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MLA Full: "Why Big Solutions Fail." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 15 December 2017,
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APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2017, December 15). Why Big Solutions Fail [Video]. YouTube.
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Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Why Big Solutions Fail.", December 15, 2017, YouTube, 03:59,
Good morning John, it is the eleventh annual Project For Awesome and that means that I'm here to help you about why solving hard problems is so hard.

So there'a a bit of a universal law in logistics that the last of transport that an item has to do to get to its destination is by far the most difficult leg of the journey. This is true in telecommunications, it's, also true in like your circulatory system: it's called the last mile problem.

Weirdly enough, it takes almost as much energy and work, to get like something that I ordered off Amazon, say this, from like China, where it's manufactured all the way to like the distribution warehouse in Missoula, Montana, as it does to get it from the distribution warehouse in Missoula to my house. This is a very squeaky prop. So what's going on here?

The moment this thing is manufactured in China it has like one place to go to, it goes to its port, and then from there, from that port it can go to like maybe a dozen or so other ports in the world. Then, when it arrives at whatever port it gets to it has maybe a few thousand different warehouses or stores that it could end up in.  If it ends up in a store, it has to wait for a person to go there and buy it, but if it's being shipped directly to the person, directly to me, it ends up in a centralized local warehouse with tens of thousands of products, and those tens of thousands of products have to go to potentially hundreds of thousands of different individual places.  For 99% of this thing's travels, it could have gone to like, one of a few thousand different places, and that last one percent, it's gonna go to one of literally hundreds of millions of places.

The last mile problem is kind of why oftentimes when we have really big ideas about how to fix things, those ideas don't work, because when we get to the last mile, your one overarching solution to all problems becomes tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of different solutions that are all hard to work out, and that's all work, like, hard work.  And when it comes to delivering healthcare or water or food in parts of the world where those things aren't available.  It used to be work that just didn't get done, but now, people are doing it.  Organizations like Save the Children and Last Mile Health and they solve the last mile problem for healthcare the only way you can solve it: with problem solvers.  

They work with and train and employ people from those communities to become community healthcare workers.  Those people then help to grow the economy, to educate other people, and to keep their communities, and thus, the entire global community, more healthy.  So this costs money, but let me venture that maybe this is one of the best things we could possibly be spending money on as a society.  But what if in addition to helping fund that very cool work and solving that very hard problem, you also get cool stuff?  Well, that's why you should go to, where in the first part of the Project for Awesome, all of the money up to $700,000 will be matched, and all that money raised in the first half will be split between Last Mile Health and Save the Children.

Stuff you can get: smashed pennies, commemorative coins, digital download bundle with a bunch of different really cool stuff including outtake scenes from Turtles All the Way Down.  We've got socks and bandanas and I'm painting a bunch of rocks?  Lots of stuff.  Some of it is already sold out, some of it is well on its way to selling out, including the Project for Awesome charity calendar which I just happen to have on the floor right here, which includes this photo of me being splashed in the face by champagne, no, it is not photoshopped and yes, I do know what it's like to have champagne on the inside of your sinuses. 

During the second half of the Project for Awesome, all of the money raised will be split among charities voted on by the community, and the way this works is that people will make videos promoting their favorite charities and if you like those videos and you like those charities, you can vote on them at  The charities that get the most votes will get a portion of the money that we raise in the second half of the Project for Awesome.  

Also the 48 hour charity livestream is going on right now, you can check it out at  You can also just find it on the Vlogbrothers channel.  We will be having a lot of fun doing a lot of weird stuff and I really want you to join us, and if you wanna make yourself happy both with cool things that you can have access to or have shipped to your house and with the knowledge that you are helping solve some of the hardest problems that humanity has left to solve, you can go to  

John, I will see you in the livestream.