Seven years ago, I was rock climbing in Peru with friends. We were headed toward Tuco, a limestone wall in the rainforest spoken of in hushed reverence by climbing bums worldwide.
We were cocky and inexperienced.
The jungle closed in fast, and like some bad movie, I got separated from the group. Twelve hours after landing in the country, I was alone and disoriented in the Amazon. I roamed for hours, skin ripped by every plant and blood drawn by every bug. At some point I sat down and fell asleep, thirsty and scared.
I awoke in the evening to a crowd of angry faces staring at me. (I was later to learn that these were members of the local Urarina community.) Strong hands pulled me into a hut where some kind of ceremony was underway. I was escorted to a corner, groggy and sick. At some point, a cup was passed to me. I drank, and drank some more. The ayahuasca came up burnt and bitter. Soon the visions came.
It's impossible to describe the ayahuasca experience. I won't try. But no one, and I mean no one, remains the same after taking the drink. Everyone shifts in the way they think.
And that's the day I knew I was to found Greentech Media.
Actually, that's not the way it happened. I've never been to Peru. I break out in a rash in humid climates. And I didn't start this company.
Here's the way it really happened. It's much less colorful.
Seven years ago today, Scott Clavenna and Rick Thompson started Greentech Media and GTM Research.
The optical networking experts were on a trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen when they walked up a long hill and found a tiny bar. They were the only ones in the place (except for a lone ayahuasca-swilling shaman in the corner). It was in that bar that Greentech Media was conceived.
The idea was to differentiate the company by offering an integrated news and analysis site in the alternative energy and greentech sector. Instead of simply reporting the news, the integrated site also offered vast data resources from a team of thought-leading industry analysts in solar like Shyam Mehta, Shayle Kann, and MJ Shiao and smart grid analysts like Ben Kellison. Backing up the analysis and news team was a business development and production group that found innovative ways to give vendors in the greentech market access to customers.
There have been challenges as well as victories at GTM over the last seven years, as at any young firm. But in the face of those struggles, the company has grown from a good idea into an independent, thriving voice and leading media outlet in greentech.
Founder Thompson adds, "We started this from nothing, and now we've got nearly 40 employees in three cities with annual revenue growth every single year since we've started. We have great people working with us, and it's a pleasure to have such a good friend and great business partner along the way."
Of course, the real heroes are our readers -- hundreds of thousands of smart energy experts who keep us on our toes and let us know in no uncertain terms what we do wrong and right. We appreciate your readership, your comments, and the work you do every day to further the cause of a more rational and efficient energy industry. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.