Another day, another CEO from the IT world coming to energy.
Gary Bloom, the former CEO of Veritas and more recently the president of virus software specialist Symantec, is the new CEO of eMeter. The company makes software that helps utilities analyze the data from consumers' homes, transformers, and other pieces of equipment. IBM has begun to pre-bundle the software on servers and will help eMeter promote its software in the market. Former CEO Cree Edwards will stay on as Chairman. The company is one of the big three smart grid companies -- Silver Spring Networks and EnerNoc being the other two -- that Foundation Capital has invested in.
Bloom marks the latest exec from the computer world to come into green. Yesterday, Geoff Tate, the former CEO of chip designer Rambus, took over as CEO of Nanosolar. Other notables: First Solar president Bruce Sohn came from Intel, while new eSolar CEO John Van Scoter came from Texas Instruments. Semi equipment vets Joseph Laia and Chris Gronet head up, respectively, MiaSole and Solyndra, two competing CIGS companies. (Intel, in fact, has emerged as something of a finishing school for green execs. Besides those on this list, Miox CEO Carlos Perea and PowerMand's Dan Russell came from Intel.) Not everyone succeeds: former Imperium Renewables CEO Martin Tobias came from Microsoft and the oft-delayed Range Fuels was once fronted by an Apple exec, but you could call this the biofuel exception.
Computing companies are moving into energy management, as well. Symantec, for instance, has already jumped into this market.
So why is it happening? IT and computing are a natural fit for smart grid, energy efficiency and energy management. But more importantly, the IT industry is adept at taking science concepts and turning them into businesses -- and then marketing them like crazy. Success in computing comes half from technical expertise and half from hype. And IT execs are maniacs when it comes to deadlines.
Historically, green companies, particularly solar companies, have been great at technological advances, but not so great at meeting deadlines and downright terrible at marketing. Hopefully, the obsessive-compulsives from the chip and software world can change that.