Episode-1028- Technologies, Products and Ideas for a Transitional Society

For Acorns to be a Food, First a Market Must be Created

For Acorns to be a Food, First a Market Must be Created

There are a lot of things wrong with modern business, finance, agriculture and manufacturing.  Many of us understand the current system is far from sustainable but we also know for now it is all we have.  Today I will discuss some business and product ideas that are just bouncing around in my head.

Some of these are honestly very easy to do, others may require a lot more work then I imagine but most of them do have a potential to change things for the better long term.

Like most ideas though, they are pretty much worthless unless someone make them happen.  Some of what you will hear today isn’t new at all, in fact some if it is how we can take old ideas and actually make them work.

Join Us Today As We Discuss…

  • First you have to understand how a market is “created”
  • Second you must understand human nature is to be lazy
  • Third you must understand that people naturally resist change
  • Ideas for Transitional Products and Businesses
    • Stop taking about acorns and make them edible in mass quantity
    • Develop small scale affordable hullers and presses
    • Make methane biogas but do so for others on their own sites
    • Develop a pond based back yard aquaponics system
    • Cheap modular (snap together) aquaponics systems
    • Building electric motorcycles
    • Building battery back up systems

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

42 Responses to Episode-1028- Technologies, Products and Ideas for a Transitional Society

  1. As I am a hardware product developer, this is right up my alley. Looking forward to this one.

    • Nate (flippydidit)

      Hey backwoods_engineer,

      What do you say we take some of Jack’s suggestions (and our own ideas) and start running with them? I think with our skillsets we could do a lot for the TSP.

  2. Here’s the electric motorcycle project: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-Your-Own-ELECTRIC-MOTORCYCLE/?ALLSTEPS

    It certainly looks fun. I’ve suggested for a while the motorcycles are a practical supplementary vehicle for in city driving at a fraction of the cost of an electric car (not to mention more fun). Even low-end, beater bikes that only cost $1000 can routinely get 55+ MPG. An electric drive system makes this even more attractive because the acceleration, weight and cost mates nicely with the limitations of modern batteries.

    Marketing wise, people (almost) always see motorcycles as an additional vehicle and don’t expect to be able to drive 300 miles at the drop of a hat in them. I think people get hung up on the limitations of electric cars because they are comparing them to their Corolla and not their Honda.

    • Modern Survival

      @Andrew, I am not sure how you were sure but that is THE EXACT cycle I saw in the magazine.

    • At the amusement park where I used to work back in ’99 -’06, there was an older guy in his 80’s who was a friend of the owner that was developing an electric drag bike. He was getting some amazing speeds out on the runway that was our “drag strip” for a time. His problem was the driveline and the instantaneous power dump/surge. Looks like someone has found a way around that.
      I haven’t heard the show yet, (will listen today). But as a street rider myself, the biggest drawback I foresee is the lack of noise, much like a Prius on its battery drive. They can sneak up on someone like a flagger so easily while they’re unaware/have their back turned. Drivers have enough problems w/ conventional “noisy” bikes, I hope this doesn’t lead to even more of my brothers going down. :(
      On the other hand, I can also foresee electric dirt bikes/ATV’s/UTV’s becoming mandatory for Forest Service land, State Parks etc if the technology catches on. Kind of a 2 edged sword.

      • Modern Survival

        @Brian W,

        I would say an electric motorcycle is very quite but it is absolutely louder then the average passenger car.

        Now personally I won’t ride a motorcycle on a major highway no matter what kind it is, but that is just me. After years of the DFW highway system I have seen way to many motorcycle fatalities. Noise hasn’t seemed to matter much. I get the back road stuff, the highways are fine too away from the cities but you guys that run them on major metro highway systems, I say a quite prayer for everyone of you guys I see.

        • @ Jack – Thanks for the prayers, accepted on behalf of all of us with our faces in the wind, trying to keep the shiny side up :). I’m not implying that these bikes would be “silent” but they’d certainly be quieter than conventionally gas powered bikes.
          I’m intrigued by this guy’s project though, and thank you for bringing it up. I’d think that there could really be a market for these along the lines of students needing a cheap & “green” way to get to school, something better than a Vespa or moped with lower fuel & maintenance costs while helping to clean the air we breathe.
          There you go planting seeds again, Jack! :) The revolution IS us!

  3. Hey jack, right up my alley man. I am sick of working for “the man”. Not sure I have what it takes to run my own deal, but I love ideas like this.

  4. Duncan MacDuff

    Necessity is the Mother of invention…
    …And laziness is its Father.

  5. Jack-

    Great episode. I run a 10 million dollar a year business at a dealership. I run the parts department to be specific. This episode taps into my entrepreneurial spirit. I am coming to a point in my career where I have reached my maximum potential. I am ready for a new challenge. I know that I want to do some form of permaculture business, but I have also thought deep into incorporating aquaponics into the system as well.

    People may not always need cars, but they do have to eat. What better way to help people out than to teach them to be self-sufficient? The gears have been turning in my head since you talked about urban permaculture as a business.

    I am on the list to come to the Geoff Lawton clinic at your new homestead. I hope I am one of the lucky 12. I hope to see you there!

    Best regards!
    -KC

    • I hope to meet you there!

      My story is ditto except I.T to permaculture.

      I am also on the list and the suspense is killing me…

  6. Hey Jack loved the show soooo looking forwards to Steve Harris battery bank episode, when is that scheduled for and where can i see a Vid or picture of that bio fuel bucket system, because I get the theory but am a little sketchy on the actual set up. Cheers

  7. Sustainability is an emerging sector in the environmental industry. Waste equals food and there simply is not enough to go around if we continue on the path of being a “throw away” society. Jack made more sense today than the majority of phd egg heads actually in the profession.

  8. Crazy Jack’s Permaculture
    “Selling sustainability to yuppie assholes since 2013!”

    But seriously, great episode. There are definitely opportunities out there. The company that installed my french drain offered an annual cleaning and maintenance program for the sump pump (one guy and a hose) for $75/yr. They also offered a battery backup system (dc pump + marine battery) for $1,400!

    Interesting thoughts on the acorn — another major problem is the reliability of the crop. Every few years the crop will fail in much of the country.

    • One more thing — you completely described me at the end. I found the show through a video of you showing-off your “bag garden” on youtube. I’m always looking for new podcasts and I just loved your topics, interviews and commentary.

  9. @ Andrew. I will take my Vulcan over a Prius any day!

  10. good show…but the electric cycle idea is not that scalable. In my state of Va I have dabbled in the business of building choppers out of existing motorcycles and while its not the same thing the same legal issues are going to come up. When I was doing this around 02 you were not able to sell more than 6 vehicles a year without getting a dealers license. Sure you could float the titles but thats getting harder in certain states and buyers are often skeptical of you when the title is not in your name. Certain states also have a lot of bs laws regarding selling vehicles that you have modified and that is as an individual, there are even more when you are a dealer and you will most likely have to go through the steps of becoming a legit vehicle manufacturer . Its still possible and still a good idea, but buying the bikes and doing the mods will be the easy part.

  11. I am also interested In a low cost sorghum press.. I did a little searching and found this diy project to the African bush. Href=”https://www.engineeringforchange.org/news/2012/07/12/a_newly_designed_sorghum_press_is_under_construction_in_mali.html”> Homemade sorghum press

    I plan on building one of these units; once I test it out I will report back. Keep the great ideas common :)

  12. I am also interested In a low cost sorghum press.. I did a little searching and found this diy project to the African bush. Homemade sorghum press

    I plan on building one of these units; once I test it out I will report back. Keep the great ideas common :)

    • Modern Survival

      @john, the video wasn’t that impressive on the surface but the guys were pressing sugar cane which is a lot harder then pressing sorghum. So it may actually work really well with some tweaking.

  13. Hey Jack,
    Love your shows, been following since about episode 500. Any ways, you mentioned a practical machine to squeeze the juice out of sorghum cane. Here in Brazil they have just the machine. It’s used for sugar cane to sell the juice (caldo de cana) out of the volkswagen buses on street corners. They are typically powered by a briggs and stratton motor but a quick search on the brazilian ebay and I found a hand crank version also for less than a $100 US. I frequently travel to the DFW area (parents in Weatherford). If you want I can pick one up for you and bring it on my next trip (email me). They are heavy so shipping is probably not worth it. If any one else on the forum has an interest I can help out with translation. Who knows, this could turn into a business, stranger things have happened.

    Here’s some links.
    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-441317370-engenho-para-moer-cana-_JM

    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-447417846-engenho-para-cana-b30-manual-_JM

    http://lista.mercadolivre.com.br/engenho-cana

    Search for “engenho cana” in google and you will find results in portuguese. Being a spanish speaker try “maquina jugo de caña” for similar results for the rest of latin america and even in the US most likely. I like the hand crank models and didn’t know they existed until today.

    cheers!
    Brian
    expat in Campinas, Brazil

  14. While I was listening to the middle of the episode this morning on the ride in, I passed a truck carrying a couple-hundred gallon tank with “Inedible Cooking Oil” pasted on it. The company is “Agrileum“, and they have begun to mass market recycling used cooking oil and other waste oils into biodiesel. – currently based in Memphis and operating in the southeastern US but with plans to paint a phased stripe across the entire southern half of the country. I immediately thought: “5 years ago when I was had my TDI, you could still get oil from local restaurants easily. But guys like this have done exactly what Jack is talking about… made a super-easy value proposition to the restaurants. Maybe that’s why it’s harder to find folks who are willing to give you oil anymore.” So now they don’t have to worry about little guys like me picking up enough oil, picking it up on-time, etc. and they also don’t have to pay the higher prices that the guys who used to just dispose of it charged.

    Here’s another company doing it in PA: <Waste Oil Recyclers

    Value… that makes a market.

  15. A shot of energy!
    You say some people get snotty when they get alternative business ideas pitched..I get fired up!
    I love the spin that got put on each idea and my drive home listening to this was awesome..While I totally dig the scale-ability and recurring revenue along with great margins that knowledge based businesses brings actually building and providing a physical widget to a customer puts a grin on my face every time!!

  16. Loved this episode – my mind started turning when Jack discussed the many uses for methane biogas. I have an in-ground pool and live in the central midwest and I HATE the fact that my nat-gas heater drives my gas bill skyward during the cooler opening and closing months of the year. I even thought about building a wood fired heater for it it get so bad sometimes. I’ll be looking into building one of the bio-gas models for my pool just for kicks for next season. Any ideas from the TSP crowd? Great work Jack…

  17. Do like the Japanese and Chinese. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. It has already been done. Take a product or idea and make it better. Make a niche market from it. There is supply and demand for many products already in most people’s market. Look at what is not in your market and either develop it or build it. I did it with selling Heirloom Seeds. It nothing knew but I can tell you that there is a huge market for it. Thanks for sharing your ideas Jack and other Brigade Members!

  18. Here’s another interesting brazilian homestead farm tool. It looks to be used for removing dried corn kernels from the ear to be used for animal feed.
    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-447370540-debulhador-de-milho-_JM
    Then you would use this one to crack it.
    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-445951489-triturador-de-milho-_JM

  19. and my homemade motorized grain mill. Made it with a washing machine motor. It’s in it’s second year of faithful service at a 1 barrell pico brewery. Plans for these are all over the internet.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/brian.priscila.lucas/TheTapRoom#5487098312217088450

    Now I’m parched.

  20. July 7th 2008, I did a Google search for homesteading podcasts etc.
    The only difference between you and I is that I found one.
    One guess as to which one it was?
    Still listening to this day.
    1028 episodes means I have spent approximately 40 days out of the last 4 1/2 years listening to TSP. And that’s not including listening to certain ones over and over again.

    I think you have something Jack and should run with it.
    You help to fuel our “insanity.”

  21. In the movie Jeremiah Johnson his squaw makes acorn cakes and he excuses himself to spit it out and eat some jerky from him saddle bag LOL, I have never tried it but I trust you that it tastes like crap LOL

  22. Great podcast Jack. I just want to suggest people take a look at this as a follow up to what is really possible. I’m a long time Hewlett-Packard employee and frankly what has been going on the last several years and CEO’s is bad enough to almost make me cry.

    This video series also makes me want to cry but in a good way. Take a look at this and think about your ideas folks. The whole series is worth watching, it’s only 24 minutes but Chapter 2 here is dead on with what Jack is talking about regarding getting your idea and getting to work instead of sitting around dreaming. Thanks for all you do Jack. Love the podcasts and the site.

    http://h20621.www2.hp.com/video-gallery/us/en/corporate/company-history/1283519953001/origins-chapter-2-of-15/video/

  23. I think it was this show that you mentioned IBC’s. Did you say that stands for international beverage containers? If so, what is/are those? I search for that and couldn’t find much. I am wondering what an an application for them is or where I can learn more.

    Thanks for your show. It is great.
    Mark

    • Modern Survival

      You know I may have called them Beverage containers it is actually Intermediate Bulk Container but a lot of folks say it the other way and it may have gotten in my head. Here is some info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate_bulk_container

      If you google IBC containers you will find tons on them and if you go to Craig’s List and search for IBC you can find TONS of used ones dirt cheap.

  24. Check out TheUrbanFarmingGuys on youtube they have great ideas and plans for methane power and tons of other power and permiculture ideas, they would be great guests too, they travel all over the world helping folks for free

  25. The modular aquaponics segment made me think of this kickstarter my wife found a few days ago. Definitely small scale but could be great for people to get their feet wet!

    Home Aquaponics Kit: Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2142509221/home-aquaponics-kit-self-cleaning-fish-tank-that-g

  26. Introduction came by way of Chris Temple, today. Treasures what you represent and ranks it very high. I’m an 85 year old WW II Air Force guy who has been and around industry all my life as a toolmaker, product developer, inventor, you name it? Read all the posted articles herein and you know folks, there’s the same thread running through article after article? How to come with a small product that can be made and sold easily in a garage, basement or small space? This dear friends has been the backbone of what made America grrreat from the git-go, beginning big time with Eli Whitney, etc. If you plan on being somewhat successful, come up with a customer or 2 first, some down-stroke $$ and a simple written contract and follow-up immediately making what constitutes a first sale! If you do an impressive job of it, more customers will follow. The main thing is this, you get your feet wet with the process and that requires doing to make things happen. Learning comes in painful stages of 3 steps forward and 4 backwards, in more cases than you can imagine, so prepare your self for some set backs, return to the drawing board and learning humility. We live in difficult times where folks have lost jobs, homes and a chance to glue it all back together, so “buyers” are scarce and becoming more so. Please don’t hock your savings and think you’re headed to the bank next week. The old saying of “you always know when you’re on the right road, cuz it’s all uphill.”