CHAPTER 17 A stranger from Romania: building a real Lego car

Sometimes it isn’t until after you’ve gone through an experience that you realise what you’ve just lived through, what it means and what it becomes an example of. I had an experience where I met a stranger from Romania. This is my personal example of the great fragmentation.

It started with the kind of request you get every day, a request for money from a stranger in a developing economy. He assured me he would put it to good use and that I would benefit from helping him. I gave him the money. He kept his word. It wasn’t really what anyone expected — including me. But yes, there’s more to it than that.

A new low for the internet

The first request from Raul Oaida to connect wasn’t one you get every day. His request-to-connect message on Skype said, ‘Hi, I’m building a spaceship’. He had me right then. It’s not every day you get a request to connect online with such an old-school kicking copy line that has such cut through. So I clicked on ‘accept’. Who wouldn’t? I thought maybe he’d been reading my thought-leading blog posts, or seen some of my startups or published articles. But the sad truth was that he was far more savvy than that. He wanted to connect with famed technologist, venture capitalist and trained astronaut Esther Dyson.

Through some diligent online investigating, Raul discovered I had a tenuous connection to Esther. We were connected via LinkedIn and Twitter as we’d met at the WPP Stream Conference ...

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