Week 3: Moonshot 1 Pitch

Katie Schuler
Katie Schuler
Due Wednesday, September 23th at 11:59pm.

“Moonshot thinking starts with picking a big problem: something huge, long existing, or on a global scale.” - Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X


  1. Refine your big question or huge problem
  2. Post to the blog and meet your team!
  3. Prepare for the BQP (Big Question Pitch) in next week’s class

Background Information
  1. What is a moonshot?
    1. A HUGE problem or BIG question
    2. A radical solution
    3. A breakthrough technology
  2. What are we focusing on right now?
    1. The HUGE problem or BIG question your group will work on.  In next week’s class, you and your team will pitch your huge problem or big question to the entire class via a 2 minute video. 
    2. Then, the class will evaluate whether the problem you are working on is huge enough to count as a language and the brain moonshot.  This week, you and your team will decide on the huge problem you’d like to address and prepare a 2 minute pitch to convince the class the problem you are working on is moonshot material.
  3. Example pitches (you are limited to 2 minutes):
    1. The first 30 seconds of moonshot project loon.
    2. The first 2 minutes of this moonshot on cargo networks
    3. The first 2 min 17 sec of this moonshot on nano meta-materials
    4. The first 4 min and 7 sec of this moonshot on artificial solar retinas
  • TASK 1: Make sure you can access your team's ghost account (see last week's Task #2)
  • TASK 2: For this week’s blog post, we'll revise the post you made last week (and shared via google docs). But this time, You'll post to the blog! Include the following:
    1. Meet our team. Include a short introduction to everyone on your team.  You may include whatever you want, but for each team member, you must include at least: photo that represents you, where you are from, your class year, your major and your primary areas of interest.  
    2. Finding our shared passions. Narrow down your subject area.  What interests do you have as a group? What are you most passionate about? Where do your interests overlap? Who do you want to help?
    3. Practice using tags in the blog: Use the tag Moonshots for your post.
  • TASK 3: You and your group will also work out what your moonshot topic will be and prepare a 2 minute pitch on the topic.
    1. Prepare a 2 minute video pitch (e.g. do a slideshow on Zoom and record it, make a short you-tube video, some other tool you like).
      • We will trim all submissions to 3 minutes before showing them in class next week, so this is a firm limit.
    2. See tips below to make sure you're pitch qualifies as a moonshot!

TIPS (or how to think of a moonshot!)
  1. Narrow down your huge question: If you don’t have a specific huge question/problem in mind yet, continue to brainstorm. (What is left unsolved in this field? What are a lot of people struggling with? Why hasn’t this already been solved? What are some of the challenges faced by those trying to solve it?  These challenges might be related to limitations in our knowledge, the technology available, money, public policy, time, etc).
  2. Make sure your question is big enough:  Check that your question will qualify as a moonshot.   Think about the numbers: how many people are impacted by this problem? Is this a local or global problem? Is it a big problem in the everyday life of those impacted?  What would a solution mean for them?  Why do you think this question should qualify as a moonshot? Your big question will be evaluated next week by the other members of the class.  Specifically, at least 51% of the class will need to “green light” your project as “moonshot material”.  
  3. Celebrate your failures: As you’ve been brainstorming, you’ve surely suggested a few problems that you and your team have later rejected. That's ok! Failure is great. 
  4. Plan your pitch: Next week, your team will be given 2 minutes to pitch your question to the class. Your job is to convince the class that your huge problem/big question qualifies as “moonshot material”.  You may do whatever you like with your team’s 2 minutes: show a video you’ve made, give a “chalk talk”, give a talk with slides; your whole team can talk or just one person, etc. It’s up to you. The only rules are that you must submit a recording of your presentation and it can't be longer than 2 minutes.  Make sure the link to your recording works!  We’ll be using it to share your pitch in next week’s class.


  • Standard moonshot grading rubric applies, with the caveat that the 2 minute video counts toward the required elements.