light is not only for people who are depressed, but to all people. We realized that this idea could help many more people than we had initially thought.
A month ago I quit Harvard to help make SunSprite a reality, and today we launch on Indiegogo. It’s been a great journey so far, and I’m excited to help make people happier and healthier. I hope you’ll join me on this mission!