Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine had an opportunity to talk with founding partner, Michael Green, of Yono Clip. But before Yono Clip and Shark Tank, there was the Science Machine! Let's find out more about the man behind the "Green Hair".
SHP: Please tell our readers a little about your background and how you became interested in Science?
MG: I am a husband, father, and graduate of Morehouse College. My grandfather was Dr. Hugh M. Gloster –President Emeritus, Morehouse College. I don’t say that to impress your readers, but to help them better appreciate that for my entire life, I’ve been preached to about the importance of education. I grew up in a single-family household with my older brother, Jefferson. My mother, Alice, was the first diva I’ve ever known. Exceptionally intelligent, multi-lingual, classy, sophisticated, spiritual, beautiful, travelled, and beyond caring. She was my greatest teacher and role model. How she raised two rambunctious boys still amazes me to this day.
However, her desire to introduce us to the world and develop an appreciation for different cultures was strong. As a result, I’ve always been inquisitive, but my interest in Science wasn’t fully activated until I was in my twenties. Upon graduation from college, I took a position at SciTrek – one of the top 10 science centers in the U.S., formerly located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. One afternoon, as I sat watching a science show with a group of students that had come to the museum on a field trip, my interest was immediately sparked by the presenter’s incredible experimentation. I’ve been hooked ever since.
SHP: Tell us about the Yono Clip?
MG: Yono Clip is a strong, compact, portable and inexpensive device designed to keep your possessions close by, off the floor and free from germs and dirt. The idea was originally born when my business partner, Bob Mackey, tripped over a bag laying on the floor in the gym. This gave him the impetus to figure out a way to “get the bags off the floor.” He made a few sketches... shared his idea with me... we decided to link up to bring his idea to fruition... and the rest is history.
As a S.T.E.A.M. educator, however, it is especially gratifying to co-invent a product by following the engineering design process (identify problem, brainstorm, design, build, test and evaluate, and share your solution). I’ve always sought to inspire students to believe that everything is possible. In many ways, the Yono Clip now serves to greatly reinforce that messaging.
SHP: I was excited to see that you and your business partner, Bob Mackey, will appear on an episode of Shark Tank, Friday, February 5, 2021. Can you tell us about that process?
MG: Yes, we are so excited! The exposure that Shark Tank affords entrepreneurs like us is simply priceless. As I contemplate a reality where more than 5 million people will be introduced to Yono Clip in just a matter of days, it serves to remind me that dreams do come true... everything really is possible... and God is so good... all the time!
To know that our Shark Tank journey began when Bob filled out a simple application on ABC’s website on March 21, 2020 is still quite surreal. In fact, ABC is accepting applications for Shark Tank - Season 13 now so I encourage your readers to apply. One never truly knows what God has in store for our lives.
SHP: I have had the privilege of seeing the Science Machine in action. It is truly incredible how you engage students with your knowledge and demonstrations. How was the Science Machine born?
MG: The Science Machine character has evolved over many years. He is a combination of many different personalities... Seinfeld’s Kramer, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and me, of course. As I previously mentioned, upon graduating from college, I took a position at SciTrek. In this role, I created the museum’s outreach program – “Professor Weebil and The Science Machine” - where I traveled to schools across Georgia bringing “science to life” for students. One day, when I found a green afro wig in the museum’s storage closet, I looked in a mirror and dubbed myself, “Michael Green the Science Machine”... and the character was born.
My ability to interact with children in such a fun and non-threatening manner is just a gift from God that I’ve worked to cultivate over the course of two decades. I figure, if you do anything for 20 years, you’ll eventually get good at it. If God gives you the talent, then you can do it even bigger.
SHP: How do you define success?
MG: I define success as being able to enrich someone else’s life through service. Dr. King once said, “Anyone can be great because everyone has the capacity to serve.” My entire life, I have been witness to some extraordinary people... extraordinary in the sense of their pursuit to spend their lives in service to others. While growing up, my mom worked in the Peace Corps. As a result, my brother and I lived in some of the most impoverished countries on the planet. At age 11, during a stay in Cite de Simone, Haiti (now Cite de Soleil) - recognized at the time as the poorest city in the western Hemisphere – my thoughts on success probably first began to take shape. I met people who, by every standard had nothing, but, at the same time, had so much. Their smiles were infectious. Their sense of family and community was obvious. The pride in their heritage was on full display as red, green, yellow and black colors abounded everywhere. To this day, I still marvel at how they maintained such an inner peace and outward happiness while living in the midst of so much poverty and deprivation; and, in contrast, how others who seemingly have so much, are always unhappy with their plight in life.
At that moment, in Cite de Simone, I think I disassociated money from success.
SHP: Getting to Shark Tank and all of your other accomplishments certainly was no easy feat. What are some of the obstacles or barriers you faced and how did you navigate through them?
MG: Looking back, were it not for the challenges and obstacles, the accomplishments would not have been made possible. For example, when I launched SFE nearly 20 years ago, the word S.T.E.M. hadn’t even been coined yet. Science instruction was not on the radar of most principals. In fact, Science wasn’t even a part of any national testing, CRCT or any other metric. There was absolutely zero accountability for science instruction. So, I had this great science program, but no one wanted it... yet.
In the beginning of SFE, I heard lots of “No’s” when pitching my program to principals. However, instead of being deterred, I took to every “No” to mean “Not right now.” As the tides eventually started to turn and S.T.E.M. began to take its rightful place in classroom education, I found myself perfectly positioned as administrators scrambled to get their students excited about Science learning. More recently, with the impact of Covid-19, I, like many others, saw my income completely vanish. If you think about it, SFE is rooted in bringing together large groups of children to experience what I call, “The Best Science Show Ever!” With the spread of Covid, my business model became infeasible. As I struggled to figure out my next move, never in my wildest dreams did I contemplate what God was doing in the background with respect to Yono Clip. It really has been an exercise in faith.
SHP: What’s next for Michael Green?
MG: Well, I recently authored my first children’s book, “The Science Machine Comes To My School.” I’m so excited! The protagonists, Mara and Mason, are named after my kids, which makes it even more personal. It will be available for purchase on Amazon.com in March
I am also excited to announce the creation S.T.E.A.M. cards.
S.T.E.A.M. cards is a fun and engaging way to increase a child’s scientific aptitude. Each box of S.T.E.A.M. cards contains grade-level focused and standards-based Q & A, cool science experiments, amazing science trivia, thoughtful discussion questions, awesome visuals... and more! Pre-orders for S.T.E.A.M.cards will begin in March 2021 at MySTEAMcards.com.
SHP: How can our readers connect with you?
MG: I can be reached at Michael@ScienceforEvery1.com, on Facebook at Michael Green (The Science Machine) and @YonoClip. , Instagram at @ScienceforEvery1 and @YonoClip, Twitter @Science4Every1 and @YonoClip and YouTube- ScienceMachine TV
Thank you so much for this opportunity to share with your readers, Dr. Porter!
SHP: Thank you for taking time out to talk with me. I will definitely be tuned in Friday, February 5, 2021 on ABC!
Michael Green a.k.a. The Science Machine is a Shark Tank entrepreneur, educator, author, motivational speaker and inventor. He is the founder and president of Science for Everyone (SFE) and a co-founder of Yono Clip.
SFE is a 20-year-old Atlanta-based science and technology company committed to inspiring and increasing student interest and aptitude in science, technology, engineering, art and math (S.T.E.A.M.) across America and abroad.
In pursuit of that mission, the jaw-dropping and mind boggling interactive science experiments that Mr. Green presents have been featured on the ABC, CBS and Fox television networks.
A passionate educator, Mr. Green serves as the featured education presenter for: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia, The Atlanta Braves, The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation.
Additionally, Mr. Green is the only person in the world to present an interactive science show in a stadium (SunTrust Park now Truist Park) as well as the creator of “The Science Machine “ - the world’s first S.T.E.A.M. cartoon based on a real African-American.
Yono Clip is a GA-based company that manufactures the Yono Clip – a strong, portable, compact and inexpensive device designed to “keep your things close by, off the floor and free from germs and dirt.” Yono Clip was recently featured on ABC's Emmy-award winning “Shark Tank” television program.
Prior to founding SFE and Yono Clip, Mr. Green served as the speechwriter to the Chief Marketing Officer at Delta Air Lines. In this role, his responsibilities included directing web-based communications for all revenue-generating departments within the company.
Proceeding his work at Delta, Mr. Green served as a speechwriter to executives at Georgia-Pacific and as editor-in-chief of “GROWTH” magazine – a company-wide, quarterly publication reaching more than 70k employees.
A seasoned professional, Mr. Green also served as the speechwriter to the president of SciTrek - one of the top 10 science museums in the U.S. - formerly located in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
Mr. Green is married with two children. His wife, Cawanda, is an established professional photographer; his daughter, Mara, is a Florida State University graduate and a former professional volleyball player; and, his son, Mason, is an aspiring professional athlete and a senior at Tennessee State University.
Mr. Green is a graduate of Morehouse College and the grandson of the late Dr. Hugh M. Gloster – President Emeritus, Morehouse College.