8 Principles for Silicon Valley’s Role in the Post-Hydrocarbon Economy

Civilization is at a crossroads about the post-hydrocarbon economy. We have a unique window in the next 2 years during which every effort has 1,000x ROI that same effort 2+ years later. Here are 8 principles for Silicon Valley’s role in the Post-Hydrocarbon Economy:

  1. Climate change is an opportunity
    Elon Musk says “sustainability isn’t some silly hippy thing — it matters for everyone”. We see climate change as the biggest financial opportunity civilization has ever seen — to build new systems for food, energy, water, air, transportation, and manufacturing. A new civilization, the likes of which the world has never seen. We know that in the uncertainty lay immense challenges and enormous opportunities.
  2. A backdoor to civilization-scale
    Big corporations have the resources and infrastructure that make up our civilization. But they lack the innovative ideas and leadership. This is our opportunity to expedite a new world. What if we could truly pair the new ideas of tiny startups with the resources and infrastructure of big corporations.
  3. Right problem, Right Place
    We need to create opportunities for real world testing to bring in entrepreneurs around the world to the locale where the opportunity is most present – whether it’s food, energy, air, water, or manufacturing. For example, new clean manufacturing methods could be prototyped and tested in an industrial center like Shenzhen, China. A new agricultural startup could escape a coworking space in San Francisco and get their hands dirty in the fields alongside California’s farmers than being stuck in a coworking space in San Francisco.
  4. Do Good While Doing Good
    Our most valuable resources must be directed at our biggest challenges. Top tech, engineering, and science talent today lack opportunities to tackle world’s important problems. We believe that for significant civilization scale impact, the for-profit model must be present.
  5. It’s Already Happening
    There are already hundreds of entrepreneurs pursuing climate opportunities. We put together a database of 262 hot startup companies working on sustainable tech in just a few hours. Every few days we see articles about climate change on tech sites like Engadget and HackerNews. Connect the dots and we’ve got a trend.
  6. Startups first
    Startups represent a unique commitment to the future – quitting a job and leading a team into the unknown. Protect the ideas, strategy, and mission of a startup, while helping them to interface with the outside world. This is currently suboptimal. As my friend Sandro said, there are many dances between elephants and mice, and it is only the mice who ever get hurt.
  7. Lean Pilots
    Real-world testing can close the gap between a striving startup and corporate caution. Something something walk before you run. For example, we can’t have startups footing a $15k legal bill for engaging a corporate partner on a nebulous partnership that ends up going nowhere. That stuff hurts.
  8. Dreams + Discoveries = Inspiration
    Highlight the dreams and discoveries of innovators in the field to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

We seek technologies, partnerships, and business models that are past humanity’s horizons. Working with outliers from startups, governments, and corporations, we are building a toolbox around 6 core technologies:

  1. Food: Precision agriculture and freight farms to produce 2,000 calories anywhere in the world, dynamic time machines that can recreate the growing conditions of any time and place on earth
  2. Air and Water Engineering, including engineering filter mechanisms, Earth terraformation, bioengineering, and new currencies for pollutants
  3. Sustainable Transport on electric airplanes, cars, and freighters
  4. Sustainable Manufacturing – cradle to cradle manufacturing processes, logistics, autonomous factories
  5. Energy capture from the fusion reactor in the sky and next generation storage to make every joule count
  6. Energy consumption tech for living buildings, decentralized microgrids, and dynamic provisioning

P.S Would love your thoughts on this. Your help is welcomed!

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Tito Jankowski lives in San Francisco. He's a public speaker, biotech hacker, and post-hydrocarbon expert. He is the co-founder of Impossible Labs, expediting the post-hydrocarbon economy through partnerships between startups and Fortune 500 corporations. Find him on LinkedIn. Email Tito at blog@titojankowski.comPublic PGP key. PGP Fingerprint: 5A4F 4C5C E8B7 20C3 2867 9100 C56C 881F 13AE 02D7 EFF Guide to PGP Security

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