As all industries these days, renewable energy is taking a big hit - Even though this has been a great week for the world’s clean energy sector - as the US Congress extended the tax incentives for wind and solar, relieving much uncertainty behind the market development potential.
Nonetheless, the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX) plummeted today (to 217.2), more than 50% down on its highs of last November. Many clean energy shares are at their lowest levels of any time in the last two and a half years. (Is this a good time to buy?... I'll wait a bit)
With this in mind, next week I'll be attending the Solar Power International event (This is the largest event for this industry - The number of attendees has been nearly doubling each year, and expected to reach over 12,000 this year.)
Just a few months ago this would have been a place of celebration... But given the state of things, it will be interesting to see how the industry is thinking...
A friend asked me what my thoughts are on the market crash of the last week (and year)...
This week I happen to be reading the book “The black swan”. In short, it talks about highly improbable events, with three principle characteristics: 1. They are unpredictable 2. carry massive impact 3. and after the fact we find explanations that make it seem less random and more predictable.
To me, the recent financial turmoil, is another black swan. Even though people have been talking about the risks over the last years, nobody could predict such outcome.
As a partner of mine mentioned - Its one of those events and cycles that we should all recall before making an investment: Extreme risk lives in places you would not believe in “normal conditions”… and as we already know, our world, with the financial and industry systems, can quickly become “abnormal”.
In venture stage investing I've been told many times - there is no such thing as “downside protection”… It appears that even in late stage investing, and public markets investing, this is true. There is nothing too big to fail, or too good to fail…
On the bright side - given the down cycle must end at some stage, the time to start investing is becoming increasingly closer...
Al Gore was awarded today with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "his efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it".
In my view, another reinforcement of three things (that I've mentioned in this blog previously):
It seems to me that over the last months the world has reached the "tipping point" in becoming aware to the reality, and threats, of global warming. If this is true - that's a significant achievement (since realizing the problem is half way to solving it)
For me this realization started with the publishing of a number of articles in the mainstream media, and following the release of Al Gore's movie and the discussions surrounding it.
It continued with a number of key events over the last months - including Tony Blair's speech at Davos (discussing a post Kyoto climate framework), and Bush's recent (historic) shift in position on global warming, in his State of the Union speech:
And today, for the first time, a panel of climate experts has confirmed that global warming is occurring and that it is "very likely" (90 percent certain) - man-made:
So now, that we have reached a tipping point of awareness - its time to push for a tipping point of taking action.
How do I personally intend to approach this?
More on that in a post to come...
(Some hints: Israel, Technology leadership, Greentech)
Behind every huge success, are some silent super-heroes:
Not bad at all...
This brings Sequoia $480M... (A nice piece will end up with the GP Superheroes...)
I just found out one of the coolest things the Internet has to offer!
All the episodes of the Simpsons, online, and FREE! Isn't the new web Great?
(The Simpsons has to be one of my all time favorites)
And the timing is perfect - This Sunday is Yom Kipur - the day when Israel shuts down - No cars, no TV (and lots of bicycles in the Tel Aviv streets)... In recent years people lined up at video rentals, rushing to find something to watch and pass time... I guess this too will soon become another part of the past.
*Update* - Previous site has been closed down... Here is a link where you can still find all the episodes:
The last couple of weeks have really been a continuous horror show for some of Israel's finest (well, some more fine, some less so). Its a week in which I'm Not so "proud" to be from this country of mine...
Here are just a few:
1. Kobi Alexander - Appearing on the homepage of the FBI as "Fugitive" is really something no one could ever imagine. From being one of Israel's most successful entrepreneurs (perhaps The most successful), creating a company from small idea in the sand dunes to a multi - Billion global leader - he's turned into a wanted fugitive, and is now about to head back to FBI offices...
His demise was due to something that also makes no sense... A really "stupid" action, that added him a very small amount of money (relatively speaking of course). To me, this is one of the scariest and saddest stories to come out of Israel technology... (People who know him have only great things to say about him - and I'm sure he had no intention of getting into such a mess)
Huge price... for such a stupid crime
2. Chaim Ramon - A minister of Justice in the government of Israel. In true stupidity, he went into a side room with a young girl soldier, and kissed her. Since then he's stepped down from office, and facing criminal court.
Again, huge price... for such stupid crime
3. Last (and probably least) Moshe Katzav - Our President... facing sexual harassment trial (possibly rape). Actually, not much I can say here. Really shameful...
Again, huge price... well - for a stupid person!
TED talks is one of the (if not the) must see programs on the net.
What is TED?
TED is a once-in-a-year event that brings together 1000 of the worlds thought leaders to discuss issues of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence TED). Most of us will never have a chance to attend this event in person (purely due to the numbers... nothing else I promise). But we can now all virtually attend (at least view) it - thanks to TED Talks, who have put online the speeches that have taken place at TED over the last years.
I have watched all episodes shared so far - and they are really thought provoking. (I try to watch one every night before I go to sleep, through Democracy player, in full screen, connected to my TV). Usually after this my mind works overtime, and I can't really fall asleep (that's why I'm always late to work in the mornings... Well - at least most of the time)
Each such presentation lasts about 20 min long, so to help out - here's my top 5 must see list (TED adds a new speaker each week, so this list is definitely partial):
1. Nicholas Nagroponte - Founder of the non-profit, One Laptop Per Child project - Its incredible to think how this project could change the world as we know it, and to realize why its so important...
2. Jeff Han - Presents the "interface-free" touch-driven computer screen - On this topic, check out our recent investment - PrimeSense - High likelihood that this team will get to present at TED in the coming years...
3. Ross Lovegrove - An industrial designer, perhaps best known for his work on the Sony Walkman and Apple iMac - Quite inspiring to see what the human mind can come up with...
4. Larry Brilliant - An epidemiologist who led the successful World Health Org. campaign to eradicate Smallpox...
5. Sir Ken Robinson - A leading expert on innovation and human resources - His talk makes me wonder about how much creativity the education system has deprived us of... and how it needs to change (and the fact that Salsa dancing is actually good for me!)
I promised to stop at 5... But I Highly recommend - watch them all, and subscribe to the feed!
I'll quote TED: "plan to listen to at least three, start to finish. They have a cumulative effect..."
As the war on Hezbollah continues, Its important to remind ourselves (and for me to explain to friends from abroad) who we are really fighting, and why this is not only Israel's war - Its a key part of the global war on terror. Therefore, I urge you to watch this piece by CNN that was broadcast today:
BTW - Ron Kerman, who is interviewed in it, was my Swimming coach in Haifa for many years (during my school days). He was one of Israel's top swimmers in the late 70's / early 80's, and is an amazing guy. (I haven't met him for almost 15 years, since I left Haifa). Its shocking to hear the personal tragedy he has gone through, and goes to show how small this country really is - and how all Israelis are connected - each tragedy really touches the whole nation on a personal level.