Monday, May 11, 2009

Economy says, "Nope." VC Expert says, "There Are No Angels." : I SAY YES!

Holy cow, in the midst of some kind of recovery things are still so dark out there if you talk to certian people. And so BRIGHT if you talk to others. One thing the downturn has done is simplify my life in many ways.

1. I no longer have full-time corporate employment. (Oh boy! S-c-a-r-e-y!)

2. I am writing blogs, proposals, presentations and cover letters at an alarming rate.

3. You can tell your close friends by who is inviting you to lunch and who is inviting you to the table at business opportunities.

4. Even as a consummate optimist I have had to pass on the new car we ordered 3 months ago, cut non-essential expenses to the bone, make more coffee at my house rather than inviting folks to Starbucks. (These are all actually good things. Just different.)

5. Refined my focus to the extreme. So one of my tactics at dealing with daily business is sort of like my old employer's "just in time" manufacturing. I put a lot of information out to the universe (I like to refer to it as launching sailboats, or 'sails,' to see which one might catch what little breeze is blowing these days.) And the way this manifests in my work life is this: while I have a lot of opportunities and have put my daily energies into a gaggle of sites, my clear and present focus is on "what will make money TODAY." Because as the money in the bank account thins out, I get less and less effective as an evangelist and leader.

"How can I be bullish on social media if I can't make a living at it?"

So one of the opportunities I have been nurturing since last September is something called The GreenLight Energy Monitoring System. And it seems like a slam dunk to everyone I show. Even the skeptics and VC savvy friends are excited when I finish my 10 minute pitch. greenlight-hero slideBut the VC "mentors" and Angel "gatekeepers" are not so easily impressed.

Perhaps it's like my music career. Friends and family and even a small group of loyal supporters tell me they "love my voice." While the record labels, of the past and present, say, "Nice, but not for us." Turns out that process for me, and my music, may not be a bad thing.

I am not a rock star. I have never toured in a van, except the one time with Blue Cartoon we drove from LA to SF to play a show at a very cool club with our friends 20/20. The crowd was probably 40 people. But it was SF and it was a great club. And one of my buddies got to come see me play who'd have never gotten the chance.

So Clear Green Technologies, my blog/company/corporation behind the GreenLight System is pretty much dead in the water at this point. That is, according to the VCs, lawyers and consultants I've talked to. And yet, the web today is telling stories of the VC's now focusing on the "consumption" side of Green rather than the innovation side. And that seems like a slam dunk for my little idea. (See Green Venture Capital)

But here's where the rubber meets the road in today's economy. I need 10k to complete the Intellectual Property filing to protect the ideas and processes behind the Greenlight. And we probably need another 10k to complete the final "design for manufacturing" work to outsource the build of our product to some "eco-friendly" manufacturer overseas. And I can't get any of the business folks past the 10 minute PPT outline to hear what the bigger idea is. So my friend Tim and I are kind of stuck.

We have a prototype! We have the vision! We know what we need to do! And we need 20 - 30k dollars. And outside of that, there is really nothing more for me to do. I cannot enter the "start-up contest" competitions you see popping up on the web because I cannot reveal any more of my idea without risking the IP value. I don't have the motivation or time to do the rest of the PPT presentation that MIGHT convince the VC folks to give me the money, because everyone is saying there is no money there anyway. And yet, I BELIEVE.

President Obama's energy conscious plans will include companies like Clear Green Technologies. And now the NY Times is saying they (The Money Folks) are going to focus on consumption. And I will keep pushing ideas and trying to make a "consultative" living while seeking the last 50k to take Tim and I to the goal line. But today I am working on a presentation for a client pitch that "might" bring in some actual dollars.

Today I am not able to spend energy or time to tell the GreenLight story. And maybe it's kind of like being a rockstar or not being a rockstar. While I am in this in-between time I am forced to focus on what will feed my family now. And the Green Revolution will take place with or without me. And at the same time I will continue to fly the colors of the revolution on and on the Clear Green Technologies site.

And I will continue to say YES to opportunities.

The VCs can muck around and wait for the capital to start flowing, I don't have that luxury. And perhaps we will meet in the next few months with a PLAN that satisfies both of our requirements.

@jmacofearth permalink:

+++ Related Links

Clear Green Technologies - Maker of the GreenLight Energy Awareness System

GreenLight System - Which Way Shall We Go (Zigbee, BlueTooth, WiFi, WiMax)

NYTimes Article on Green Venture Capital - Venture capital is moving away from alternative energy and returning to one of its traditional strengths: improving the efficiency of energy consumption.

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