Kevin Surace: Green Rock Star, Entrepreneur of Year

Kevin Surace: Green Rock Star, Entrepreneur of Year

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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Silicon Valley’s Kevin Surace has just achieved Rock Star status – of the Green Biz variety. The CEO of Serious Materials was picked as Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine and joined Time Magazine‘s list of Tech Pioneers Who Will Change Your Life, along with another Silicon Valley Green Rock Star: Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar. It’s an incongruous status for someone from the mundane world of building products, but Kevin is being described as ‘savior of the world’, ‘the Larry Ellison of green’ and has even turned down an invitation to the White House. He knows he’ll be invited back.

In an exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview recorded before the accolades descended, Kevin revealed his motivations for waging war on climate change and the lessons learned in building a green company. He discussed the influence of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in helping create a market for green products; how Serious Materials changed its focus; and whether consumers are willing to pay a premium for green. Kevin outlined how his company uses new media to get its message out and what the future holds for this rapidly expanding company.

On Kevin’s motivations for wanting to help save the planet

“When you have children, you start to think what world are you leaving them? I think that affects everybody.”

When did he focus on energy saving products at Serious Materials?

“If I sat here and said in 2002 I had the great vision to design energy saving building materials – there was no market in 2002 – people would think I was nuts.  By 2005, the climate issue had come to the front of minds:  on scientists’ minds, at the United Nations, in the world. By ’06, we began coming out with energy efficient windows… ”

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Vinod Khosla: Passion for green tech

Vinod Khosla: Passion for green tech

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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I caught up with Vinod Khosla at SD Forum’s Visionary Awards. In this exclusive interview, Vinod, a pioneer in clean tech investment, describes how in 2000, he started “looking for something new, something difficult and something large to invest in.” He found his first clean tech investment in Bloom Energy and has since gone on to invest and nurture dozens of clean tech businesses including Ausra, AltaRock and Stion

KR  Sridhar of Bloom Energy introduced Vinod by saying: “We all need to root for his success, because his success is this planet’s success.”

And Vinod’s recipe for success? The freedom to fail.  “The Silicon Valley ecosystem allows me to fail…you get more shots at goal.” Vinod Khosla

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Heidi Roizen’s Fresh Dialogues Quotes

Heidi Roizen’s Fresh Dialogues Quotes

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues 

On using music as a motivator

 “Music is a powerful motivator..if it weren’t it wouldn’t be used on sports, in religion and frankly, in marketing, to sell you things.”

 On getting professional input from George Daly (CEO of About Records)

 “Ultimately the music wasn’t going to be motivating if it was a pain to listen to. It needed to sound just as good as…Pink or Rascal Flatts or Kerry Underwood.”

 On writing lyrics

“George said to me one day, ‘you write poetry, but we need lyrics.’ He’d call me and say, you have five minutes to fix that..and I’d have to think about what’s a different way to say that… that would fit better in the cadence of the music.”

 Inspiration for “You da boss”

 “I want a fun upbeat song to listen to when I’m tempted to reach for that cookie…Instead of making this sad preachy music about ‘don’t touch that’, let’s make it fun hip hop like MC Hammer and have some fun with the spirit and the spunk of this idea.”

 On her theme song, Skinny Jeans

 “It’s a woman’s affair with a pair of pants…every woman can relate to that piece of clothing you used to love to wear…your aspirational clothing…and now there’s a little too much of you to fit into it and you’d like to go and regain that love again.”

On her Silicon Valley Career

“It’s a portfolio career: a nice balance between the creative fun endeavor and the traditional; the roots of where I came from and where I want to still continue to work.”

 On marketing a product

“You get up every day and say: what am I going to do today to move the ball forward?”

 On her legendary tenacity

“I believe in tenacity, but I also believe in learning and if you’ve approached twenty companies and you get the same feedback, then it’s not worth approaching company no. 21.”

 On being an entrepreneur

“I am an optimist by nature and that serves me well. For any entrepreneur, you’ve got to have that sense of optimism because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t get up in the morning and do it.”

To listen to Heidi’s interview on entrepreneurs click here

To listen to Heidi’s interview on Skinny Songs click here

Heidi Roizen gives the skinny on new venture

Heidi Roizen gives the skinny on new venture

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Celebrated Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist Heidi Roizen invited me to her home to talk about her career and her new venture: Skinny Songs. A former executive at Mobius Venture Capital, Heidi has recently been featured on the Martha Stewart Show, Oprah & Friends Radio and The Early Show. We had an animated discussion about her motivations for this 180 degree career change and how she’s still keeping one foot in the tech world.

Heidi changed focus from software to song writing: what all-time-high became her impetus for change?

What inspired the lyrics for “Skinny Jeans” and “You Da Boss” and how did her Stanford degree help?

How does being politically INcorrect help her business?

How does she deal with the critics?

Why does she describe her product as “a sound track without the movie”?

What does she mean by her “portfolio career”?

What’s next for Heidi? News about her new book: “Can’t buy thin.”

Listen to this Fresh Dialogue with Heidi Roizen

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

We welcome feedback at FreshDialogues.com, click on the Contact Tab

Download Heidi Roizen Fresh Dialogue Part 1

For part 2 of Heidi’s interview when she gives tips to entrepreneurs click here