Robert Hubbard is the founder of GuessCloud. I first came across GuessCloud in Instagram and I was instantly impressed. The idea was simple – take photos of clouds and get people to guess what they look like. However, the thing that attracted me was that it encouraged people to stop for a few moments, take notice of what is happening around them and appreciate something in nature.
What I didn’t realise is that GuessCloud is about so much more. It is an organisation which is taking action against pollution in New York City (and inspiring people to take similar action all over the world), helping homeless people and people in need. There are few organisations in the world who ‘just want to do good’ but this is one.
Robert is a man of heart. Read anything he publishes and you will see that. His commitment to the planet and all people on it is second to none. A truly inspiring man, I am happy to showcase Robert Hubbard as an Earth Champion.
Name: Robert Hubbard
Name of product/service: GuessCloud
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well hello everyone! It is such a pleasure to have this opportunity to connect and collaborate with Mahdi Earth.
My name is Robert Hubbard and I am 28 years old. I am a 7 year U.S. Army Combat Veteran who served 15 months in Mosul, Iraq (2007-2009) and 12 months in the Horn of Panjwai, Afghanistan (2010-2011).
I was born in North Carolina, moved to Ohio when I was 6, then joined the Army on my 19th birthday. I grew up in a famous yet forgotten city of East Liverpool, Ohio. It is famous for its past pottery and steel industries. It is also known as the “Point of Beginning” but I will let you look that up.
It is very hard to tell someone what I do for work or what industry I work in. However, I can tell you what I am currently doing right now and let you figure out what Industry I am in. I am a full-time student at Monroe College Bronx, NY and currently in my Bachelors in Business Administration w/ minor in Marketing. I am completing an internship for a well-known social media marketing company who has decided to hire me after completion of the internship. On top of all of that, I also do everything for GuessCloud which is an environmental non-profit organisation (when I say everything, I mean everything).
I seem to find myself passionate about too many things at times. My top 3 passions are helping children/homeless/poor, helping people of colour, and fixing the mess we made to our beautiful earth.
2. What is your service and how does it benefit the world?
GuessCloud’s mission is I.C.E. - Inspire, Clean, and Educate NYC (and the world). When we inspire an individual to do something they would never have imagined themselves doing, they get motivated and start to see the possibilities in how the situation can be improved, rather than believing that any action taken would be frivolous.
The cleaning aspect of the I.C.E. acronym refers to people actually taking action. The “act of doing”. It is important we follow through on our inspiration and motivation when it comes to cleaning up the planet. The “act of doing” inspires and motivates others to want to help also. By actually doing, you become a leader, and leaders attract followers.
Once we are acting on what inspires us, and inspiring others, we can start to educate (the E in I.C.E.) those who need to hear it. To educate effectively, we need to tell of our personal experience and awareness of the problem at hand. We need to know what works and what doesn’t. That is why education is third on the GuessCloud agenda.
GuessCloud benefits the world by battling problems face to face. It deals with:
· Litter/trash problems by getting out there, getting hands dirty, cleaning and bringing awareness to others.
· Homeless/poor people by getting out there, finding them, helping them personally, and recording their stories to share.
· Helping People of Colour to succeed by being active activists/advocates.
· Lack of Youth Activities by getting them involved in everything.
3. What inspired you to create this product/service?
When I moved to New York City in 2013, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life. I had just got out of the Army in 2012 so being a civilian was still pretty new to me. In fall of 2014 I was standing outside on a hill and looked up. I saw a cloud, a cloud that looked like a fighter jet. I quickly took a picture of it and started thinking. Instantly the word GuessCloud popped in my head and so I researched the name to find out no one was using it. That was the inspiration for the name.
The inspiration for making GuessCloud into a reality and to make a difference in the world would have to be the way we live. The longer I stayed in New York City the more litter, trash, air pollution, waste, segregation, homeless people I saw. I thought to myself “This couldn’t be. How and why?”. Living intentionally and selflessly helping the world and others is my inspiration and secret to GuessCloud’s recent success.
4. How can people help your initiative?
There are plenty of ways to help GuessCloud on its mission to change the world and make it a better place to live. You can find everything you need to know on our blog at GuessCloud.org – We will be starting clean-ups officially in Spring 2016 after the snow melts. I am already collecting money for that and another campaign I am running to help the homeless (GoFundMe.com/90andHomeless).
I also want to point out that you don’t have to have money or be from NYC to help out. You can always show your support for us on our blog and many other social media platforms that we have, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and a few others! Liking, commenting, and sharing are just as important as a donation or volunteering.
5. What has been the most surprising thing that has happened in the making of your products/service?
The biggest surprise is that GuessCloud started as an idea on Instagram and has now transformed into a huge community of people who love clouds, the world, and want to make a difference. I created the hashtag #guesscloud on Instagram and it grew to over 15,000 posts in just 6 months, now it’s at about 23,000+ posts. In just 2 days of launching my campaign to help the homeless, I received $185 from 7 different people from all around the world. That right there is amazing to me. I think maybe 1 out of the 7 donors was actually from New York City.
6. Who was your greatest role model/mentor on this journey?
Professor Johanna Espinosa was and still is my greatest mentor and person of motivation during the creation of GuessCloud. Before I met this wonderful, always smiling, and bubbly human being, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. The way she presented herself with her intrinsic teaching and was always so joyful made me interested in her. I just had to know everything she knew, everything she did, and how she is the way she is. Never before had I seen anyone so “ready” to tackle the world and teach others. I wanted to be like that. So I asked her to take me under her wing, and she did. I am so glad she did because now I am here writing and sharing my story to all of you for Mahdi Earth.
7. What has been the biggest challenge for you?
There are a lot of challenges but the biggest one would have to be dealing with the majority. Majority meaning the people who gave up, are negative about being positive, and who choose to live their life without purpose or taking action. I found out early in the game that the percentage of people who care enough to actually do something about the world’s problems is very small. So the biggest challenge is definitely unity right now.
8. Did you ever want to give up? If so, what made you persevere?
Of course I wanted to give up! With what seems like the world against you, how could you not want to give up? You can even ask my mentor Johanna. I would text her at odd hours with negative messages about how the world has given up and no one cares anymore.
I was a mess, I just could not believe how many people I thought cared, really didn’t. But I pushed through those bad times and didn’t give up. I kept educating people and giving awareness about what is happening around the world.
Most importantly I kept telling myself that there had to be more people who cared as much as I cared. Slowly the love starting pouring in, I started getting positive comments, shares, donations, and messages of inspiration and motivation from my fans, from my true fans that stuck around through thick and thin. I almost gave up on them, I was dumb for having that thought. At the end of the day, it was my fans around the world who saved me.
9. Where would you like your brand to be in 5 years’ time?
· Making a huge impact on the way we live in NYC.
· Maintaining a clean city starting with the Bronx.
· Helping many homeless down the road of recovery.
· Bringing communities together.
· Having our youth be on the streets in a positive way.
· Having a creditable presence in the fight against environmental destruction.
· Helping many poor and people of colour to succeed
10. Do you have any advice for others wanting to follow their dreams?
I think any great successful person would tell you to just start. Dip your toe in the big pool of difference making and dive in. Let me tell you there is plenty of room for everyone. Do not intentionally live your life, you need to live your life intentionally. That means you need to live with action and purpose.
You also need to get rid of negative energy in your life. It could be people you hang out with at work or at school. It could be friends or family members. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t ignore negative energy because it will always be there anyways, but it shouldn’t be a big part of your life while you are trying to make a difference.
DON’T STRESS!!! I have really stressed enough for everyone and I have learnt that it doesn’t serve you at all. My main stresses were about how much litter and trash was laying all over the streets with people were walking through it like snow. I used to stress and feel so bad that I wasn’t able to pick everything up. It would really get to me, right to the heart.
Then one day a thought came to me. This trash is going to be here regardless if I picked it up or not. Why would I say that, you might ask? Well it was simple actually, I hadn’t educated anyone yet. It was clear to me that awareness, education, and the act of actually doing it was the solution to the trash problem. That is when I came up with GuessCloud’s mission I.C.E. Inspire (motivate), Clean (take action and physically do it), and Educate (awareness).
Last bit of advice - stop making excuses and procrastinating. Seriously, you should just start taking action now. You can do it and there is only one thing that can stop you right now and that is you!
Do you know, or are you an Earth Champion? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org