Bill Duncan opened his speech today by telling us about Benjamin Franklin. “He signed the Declaration of Independence.” He told students. “His face is on the $100 bill.” However, that wasn’t all he did. Mr Duncan explained that Franklin was an inventor, and a very successful one at that. He created his first prototype at age 11, and continued inventing throughout his life. “He was something I like to call a ‘lifelong learner,’” Mr Duncan explained. Franklin was especially good at taking other people’s inventions and figuring out how to make them better.
“Franklin never tried to monetize his inventions.” Mr Duncan told us. “That’s incredibly magnanimous, but I went a different way.” After serving as a lawyer for 31 years, Mr Duncan discovered his passion for inventing. Right now, he holds more than 30 patents. He showed us one of his inventions, the Instant Wall Planter. It is a picture frame designed to hold plants rather than photographs. Although the idea has been around for a long time, Dr Duncan came up with a way to make the process almost instantaneous, whereas before it had taken 12 weeks to root the plants. He told students that he wants to “make stuff that will make the world a better place.”