After-Action Report: RVM #13 with J. Kevin White

This week’s speaker was J. Kevin White (USNA ’92), who told us the remarkable story of Global Vision 2020, a non-profit that has used a device of his own invention to deliver over 50,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses in the developing world, at a cost of well under $5 per pair. Kevin seeks to parlay this success into a for-profit enterprise with the capacity to disrupt the corrective-vision industry and, through its non-profit partnerships, positively transform the lives of potentially hundreds of millions of people. .

I’m rarely at a loss for words, but it is honestly a little hard to pick what I like best about this project…

  • It will directly or indirectly improve the lives of MILLIONS of people! And I don’t just mean improve their material circumstances, although it will do that. I mean it will make them HAPPIER, literally every moment they are awake. That is… well it’s just extraordinary.
  • It’s a sweet piece of engineering! Kevin turned a big heavy ugly stupid room-sized process on its head and replaced it with a tinkertoy tool that works just as well, fits in a fanny pack, and doesn’t even need a freaking BATTERY. You could use this thing on Mars… in fact we probably WILL.
  • It’s as disruptive as Uber! I’m not kidding… there are entrenched, protected interests standing between Joe Public and simple 20/20 vision. Kevin has demonstrated that absolutely NOBODY has to choose between gas for the car and perfect vision. This thing might have started as a third-world play, but don’t expect it to stay there!

I know doing good work isn’t always about the money. But the money is ALL about doing good work… if it makes a lot more money. This looks like a slam dunk to me, and I can’t wait to see where Kevin takes it!

We usually share short clips of these presentations, but this time I’m making an exception, because there was just too much good stuff to cut it very much. We’ve edited out some segments that were unintelligible due to signal quality, but otherwise here is Kevin’s whole presentation, plus some key Q&A.

GV2020 delivers prescription eyeglasses to the developing world at a cost of well under $5 per pair.

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