I recently began producing a bimonthly newsletter called ZERO.
Why the name?
Because I curate trends and tools to help catalyze…
Are these goals realistic? Probably not.
Are they worth striving for? Yep.
For a sampling, here are some snippets from the past seven newsletters.
What the FOAK!?
Yep, that’s my favorite new acronym.*
FOAK = First Of A Kind
In this context, it refers to financing low or negative carbon solutions that have not been built at scale.
(I’m also sure that another spelling of FOAK has been uttered in frustration by teams advancing this cause.)
We need this climate “technology to infrastructure” evolution if we are to achieve our 1.5 degree goal.
What kinds of projects does FOAK refer to?
Dozens of climate solutions on the Project Drawdown’s list of 100 that have not become “bankable” yet.
Just as has happened with wind, solar, and green building, with trillions invested in these profitable projects in recent years, the same also needs to occur with carbon capture and sequestration, and a slew of other important innovations.
To dive deeper on this topic, I recommend two great pieces from recent weeks related to project finance for climate innovations.
#1 -- The Unglamorous Approach to Impact Investing In Energy
From Lacuna Sustainable Investments.
#2 -- Why Deploying Climate Tech at Scale Is So Hard
On a related note, the good folks at Schmidt Futures and PRIME Coalition are working on this climate “technology to infrastructure,” too.
If you know of others, drop me an email for future shout outs in ZERO. (You can reply to this newsletter to reach me.)
* This version of FOAK should not be confused with the other meaning: Flip Out And Kill someone. As in, “what ninjas do when provoked.” Thank you, Urban Dictionary.
Quotes worth pondering.
“Despite knowing where they are going, a pilot is off course at least 90% of the time. But with constant feedback and course corrections, the plane arrives where intended.” [paraphrased] - Steven Covey
— The same is true for our personal and business growth. Constant course correction is the norm, not a sign of failure.
“We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me. My training is never complete.” - Navy SEAL Creed
— Michael Jordan took 1,000 shots per day, 6x per week. If you want to “own” an expertise and a market, you can’t sit back and coast after you have some success. That path is about constant improvement.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”
- Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries
— If you’re hearing dramatic and inspiring music playing as you read this quote, stop it right now. This is not about rainbows and unicorns. It’s about taking action instead of dreaming.
“I don’t meditate just one hour on my busiest days. Instead, I meditate two hours because those days are the hardest.” [paraphrased] - Dalai Lama
— This wonderful bald buddha was asked by a reporter how he squeezes in meditation on his most jam-packed days. His answer is almost as hard to understand as the classic Zen koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Or maybe they’re related: Applause for someone making time to create clarity among chaos?
The new “Climate Change Investment Brief” is live.
Our September issue is posted here.
Here are a few things that stood out last month in the world of climate change investing:
And, yes, those poor puns above were (un)fortunately intentional.
Our Climate Change Investment Brief also includes links to each company, the CEO’s profile, and the investors in these recent rounds of new capital. In all, we highlight 19 deals from last month.
Plus, we cover 10 new climate funds or SPACs focused on climate/ESG, shine light on 3 climate investors (Future Positive Capital, Crosslink Capital, Norwest Venture Partners), and distill 7 climate finance headlines worth skimming.
Consider a 7-day time audit.
“Where attention (intention) goes energy flows.”
- James Redfield
Most of us don’t know where our time goes, at work or at home.
It’s easy (and increasingly common) to say, “I’m just too busy.”
But it’s harder to say, “What you’re asking me to do is not a priority for me. I don’t need to do it.”
And I’m not immune to this challenge.
Most weeks, I’m balancing a Climate Mastermind for entrepreneurs and investors, a climate-focused banking and advisory practice, two board roles, four academic appointments at Duke and UNC, frequent investor education via GLG, three kids, and an acre of bounty to manage. :)
Needless to say, I am ruthless about my calendar (at work and at home), and I fail regularly. Daily. Maybe hourly.
To optimize your time, you might find 7-day audit to be useful.
Consider getting everything put onto your calendar, both personal and professional. You can look backward or forward.
Now create an Excel (or Google Sheets) version.
In doing so, build a mirror calendar by only adding things in terms of big buckets (e.g., business development, capital raising, exercise, family time, reading, meditation, etc.).
Finally, create a set of “if, then” formulas to calculate the percent of your total time going to each bucket.
(Yes, please geek out on this.)
Do you like what you see? If not, then consider these two next steps.
1. Make time for the URGENT and the IMPORTANT, not just the former.
We need to be doers, getting sh*t done, as well as leaders, reimagining a lower carbon, lower waste, and more just world.
To get that right, we can’t just prioritize what’s needed this week or next. We need to think in terms of quarters and years.
That takes conscious effort.
And how might you find that time?
Figure out what activities you can DELEGATE to others (internal or external), AUTOMATE, or STOP doing altogether.
As an example, create a “Not To Do” list.
If you’re not replaceable for the day-to-day activities by systems or your team, then you’ll likely find it impossible to scale your venture, make bigger contributions to climate mitigation, or sell your company.
2. Be more productive in the time you use for either the urgent or the important activities.
For this one, I’d suggest perusing one of the three links below to get more done in the same amount of time.
OK, now take 1 deep breath (or 50), and good luck.
Just like any asset — whether it be time, capital, an organization, your domain expertise — this requires constant maintenance, investment, and optimization to get it right.
I’m in the same boat as you are — Always. Course. Correcting.
Join thousands of others who find some nugget of value in these twice per month.
Photo from Jason Rosewell on Unsplash