jpark's blog

Happy Holidays

Here's a quick email announcement I had sent to coworkers/portfolio and anyone else I needed to inform. However, just in case, I'm also posting it on my blog:

Happy Holidays,

In light of all the progress and opportunities that have occurred in impact investing, I will be dedicating more of my resources to the field this coming year. I am still available at Calvert, but will be decreasing my time as I pursue new opportunities. One project I am working on is bringing foundation PRI money into early stage investing, and another focuses on opportunities in China.

Visited companies

Went to talk with two companies while I was in CA. Solar Red and DripTech.

It is always interesting to hear what the companies have to say. The dynamic of interviewing with others changes the nature of the conversation.

Working with one or two others, or working solo account for different questions, and different listening skills. How the entrepreneur reacts will also be measured in the interview.

SoCap 10 over

Day 3 is done. First two days were fantastic. Able to network, and get a pulse on the social investment crowd.

Lots of activity. Need for more action. But within all the noise and buzz, there are a handful making real changes that are significant.

SVN and Investors' Circle are coming up, it'll be a reasonable gauge on how things actually move in the short-term. Then once spring hits, we'll see if any real developments are on their way in 2011.

unintended consequences

The effort to provide clean drinking water to rural Rwandans can have
unintended consequences.

the challenge with water deal and programs is what happens when you change the social structure of the region. There are political risks, there are power imbalances and other issues to worry about when you mess with something as core as water.

Remember, there is no substitute for water. I can find substitutes for a lot of other things, but as is credited to Mark Twain... "Whiskey's for drinkin' water's for fighting."

MAVA 2010 kickoff

Just got back from the MAVA 2010 season kickoff. People are back to work, summer's over, and deals are being discussed.

For a long time, during my career, the summer was a time to rest. But more recently, it has become apparent that the summer is just one more season where folks get to work.

There used to be an advantage in working through the summer, but with the rough investment season that we're in, working in the summer is now the norm.

Talk to the other guys

I just had a school reunion.

There were 3 events, 2 evening, and 1 during the day. I made time to attend all 3. At each event, I tried to speak with folks I had not seen for a long time. Even some folks I'll admit I didn't remember, or get along with during school.

It's been long enough that I didn't remember why I avoided them back them, or it didn't matter. What did matter was if I could help them out in my current situation.

Everyone knows everyone else

After working in this space long enough, reputations and networks start to overlap.

Keep your reputation intact. There will always be cross over. I am always amused at the reputations that are shared.

Blogs/facebook/linkedin are all part of your online reputation. Things said can not be unsaid.

In small niches, and regions, your reputation will spread quickly.

Keep asking questions

Keep doing market research, ask questions, and have an open mind.
Listen to the yes answers, listen to the no answers.

But most of all, listen to your customers who would pay you. No one else really matters.

Those who understand your customers are only insights. They are not your customers, so don't put too much weight on those answers.

Still learning

Sometimes, if you're going to do something, do it. And worry about the consequences later.

Right now, I'm looking a the new site, and realizing how sharp a cut it was to do at 11 PM at night. But what's done is done, and with the cut over, a slew of new efforts will be required.

Truth is, this went into hibernation for a while, so while it's a rough way to restart a blog, it is a restart. And should be handled this way.

WJF Event last Saturday

This was a fun event to attend.  I got pulled in as a panelist, but the businesses that had made the finals were not pipedreams.  There were groups already up and running, and needing just a little bit more juice.
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