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Bring on the geeks

March 06 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Innovators share many traits and interests. But historically they haven't been paying much attention to environmental issues. That has shifted.

Innovators are comfortable with risk/reward decisions, they are used to zigging when the mainstream is zagging and they live with a worldview that is years in front of others. However, it's not all cover shots and student-to-trillionaire stories. In fact the day-to-day life of an innovator is the inverse of that... work days that never end, operating with slim financial resources and always feeling like what you're doing isn't understood or appreciated. It doesn't matter if you're talking about Woz and the early days of Apple or Marc Andreessen and the early days of Netscape. Being an innovator takes a certain mettle. It takes the ability to look past obstacles that stop everyone else.

The wild part for me is seeing this subculture shifting over to the environmental space. The list of people shifting from more pure tech plays to the greener pastures include VC royalty like John Doerr and Vinod Khosla but now there seems to be a larger mass of people moving over. One of my favorites is SAP's Shai Agassi's move to Better Place, a company bent on introducing a subscription-based electric car in locations like Israel. This is one of my favs as I'm an ex-SAP'er myself.

I love this shift. In a world where day-to-day we are made more aware of the damage we've done to this planet. It gives me hope.

I posted a few months back asking the question "where is the innovation?" Of course there has been a notable number of innovations looking backward. Yet if you embrace the simple truths regarding our lack of sustainable planetary consumption and natural resource destruction practices... we're going to have to step things up on the innovation front.

This shift (the minds, the venture capital, the focus on alternative fuels and the global approach) is THE single largest factor in our planet lasting beyond a few hundred years.

Sure government policy shifts and grassroots organizing are key components to the larger planetary equation... but without the driven, innovative and insatiable mind that comes with this new group I question whether we would have enough horsepower to make the culture shifts we need to.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"
Alan Kaye

Bring on the geeks.
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