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A self-interview with Harry McAlister of Ample Earth

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by Startacus Admin

On Monday, Harry McAlister was awarded with this week's Self Starter of the Week award. Harry McAlister is the Co-founder of Ample EarthAmple Earth: a global social enterprise that uses powerful animated videos to help worthy ideas getheard, so that life on Earth can survive, and thrive. (tough not to give Harry the weekly award after that Worldly reason).

So, like all Self Starters of the Week, we gave Harry the opportunity to interview himself for a feature on Startacus. Over to Harry to ask the questions and give us all the answers!

So it seems like you’re on a mission to change the world?

People always ask me that.  So you're gonna change the world, huh?

Often, but not always, it’s followed by a snort of derision, or worse, an almost imperceptible lip curl, so subtle you could have mistaken it for an involuntary muscle spasm, but that actually, intentionally says:

Like you could change anything, you muppet.

Conversations then always go the same way: a newspaper-headline quoting battle where increasingly intangible and irrelevant points are flung flaccidly at one another, until, in one particular case I remember my opponent ended up saying:

Opponent: But wind power is a terrible thing. Didn’t you know it KILLS more than 50,000 birds every year!

Me: Erm, yes, but 100,000,000 birds a year get killed by cars and lorries.

Self StarterOpponent: Okay… but...

Me: And guess what kills more than a billion birds a year?

Opponent: ??

Me: Cats.

Opponent: Yes, but wind turbines are also an eye sore. People have the right not to have their view ruined.

Me: Everyone will be dead if climate change continues the way it does...

Opponent: Climate change eh? You do realise (*smirk) that we’ve just had two weeks of severe cold weather? I’d hardly call that global warming!”

And that’s usually my cue to leave the party, find a stick and beat the crap out of the next hornet's nest I find.

Okay, well I wouldn’t want you to do that, but how would you say your business can benefit the planet?

Ample EarthAmple Earth is a group of like-minded human beings who believe that if we can help enough great ideas get heard, life on Earth can thrive. We’re doing that by getting less people filling their brains with useless crap; and more people consuming worthwhile educational content.

So, if I was your typical party-pooping antagonist, I might say “You sound like those hemp-wearing, musky-smelling, apple-juggling tree-huggers."

Bzzzzt. Wrong. We are a new generation of high-performing, smart and serious tech-masters who have shunned the wealth and opportunity offered to us by convention, and forged a new path to make fast, lasting, positive change for the planet. We are proud to say our story has reached people in more than 150 countries around the world. And we’re not stopping there. So you can either get behind us, or get the hell out of our way.

That’s what I would like to say at parties, but somehow in the moment it doesn’t come out that way.

So how does it all work?

So we’re a cloud-based animation company, which means that unlike the older, primitive way of doing things (namely renting a giant room and choosing 15 full-time employees to carry out every project) everything we do is done virtually, by bringing people on board from all over the world, on a project-by-project basis. This has three advantages:

First, it enables us to significantly drive down the level of investment required, because we don’t pay rent, we don’t pay electricity, and we don’t pay 15 full-time employees. We work a lot with charities and small startups and social enterprises, so this is incredibly important.

Second, we can choose from some of the Earth’s greatest animators, musicians, voice artists and script writers, enabling us to make pretty Harry McAlister Ample Earthmuch any video imaginable, rather than being tied in to the narrow creative abilities of a small number of people.

And third, it decreases the time it takes to finish. We can use the Sun strategically, passing projects around the world as daylight hours progress, and doubling the typical hours spent per day working on the project.

In four words?

Faster. Better. Cheaper...  Nicer?

What advice would you give to budding young entrepreneurs out there?

If you have a truly great idea, the most important thing to do is to learn to understand people. Because today you have access to 2.5 billion of them, and you can sure as hell bet there’s some pretty awesome ones out there who are willing to help you make it a reality. It’s just a case of finding them, and getting them on board.

Cheers Harry and good luck with Ample Earth - we look forward to hearing more about your enterprise over the next few months. If you fancy yourself as a future Self Starter of the week, read about the awards here .

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Published on: 17th April 2014

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