Saturday, 18 December 2010

What's Been Happening?

I've been going through a transitionary period just recently, adding another dot to my life that I am sure is a new connection in the bigger picture - although some may see it as a diversion. Sometimes in life opportunities come up that may not appear to be directly in line with where you want to go, but I am convinced that making the most of these occasions are often crucial to the fulfilment of what a person can ultimately achieve in life.

At such times I remind myself of Steve Job's lecture to Stanford regarding 'joining the dots' in life. As you start off in life these dots seems so random that you can make no sense of them at all, but as you move on in life they do start to make sense, and even though it may not be clear to everyone else watching, you feel inside yourself that they are all pulling you in the right direction.

So the latest dot in my life has been to take on a role in a new sustainable energy company, SUST-N, of which I am now Head of Communications.

So what about MedWorm? Well, believe it or not, that vision remains my number one priority, my ultimate passion, which I will see through to its fulfilment if it kills me. It must be near to 5 years that I have working on it now - nothing will stop me moving it forward.

So what of this new dot? How did it come about? What will I be doing? How do I propose to keep MedWorm running and moving forward?

Over the past 12 months I have been working (voluntarily) on a campaign to stop the building of a large scale incinerator to burn the municipal waste in South Devon. You can read more about the proposal and see me at action in the campaign on some of the videos on the site which I built. The campaign escalated over that time until it was becoming pretty much a full time job. Campaigning for something you really believe in is all encompassing and really doesn't stop, and of course it is all unpaid, which puts a big strain on family and work as everything competes for your limited time. It does however have its benefits too, and apart from the wonderful feeling of self-satisfaction that you are doing something for the benefit of society for truly altruistic reasons, I also gained many new wonderful friends with similar outlooks in life and a real concern for the sustainability of this planet and I learned what a wonderful neighbourhood I am privileged to live in. In addition, I was given the fantastic opportunity to develop my presentation and speaking skills, and build up my confidence, through public speaking, work on my strategic thinking, and put into practice effective communication plans through full use of the Internet - all essential elements of not only a successful campaign but also in business too.

Part of our campaign against the incinerator was the developing of an alternative plan that does not involve mass burn incineration. A group of engineers from the locality got together, tasked with finding an alternative. A concept was developed and contact made with a company whose plan matched our theory, and from that a business proposal was formed. We presented the concept to the public and our local councillors in December, and from there managed to secure funding to get the plan off the ground and formed a new commercial enterprise, of which I have taken on the position as Head of Communications. I have therefore now resigned from the incinerator campaign, and have passed the EcoIvy site over to the local community to run, since I cannot afford to put the new company in any compromising commercial position as a result of my own personal campaigning elsewhere in the industry. For me this now this is about moving from campaigning against a flawed plan to instead promoting what I believe is the ultimate solution.

My new position allows me to work flexibly, so I can still keep MedWorm running at the same time, and of course it gives me an income, which actually allows me to continue to run MedWorm without the concern that I could run out of funds any day. It also forces me to think strategically about the business side of MedWorm and how I am going to get it to profit, without doing every single job on it myself. Another great advantage is I now have the opportunity to work for and learn from Terry Hewitt, my new boss, SUST-N's managing director - who I liken to the South West's version of Lord Alan Sugar. Already I am learning the mindset of someone successful at big business, which is going to be invaluable for me with future affairs in growing my own business.

I've also registered a new domain name, (for an engineering flavour of MedWorm) to add to the many others I have on standby too (including so I know when I am ready to launch the other industry worms I'm going to have plenty of knowledge and contacts in those industries.

So what may appear at a first glance as a diversion, I hope you will understand is all just part of the journey.

I AM still very much working on MedWorm. My work at SUST-N involves a flexible working arrangement to enable me to do this. You can still contact me at anytime, as I can fit in my business calls whenever whenever I need to. This does mean that I am again working a few nights alongside my work in the day, but that's nothing new.

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