Category Archives: Sustainable Enterprise

9. Turning Ideas into Positive Impact with Mauro Cozzi

There is sufficient venture capitalist funding for every business to become a positive impact business. With this in mind, what is the formula for launching a successful startup?

  1. Generate ideas
  2. Test ideas
  3. Execute on an idea
  4. Fail 
  5. Rinse and repeat

Fairly simple right? But the secret sauce in the success of a startup is largely dependent on three ideals:

  1. A founding team blended by years of solid friendship or individuals that can quickly find a cadence with one another
  2. A team that complements each other and can rise from adversity stronger than where they started 
  3. A compelling answer to why the business exists and how it has the potential to change the world

These are one of many lessons I learnt from my conversation with Mauro Cozzi. Mauro alongside Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie are the founding team of Emitwise.

Emitwise empowers companies to accelerate their carbon to net-zero targets by using AI to automate how businesses measure, report, and reduce their carbon emissions throughout their operations and supply chain. Emitwise went from ideas on post-it notes in a kitchen to having some of the largest corporations in the world using their solution. 

All this in 12 months!

The ambitious founders quickly identified the need to recruit the right people and expertise. It’s not only the right blend of experienced individuals, but how the co-founding team engages, that has been pivotal to their rapid success.

Mauro, Eduardo and Ben are building a moonshot. One with a viable business model and the ability to support real, sustainable climate action.

Mauro and Eduardo’s friendship stems back to High School in Chile. Even at an early stage, they were ideating solutions to help tackle the climate challenge. Inspired by a physics class that explained climate change principles and the feedback loop that exacerbates global warming. 

They were on a mission to make a real positive impact.

In this episode, we focus on Mauro’s story from his origins in Argentina and travel via conversation around Latin America, North America and the UK.

We also breakdown:

  • The mechanics around ideation. How idea’s should be tested and why noise around issues/challenges is largely irrelevant when pitching for investment.
  • How Mauro, alongside his dorm room friends Maciej Szpakowski and Przemek Zientala first got a taste for entrepreneurship at a University Dragon’s Den Programme
  • How Mauro’s first experience in the startup world landed him on the acclaimed Berkeley Skydeck accelerator programme in Silicon Valley
  • How Silicon Valley contributes to shaping core values and promoting a mindset change in young entrepreneurs 
  • Why Mauro’s first startup failed and how this contributed to Eduardo and Ben accidentally co-creating a new opportunity

There is a serendipitous nature to this story.

Mauro’s journey has a degree of randomness. Lots of disparate pieces that on their own are difficult to stitch together. But when viewed through the lens of Jazz Fusion – yes, I suspect you weren’t expecting that twist – there is a relationship, a series of events coupled with a degree of improvisation that can create a musical masterpiece. 

One that has the potential to change the world.

QUOTES

Activism ‘in a pat yourself on the back type of way’ is a privilege. Activism in having real meaningful impact is a responsibility. – Mauro

You are here to build a moonshot.” – Mauro

Ignore whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s the biggest game of Russian roulette the world has ever played – Elon Musk.“ – Mauro

The most important thing about a business is the why. Everything falls out of the why.“ – Mauro

I’m not any kind of exceptional person, I was just told I could do something different and I listened.“ – Mauro

“Every day on a constant basis we are reminded of the companies’ mission and vision. To accelerate the transition to a net-zero world.“ – Mauro

By flexing the idea muscle you’re only going to make it stronger.“ – Bobby

RESOURCES

Website: Emitwise
Twitter: @emitwise
LinkedIn Profile: Mauro Cozzi
LinkedIn Profile: Eduardo Gomez
LinkedIn Profile: Ben Peddie
Twitter: @mauro_cozzi
Twitter: @eduardo_a_gomez
Twitter: @benjaminpeddie
Website: Berkeley Skydeck Accelerator
Website: Future Worlds Dragons Den
eBook: The Business Benefits of Carbon Accounting
Blog Post: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Idea Machine
Website: Snarky Puppy – A Great Introduction to Jazz Fusion


RELATED EPISODES

Episode #5: The Sustainable Enterprise with Mike Mcilroy
Episode #6: Phreaking Out with Matthew Dytkowski
Episode #8: Going Green on Nuclear with Zion Lights

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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8. Going Green on Nuclear with Zion Lights

There is a solution and an accelerant in meeting global carbon to net-zero emission targets.

One that has provided two-generations of proven clean energy. 

Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island induce an atomic anxiety. However, fossil fuels have had far greater people and ecological impact, than any nuclear fallout in history. 

Who’s to blame for the negative image of nuclear power?

The fossil fuel industry? The Simpsons? What are we so fearful of?

Why is the UK decommissioning more reactors than it’s building?

These are one of many topics that I discuss with Zion Lights. 

Zion is the UK Director of Environmental Progress and the former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.

Much like myself, Zion is a 2nd generation of Punjabi/Indian immigrant parents in the UK. We share common stories, anecdotes and experiences from our traditional Punjabi upbringing. 

A culture that has pre-defined plans and expectations for their children. One where being a climate activist doesn’t register on the list of approved professions.

Zion is not only an activist but a journalist whose words continue to bless the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Huffington Post. She was the co-editor of JUNO magazine and the founder-editor of the XR newspaper; The Hourglass.

She has made numerous TV appearances, on BBC Television Politics Live, BBC World News, Good Morning Britain and the Andrew Neil Show. 

Zion is also the author of A Guide to Green Parenting. A book she wrote whilst still cradling her new-born daughter. A book that drove controversy from the green parenting community due to her views on vaccinating children. 

If these accolades weren’t enough, Zion also graced the TedX stage by providing an insight into her cosmic perspective. An avid stargazer she reminds us of the value of nature connection and why more than ever, we need to contemplate our existence in the universe. 

An existence that is at risk of being quickly eroded by a pace of change that is simply too slow.

We start Zion’s story by exploring the economic challenges that influenced her parent’s migration to the UK. We unpack the constraints faced by her working-class – minimum wage-earning – parents and the cultural adversity she overcame to carve out her path. One that in her words was ‘not the done thing’.

We also breakdown:

  • Why people of colour are underrepresented in the climate change movement 
  • How people with an emotional connection to a developing motherland can support a global message around energy equality
  • Forgotten children, forgotten families, forgotten living conditions and the forgotten energy demands, of countries that are likely to be hit hardest as the temperature of our fragile global ecosystem notches upwards
  • Why nuclear energy has to be a larger part of the solution and why there is an increased risk of diaspora as global temperatures rise
  • Why nuclear needs a rebrand and governments need to do more

A revolution is catalysed by promoting systems change. However, that will only get us so far. We need to leverage real solutions that can deliver immediate impact. Ones that give developing economies a fair chance at providing a basic standard of living.

A standard of living that should be a basic human right.

QUOTES

If you want to be afraid of something, be afraid of fossil fuels – not nuclear! – Zion

People aren’t convinced by facts; you have to meet them where they’re at and address their fears. – Zion

In 1609 Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter through a telescope he made himself. That was without modern technology and largely because we don’t have the levels of light pollution we have today.– Zion

Energy has historically been used as a political lever for oppression. Is the nuclear argument with countries like Iran, really about weapons or energy independence?– Bobby

RESOURCES

Twitter: @ziontree
Website: Zion Lights
TedX Talk: Don’t Forget To Look Up
Book: The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting
News Article: Why I Rebelled Against Extinction Rebellion… and Went Nuclear
News Article: Extinction Rebellion: Nuclear power ‘only option’ says former spokeswoman
Website: Environmental Progress
Website: Mothers for Nuclear
Website: Real-Time National Grid Energy Monitor
Website: Light Pollution Map
Article: Understanding The Bortle Scale

RELATED EPISODES

Episode #5: The Sustainable Enterprise with Mike Mcilroy

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.

Captain Nemo’s Data Centre Under the Sea

Enthusiasts have been water-cooling PCs and even enterprise servers for years. 

So surely water cooling an entire data centre by dropping it into the ocean, can’t really be that ridiculous of an idea?… can it?

Well, it’s not.

Because that’s exactly what Microsoft did when they deployed Project Natick Phase 2 off the coast of the Orkney Islands in Scotland.

I was intrigued and naturally wanted to learn more, to understand:

  • Why?
  • How?
  • What are the technical and ecological benefits? 
  • Is it a viable business model?
  • Can it become a repeatable solution?

… and those are the questions that this blog post will aim to answer.

With some help from Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Something instinctively stood out for me. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The pivotal character in this well-known science fiction novel is known to us as Captain Nemo. Though he was later identified as Prince Dakkar.

Prince Dakkar was an Indian Prince who journeyed to the depths of the ocean in his submarine – The Nautilius

The parallels between the Prince, his submarine and Project Natick are central to this post. It’s not just the commonality between the names – Nautilius vs. Natick – but the parallels in the underlying political motivations that drove the creation of both projects:

  • Captain Nemo’s mission was driven by his aversion towards imperialism, whereas the social injustice of the British Empire was his primary antagonist
  • Project Natick’s mission is driven by our aversion towards global warming, whereas our ever-increasing carbon footprint is this project’s primary antagonist

Both creations were born from a drive to change the world, deliver benefit to those around them and leave a lasting footprint on the globe.

And where did they both exist? In the depths of the ocean. 

Why does Project Natick exist?

  • Data centres have a global annual energy consumption of between 200TWh to 500TWh – that’s quite a range, but it covers the disparity in the reporting and estimation
  • This represents between 1% to 2.5% of the world’s energy consumption, which is between 0.3% to 0.5% of the worlds carbon emissions footprint
  • When you fold the lower end of these estimates into the entire ICT sector – networking, digital devices, televisions and cellular comms – this industry today accounts for approx. 2% of global emissions. This is equivalent to the carbon output of the airline industry!!!

Cooling a vast array of servers, storage and networking equipment is the largest energy burn for data centres.

Which is why Project Natick exists; to deploy data centres in locations where the requirement for cooling is not only reduced but eliminated and where power can be sourced from renewable means.

Future Energy Projections

Our data centre energy consumption is bound to increase but there are two schools of thought here:

  • Data centre providers argue that compute is becoming more efficient and energy demand will be steady as our data requirements grow
  • Environmentalists are projecting an 8-fold increase in power consumption in as little as 5 years

It’s not surprising why there is a polarised view between these two communities. It’s also not surprising where there is such a disparity in the current actuals.

However, whatever side of the spectrum you lean towards, it’s largely irrelevant. Just measuring ourselves against today’s emissions – even at the lower end – is enough to justify why we need to act now.

What’s the specification of the submarine-like vessel?

  • The unit compromises of two core components, a pressure vessel and a subsea docking structure
  • It’s the approximate size of an ISO shipping container, the ones that we typically see on the back of a lorry
  • The payload in this pressurised vessel is 2 racks with 864 standard Microsoft data centre servers and 27.6 Pb of storage
  • It has a maintenance-free life span of 5 years and has the data centre designation of Northern Isles – SSDC-002

What are the environmental benefits of the Project?

  • It’s purposefully positioned in the EMEC – European Marine Energy Centre – around the Orkney Islands
  • The EMEC is the world’s largest site for wave and tidal based power, so the data centre runs entirely from 100% renewable energy
  • The vessel uses a saltwater cooling system adapted from a submarine

The operational power demand for the project is entirely carbon neutral.

What are the business benefits of the Project?

Business Benefit #1 – Latency

With more organisations moving and deploying services into the cloud, the physical distance from networking hubs/offices to cloud-based applications or data stores can be problematic:

  • The fibre optic cables that transmit data are limited to the speed of light. The further the data has to travel the longer it takes. 
  • You might think, why anything on earth needs to travel faster than the speed of light? Well, many data scenarios; especially synchronous data processing, where data writes must be acknowledged at the receiving end before processing can continue, can be performance limiting. 
  • The advent of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence coupled with the fact that 50% of the world’s population lives by the sea, will increase the demand for data to be physically closer to people and remote devices.

Business Benefit #2 – Time to Deploy

This is where the story gets really interesting. This project took only 90 days to build and drop into the ocean. Deploying a whole data centre in less than 3 months is an incredible turnaround time. It’s often taken me 3 months to just get servers purchased, racked and deployed into an existing data centre. This solves two problems for cloud providers:

  • Planning consent is likely to be quicker and easier to achieve in comparison to the planning and build of a new on-site facility
  • Acquisition time and variable purchasing costs are eliminated, as many hyperscaler’s have been increasing their cloud footprint by negotiating the procurement of existing data centres

Business Benefit #3 – Reliability

This model is going to drive more focus on reliability and redundancy of hardware. For hardware geeks out there MTTF – Mean Time to Failure – will have to be greatly increased.

  • As system architects, we usually design for a 5-year lifecycle
  • However, traditional deployments are rarely maintenance-free within that time frame
  • When a datacentre in the ocean has a 5-year maintenance cycle, the equipment within must have sufficient reliability and redundancy to avoid re-floating, servicing and resubmerging
  • Having to physically maintain the payload within it’s lifecycle is unlikely to be economically viable
  • This entirely changes the focus around architecture design and reliability in the minds of engineers, architects and manufacturers

Other Benefits

Deployment of such vessels is not limited to cold locations. You only need to drop a container to 200m below sea level – even in tropical climates – to leverage the same cooling benefits.

It opens up a vast gateway into the unknown around data sovereignty. Using the UK as an example The Crown Estate can only exercise territorial jurisdiction of up to 12 nautical miles.

The pandemic has shifted our use of real cash to digital and Bitcoin alone consumes 0.33% of global electricity. If the trend towards digital currency continues – which I’m sure it will – then this is another likely requirement that will drive energy demand upwards.

Is there a future business model here?

Absolutely…

However, if this data centre concept is going to be economically viable, then the payload will need to stand the test of time. Redundancy and reliability for a maintenance-free operation is a key requirement.

Ironically, I drafted this post before Microsoft floated the vessel last week. Though Microsoft stated a lower failure rate compared to equivalent land-based deployments, it’s far too early in the lifecycle of this programme to make predictions. There are no other independent studies – not at this scale – and there are indeed a set of corporate optics that the marketing team at Microsoft must align too. 

Captain Nemo’s Nautilus even for a work of fiction was an engineering achievement of epic proportions. Verne himself described the Nautilus as “a masterpiece containing masterpieces”, which itself is a testament to himself. His imagination and scientific foresight was unprecedented at that time.

It’s the same degree of creativity that will drive similar creations to Project Natick. A containerised deployment where cloud providers could allow customers to design and deploy their own subsea datacentres.

Imagine, customising a payload, having it fitted, the vessel screwed shut and dropped at the bottom of the ocean, to only resurface for a payload refit in 5 years? All this in 90 days, with a whole array of opportunities to scale out by simply buying more containers.

This concept as a commoditised product would be an achievement as grand as when Verne penned the Nautilus on paper. It’s an exciting space to watch, not only for the environmental benefits but to support the imminent increase in demand for edge computing. 

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5. The Sustainable Enterprise with Mike Mcilroy

In this episode, my guest Mike Mcilory takes you on a journey from 1970’s Liverpool to the modern world at this present time. Mike spent his formative years growing up in the recession-hit city of Liverpool. We explore how his environment in the 70’s not only shaped Mike but became the underpinning principles to why he co-founded Liberas Solutions.

Mike’s team are now using their experience in the field of ERP to help organisations forecast, execute and monitor their net-zero carbon emission targets. Carbon accounting is a digital process that will enable organisations to become socially responsible. 

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE?

  • Why the sustainable enterprise that focuses on people and planet will win in this new economy
  • How the combination of people, fear and vulnerability can catalyse positive economic and climatic change
  • The value of associates and your responsibility towards your professional network, your friends and your neighbours
  • How organisations and competitors are working together to reduce their carbon footprint
  • How young people and not government or business are influencing change to attitudes in the market
  • How we can sustain this velocity of environmental change, which has been accelerated by the pandemic
  • How carbon net-zero will drive a global contracting workforce and the benefits

QUOTES

“This pandemic feels like a reset, a greater power has turned the world on its side, found the factory reset button and stuck a pin in it.” – Mike

“Countries such as India have been recycling for centuries, out of necessity. Setting a standard that the globe has largely been ignoring.” – Bobby

“Young people have a better idea when it comes to politics, they are not cynical like us old hacks!” – Mike

“If you do argue around climate change you look a little bit deranged, you look like the crank now.” – Mike

“Our ways of working have to change, we have tactically changed how we work, but not the way in which we work.” – Bobby

RESOURCES

LinkedIn Profile: Mike Mcilroy
Blog Post: The Value of Sustainability to Your Enterprise
Blog Post: Corporate Social Responsibility – Buzzwords or Strategic Value
Web Link: Transform to Net Zero
Web Link: Emitwise
Web Link: Vodafone’s sustainability story
Web Link: 500 plus B Corps Commit to Net Zero by 2030

EBOOK RELEASE

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to PRE-ORDER a FREE copy of my new eBook Top 5 Contracting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

My eBook is scheduled for release on 1st Sept 2020. All PRE-ORDER’S before this date will receive a series of BONUS material, where I will share two decades of hard learnt contract negotiation techniques and strategy.

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.