My New Gig(s)

It’s been almost a year since the Oracle deal closed, and I’ve been fortunate to work on a lot of interesting projects since then, including the Energy Innovation Tracker, which I’ll write more about soon.

By last fall I was feeling like it was time to settle down somewhere again. I talked to a number of companies; some of the companies were really small, and some were really large. But late in the year I got an offer to work full-time for Applied Minds and their spinoff, TouchTable, and enthusiastically accepted.

For the rest of this post I’ll just answer some of the obvious questions.

Why Applied Minds and TouchTable?

There were two things that attracted me. The first was innovation. I thought a lot over the summer whether I should go be a senior exec somewhere, or I wanted to stay closer to the innovation. I also considered whether I wanted to focus on one thing (like you do at a startup), or have a broader scope.

This job hit the answer to both questions. I still feel like I can innovate, and that there’s some important problems and some potentially lucrative problems around that deserve some attention. But, at the same time, I had a hard time committing to a single problem. AMI and TouchTable offered up a combination of both.

The second thing that attracted me was the opportunity to work with Danny Hillis again. We’d worked closely at Thinking Machines for almost a decade, had stayed in touch since, and I always wanted to work closely with again.

Are you moving to LA?

Nope, we’re staying in Concord, MA. I’ll be out here regularly, but also expect to help both companies out in DC, which is an easy trip for me. I started work on a home office over the summer, and am putting together plans to finish that off now that I know what I’m doing.

Are you going to be working on sustainability?

This is the most frequent question I got over the past year, and my answer has consistently been “I’m always working on sustainability”.

I did look at some CSO type jobs, but I’ll tell you that they are few and far between. I recently told someone that I bet there are fewer full-time corporate sustainability professionals than there are NBA players, and last I checked that was a pretty tough gig to get.

But as we said at Sun, “every job is an eco job”. So I plan on bringing an eco mindset to everything I do, but also am confident there will be some opportunities at AMI to work directly on some eco problems. Furthermore, I’ll still be involved with activities outside of work such as EIT and NEON.

I’ll send more details as I settle in, but having fun so far!