tl;dr — I’ve moved back to Manly (a Sydney suburb). I’m focused on 1) advising clean tech startups and 2) working with advocacy groups to change the economics of climate change.
Over a year ago, I published BJR: The Next Chapter, declaring the finish of my incredible time at Atlassian, and that “I do know I want”:
- To return to Oz for the long term
- To live in a small town by the ocean
- To find ‘work’ which has a purpose in helping others
- To find a community which is intellectually stimulating
- To find a home where Bear can roam far and wide, and rid the community of cats
Back in May 1st, I published a meandering piece of self-examination that provided only the conclusion that, “I want to find how I can have an impact on climate change”. So the purpose in helping others had been unearthed — I had thought it might be education, but my time in South America, even in my mediocre Spanish, all I wanted to talk about was how the climate was impacting the glaciers, the rainforests, and the people. And the more I learned, the more it became clear this wasn’t “helping others,” it was “preventing disaster.”
Course Correction: Where to Live
During my trip back to the US spanning May to July, I realised that to connect to the efforts around climate change in Oz would be very difficult to initiate from Yamba (just South of Byron Bay). So Sydney became the default choice to start this second chapter. During a heart-to-heart with Wendell, he reminded that Manly was such a strong source of my happiness in the past, that it simply made sense to re-start my time in Sydney there. Looking back at my goals:
- Small town by the ocean? Ocean, yes. Small, no.
- Intellectually stimulating? Sydney, yes. Manly, no.
- Room for Bear to room? Not off-leash.
So 3/5 are not really satisfied, at least in the short term. But, for my mission, and my purpose, Manly is the place to be.
Will you just stop with the background and explain what you’re doing?
Okay, okay. I won’t go into detail about the four Trello boards filled with Climate Change advocacy groups, investors, ag-tech companies, renewables companies, documentaries, and reading list.
Mission 1: Helping clean tech startups in Oz
After several weeks of talking with a bunch of really smart people who have so much more depth in the space than I do, I’ve decided to be “An Advisor who actually does stuff”:
- I’m looking for four clean tech companies who I will spend about 20% of my time with (about a day a week each).
Despite the enormous amount of focus around renewable energy, it’s the least interesting to me because there are already 50+ startups, each in their own crowded market. We need them to succeed, but I’m not the person to help.
The startups working on waste (specifically food waste), property, and agriculture (specifically tasty agriculture…) have really caught my attention because of the unique approaches and solutions to some really critical problems. I’m starting to spend time with a handful of amazing entrepreneurs to figure out if there’s a good fit.
Mission 2: Make industry work for us, rather than against us
With the rest of my time, I have two goals:
- Help businesses with the challenge of climate change. I recently had the chance to help out with the Not Business As Usual campaign in Australia, where businesses are pledging to support the September 20th climate strike.
- Help shift the economics around climate change (i.e. shift investments, shift corporate spending, shift consumer purchasing, or shift the actual price of clean products to make them a no-brainer, even for skeptics).
Clarity of purpose
I’ve had close to 100 conversations in the last two months around climate, and while I’ve learned a ton in that time, I am still no expert, and still figuring it out as I go.
The more I learn about how bad the situation is, the more I realise I‘ve made the right decision to join the fight to slow the impact of climate on our planet.