Why was GreenDice created?
You have to read the whole story to understand
Love at first sight
At a time when the world was talking about a potential digital collapse, or the term Y2K and whether IT devices will work after the infamous Dec. 31 1999 date, a 10-year-old boy dreamed of the first personal computer. His name was Argo – the author of the GreenDice idea.
My eyes first met a computer at my childhood best friend’s. I saw the first computer game of my life and walking back home I was amazed at how a device turned out to be so fascinating.
Anyway, I was sold, I wanted a personal computer. Like any 10-year-old, to be able to just play at first 🙂
Weekly “Kuldne Börs” and moving
I started buying the “Kuldne Börs” magazine for my pocket money, which I flipped through with great interest to find my computer. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t have the same fascination as I do. Even worse, instead of the bold underlined computer ads, they looked at the house sales section.
Moving? Then came the shock, mother and father had decided to buy a house. We lived in Võru municipality and in a small place. The country house was located in the village of Räpo, the same municipality, but the difference is that while there were about 100 people in the previous one, there seemed to be zero in Räpo. I lost all my friends in my village and this place with the letter R felt like a complete wasteland. Even if you look for a long time, the nearest neighbor appeared on the horizon from a distance of 2 km and was a 60-year-old old man.
Reality came, so I dreamed more and more about a personal computer, I saw it as my new best and smartest friend. Unfortunately, after getting a house, my parents could no longer allow the purchase of a computer, money was always lacking anyway. Besides, at that time the understanding was different. Productive work was done by digging the ground with a shovel, breaking down trees with an ax, taming animals, and picking berries or mushrooms, but definitely not at the computer.
At least I ended up in a Võru city school with a computer class when I moved. There was a public internet point about 8km away on the way home, where I could look at my dream for a few hours a week. I assured myself that the instrument of my dreams was much, much faster and better than those publicly used ones.
My first computer and the happiest person in the world
Years passed, I turned 15, Pentium 4 generation processors had entered the market, and my mother told me the long-awaited words. Choose a computer, we are ready to buy it with a credit card (in hindsight, 20% interest to fulfill a teenage dream).
My first computer was an ORDI, which cost approximately 13,000 Estonian Crons, and so I felt like the happiest person in the world.
A computer without the Internet is like a car without fuel
I saved up and bought myself the first computer game of my life, which turned out to be “Worms”. I brought the CD home and installed it on my computer. A few days and it was getting boring. There was an understanding that a computer does not reach its maximum potential if it is not connected to the Internet. After all, I had used the Internet in public places and knew its benefits.
I put together a picture in my head and found myself on a new mission, to find a solution to get internet at home.
After all, I was still living in this wonderful place where it seemed that no one else lived except us. Mother, and even less father, who has actually never used a computer to this day, knew nothing about the subject. I researched various solutions on my own, went through all the usual service providers, and the sad fact became clear – it is not possible to provide internet to our house.
No, no, no, I didn’t accept that! It was simply not possible for the parents to move exactly where no internet solution could reach. I started reading forums on my own in computer class, digging in articles, and looking for information. I discovered that even the most desolate places in the desert have internet thanks to satellites.
I was still 15 and took the plunge. With the help of a computer, I got information on how to build a satellite set to capture the internet from the sky. I still remember that the plate was Triax 110cm (which you can see also from the picture).
I ordered a Dreambox tuner, satellite heads, and various necessary gadgets from Germany via computer. Things together, I started to install. I configured it until finally, we had 5000 channels at home instead of three channels.
I received four satellites – Astra, Hotbird, Sirius, and Thor. I acted like a bigot without realizing it. Looking back, as strange as it is, when people have a goal, they are constantly looking for ways and solutions to make it happen.
I was making good progress and my distant father in computer technology did not understand how there were now almost 5,000 channels at home instead of three. He still liked to watch TV after hard farm work.
I didn’t want to watch TV, I wanted the internet! I signed a contract with a German service provider and I finally had internet at home. It turned out that this traffic is one-way, in order for information to come down from the sky, it is necessary to take a message there. Sending a request from the ground to orbit was terribly expensive and there was no money for it, but then I discovered the mobile-generated GPRS connection. Of course, there was no proper telephone coverage at home either. The cell phone had to be located outside the window on the second floor in order to create any signal at all. GPRS was slow, but when the request was sent, the Internet pages rushed to the computer extremely quickly.
My mission was accomplished, I had my own internet at home!
Realization and the turning point of life – teach your children to be productive
As a young boy, I had a very good father, he taught me to be productive. For example, we cut down a bush together, made hay, and sold it to the Tallinn Zoo. We made firewood in the forest, which we offered to the townspeople, or we picked mushrooms and berries, which I traded in the Võru city market. All this was actually a productive activity, but too little added value to be a bottleneck. At the same time, I realized how important it is to be productive, and computer technology simply gave me the opportunity to do work with higher added value.
While solving an internet problem at home, I learned about satellites and what is related to them. Although my father didn’t like me messing around with computers, I was supported by my mother who said to do what you like and so it was. I started offering people similar solutions as I did for myself. I ordered the equipment, assembled the kits, and sold them. I earned a lot more than picking berries, chopping trees, or anything like that. My computer skills grew and when I entered high school I started a student company. I made business cards for entrepreneurs and created websites for them.
Unnoticed, I got to know different fields with the help of the computer, tested several ventures, and by chance I ended up offering IT technology (NB.ee OÜ was born in 2009). I realized that the same device I dreamed of made me IT to be interested in the world and I became quite competent in the computer world. Previously, I advised acquaintances, but now I offered the market a personal technical partner who was responsible for the well-being of customers even after the sale of the equipment.
It was time to enter university. I fell into Environmental Engineering at TUT. I was already active in the IT field, but I sympathized with nature and the environment, and environmental awareness grew from my studies.
Start of GreenDice:
Approximately 10 years had passed since the creation of NB.ee and the company had achieved a decent position on the Estonian landscape. In addition, we operated in Latvia.
A chance tourist trip led to Morocco, a small village called Tagazhout. It was not an ordinary tourist resort, but we found ourselves in the middle of real local life. Hamza, the manager of the surf club, was relatively IT competent because he previously worked in computer repair. After talking with him, I got the impression that the whole country is quite IT-conscious. Out of enthusiasm, I started interacting with local people and realized that the assumption I had made was completely false.
People did not understand how computers could change their lives for the better. Although standing in front of them was the same boy, now 30 years old, who only 15 years ago dreamed of the first computer in his life and whose life had been completely changed by the computer. Instead of a computer, every Moroccan dreamed of being able to emigrate to Europe. The reason is the low salary, if you find a job, you earn around 300 euros a month in Morocco.
I found myself creating a computer hobby circle in Agadir (a city in Morocco). I planned to talk about how to improve my life through the device, after all, I had gone through a similar journey. I knew through NB.ee that developed countries in Europe are drowning in old technology and we are unable to reuse it sensibly. The market is full of used devices, with tens if not hundreds of thousands of devices just floating around in bulk warehouses.
Hamza and I started a company called ChipTech, we rented tiny premises and just before Covid we brought the first 60 laptops from Europe.
Computer skills make it possible to do work with higher-added value
Participants who became interested in the computer world could purchase a decent, but approx. 6-year-old device. The price would be approximately 200-250 euros so that you can develop online with us in the future.
The fateful question that started the concept of GreenDice!
The people of Morocco appreciated our actions, but one braver person said the following words. It’s great that you want to make our lives better, but why do we have to buy the Europeans’ garbage again…
I, who had been selling new equipment to the market for 10+ years, started to think for the first time in my life, about what will happen to the technology when companies no longer use it. How does the life cycle of devices end and where do they end up? In addition, I noticed a lot of advertisements about how European companies are making maximum efforts to be more responsible, sustainable, and green.
As an environmentalist, I thought that every product and service has its own certain environmental impact, mostly negative and it is evaluated through the carbon footprint. Companies must measure and reduce their environmental impact in the future. It is no longer possible to be only economically sustainable but must make its activities less harmful to the environment. I realized that people who are willing to recycle can help reduce the environmental impact of companies.
A little more, and the world came to COVID…
Distance learning and working raised concerns about the computer world. Even in Estonia, various problems arose where families did not have the opportunity to use a computer. I had already forgotten that even today there are many children living in Estonia who, like me, dream of the first computer in their life. A device that can actually give them a similar boost as it gave me.
I looked for a solution and sketched a perfect circle of an IT product on paper, which became a dice. GreenDice was born, symbolizing our mission. To make the computing world accessible to every person in the world. No matter what corner of the globe he is currently in. A computer can change a life, and each of us deserves an equal opportunity to develop in the digital world. That is why GreenDice is creating an international community, which is currently from Estonia and Latvia, but in the future, we will once again reach further.
GreenDice is a business model because business changes the world. By delivering profitably, the concept will be copied and thus we will speed up the realization of our mission. Estonian people can already join community service for only €5.9 per month. It’s a fee that we feel is affordable for everyone, and it removes all device risk from the person and gives them access to an educationally driven community platform.
We reduce the environmental impact of companies, prevent the generation of unnecessary technical waste, and most importantly – we fulfill the dream of many people about the computer world, and with the help of the community we finally make it understandable.
Thank you for your time and I believe that through my story you will understand why GreenDice is designing the world’s first perfect circle of IT technology.
GreenDice idea author and CEO