Recently named by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 50 World’s Greatest Leaders, a recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award and listed as one of the world’s most influential creative people by The Creativity 50’s, Mick Ebeling has sparked a movement of pragmatic, inspirational innovation. Mick is a film/ television/ commercial producer, philanthropist, technology trailblazer, author, entrepreneur and public speaker. Mick is the founder and CEO of Not Impossible, an organization that harvests the power of technology and storytelling to change the world.
What does it mean to you to be a Maker?
I’m so proud to be a maker. To me, a maker is somebody who sees something and by any means necessary just figures out how to make it happen – how to duct tape and zip tie and weld and saw – whatever needs to happen just to solve that particular problem. And what inspires me about this whole concept of being a maker, is being able to tackle anything. It’s being able to see something and say “that looks hard, that looks impossible,” but understanding it’s not going to be impossible forever.
“It’s being able to see something and say 'that looks hard, that looks impossible,' but understanding it’s not going to be impossible forever.”
How did you come up with the vision for Not Impossible Labs?
Like I said, I truly believe that nothing is impossible. Without having any technical background in ocular recognition technology, I came up with the company’s first project: The Eyewriter. An open source, low-cost, DIY device, The Eyewriter enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes. I’m proud to say that this invention was one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of the year and is now part of MoMA’s permanent collection.
What are you up to now?
We have a lot of different things that are in the hopper for us. We have recently funded two companies that have spun off from Not Impossible Labs; one focusing on Parkinson's disease and another focusing on hunger and food insecurity. Those two companies are well suited in the next 1-2 years to really do some amazing things for the planet - especially our hunger initiative which is such an important issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This now puts us in a position to address the issue head-on and create lasting impact. We are going to continue to attack absurdities, continue to change the world through technology and story. The key for us is that we are always daunted and scared at the onset of each one of our initiatives. One of the things that we often say is 'scare yourself daily,' and we are definitely feeling that right now in a good way, so we know that we are in a good place. We are extremely excited for the future.
From Not Impossible Labs
What advice do you have for those pursing trades?
I went to the Airforce Academy and UC Santa Barbara – those were incredibly influential periods of my life. But I have to say, the tenacity of being able to see a problem and do it – I don’t think that school taught me that. I think it’s something that’s in you. We have a saying at Not Impossible Labs… “If not now, when. And if not me, who?” That’s what a maker does. A maker sees something and says, “I’ve got to do something about this.” So go do it.
“But I have to say, the tenacity of being able to see a problem and do it – I don’t think that school taught me that. I think it’s something that’s in you.”
Find Mick on Instagram at @notimpossible and www.notimpossible.com.