Saturday, January 13, 2007

Don’t Listen to your Friends, Especially the Smart Ones - the Cleantech Boom

The Cleantech boom has got me a bit depressed. About five years ago, I was all hot and bothered about biodiesel. One of my close friends is transportation policy consultant in DC and he used to tell me all about cars that ran on french fry oil. I smelled opportunity. I read up all about the biodiesel industry. I formulated a business model. I met him for coffee and pitched him the idea hoping that he’d come aboard. The guy knew all the top chemists in the biodiesel field for Christsakes!

He proceeded to give me a hundred good reasons why the idea would never work: too expensive, consumer won’t adopt, lack of infrastructure. All great points. All true.

And yet, over the last six months, biodiesel companies are getting funded left and right. Many of them initially launched five years ago. Maybe my friend is still right, maybe all these companies will fail. But if they don’t they’ll have created a brand new industry, solved a horrible economic problem and made their founders rich.

My point: don’t listen to your friends. The smarter they are, the better the reasons they’ll have why your idea won’t work. If you believe them, you’ll never accomplish anything.