It seems like just yesterday that we were in the final stretch of planning the second Cleanweb Hackathon in New York. It was a great event that brought people together from the Cleantech community along with investors, city officials, entrepreneurs and a spattering of students. It exceeded my expectations and has led to follow up discussions and spurred the city’s own hackathon, Reinvent Green.
During the two weeks following NYC, I had some great follow up chats with people interested in doing hackathons all over (Tel Aviv, Houston, Paris, L.A., Singapore, Berlin, and Philadelphia). Wow, this thing has legs I thought.
Luckily, Sunil Paul and Nick Allen (of Spring Ventures) shared my enthusiasm for doing something beyond the first two events that would catalyze local leaders who could in turn continue the momentum. While we could have just let Cleanweb spread organically, my opinion was that Cleanweb, as an evolutionary mantra for continued innovation, deserved some focused execution. If we could identify leaders interested in spreading the meme, real community could be formed for create some major impact and disruptive new companies. We quickly agreed on a plan and they agreed to invest funds and to help raise sponsors interest in a Cleanweb 10-city tour.
So, after several months of planning, it’s time to kick off the first spate of hackathons:
I hope you can join us at one of these if you’re nearby or can get there. If you’re one of those wondering “when cleanweb is coming to my city,” consider recruiting some compatriots who would make good organizers and complete the facilitator application to get the ball rolling.
It might go without saying, but producing a great event for 150-200 people is a big commitment. It takes about 90-days of planning, a great team, raising $10-20K, securing sponsors, and then making sure you do everything in your power to get people to bring their creative guns on game day.
Join the #Cleanweb conversation on Twitter or for some serious dev chat: ##Cleanweb on irc.freenode.net
As we roll into 2012, I thought I should explain my fascination with Cleanweb,why it’s had my attention since early last year and what it means for my company, Dynamo.
Cleanweb broadly describes transformative opportunities for innovation at the intersection of IT and Energy. This description allows for everything from smartgrid companies like Silver Spring Networks, Efficiency vendors like ThinkEco and Nest to GetAround, Airbnb and OPower.
Sunil Paul can be first credited with use of the term “Cleanweb” in his seminal blog post and his presentation at GreenNet (if not earlier). I was introduced to Sunil by a friend, Andrew Ng, who suggested we connect on my vision for transforming the consumer relationship with energy, efficiency and cleantech. It was in the process of reading up on his history and firm, Spring Ventures, that I discovered Cleanweb along with his work on Gigaton Throwdown - both pleasant discoveries .
You see, at the time (early 2011), we were just finding our way in clean energy - knowing we wanted to serve the user (real people) not the incumbents. We were promoting Dynamo as a Cleantech company and our prototype aggregated in-home usage data from disparate sources…sounded good to us. Cleantech really wasn’t a great conversation starter though and several people suggested we were more about “behavioral analytics” but we still didn’t have the bridge to connect the user with the things that would open up a dialog about energy or drastically change their consumption patterns.
Cleanweb helped us find our identity as a company and is increasingly defining our mission to solve the world’s energy problems by accelerating consumer adoption of cleantech and efficiency solutions.
In my quest for success with Dynamo, I realized Cleanweb was something we needed to be widely recognized and promoted. I joined Sunil in an effort to recruit more people (innovators) who would also answer the Cleanweb call. Cleanweb Hackathon was established as the vehicle and the inaugural event was held in SF last September with great reception and results.
The parade continues January 21-22 with a stop in NYC. Thanks to the help of an incredible volunteer team, I’m co-producing this event at NYU’s Tisch ITP. We’ve rolled out the carpet for participants to come out, join teams, and produce apps for prizes and exposure.
There’s also a Friday kick-off reception at the incredible New York Academy of Sciences. It’s going to be great event, so please join us, send friends, or tune in to the live stream.