This profile is part of IEEE Spectrum's Special Report on Dream Jobs 2009.
Stewart Craine cofounded Barefoot Power in 2005 to sell cheap, ultraefficient electric lighting to impoverished villagers around the world. By working with local entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda, and elsewhere, Craine is finding creative ways to distribute his rechargeable white LED lamps around the world. Here is the transcript of IEEE Spectrum Associate Editor Sandra Upson’s interview with Craine.
Susan Hassler: This is Spectrum Radio. I’m Susan Hassler.
TAPE: Nobel Prize announcement about Muhammed Yunus (”and in the field of we award this year’s Nobel Prize to ”) and then fade under the next anchor track
SH: When we hear of engineers and scientists making great discoveries or winning awards, we don’t always reflect on the decades of struggle that usually precede success. One man who’s now battling to realize his dream is Stewart Craine, founder of a company called Barefoot Power. Craine sells cheap, ultraefficient lamps to villagers in Africa and the South Pacific who don’t have electricity. Spectrum ’s Sandra Upson caught up with Craine in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
TAPE: Doorbell rings, door opens, friendly chatter
Sandra Upson: A tall, 34-year-old man who favors rumpled T-shirts and flip-flops, Stewart Craine greets me at the front door of a small bungalow on a quiet, tree-lined street outside Melbourne.
TAPE: ”Hello, I’m Chris. Sandra, Chris ” [sound of people talking]
SU: Craine’s casual dress and eager smile cloak his fervent intensity. This is a man obsessed with realizing his vision. Craine hopes to put bright little LED lamps in the austere homes of villagers who currently burn toxic-fume-producing kerosene for light. That sounds simple enough, but his journey has been neither simple nor easy. And it’s demanded sacrifice. At the moment, he’s camping out at a friend’s house to save money while he pitches his business plan to organizations that he hopes will finance his company.
TAPE: Sounds from their conversation