operation oaxaca: the billion-dollar questions.

how to make (oo) work in the real world. (031)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
3 min readMar 31, 2024

this is carlos.

mentors help.

but also being alone, silent, with nothing but your obsessive brain.

it just flows to ponder & morph a question for you to answer.

and this is what i got from all of this:

if u get a $100,000 answer, the question was worth $1,000,000.

if u get a million-dollar answer, the question was worth a billion.

the right questions are worth more than the answer(s) tbh.

doesn’t gotta be money.

could be deciding on a project, a belief you hold, life partner, whatever.

but i needed ‘dem questions.

the questions.

it’ll be split into two big questions, with mini-questions along the way.

the first big question.

#1: what is the most profitable product i can create utilizing the acid mine drainage and its byproducts?

just brainstorm.

and i got two answers:

1. the metals themselves, specifically zinc, nickel, and rare earth elements.

not all mines were created equal.

some have more lead, arsenic, silver, gold, rare earth elements, or whatever mineral… in this particular mine in california than in montana.

but once the metals are ready for processing, they are left in geotubes, where they dry.

so the metals/minerals are in this dry sludge.


we can remove metals from the sludge.

but then what do we do with the waste?

throw it in a landfill? a hole underground?


and this led to my 2nd answer:

2. the dried acid mine sludge itself (including & excluding minerals)

this one was a bit more unique.

it all comes down to what the material possesses and asking what industries utilize those components.

and there are some good ones… or are they?

this is the mini-question i used to identify which of the routes to go on…

mini: which route has favorable economics / profit?

this route required me to work & identify which route to go down.

but in the end, i was wrong.

filtering out metals is necessary.

but it should NOT be the route to solve the problem of acid mine drainage in my village… and everywhere else.

it’s the sludge that has the key.

i’ll prove it in the next article.

but now that we reached this conclusion,

we could start turning the sludge into a profitable product.

but how do we know we’re in the right industry to target?

this is where question two comes in:

#2: what is an economic/business problem within ‘x’ industry that my ‘MPP’ can fill the market gap?

MPP → most profitable product.

i believe most things stay/die in the lab* because we forget to integrate our creations with the chaos of the real world.

*(also, because funding + who funds it, or just to publish papers, idk)

so i asked myself:

out of all these industries that need the minerals inside of the dried sludge…

which one would desire it the most IF it surpassed their requirements for them to adopt + integrate the technology into their business?

and these two questions have been tearing every brain cell i have for the past week.

but now, i feel comfortable.

i have economic & technological proof of what i already perceived to be true.

so time to share it in the next one.


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