Yesterday I spent all day interviewing with Positive Energy, a startup software company that helps residential energy users consume less electricity, natural gas, and other forms of energy. It’s one of the few opportunities I’ve found that would really marry my passions for addressing the global energy challenge and innovating game-changing software.
Before the interviews even started, I had a good omen: The major tenant of the building where PE is located is Sparta, Inc., where my father spent much of his professional career designing LASER-based optical guidance systems. I haven’t thought about Sparta in a long time and seeing its familiar logo (slightly adapted from when he worked there in the 80s) warmed my heart.
The interviews themselves went well. I had discussions with the CEO, VP of Product (to whom I would report), program/process manager, product managers for different products, and lead software engineer. The software engineer had his chocolate lab with him and he joined us for the interview, which I considered to be another great omen. Furthermore, PE’s offices are within walking distance of the original Red Hot & Blue, one of my favorite BBQ joints of all time, even though now it’s been overcommercialized and franchised around the country. The VP of Product took me out to lunch there, which further fostered the “good” feeling I have about this company.
The questions that came my way were very diverse: experiential, design thought exercises, brain teasers, and other funky, “out there” conversation catalysts. My impression after a very full day is that A. the company is really trying to hit it out of the park and significantly affect energy demand, B. the team is smart/high-end, and C. it seems like a good fit where my participation could create value for both the company and for myself.
Hopefully they will see things the same way. Even if they don’t, however, I’m glad to know that such companies exist. As I’ve blogged before, I think the “solution” to the global energy challenge has to be one that also makes good business sense, otherwise it just won’t be sustainable.
And speaking of the global energy challenge, Gore et al have already offered up a public “challenge” to the Obama administration: US carbon neutrality in 10 years! I love it! Nearly impossible, worthwhile challenges have always inspired me and I view the energy challenge as very synonymous with the space race of the 60s. “Why reduce energy consumption, streamline transmission, and produce energy from renewable sources? . . . Why does Rice play Texas? . . . We choose to achieve a carbon-neutral energy infrastructure within a decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!” The stakes are higher in this challenge and I am committed to doing what I can to help ensure victory.