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.

Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, PR/ Marketing, Sustainable Business

Quirky weird fact

Images2 Sir James Dyson built 5,126 prototypes of his now famous bagless vacuum cleaner before getting the product spot on. As he says, an inventor’s life is one of failure. He had 5,126 of them. But from failure comes learning. We at “g” are constantly looking at the design of our products. It is a relentless activity with no end in sight. But with every iteration is improvement – a nice consolation.

Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Start-up business, Sustainable Business

The feminine mistake…

Images A book by Leslie Bennetts, arguably the bravest women in America for adressing this hot button issue, she believes that women should get back to work. She reckons that women who leave the work force are gambling their future and that of their chillins as they are relying on hubby’s salary. So ladies, it’s time to get back to work…I thought the diaper debate was a biggy. I thought breastfeeding was a biggy. Not sure anything trumps this debate however…

Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Start-up business, Sustainable Business

The 2007 Australia Day Gift

This report is 2 months late. I know you have all been waiting with bated breath!

The 2007 Australia Day Gift was run in magnificent East Maitland in country New South Wales attracting a world class field of sprinters from all four corners of the globe. The track was meticulously prepared by the Milkman & Dicko. Rubik – the fastest man on earth was given the traditional butternut pumpkin by the handicapper to keep him honest.

A clean start saw the pigs take the early lead – pretty simple when you’re given a 20 metre start. By the 50 metre mark the pumpkin carrying Rubik tried to make his move by actually weaving around the wayward Buff but to no avail…Dicko and yours truly had made inroads. Come the tape, I had managed to win my first gift, stewards report pending.

I would like to thank the Committee, the Stewards, the Handicapper and the caterers for the magnificent post race fare. The backyard cricket and sprinklers were also a treat.