The First Rule of Holes

February 21st, 2008

I’m sure I am the last person to hear this term, but it’s a gem.

The First Rule of Holes is that if you find yourself in one, stop digging. It sounds so simple- I think the hard part may be understanding that you are actually in one, or maybe the urge to tunnel away from problems is just irresistible.

Either way, the term is going into my lexicon.


“Cleantech” is to 2007 as “Internet” was to 1997

October 12th, 2007

The term “cleantech” has always bothered me. It’s so broad that its meaninglessness becomes quickly apparent as soon as one starts to look at all the different sectors it covers. At a mini-conference I attended yesterday, though, panelist James Horn from VC firm Noventi made a useful point about the term.

He said that people use the word “cleantech” in much the same way that they used “internet” in the 1990s- it is a term of convenience that exists in large part because the space is still new enough that the general public doesn’t recognize many of the sub-categories. Just as general “internet” business has given way to “content delivery networks”, “social networks”, “Software as a Service”, etc., so will “cleantech” be used less as people become familiar with the different flavors of energy, waste remediation, materials, etc.

I like that idea, not least because it reminds me what a huge mindshift occurred in the 90’s when the Internet was new, before it got woven so tightly into the fabric of society. I’m sure hoping the cleantech principles get adopted so quickly.

Bonus neologism: I got an email from Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, in which he talked about the growth of “green collar jobs”. I love that term.

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