Bob Metcalfe Flogs Self and EnerTech

There is a pleasant surprise over on venture guy Mike Hirshland of Polaris’s blog: A post from ex-columnist and “has-been Internet engineer-entrepreneur and apprentice general partner” Bob Metcalfe. I’d almost forgotten how delightful Bob’s column are, combining whimsy, insight, and Bre’er Rabbit-level tricksy charm.

Anyway, Bob has three (or four (or five)) things to clarify — okay, mistakes he wants to unwind — concerning his recent investment in GreenFuel Technologies, before he calls for an energy investing bubble by 2020. Read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

After the GreenFuel announcement, I was buried in business plans from companies developing new energy reserves or power generating plants of various kinds around the world. While many of these are promising energy investments, they are mostly not right for Polaris and especially me. Saying we invest in “energy” is a problem.

So, after consultation with experts, I say I am not looking for “energy” investments or “renewables” investments or “cleantech” investments, but for Boston-based early-stage ENERTECH investments, like GreenFuel. Short for energy technology, “enertech” also poetically extends the familiar family of investment categories: infotech, biotech, nanotech, and now … enertech.


  1. Michael Robinson says:

    Better: Metcalfe Flogs Self, EnerTech.
    One should always go for the good zeugma when the opportunity presents itself.

  2. Michael Robinson says:

    My comment at the linked post:
    Careful with that analogy.
    Computing-communications in 1976 had a significant productivity tailwind: Moore’s Law. Productivity increased as a roughly exponential function of development time.
    Enertech in 2006 has a significant productivity headwind: The Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    Productivity will increase as a roughly logorithmic function of development time.
    Furthermore, the source of excess investment returns is likewise inverted. In 1976, the overall economy had barely any communications-computing at all, and investments could reap excess returns due to increasing overall economic growth above what would otherwise occur. In 2006, the overall economy has plenty of cheap energy, and investments will reap excess returns due to mitigating the declines in overall economic growth that would otherwise occur.
    In the latter case, the aggregate potential “upside” is more tightly constrained.

  3. Thanks Michael. Your headline is now mine — much better 😉