This blog began as an experiment on August 10, 2006. Soon it grew into a habit. Now – some 341 postings and too many words to count later — it has become a (small) business, I’m pleased to say.
I liked blogging from the get-go. I felt liberated from the constraints of space (always a problem, even when writing magazine-length stories for FORTUNE), freed to speak in my own voice (i.e., no editors), and able to publish immediately. The audience for this blog has always been small, but it has also become global, drawing readers from more than 30 countries, at last count. When I write about economic development in Rwanda or the Indian wind-power firm Suzlon, readers in those places find me, thanks, I suppose, to the magic of Google. This blog also has connected me to readers in a way that was never possible in the print world. It has not generated as many comments as I’d hoped it would, but it brings me a fair amount of feedback via email.
In the last few days, I have signed contracts with two websites that will carry the blog, as they have been doing for a while. The first is GreenBiz.com, which is led by Joel Makower and Pete May, and the second is The Energy Collective, a site founded by Robin Carey and Jerry Bowles. They’re well worth checking out.
I’ll be a senior writer at GreenBiz.com, which has established itself as the premiere website for business people looking for ways to make their companies more sustainable and profitable. I’m excited about working with GreenBiz.com for many reasons but a big one is the opportunity to work with Joel who, as many of you know, has been thinking, writing, speaking and consulting about business and sustainability for more than 20 years, long before the topic became chic. The AP described Joel as “the guru of green business,” and his smart and readable book, Strategies for the Green Economy, has been praised by such thinkers as architect Bill McDonough and William K. Reilly, the former EPA administrator. Joel is chairman and Pete May is the CEO of Greener World Media, whose online properties include GreenerBuildings.com, ClimateBiz.com, GreenerDesign.com, and GreenerComputing.com, as well as GreenBiz.com.
Besides blogging, I’ll be providing exclusive content to GreenBiz—a monthly podcast with leading thinkers and doers around the topic of business and sustainability. I’m also going to help Pete and Joel with events like their Greener By Design conference, which this year will be held in San Francisco on May 19-20.
The Energy Collective has a different focus and business model. It aggregates the work of leading bloggers who write about energy policy and technology, rather than hiring a staff of editors and writers. Bloggers like me have signed up with Energy Collective because it gives us access to a broader audience, and Energy Collective gets lots of ideas and words at a low cost. I’ve agreed to be one of four members of the group’s ‘Bloggers Board.’ The others three are “WattHead” Jesse Jenkins, of the Breakthrough Institute; nuclear expert Dan Yurman; and economics Professor John Whitehead, whose site is called Environmental Economics, of Appalachian State University.
“Our goal with The Energy Collective,” Robin says, “is to create a vibrant, back-and-forth discussion between the smartest people in the world about energy and the environment, and in so doing, find new solutions and common ground.”
At Energy Collective, I’ll help recruit other bloggers to the platform, provide regular comments and host webinars for the company. I’ll also do some exclusive podcasts for the site. I’m looking forward to working with Robin, who I met for the first time early this year in Abu Dhabi, of all places, because she is a world-class expert in social media. She and Jerry also started a popular blog aggregation site called Social Media Today, and so I am counting on them to guide me through the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like.
Beside blogging, I am speaking, writing and consulting, organizing next months’ Brainstorm Green conference for FORTUNE, and generally staying a lot busier than I expected to be when I left the staff of the magazine at the end of last year. I will soon let you know about another new-media venture that I’ll be devoting lots of time to in 2009.