Something Funny Happened On My Path to Leadership



My leadership philosophy started with a backyard epiphany a few years ago. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon and, as a nerd, I was taking an online assessment of my leadership style. The results were similar to many of the others that I had taken over the years and were consistent with the common traits I identified with leadership. The results indicated that I was direct, decisive and a bit dominating. It described me as very bottom-line oriented, a self starter who enjoyed power and authority and took risks. I was satisfied with the feedback. My wife came out to join me and asked what I was doing. After a quip as to my nerd-like tendencies, she wanted to see the results. “Who is this describing?”, she asked. “Because”, she went on, “if you think it is you, you are kidding yourself.”


“Take it as you, my husband and not as your work-self”


I was bewildered as this was coming from someone whom I had been with for nearly 30 years and knew me better than anyone. “Okay”, I said, “why don’t you sit and take it as me?” Once she completed hers, she challenged me to retake the assessment and then compare our findings. She cautioned me to “take it as you, my husband and not as your work-self”. I did, and really took time to consider each answer with not just my mind but also my heart. Our results were quite similar and very different from the original findings. I guess this goes to show you, that when you don’t really know who you are, ask someone who does.


When you don’t really know who you are, ask someone who does.


My stage name was Boss. In that first assessment, like all those prior, I had subconsciously answered the questions in a manner that I felt was consistent with common leadership traits. When I was authentic and dropped my work-self and approached the questions as my true-self the results were telling. I was found to be steady, stable, predictable, even tempered and empathetic. I was further described as someone who wanted to avoid conflict and exist in a peaceful environment.


My stage name was Boss


Why such a dichotomy between my work-self and my true-sel? I was not faking it. The original answers were my honest perception of my work-self. How could the two results be so different? After all, I had a 25-year successful track record as a leader. I must have been doing something right. I wanted the real me to please stand up. I needed answers, so I reached out to those whom I lead over the years and asked them to describe me as a leader. What I learned was surprising to me. Although some of those traits listed in my first assessment were present, they weren’t the primary ones. What I learned was that I listened to, cared for and validated those who worked with me. I was viewed as someone who was always learning. Someone who was consistent, even tempered, a little vulnerable and shared openly. Humor was also high on the list. Prior to this epiphany I thought that none of these traits were indicative of a leader. I was wrong.


Leadership is not about position power, it is something earned and cultivated. It is not appointed


I obviously hid my soft skills. We are conditioned to believe that those soft skills are a sign of weakness but, that too was wrong. I could be decisive, direct and take some risks, but that was just a small part of who I was as a leader. In truth, I was simply a human being who made others around him feel the same. What I recognized in my backyard was that leadership is not about position power, it is something earned and cultivated. It is not appointed; it is given by those you lead.


Thanks for reading.


Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.


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The article originally appeared in the GROW Blog.

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Here’s Your Actual Chances of Getting a Small Business Loan

Taking out a small business loan is the bread-and-butter of starting, running, and growing your small business. That extra capital can supplement your startup funds, loosen your cash flow, help make ends meet, and give you the boost you need to expand your operations.


But why is it so hard to understand what you need to apply for one?


Every loan type has its own general standards for the wide range of metrics lenders will measure your business’s credit eligibility by. Profitability? Time in business? FICO credit score? What you need for each category changes with the loan product you’re looking to grab.


So we’ve simplified things for you. We’re breaking down 8 different criteria lenders typically look at, and showing you what the minimum requirement for each is with every different type of loan you’ll consider for your small business. Let’s dive in.


1. Years in Business


Only 50% of small businesses last their first 5 years, according to this Small Business Administration study. And generally speaking, the longer you’ve been in business, the more likely it is you’ll stay in business.


Lenders know this, so they prefer borrowers with proven records. Multiple years in business shows you can withstand seasonal changes, economic downturns, and unexpected obstacles.


The Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program–a slow process but one with a low interest rate–requires at least 2 years in business. On the other hand, the quick but expensive merchant cash advance option needs only 5 months.


Those are the extremes: every other product is either 6 months–like a short-term loan and invoice financing–or a year–like a medium-term loan, equipment financing, or a line of credit. It’s a big jump from merchant cash advances to SBA loans, but the path between is full of other options you should explore.


(What about a startup loan? Well, as you might guess, startup loans have a minimum of… 0 months in business!)


2. Revenue


Higher revenue is one way to measure your business’s success–and the likelihood you’ll pay back your loan.


The loan products with the highest revenue minimums tend to be the medium-term loan ($200,000) and the line of credit ($150,000), while all others clock in substantially lower, between $50,000 (invoice financing and the SBA loan program) and $75,000 (equipment financing and merchant cash advances). Again, startup loans require a minimum of $0!


You might be thinking, Wow, the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program has a pretty low revenue minimum… And you’d be right. That’s because the government set up the SBA to help support younger, smaller businesses. Do keep in mind, though, that if your revenue is at the absolute minimum of this (or any other) loan product, you should aim to have a stellar credit score and no other red flags in your application.


3. FICO Score


We’re talking personal credit score, not business credit score, because lenders see every small business as an extension of its owner. As usual, higher is better, but you don’t need an impossible credit score to qualify.


Unlike with the past few criteria, with your credit score a startup loan actually requires the most: a minimum of 700. That’s the give-and-take of requiring no revenue or time in business, though. You need to have proven yourself as a responsible borrower somehow, and your personal credit score is the way to do it.


Going down, the next highest minimum is the SBA 7(a) loan at 640, and then medium-term loans, equipment financing, and lines of credit at 600. Short-term loans and invoice financing require at least a credit score of 500, and finally, merchant cash advances only need to see a 400.


4. Profitability


Showing that your business has produced profit is always a good thing. At the very least, it’ll prove that you’ve settled on a successful business model and better the terms of whatever loan you choose. But will it impact your ability to get a loan?


For the most part, no. Profitability is a factor only for getting a line of credit; all other loan products generally don’t need to see it. Keep in mind that a successful business doesn’t mean a profitable one–yet.


5. Bankruptcy


While declaring bankruptcy may feel like the end of the world, never fear. It actually won’t affect whether you can get a loan for your small business–although it might affect when you can get a loan.


Both the SBA and startup loans want to see that you’ve been out of bankruptcy for 3 years, while medium-term loans, equipment financing, and lines of credit like to see at least 2. Short-term loans and merchant cash advances are content with only 1 year out, and invoice financing doesn’t require any time at all (since you’re using your invoices as collateral already).


6. Credit Card Volume


Some types of loan products require credit card volume, as that’s how they’ll get repaid. For the most part, your credit card volume isn’t an issue–except with short-term loans and merchant cash advances.


For short-term loans, if this is a factor, you’ll need to show a volume of at least $3,000. However, credit card volume is always a factor for merchant cash advances, as that’s how you repay that type of loan. They typically require a minimum of $4,500 in credit card volume.


7. Accounts Receivable


Like your credit card volume, your accounts receivable matter only to the lenders of a few loan products. In this case, your accounts receivable are a factor in your borrowing eligibility for lines of credit–because your lender will consider what’ll you need to draw on while you wait for your pending payments–and for invoice financing–because those invoices will serve as collateral for your loan.


8. Existing Debt


Your existing debt is the least definitive factor of your eligibility. Some lenders care all the time, others sometimes, and still others not at all–and as usual, this also depends on your loan product.


The question here is: If you have existing debt with one lender, will another one take “second position?” It’s a risky move, because they won’t be first in line to collect if you go bankrupt.


Lenders of most loan products can only offer “sometimes” to answer that question, with three exceptions. Invoice financing is a product that lends itself well to second positioning, while on the other hand, startup loans do not. The SBA won’t take second position either, but it does offer refinancing if certain terms are met.

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What Are You Doing With Your Life? (And Other Dreaded Questions)

6 Ways to Determine if Your Career is Moving in the Right Direction







The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Years is always a time for reflection on that state of one’s career. Sometimes this phenomenon is self-induced and other times it’s forced upon us by an inquisitive friend or relative who we rarely see for the balance of the year.




“So what are you doing these days?”


“How’s that fancy college degree working out for you?”


Have you been promoted lately?




When one’s career is flying high, these are manageable and sometime even welcomed questions. When your job is just a paycheck, or you dread going to work, or worse yet you are struggling to find gainful employment, family gatherings can be something you might prefer to avoid. And as we enter the holiday season, if it hasn’t already happened, it’s just a matter of time before someone corners you and asks you what you’re doing with your life…




On the flip side, the holiday stretch also allows us needed time for reflection on the important things in life: friends, family, relationships and yes, a rewarding career.




We all dream of moving up in the world at a faster pace, but in reality career success comes more slowly than most of us ever imagined it would. Patience is most certainly a virtue, but when it comes to your career, how do you differentiate between inching slowly forward and going nowhere fast?





When it comes to your career, how do you differentiate between inching slowly forward and going nowhere fast?




If things are moving in the right direction there are usually some common indicators you can point to:





    1. You wake up energized for the work challenges the day will bring
    1. Your tasks and responsibilities align with your natural abilities
    1. You have a clear idea of how your career will advance as you continue to prove yourself
    1. You feel valued in the workplace, your feel that your efforts are making a difference
    1. You have great colleagues, engaged like you and who you collaborate well with
  1. You have a great manager, someone who gives you feedback, takes interest in your development and who isn’t threatened by your ambition





If you’re not experiencing much of the above, chances are you are on the wrong track and it’s time to consider making a change.




As the years roll by with increasing momentum, and as life grows more complex, the big dreams you once envisioned begin to fade. Don’t succumb, don’t find yourself facing retirement from a lack luster career and wondering where the time went and how you lost your way. Take some time now to reflect on your aspirations and ask yourself if you’re still on track to fulfilling your potential. If you’re not, gear up for change in the New Year. Life is short and it’s never too late.









Anthony Hughes is founder and CEO of Tech Elevator, a coding bootcamp, teaching novices to become software developers through an immersive 14 week workshop. Find out if a career in software development is the right path for you by taking a quick aptitude test.


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The Future of Workspace Is Here



Over the past few year’s the rise and ever growing interest in co-working has transformed the way solopreneurs, freelancers and small companies do business in Australia.


It has become a true microcosm of a new way of working and, perhaps more importantly, living in Australia.


Given the intense interest in start-ups these days, more and more entrepreneurs are looking to co-working facilities to grab cost effective and flexible office space and get amongst other budding entrepreneurs.


Step into a co-working space and you’ll find yourself mixed in between freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers, each one navigating the workforce in a unique way.


In addition to WiFi, conference rooms, trendy breakout spaces; these “rental” business studios also offer new companies the opportunity to rub elbows with others in their world.


Being able to connect with other budding entrepreneurs or established small businesses gives start-ups the opportunity to create new connections and build their network. We all know that in business it’s not just what you know but who you know, your network is your net worth.


“Working in a co-working space with only four staff members allows our employees to feel as though they are part of a bigger organisation, a wider community and have a sense of belonging.


Being a professional services company, the use of facilities offered by co-working spaces such as reception area, meeting rooms and a board room provides our clients with the professional amenities they would expect from a mid or top tier firm.


All these facilities are provided at a cost of the price of obtaining a commercial lease and fit out.” Demetrio Zema, Purpose Law.


To gain further insight into this topic I recently spoke with Kirsten Koci, co-founder of The Cluster, Australia’s leading co-working space.


“The evolution and growth of coworking spaces over the past five years has been remarkable. We have seen new providers enter and some of the originals, like us, expand and continue grow.


Spaces of all sizes have popped up with different offerings, which fit a certain clientele. We have even seen the multinational serviced office providers begin to throw around the “coworking” term in their marketing as they obviously understand it’s importance and the current trend and popularity of this “new way of working.


As the industry continues to evolve, we believe the secret to a successful co working community is providing professional and high quality spaces is key, and more co-working operators are heading down this path, which is great.


Flexible monthly terms, the ability to upsize or downsize as needed, and the ease of the relaxed environment are important to members.


Having social events, receptionists, outgoings, meeting rooms and much more, bundled together and shared amongst hundreds of companies, brings costs right down when compared to the traditional office.” Kirsten Explains.


Coworking spaces like The Cluster are a part of the new sharing economy and workspace is going to continue to become a big part of that economy.


The coworking industry is here to stay, and is only going to get stronger as savvy entrepreneurs discover that they can “have it all.” There are a growing number of spaces throughout Australia and all serve an important purpose for Australia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”


It’s become quite clear that the nature of work has changed. It’s no longer somewhere we go, but something we do.


There’s no doubt that there’s a definitive shift away from the traditional styles of work, such as the nine-to-five working day and the fixed desk.


This evolution in working styles has had a huge impact on the office dynamic, and in turn the physical environment, so it’s crucial that businesses adapt accordingly to be able to offer more value to employees.


It’s also from this mindset that the concept of ‘co-working’ has been born.


Whether you’re working in an existing co-working space or deciding whether or not to make the shift from a traditional office environment, below Kirsten shares 5 key things you need to consider before deciding which option to choose.


1) Location


Is the space accessible and convenient for staff and your clients? Accessibility and travel time are important to many employees and attracting the best for your business will be easier with a central location.


Consider parking and public transport and the general surrounds. Understand who your client is and be sure that your location is an attractive option when compared to your competitors.


2) Flexibility


What are the minimum contract periods, and will the space be able to support sudden growth of members businesses if needed.


Many companies need a lot of space at certain times of the year due to new projects and might then have to downsize at other times. Some businesses experience rapid growth and need more desks or offices ASAP.


Consider this if your business needs this flexibility. Also understand the difference between permanent desks and flexi desks as a mix of this model is perfect for seasonal and cyclical businesses or businesses that have travelling staff.


3) Service Provided


What really is on offer and included in the price?


Things to consider include internet speed, 24/7 access, quiet and/or private spaces, vibrant spaces, meeting rooms and boardrooms, reception services, storage space, bike storage and showers, breakout spaces, printing and IT support.


Each coworking space provides something different. Make sure you understand your businesses current and future needs to ensure that the space you end up calling home can be that for the longer term.


Having everything you require as your business grows allows you to focus on your business while the rest is taken care of by the coworking operator.


4) Price


What exactly is included in the price? Many serviced offices charge for things on top like Internet, electricity and meeting rooms. Make sure you fully understand what is included in the monthly price.


Price also differs from provider to provider and the quality of space and service can be miles apart. Ask each coworking space for a trial day so you can get a feel of what you will be paying for on a day-to-day basis.


5) Social & Networking Opportunities


What does the space do to encourage and foster social interactions and community engagement?


Getting to know others around you has a significant impact on feeling at home in a space, and being more motivated. But be careful, a few marriages have been the result of this social engagement!


Also a question to ask is who are the other members? The diversity and quality is important, as these are the people you will be working alongside.


Business collaboration can also be key to innovation so being able to talk to a diverse mix of business owners is essential and can add a lot of value to your business or create new opportunities.


The co-working space industry has seen strong growth in recent years and that swell is only going to continue. If your current workplace is not fun, friendly, inspiring and collaborative for you and your employees then perhaps its time to ditch your desk and take a seat at a co-working space near you.

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Here’s How To Get A Five Star Uber Rating


Uber drivers have surely seen it all


But that doesn’t mean some passengers don’t need to be reminded of how to act right when riding with Uber. A very smart driver posted some very simple instructions in his car telling riders that all it takes to get a five star passenger rating is some basic human decency:


The driver asks that passengers be polite, courteous, and respectful of the vehicle and the law in return for a perfect rating. He’s even offering up an AUX cord and phone chargers for the customer’s convenience!


But seriously, refraining from asking your driver to break Federal laws should go without saying — perhaps this driver has had to deal with pushy, subversive customers one too many times. 


Also on HuffPost:


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Transforming Business Cultures from Complacency to Contemporary

The shock of terrorism in Paris, preceded by the surge of migrants into Europe and North America, hits home for all but the most distant or numb to world events. Sitting on the plane flying from Barcelona to Stockholm I spoke with a musician scheduled to play in Paris two days after November 13th. He was asking himself questions about what role Sweden would choose in dealing with radicalism. And he reflected on the Bataclan concert hall, a favorite for its ambience. Unexpected acts like the violent deaths of spouses, friends, and neighbors, disrupt our sense of place in the world. Questions linger about what governments will do, how to calm fear and not feed extremist goals. No one is left untouched. In the same conversations, buried in reflection, lies the question on whether business will ever rise above ‘business as usual.’


What role can business play in today’s world where uncertainty and volatility threaten human, financial and ecological security?


Traveling in Europe meeting with experienced, yet discouraged, executives and entrepreneurs the recurring question is: How can we help our company change before crisis? The question reveals foresight. But can foresight be plugged into decision-making so that the companies they work for can grow into being a caring global citizen? As humans, it’s tempting to think crisis is the only instigator for brave decisions. As catalysts, wisdom says acting before crisis is the best option.


Change has Changed…


… and so it must. Complacent companies accept incremental change as being good enough. It is a short term indulgence. One startup’s APP can disrupt the business model of your local financial institution or your business. Navigating Beyond Profit to Achieve Wider Prosperity describes the value of widening our perspective to see unrealized opportunities for combining ecological and social health with increased financial gain. Achieving radical change requires leveraging the social system on which performance runs and it requires deepening self and organizational leadership.


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” – Peter Drucker


Selecting the best ways to navigate the ‘messy middle — between being satisfied with the past to stepping into a contemporary and caring attitude calls for growth.

    • Moving from complacency to a fully engaged and caring mind, where social, ecological and financial measures have equal weight, expands thinking from linear and analytical to seeing the wider system. Shifting perspective is a core competency in order to access different thinking to fit the circumstances.
    • Centralizing power in management limits success. To achieve creative resilience, power must be redistributed to employees so that all are responsible. Accepting greater personal responsibility goes with greater autonomy and power. At the management level, leadership must be independent from use of authority to have any credibility or instill trust.
  • Trust is the currency of a high performance, highly adaptive culture so to attain it, executives and all tiers of management are invited to enter a high growth, more fulfilling role. Trust starts with conversations and clearing out negative beliefs, such as ‘if I don’t control employees, they’ll screw up.’ Raising the trust embedded in conversations amounts to a consistent challenge to grow to the next level of personal mastery as daily routine.

Ignite the Human Spirit – Reach the Cultural Roots


A people-friendly approach to change ignites the human spirit, accessing intellectual, emotional and social intelligences to greater effect. To instigate workplace transformation:


1.) Gather and share stories of achieving a goal despite adversity. Stories evoke emotion and are not to be confused with narrative, a term now being used as a rationale to explain ‘why is this change necessary and why now’. Stories well told, reveal the best of human character in the face of the odds. Sharing how a large goal was accomplished despite the barriers illuminates the built-in blocks that are disposable.


Find a moment in your company where an employee stood up to defy conformity – even blew the whistle. Reveal moments where habitual thinking is disrupted by a choice to do something different! The road to achieving a big goal is not paved. It’s bumpy, requires perseverance and compassion. The world is uncertain and full of fear. Celebrating the courage you have within your company is the best way to transform it into being better while improving the climate for better decision making.


2.) Raise the quality of trust so that the difficult conversations add value, not fear. Judith E. Glaser calls it Conversational Intelligence® because quality, high trust conversations employ knowledge of neuroscience. Trust lives in the prefrontal cortex, as does integrative thinking. Judith tells the story of an executive who was blocking quality relationships by being detached and disconnected, projecting distrust to others. By altering how he engaged in conversations, his connection shifted from distrust to trust, simultaneously activating the growth centers in the brain. Knowing this connects you to an inner source of leadership that transforms an ego-driven executive into an effective, and inspiring leader. Integrative thinking is the natural outcome.


3.) Focus on the positive, learn from the mistakes. Pay attention to what you focus on. Appreciative Inquiry is one method for transforming workplaces because it methodically focuses on appreciation. Appreciative inquiry has transformed more companies from complacent routine to attaining higher performance than the intellect alone can produce.


Life is precious and nothing is certain. What is clear is that there is a depth of human creativity and talent left untapped by complacency and ‘business as usual’ thinking. Using adversity to advantage calls for making an intentional decision to dig deeper into self-discovery, releasing the creative talent innately biologically wired in each of us.


Now the question is, “Do corporate executives and managers have the courage to engage in their own growth to release the entire company’s potential?”


Dawna Jones sees through habitual patterns to give decision-makers access to higher-level solutions and gain creative edge while reducing risk. Speaker, group coach for complex change and instigator of enlightened innovation, she’s also the author of Decision Making for Dummies and known to be a tad nomadic. Contact Dawna on Twitter @EPDawna_Jones or LinkedIn.

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Sovereign Funds and New Trends in Commodities Markets

Sovereign wealth funds have expanded dramatically in recent years. High commodity prices and large foreign exchange reserves have contributed to their significant growth in global markets.




Yet, recent trends in equity and commodities markets could seriously impact this growth story.




Sovereign funds have gradually increased their exposure to foreign equity markets. However, a decline in global equity markets in 2015 in both developed and developing countries has negatively impacted returns.




The funds, which are accountable to their governments and citizens, have already started to reassess their diversified assets strategy and change their global investments. The Saudi Arabian government, for example, recently announced its new economic partnership with the Russian government, especially in the energy sector.




Since many of these funds have large stakes in a few public equities, sharp price swings could quickly change these assets’ book value. Qatar, for example, invested heavily in Volkswagen and Glencore, whose equities suffered significant losses in the third quarter of 2015 as a result of internal and external crises.




Qatar, however, has maintained its global diversification strategy. It announced in September that it would open a new office in New York as part of its growing investment in foreign markets. According to an announcement by the Qatar Investment Authority’s CEO, the fund is committed to investing $35 billion in the United States over the next five years, which represents more than 10% of its total assets, according to Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute June estimates.




The plunge in oil prices has also forced many sovereign energy funds to find new sources of income in order to achieve long-term positive returns in a low-price environment and to better diversify their operations.




One area where sovereign funds can find more stability and economic opportunities is macro trading. “Long-term institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, have always had very limited presence in the global macro and volatility trading space,” notes Andrew Rozanov, a sovereign funds analyst at Chatham House. “However, this is about to change–and in a big way.”




An earlier version appeared in Global Finance Magazine.

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In Paris, Business Helping To Lead The Way On Climate Change

Smart business leaders know what’s good for the environment can also be good for the economy.


No place is that more evident right now than at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, where business is taking center stage as global leaders focus on fixing our ailing planet.


On Monday, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and 28 other business leaders announced they will invest billions in seed capital in new energy technologies through their new Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The group’s goal is getting cutting-edge clean energy companies across the so-called “Valley of Death” (in venture capital speak) between innovation in the research lab and success in the marketplace.


In connection with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, President Obama and leaders of 20 other countries also announced in Paris an agreement called Mission Innovation to double government investment in clean energy research and development over the next five years.


This combination could be that clean energy moonshot program we’ve long needed.


The smart money is betting on clean energy in other ways too:


*Goldman Sachs recently announced plans to nearly quadruple its investments in solar, wind, energy efficiency and other clean energy opportunities. Goldman plans to invest $150 billion in clean energy by 2025.


*More than 400 investment firms that represent $24 trillion in assets signed a statement in advance of the Paris summit urging world leaders to take action on climate change because of the economic problems it’s creating — and because of the economic opportunities that come with clean energy.


*More than 80 businesses that do work in all 50 states recently pledged under President Obama’s American Business Act on Climate program to reduce their own carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.


That’s all good, but we need more.


“As an investor, I have been involved with many companies working on promising energy solutions,” Gates wrote in a whitepaper describing the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. “I wish there were many more to choose from. There should be hundreds if not thousands of companies around the world exploring different approaches.”


There are good reasons why investors and businesses want action on climate change.


One reason is cost. Sea-level rise and increased coastal storms tied to climate change could sap an estimated $35 billion out of our economy each and every year if we don’t do something about it. Tens of billions more could go up in smoke with temperature extremes and crop losses.


Another reason is opportunity. More than 170 countries responsible for over 90 percent of the world’s climate pollution have announced specific plans to reduce their emissions. In the United States, the federal Clean Power Plan will cut carbon emissions from existing power plans by about 32 percent, in part by replacing dirty power with solar and wind energy and energy efficiency. States such as California and New York now have policies in place to get as much as 50 percent of its energy from renewables. Smart policies like those will create huge new market opportunities for clean energy companies and their suppliers.


As Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz put it in a Boston Globe opinion piece: “New energy supply, demand and infrastructure technologies will generate expenditures at the trillion-dollar scale.


“Benefits will surely accrue to the early innovators.”


Just ask guys like Bill Gates about that.

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I’m Fighting For You

Dear Grandchildren: I can only imagine the wonderful world you are growing up in. I think of that world — your future — almost every day. I think about how to make sure it is a place where all your hopes and dreams can come true.


A long time ago, my parents traveled across the world from Korea to the United States in search of a brighter future for me and my sisters. Today, I am writing you from Paris, a city that I have traveled across the world to get to, in order to make sure the world does the same for you. I’m fighting for you, for everyone in your generation across the world, to ensure that you have more than a fighting chance at that bright future. A world without the dangers of global climate change is the world that you will inherit.


What is climate change? Never heard of it? I’m so very glad if you haven’t. Let me try to explain. I warn you though, this can be kind of scary.


When we first started building up our cities, roads and towns in what was called the Industrial Revolution, we burned all sorts of fuels — coal, oil and natural gas. While these things helped us heat our homes, drive our cars, and expand our cities, we didn’t realize that they also clouded our air, dirtied our water, and made us sick. More than that, the burning of all those fuels made our planet sick. All the other animals and plants that we share this world with were getting sick, too. The planet became warmer, which created a mixed up chaos of terrible hurricanes, tornadoes, raging wildfires, drought and increased hunger, growing rates of asthma and lung disease, and the extinction of animals at an unprecedented rate.


So my dear grandchildren, we faced a choice. We could keep doing what we had been doing, or we could make the choice to take a stand for our future — your future and the planet’s future — by creating the framework to begin to move away from this scary legacy.


The wind turbines and solar panels that power your world, electric cars, high-speed trains and solar airplanes weren’t so commonplace in my time. They required a revolution in how we think about energy, about our relationship to the world, about our faith in our own capacity to innovate and change.


What took us so long? Sigh. It’s a long story, but like many of the children’s books you grew up with, it was a story of greed, short-sightedness and wizards with too much gold. But against these challenges, sometimes with great bravery, people — young and old from every nation –stood up and demanded that we take the steps to curb this terrible scourge.


I hope you will know this to be true. I hope you will remember that many years ago, your grandma and many others across the world stood up and demanded that we make the world a better place. I hope you know that it was a difficult path, just like my parents took so many years ago. And I hope you know we did it thinking of you and the future you now inherit.


Rhea Suh is the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.


This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Letters to the Future, in conjunction with the U.N.’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (Nov. 30-Dec. 11), aka the climate-change conference. Letters to the Future is a project produced by the Sacramento News & Review, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Media Consortium, in which a variety of writers, scientists, artists, and others were asked “to predict the outcome of the Paris talks (the success or failure and what came subsequently) as if writing to their children’s children, six generations hence.” To view the entire series, visit here. For more information on the project, visit here.

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