27 August 2009

A Year on the Path: Some thoughts on what I do next and what I am looking for

So it's been a year since I left the social venture capital organization Ashoka to embark on developing a business idea, which I've written about here and here on The Green Skeptic. The collapse of the market and downwardly spiraling oil prices conspired to make timing for that idea -- an alternative energy investing business -- um, to say the least, problematic.

As I've said before, I was too small to fail, hadn't taken anyone's money and hadn't hired anyone, so it was fairly easy to downshift and slow it down. The idea is still a good one, even with the SEC challenges raised early on by the venerable Steve Goodman and Morgan Lewis. But it is time for me to face reality: I'm not going to be able to pursue this right now.

So, I've spent the better part of this year consulting for various organizations and companies, co-founding the Mid-Atlantic's Renewable Energy Business Network chapter, having fun being a part of the StockTwits community as it builds and grows into a viable business, and advising and connecting people with great new ideas like GoodCompany Ventures, Radical Inclusion, and Humanity Calls. Along the way, I've spun out a few new ideas of my own, but haven't focused on one particular direction -- not yet.

I've even toyed with going back to my old, long-time employer The Nature Conservancy or joining its rival/partners WWF or Conservation International but have dragged my feet on that too.

The other day I had a pointed conversation with my leadership coach, Joni Daniels. If you don't know Joni or her work, you should, she is phenomenal. She's also tough on her clients who hem-and-haw and, well, drag their feet.

She's pushing me to put things in perspective, decide what's important to me and to decide what option makes the most sense to me in achieving my goals and what I want.

Throughout this year, I've also learned a lot about myself and what I want in a working environment. Here's the top five things I am looking for in what I do next, not necessarily in order of importance:

1.) A place where I am part of a results-oriented leadership/management team.
2.) A place where I can build a team of highly motivated talented people.
3.) An entrepreneurial enterprise with global impact.
4.) An enterprise with international reach/travel opportunities, especially in the developing world.
5.) A social business enterprise that is either for profit or at least not afraid of profit.

I'll be exploring this in several posts over the next week or so. Happy to have your thoughts on the matter.