30 June 2011

We Are a Culture in Recline, Not Decline: Cleantech vs. Social Media

“Ultimate Game Chair”
Katie Fehrenbacher had a disturbing post on GigaOm's Earth2Tech this morning:
"Companies that make online games, social networks, and web coupons seem to be able to raise a lot more money in IPOs right now than companies that make energy technology, greener transportation, and biofuels. Zynga’s reported potential $2 billion raise, could deliver Zynga five times Tesla’s combined IPO and follow-on offering.  If Groupon raises at least $750 million, it would bring in more than the IPOs of Amyris, KiOR, Gevo, Enphase Energy, Luca Technologies and Zipcar combined. It’s kind of sad, actually."
Sad?  I'd say it's kinda whacked.

No offenths to the good guys at Zynga and Groupon (and the good VCs who fund them); it's not their fault; they're just giving Americans what they want: distraction and plenty of it.

Some say we are a nation in decline -- I think recline is more like it.

We value distraction and leisure over production and productivity. 

We'd rather throw angry birds at pigs than throw our genius at building a productive new economy based on real, tangible solutions to our energy and environmental problems. 

Rather than produce real food for real people who really need it, we build virtual farms so our virtual friends can help us grow virtual food.

Our penchant for distraction goes back a long time -- and I'm no stranger to it, as those of you who follow my Boston-related sports tweets on Twitter -- but the fact that we value social media and social gaming technologies over potentially game-changing energy and environment technologies is a disturbing trend.

What would our economy look like if we put even half the energy into creating disruption in the energy space that we put into creating distraction for each other?

Okay, I'm off to watch the Red Sox play the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park...

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