Posts tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’
Penned by Tom
In his fantastic interview with Doostang, Nick mentioned that one day, long beyond his time at Bright Green Talent (we hope), he’d like to be the San Francisco City and Parks Commissioner. As I strolled around Golden Gate Park this sunny weekend, I mused on this. Typical to Nick, it’s a thoughtful, somewhat eccentric ambition. The Monty Python Song, ‘I’m a lumberjack’ rolled around in my head. Nick possesses a commanding eloquence, huge intelligence and a incredible way with business. As such, my initial reaction was typical of the modern age – that he should aim higher… for mayor, governor or beyond. Yet the more I sat with it, the more this ambition made sense.
As I meandered through the park, I came across the Botanical Gardens. They reminded me of one of my favourite places on earth – the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh – in both layout and style. Sure enough, when I looked up the park’s history, the Garden’s developer John McLaren, received his training in Edinburgh’s eden. His biography brought home to me the depth and meaning behind Nick’s ambition. John was ‘the best loved man in San Francisco’, according to one source. He lived in house in the park and spent time amongst nature every day. He earned enough prestige and admiration to become one of the ‘greatest Scots of all time’. He has left a beautiful, indelible mark on the city for thousands and thousands of people to enjoy for years, long beyond his death. He achieved his dream, to plant a redwood grove. Like Lord Iveagh, who donated Kenwood House to the people of London (where I spent many happy days as a child), his legacy leaves the inhabitants of this city with indelible memories of time spent within his park. Surely there can be no greater ambition than that? It might not seem the most glamourous job in the world, but could it be one of the most rewarding?
John McLaren is said to have planted over 2 million trees in his lifetime. Hopefully Bright Green Talent will also achieve that one day, as we plant a tree for each and every candidate we place . My favourite part of his biography is the advice his father gave him: “Me boy, if ye have nothing to do, go plant a tree and it’ll grow while ye sleep.” Surely a job which leaves a growing legacy that benefits many thousands of people long after you’re gone is something we should all aim for.
My own ambition is to become the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s perhaps a more obvious choice which, until Nick’s captured my attention, has long been my ‘best job in the world’. Perhaps I take a leaf out of Nick’s park and aim for something humbler, yet equally meaningful.
Paul made the media rounds during Earth Week as everyone was wondering where green jobs are and whether they’ll live up to all the hype. Paul speaks here with San Diego News Network; he also spoke on Saturday at the San Diego Green Careers Conference.
Ruminated on by Nick
The NY Times today ran a story that documents one of the larger shifts in Chinese economic policy in recent memory: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/world/asia/13china.html
Bringing this number of peasant farmers into the land banking system strikes me as a profound, forward-thinking move. Knowing little about Chinese policies, it does strike me that folks should have some ability to have direct ownership of essential assets–mostly free from government interest–but that the government should have some oversight. Though not a full, free-market reform like we enjoy in the States, I think this may be a positive first step in the process of decoupling economic from political freedoms that was first initiated in Tianeman Square.
Penned by Nick
I stumbled across a 2004 talk at Stanford by Guy Kawasaki, contrarian entrepreneur writ large, who espoused his views on the importance of making meaning first, and then trusting money will follow, as opposed to working in the opposite direction.
What struck me about Guy’s advice was how quickly this lesson has been forgotten as Web 2.0 has exploded. Indeed, my sense is that many are now beginning to wonder, what’s the real value of Facebook or Myspace, besides advertising revenue, when the communit of friends is seemingly so shallow and far removed from everyday life?
The thought that gives me heart right now is the reality that social and environmental entrepreneurs are actually embracing Guy’s lesson, and in the process, creating value that extends beyond an IPO. With some calling for war crimes trials of all CEO’s (a bit extreme, admittedly), there is, especially now in the US, a pressing need to make meaning out of an increasingly confused corporate system, and in the process, begin to be the change we all want to see in the world.