Many lives ago I was CTO of a startup that built the largest DVD rental machine network in the world. We were acquired by RedBox, our largest competitor at the time, but before that happened it was amazing to participate on the front lines of a market in the throes of massive disruption. One day we pitched Blockbuster on licensing their brand so we could be their non-store network. They laughed us out of the building. Less than a year later they came back begging us to license their brand. A few months later they were gone.
That mid-2000s startup was probably the most I’ve ever been in the right-place-right-time. I’ve spent my career ever since in climatetech largely feeling like I was in the right place at the wrong time. Recently, though, the winds have been changing. It seems that there is a new massive corporate climate commitment every week now, public sentiment is strong behind climate, and there is an increasing recognition that we will need new technologies to build the sustainable, prosperous, equitable energy future we all hope for. The feeling is palpable – and it is energizing!
Climatetech now feels like movie rental disruption did 15 years ago: right-place-right-time. The question is, who will be the Blockbusters and who will be the RedBox/NetFlix/etc? Third Derivative is working with our partners to co-create the latter!