22 Apr Hostworks Online Achievement Award winner Mike Worsman aims to inspire a million smiles
Mike Worsman is the 28-year old Adelaide-born chap behind the heart-warming project A Million Smiles. While bringing smiles to people’s faces is his passion, Mike also has a very impressive track record when it comes to award wins. He recently took out the Hostworks Online Achievement Award and was ultimately granted the highly coveted title of South Australia’s Young Achiever of the Year at Channel 9’s South Australian Young Achievers Awards.
We chatted to Mike to get his take on Australia’s digital industries and his plans for the future. Turns out, this young man is not only a true inspiration, but also about to embark on the adventure of his life. The Hostworks team will definitely stay tuned for what’s next for Mike and A Million Smiles. Congratulations and good luck, Mike!
Q: Could you tell us about A Million Smiles and what the initiative means to you?
A: To me, A Million Smiles is an opportunity to take all the lessons, ideas and skills I have developed throughout my life and use them to create an organisation that can alleviate all needless human suffering and restore happiness and connection to all. Our vision – for adults to smile as often as kids – is as bold and complex as it is simple, for there is a lot that needs to change in this world if we are to achieve it. And yet, we ourselves are in complete control over our mind, which is where happiness and smiling begins (or doesn’t, as is often the case).
A Million Smiles at its heart is about sharing stories and insights that inspire the world to smile more, in the hope that people can live happier and healthier lives. Culminating in a feature film, book and movement, we will aim to answer and undo the greatest riddle of our time, which is “How is it that we are wealthier and more ‘connected’ than ever, yet more of us are depressed and lonely, with most adults smiling less than 20 times a day, while children manage 400”.
Q: You took out the Hostworks Online Achievement Award at the recent Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards for South Australia. Not only this, you were later crowned the 2015 Premier’s/Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year. How have these wins allowed you to promote your cause?
A: The greatest benefit for me was actually learning that all nine judges, who came from such disparate backgrounds, had voted A Million Smiles as their number one choice for the overall award. To me, this was the clearest indicator yet that our cause was hitting a cord with a broad audience. For A Million Smiles, this was the final piece of the puzzle we wanted to secure before we hit ‘go’ on contacting media and organisations that we might be interested in partnering with in Australia, Europe and North America. Channel 9 also created this fantastic story about us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umSYMPXrORM.
Q: In your opinion, how is technology enabling people to make a positive change in the world?
A: I think the Internet possesses the greatest power man has seen, because it allows us to connect with the world in unprecedented ways and with incredible speed.
Of course with immense opportunity, comes the ability to use that for good or bad. To me, it is about ensuring that the most important stories for humanity, those that make people smile, are shared, just as those about murder, hate and difference will always be. For if we can connect people to the good, just as we are so drawn to the bad, perhaps we can help alleviate loneliness, depression and disconnect, and inspire adults to smile as often as kids.
My much broader vision is to show Australians the immense power of the Internet in achieving our dreams and sharing our ideas with the world. I simply hope I can inspire more people to share their stories with the world online. If we can all understand one another, and help create a more positive Australian and global online environment, the Internet’s true power can be realised.
Q: Like Hostworks, your roots are in Adelaide. We’d love to hear your take on how the future looks for the digital industry in Adelaide?
A: With SA’s manufacturing and mining industries declining, I believe Adelaide (and Australia’s) number one export must transition to become high-end digital technologies that are closely linked to the creation of renewable energy, online retail, education and better health outcomes.
With fantastic Universities, and a workforce that understands large-scale building and innovation, Adelaide is extremely well positioned to take advantage of such opportunities, but it will require strong federal and state leadership to see such a bold vision realised.
Q: Thanks for popping by at the Hostworks headquarters and data centre last week! How did you find the tour of our facilities in Adelaide?
A: “Wow!” Was my first reaction, as despite all I had read and heard about Hostworks, I didn’t know just how big you guys were, or much about the futuristic and innovative solutions you could accommodate.
I definitely left with a big fat smile on my face, because it seemed like Hostworks was the sort of place where my dreams could be realised and shared with the world. And let’s hope they are.
Q: What’s next for you and A Million Smiles?
A: Put simply, it’s ‘go time’… for the last two years I’ve been laying the foundations (building a website, branding, audience base, videos, photos, research etc.) that would allow such a bold vision and mission to succeed in the long-term.
It’s now time to SHOUT OUT and let the world know what we’re doing, and how they can join us in the journey towards a happier world. In 2015 I’ll be off to India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal before venturing to Africa in early 2016. I will also be launching our first crowd funding campaign, which will help support some massive ideas we hope to bring to life during our tours in Europe, Australia and North America over the next two years. One of these will include live streaming from Time Square for a week, as we interview anyone and everyone about happiness. But there’s plenty more in store, so stay tuned via www.amillionsmilesmovie.com. J