H.A. here. For the most part, Vassal and I have left managing this site to The Bigheads. They have done wonderfully. But we all feel that I should be the one to describe the Squeezeshot Society.
We took to calling our donors by that name when Jimmy was raising money to fund the release of his invention. Most of them are technology entrepreneurs and visionary industrialists, but many are state contributors from around the world. All donated tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, at least, and a few, mostly state contributors, donated billions or tens of billions. In all, they gave over a hundred billion dollars, enough to enable us to build and deliver more than three hundred million of Vassal’s devices, the “seeds” that are now sprouting everywhere.
We of course had to be secretive about raising the money. With that in mind, we gave our donors nothing in return for their donations except the satisfaction of knowing what we were doing with their money. We gave them none of the rewards typically lavished upon benefactors. There were no trophy gifts. (The engraved silver bowl depicted above is made mostly of irony; has never been more than a depiction.). We granted no personal access to us, or partnership, or advisory status. We did not befriend any of them, or stroke their egos by staging VIP events or promising to inscribe their names into walls, plaques, lists of contributors, etc. We sent no fawning thank-you notes, and no receipts for their donations. (We did not register as a tax-exempt organization, or need to.) When we distributed Vassal’s device, we did not give them even one, since we knew that they could buy as many as they wanted.
They did not mind. They are a relatively humble subset of the highly successful; neither self-important nor self-righteous, possessing no great need for reward or congratulation—not from us, anyway. They approve of our project and want to support it. A few have limited hopes for it, but most simply find it an imaginative and appropriate venture into what otherwise might or might not be inevitable. Like Vassal, they are curious to see what develops. Honorable members of the Society, indeed.
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Now that Vassal’s invention is out and everybody wants one, many of our donors are continuing to give money, to facilitate its further spread. Many visitors to this site also want to contribute. We are no longer a conduit for contributions—many other avenues have sprung up—but, for what it’s worth, we consider all donors to be Squeezeshot Society members in good standing. (If you are among those donors, or will be, please consider these words your unceremonious induction.)
For a while yet, there will be a need for such donations. For Vassal’s invention to proliferate until everyone has one will cost billions more than we have spent in releasing it. We continue to expect market and political forces to accomplish that, driven by human nature. So far, that is indeed happening, at a scale and force that surprise even us. Nonetheless, reaching that goal will take a while, and will benefit from more contributions.
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As everyone knows, demand for Vassal’s device is intense, largely among people who do not yet have one. Fortunately, thanks to our huge production run prior to releasing it, and Vassal’s decision to disclose everything about how to manufacture it, mass-producing and distributing it is neither difficult nor expensive. End user prices have fallen to below $400 per system, and our Bighead intermediaries tell us that in the next few months the price will fall to below $200 each. Soon, millions of people who do not have one will have bought one.
In addition, as we anticipated, people who cannot afford to buy a system for themselves are already successfully pressuring their governments (sometimes at threat of overthrow), ruling elites, employers, and local and national charitable organizations to subsidize it for them. Many developed countries’ foreign aid programs are contributing heavily, as are private corporations, aid agencies, and philanthropists.
To visitors to this page who wish to donate to one of those parties: Any amount you give will be helpful. A dollar will do, or the equivalent in your local currency, if that’s what you can afford. On the other hand, if you have deep enough pockets, billions of dollars would be nice. Dig deep, you wealthy—particularly you First World governments and financiers! If as a group you can swing it, 1.5 trillion dollars would pay for as much distribution as Vassal and I could wish at this stage. That would pay for a free device for each of our planet’s seven billion people, minus anyone who already has one, with enough money left over to establish the necessary infrastructure (i.e., communications links; distribution, maintenance, and repair facilities, etc.).
We expect that within a year or two, or sooner if well-to-do donors step up, that $1.5T threshold will be reached. Then, even within the world’s most disadvantaged populations, Vassal’s device will become as commonplace as televisions and cellphones, its presence universal and sustainable.
As for The Squeezeshot Society, it will become a historical footnote. Which its members won’t mind, since they will be as involved with using Vassal’s device as everyone else.