Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Stories from the trenches, Sustainable Business

Condolences to our neighbours

Images_2 To the Kiwis who lost to Sri Lanka today and were thus bundled out of the World Cup. The Lankans have a confirmed birth in the final. The other team will come from tomorrow’s South Africa- Australia match.
Given today is ANZAC Day – the day the Aussies and Kiwis fought & died together back in 1914 against the Ottoman empire, it is a doubly sad day – for the black caps particularly though.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Conferences, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Sustainable Business

Martha, martha, martha…

ImagesLast Friday, right before Green Fest started, Josh Dorfman – the Lazy Environmentalist appeared on Martha Stewart to show her some new groovy green products. And he was good enought to give gDiapers a big plug which was just superb. With three of us in Chicago, the phones at gHQ lit up for most of the day keeping Sue, Kim and Schooey on their toes! Needless to say we broke a few web sales records. Josh did a great job of really showing how the product works. So we think the interest we receieved was well qualified. Josh’s book is being launched next month. His other passion, is his furniture store Vivavi featuring beautiful, sustainably built pieces.

Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Sustainable Business

Chicago Greenfest


274 So right after the aforementioned Green Business Conference (I did have a last installment but it is tied up in legal and probably won’t see the light of day…) Karen (Admin & Customer Service) and Kelli (Customer Service Queen and resident baseball nut) joined me to (wo) man the well worn booth at Chicago’s first GreenFest. Here we are pictured enduring an excruciating pre- festival session in the bleachers at Wrigley sitting amongst a stag party in 75 degree heat. It was sheer hell.
The festival was a raging success. More people came through by midday on day one than the two days of Green Fest in SFO. I had no idea Chicago was so green.

Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Sustainable Business

Chicago Green Business Conference 2007 (3)

Calogoheader So now we had a posse, we became a menace. The archetypical, naughty kids at the back of the room. The speakers have been great but as the day weared, we got a little noisy. All meals are provided and the caterer is naturally a sustainable business but it is all vegetarian. So the crew had to bail out and make an emergency burger stop at about 4pm to avoid passing out. After meat and cheese and beer, order was restored and we returned to listen to Michael Crooke – ex CEO of Patagonia and currently working with Steve Case (of AOL fame) on Revolution. And then it was dinner time again. The 4 o’clock burgers killed the appetite so it was a meal of organic wine chased down with organic beer. I had a 10pm conference call with Australia which had to get rescheduled – I couldn’t abandon the team…and off we went to the House of Blues. Tara convinced one of the speakers of the day – Joel Makower to join us and we had a rocking time. After a couple of rounds we were on the floor, cutting a mean rug. All up a tops night, and a pretty hairy morning the next day.
Tonight we have a discotheque type arrangement after the keynote. More later.

Conferences, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Stories from the trenches, Sustainable Business

Chicago Green Business Conference 2007 (2)

Headergreencalogo_2 The conference organisers, Alisa Gravitz & Denise Hamler are brilliant at forcing networking upon the group. Somehow even the quietest wallflower ends up meeting a ton of people through speed networking and other activities. They are quite brilliant.
So in no time I had met and ate and partied with some great new people. All good friendships start at the bar (serving organic beer no less) Evan from Food for Thought was wearing a New Zealand America’s Cup sweatshirt so I thought I better make sure he wasn’t a kiwi, otherwise there wouldv’e been sauce on the floor…He wasn’t and he is a mad sailor so instant mateship. He was with his colleague Tim and then there were three. Evan & Tim are in the jam business and have the first Fair Trade certified spreads. Then Craig joined us. He is launching an online affiliate program with a twist and he races cars, so we essentially had a blokes dream team – sailing, fast cars and beer (and sustainable business interests). Then Jody, Evan & Tim’s organic coffee company mate joined. OK, so we lost the boys club but that’s OK. Then Rebecca from Green Clean rocked up and now we were five. Then Tara decided to come over for a yarn. She is launching a new green business. We coached her a little and she has smartly decided to discard the URL “” and go for “” – it has a softer edge…
So with a crew of six, it was dinner time. We ended up at a great Japanese hole in the wall with four more ring -ins including Mimi and her son from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate (good rule of thumb, always hang close to chocolate makers at these conferences…) and Leif Utne who is the Publisher of World Changing and is the son of the Utne’s of Utne Reader fame. So after some gyoza and edamame, we discovered that amongst us, there were no less than three folks who had adopted little ones – from the US, Guatemalas and Korea and a fourth writing a book about adoption. I felt like the third wheel. After beer and sake we were instant mates and it was nye nye time.

Conferences, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Start-up business, Stories from the trenches, Sustainable Business

Chicago Green Business Conference 2007 (1)

Headergreencalogo I am in the windy city for a terrific 3 day conference on green business. The luminaries of the industry are here – Michael Crooke – ex CEO of Patagonia, Jeffrey Hollender of 7th Gen, Ray Anderson the king of cradle to cradle with is innovative carpet business and many more. Also good talks from the folks at LOHAS, giving us a sense of the fast growth of the sustainable business sector. Joel Makower, a prolific green blogger and author gave a thought provoking presentation on the business of green business. The data he presented is indeed the data that has not budged a whole lot in 15+ years – US consumers are aware of organic and sustainable but the percentage of consumers who actually change their behaviour is still extraordinarily low. This was somewhat of a buzz kill after a rah rah day but there you have it. The very next day on the front page of USA Today was a piece supporting that thesis with the headline: “Doing right thing isn’t easy, even for those who want to: Green living takes roots but habits die hard”.

Cradle to Cradle, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Stories from the trenches, Sustainable Business

MBDC+Bill McDonough=C2C

Cradletocradle In Leonardo Di Caprio’s upcoming doco the 11th hour, he interviews 50 leading scientists including Bill McDonough, the cradle to cradle man. Bill says:
“We’re at a point in our history, with 6.4 billion of us, that we have to imagine what it would be like to redesign design itself, see design as the first signal of human intention, and realize that we need new intentions for our future where materials are seen as things that are highly valuable and need to go in closed cycles – what we call cradle to cradle instead of cradle to grave. And we have to agree that energy needs to come from renewable sources, prinicipally the sun, and that water needs to be clean and healthy as it comes in and out of the system, and that we should treat each other with justice and fairness. So, the design itself changes from mass production of things that are essentially destructive to mass utilization of things that are inherently assets instead of liabilities. “

Amen brother.