Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The clash of Kermit and Kleiner

I met with a friend yesterday who is navigating the formative financing steps of a promising green-tech company. The venture is buoyed (big time) by an affinity angel, and they’re at a critical how-to-grow juncture. Our conversation harkened a terrific special section in Monday’s WSJ, ECO:nomics, Creating Environmental Capital (click here to peruse the Journal's new Environmental Capital blog). The 18-page pullout is loaded with thoughtful interviews, including one with Kleiner Perkins Partner John Doerr. A brain-buzzing excerpt:

So what’s very attractive about the green technologies is the markets are enormous. The Internet market, $100 billion or so; the energy market, $6 trillion. This is the mother of all markets.
Kermit the Frog, ever the contrarian (or lovable curmudgeon), chimes in (in my brain, not the article), amplifying the challenge environmentalists and ecopreneurs face:
It's not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It's not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
Wait, Kermit, what gives with the outcast, Eyeore-like tone? Being green is contemporaneously cool and prospectively lucrative, a chance to do good and make money, en la madre de mercados grandes. Kermit’s melancholy rings of social alienation and the challenge of individuality.

Doerr counters:
But the wonderful thing about working in green technologies is you can do work that’s successful and also significant. You can help engineers and scientists build great companies that will innovate fuels or batteries or storage, or even more immediately, that can enable all of us to conserve, to be more efficient.
By now Kermit is catching on, swayed by the power and influence and green of Doerr the capitalist. He continues:
But green's the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be

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