Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is the creator of the Better Tomorrow Challenges?
A: That would be Jack Decker.  Jack was raised in Platteville, Wisconsin (a sleepy, small college town in the southwest corner of that state) and, after being honorably discharged from the military, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology (emphasis: social psychology) with a minor in business administration (emphasis: marketing) from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.  Since then, he has been a marketing consultant and marketing executive for both for-profit and non-profit organizations as well as has done pro bono work for small businesses, bootstrap entrepreneurs, and failing businesses.

      Being a libertarian technophile, Jack is trying to bring about a world that is freer and involves less daily drudgery.  A world where we live longer and healthier.  A better educated world that costs less but gives more.  Jack also wants the world to be a more interesting place.  Some of his challenges are not so much meant to make the world better but to make it more interesting.  To celebrate its diversity by way of his challenges.  And then there are the Statehood challenges whose goal is to make this world safer by uniting more of it together and then, by way of his States' Rights challenge, stripping and chaining down that federal government to make it as less oppressive as possible and encouraging the States to experiment with new ideas so the best can be adopted by all.

      Each original challenge is one that Jack feels is just within our grasp if we just try hard enough. And once it is achieved, the first future challenge then becomes that much easier to reach ... and then the next future challenge and then the future challenge after that one and so on.  Jack is both an unashamed optimist and a pragmatic idealist. He believes in Man's ability to become better and holds that technology is the key to that future happiness and prosperity. He feels that if we don't try to achieve the ideal, the ideal will never be achieved. That the act of trying to do so might not achieve the ideal but will achieve something better than if the ideal wasn't the goal.

Q: What is the reward for accomplishing one of the Better Tomorrow Challenges?
A: Initially, a translucent-blue-plastic statuette of a Tom Handsome robot (three sketches by Tiffany Petitt of the trophy are below) and public acknowledgment of achieving the challenge on the challenge's webpage.

Q: How many challenges are there?
A: If you just count "original" challenges, the current number is 251. If you count both original and "future" challenges, that current number is 2750.

Q: Is there an overall theme to the challenges?
A: Yes and no. Yes, there is an overall theme in that the challenges are trying to bring about a better tomorrow or at least a more interesting one. No, they are not intricately related to each other, except through Mr. Decker's very eclectic mind and interests.

Q: Why are so many challenges US-centric?
A: The USA is the world's only superpower, its largest economy, and, via Hollywood, its cultural leader. If the USA does something, the rest of the world tends to follow. It is also a country that is always changing so change comes relatively easy for it.

Q: Why isn't automating a factory a challenge?
A: Simply stating something like "Fully automate a shoe factory." is too broad and too overwhelming for most inventors. To properly use a factory as a challenge, you have to break apart its assembly line into its separate parts (those performed by humans) and then make those into step-by-step challenges (a starting challenge and all of its "future challenges"). See AGRICULTURE's Slaughterhouse challenge for an example of this. But even here, you also have to know what parts have already been automated. You can be assured that fully automating factories will be made into step-by-step challenges in the future, and many are currently being worked on.

Q: Can challenges be canceled?
A: If it is clear that a challenge can never be accomplished, Mr. Decker will cancel it.

Q: Why not remove challenges that some people might object to and be turned off by?
A: If all of the challenges that some people might object to were removed, there would likely be no challenges left. Change is almost always opposed by someone. Besides, talk shows seek controversial guests, who make for lively discussions, engage their audiences, get the shows higher ratings, and make the talk show hosts' jobs more interesting. Lastly, Mr. Decker, BTC's creator, thinks all of these challenges will make this a better world or at least a more interesting one. He stands by all of them.

Q: Did Jack Decker receive any help in coming up with the Better Tomorrow Challenges?
A: Yes. Mr. Decker submitted the entire text of the original BTC website with all of its challenges to George Demmer, Jim Logajan, Louise Jensen, Soren Jensen, Kirk Pearson, and Mike Turco for their review. Mr. Decker is greatly indebted to them for their thoughts, suggestions and edits.

Q: Who did the illustrations for the challenges?
A: The artists are Tiffany Petitt, Wolf Khlebnikov and Marvel DelosBan.

Q: Where can I buy a BTC t-shirt or a toy modeled on BTC's unicycle robot?
A: Nowhere currently.  We are planning to eventually make them, but that's in the future.  Tentatively, the first t-shirt design will be Jack Decker's homepage quote on the front and, on the back, the homepage illustration and URL.  If you have a better suggestion for a BTC t-shirt design, share it in the By The Fireplace forum.  As for the toy robots, they will probably be a foot tall, two versions offered (a "male" with blue eyes and markings and a "female" with pink eyes and markings plus eyelashes), and possibly require batteries so their eyes and color markings glow.  If you're a t-shirt and/or toy maker who would like to license the manufacture of them from Mr. Decker, email your pitch to

Q: Are you receptive to corporate and/or foundation sponsors?
A: Yes.  If you're a corporation or foundation and would like to support Jack Decker's efforts, send an email to  Presently, there are two types of sponsorships available.

      Website Sponsor  The Website Sponsor will get their corporate/foundation name added to the "Better Tomorrow Challenges" banner at the top of every webpage.  Your name will be underneath and aligned to the right in small italicized font.  Something like, "Sponsored by ACME Corporation" or "Is supported by the Good Foundation".  Your corporate/foundation name can be hyperlinked to your website, if you so wish.

      Challenge Sponsor  A Challenge Sponsor sponsors a specific challenge.  A Challenge Sponsor must offer a meaningful cash prize to those who achieve the original and future challenges of that challenge.  You will be identified as that challenge's sponsor in a new last paragraph of the original challenge with your name hyperlinked to your website.  You can sponsor more than one challenge.

Q: How can I get Jack Decker to come and speak to my college class, at my technology demonstration, before my student assembly, to my corporation, before our convention, for a press interview, etc.?
A: If you're a member of the press and wanting to do an interview with Mr. Decker, send an email to

      For all other speaking engagement requests, send an email to: Until Jack is hosting a newsmagazine show (whereupon his visit will be filmed for the show), you will be required to provide air transportation, boarding, and land transportation.  Mr. Decker doesn't charge a speaking fee to those holding technology demonstrations, college classes, student assemblies, or fan-run science fiction conventions.  He does charge a fee to corporations and other for-profit events.  If you are a college professor wanting Jack to speak to your class or a school principal wanting Jack to speak to your student assembly, you can option to give him an open invitation whereby he is welcomed to come by and talk to your students when he happens to be in your area in the future.

Q: Where can I ask a question that wasn't asked and answered above?
A: Go to the "Ask BTC" forum and ask away.

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