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Published December 12th, 2018
Lafayette Inventor Shares Secrets on Raising Kids to be Problem-Solvers in New Book
Jim Marggraff speaks at Nov. 29 Rotary Club meeting in Lafayette. Photos provided

When Jim Marggraff was 4 years old he was placed in a special education class because he stuttered and had a droopy eye. He almost didn't finish college at MIT because, as a child of a single mom, he couldn't afford the tuition. Marggraff, a Lafayette resident since 1998, went on to become an inventor, entrepreneur and author. The guiding principal in all his work is finding ways to make the world a better place.
Marggraff spoke at the Lafayette Rotary Club Nov. 29 about his involvement with Rotary Club's Virtual Reality projects (he is a member of Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary) and his new book "How to Raise a Founder With Heart: A Guide for Parents to Develop Your Child's Problem-Solving Abilities," which was released in November and achieved a No.1 New Release ranking within the category of "Family Activities" on Amazon in its first week of publication. It's a subject he knows much about. Marggraff has invented many products including LeapPad and the Livescribe smart pen and owns 36 patents. He has started many companies and sold them to the likes of Google and others. He advises companies and was inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year "Hall of Fame." Every new invention starts with what Marggraff calls a "Problem To Solve". "The correct PTS has to be identified," stated Marggraff. "Many times we aren't focusing on the right problem."
But beyond being a founder of companies himself, he and his wife MJ have raised two children who also have taken the problem-solving mindset to their own careers.
Their son Blake, an Acalanes High School graduate, is running his second start-up at the age of 26, Epharmix. Epharmix provides digital intervention messaging to reduce re-hospitalization of patients by increasing their compliance in behavioral and medical therapies. In 2011 the Marggraffs' son and friend Matt Fedderson, also an Acalanes graduate, won the Gordon E. Moore global prize for the Intel Science Faire for developing a treatment for cancer.
The Marggraffs' daughter Annie, age 24, started a nonprofit called StepAhead to help autistic youth. University student athletes are paired one-on-one with autistic children in a running program. The benefits to the children are being studied by a leading autism researcher at Washington University St. Louis and will be published soon in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Their daughter is a finalist for the 2018-19 Westly Prize, which honors young social innovators in California with novel solutions to community challenges.
Marggraff stated of his book, "If you would like to guide your children, or grandchildren, to develop skills for positively impacting the world, with a well-developed sense of ethics, empathy, confidence, resourcefulness and creativity, please enjoy the stories, suggestions, and simple science of 'How to Raise a Founder with Heart.' You'll likely find yourself laughing, crying, and taking away some ideas that you'll use immediately and will help you further bond your family and help your kids."
All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to the Rotary Club's charity works, Rotary International, The Gratitude Network, and The Team Gleason Foundation.
What's next for the serial entrepreneur? He is working on a new PTS - social isolation. "Many people do not get daily personal or deep connection with other people. This is a huge problem as social isolation leads to depression," explained Marggraff. The specifics of his newest invention, using artificial intelligence, are still top secret, but both he and his wife are working on parallel solutions. MJ Marggraff is pursuing her Doctorate at University of Southern California on developing a counter measure for the psychosocial issues encountered by astronauts during long duration space flights. "MJ's work and my exploration for a parallel solution on earth to address the increasing conditions of loneliness and isolation are based on the concept of creating the world's first AI Social Agent. While it might seem that technology might be part of the problem, rather than a solution to social isolation, the proper application of any technology, designed around a well-specified 'PTS' (Problem To Solve) can positively impact human performance, cognition, and emotion," adds Marggraff.
To learn more, visit www.jimmarggraff.com.

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