Monday, June 2, 2008

Power, Part 1

I've been thinking about what I want to do when I grow up - that is, when I've retired from the military (I'll be eligible to retire in 6 years, at the ripe old age of 41).

I think it would be fun to write full-time... and will probably try that for a while. But, I might get a little stir-crazy after a decade or so of writing. That's tough to predict (what will I be like when I'm 50?), but I can imagine wanting to do more than just write.

I'm good at leading small teams to develop innovative technologies, but I'm not interested in just building new gadgets and toys - I want to do stuff with real substance. The world doesn't need another color television set (no offense if that's what you make). And after serving in the military-industrial complex for 20 years, I think I'd like to go do something non-defense-related. I'm kicking around a lot of other ideas, and the latest possibility is - alternative energy development.

I think it would be fun to lead a small team of creative, talented people, developing viable sources of alternative energy for consumers. Stuff like backyard wind turbines, rooftop solar panels, and what ever else we can think of. There's something to be said for large-scale energy projects, creating green utility companies, but I think I prefer going straight to the masses (not that we couldn't do both). The idea of people producing their own energy aligns with my distributist approach to economics.

I think developing alternative sources of energy, particularly solar, is a moral, political, social, environmental, even theological, imperative. Fossil fuels are expensive, dirty and irresponsible - not to mention the supply is limited. And don't get me started on the political situation in countries where oil is found.

More on this tomorrow...


Deb said...

Hopefully you will be able to get that parenting book out I've been asking you all to write the last 4 years!!! :)

Kim said...

I think that this may be an interesting post ... I'm still stuck on the part where you say you'll be 41 in 6 years! I'll have to come back and read the rest once that sinks in. ;)

Seriously though, you have some awesome ideas. I'm eager to see where life takes you! Or rather, where you take your life.

Mark said...

Dan, this sounds dangerously close to long-term strategic planning for yourself... (hee hee)

I really like the local power idea - it's something I've been doing a little thinking (and surfing) about lately. Our house has a perfect south-facing roof with space for a nice array of solar panels. And Massachusetts has net-metering in place, and some good rebate programs. But still, the payback time is about 10 years to break even. If the costs were say cut in half, or the efficiency could be increased by half, then I would probably go for it right now. In the meantime, I've just got a little solar-powered floodlight for the side of the house.

So go for it!

The Dan Ward said...

Very funny, Mark - and yeah, I'm thinking nearly 20 years out for myself (well, 15 years). :)

I think solar power is a target rich opportunity - plenty of opportunities for improvements in efficiency, for expanding the market, etc. And with gas prices doing what they're doing, more and more people are thinking in terms of energy independence and alternative approaches.

Of course, 6 years is a long time from now. Who knows what will have changed between now and then... :)

Gabe said...

WOW! You stole my idea. I've told my wife several times pretty much the same thing about what I consider for my future. I so wish you could have gone to WIRED's NextFest this last year. It was hog heaven for this type of stuff...I mean I came back STOKED about changing careers immediately. You need to make it to one of these shows. Believe me, you WILL NOT come back the same.