September 21st, 2010

The Pleasure, Learnings, and Future of Green Light Distrikt at Year One


A huge thank you to everyone who is reading this post, or who has visited Green Light Distrikt (GLD) in its first year of existence. In two weeks, the Green Light Distrikt will have its first birthday and this post will mark our 101st post.

Originally, I started the blog to write down what I was learning about the clean technology industry in Boston, to improve my writing skills – an exercise I’ve strongly disliked since I first learned how to do it – and to learn a little something about web development and internet marketing. At first, I had no expectations. I never expected anyone to actually read what I was writing and I just did it for fun, hoping to share what I was been learning and connect with other like-minded people.

As it turns out, the simple act of writing down my – very simple – thoughts in a ‘public’ place has without a doubt, changed my life for the better. What really stands out are the people. Namely, all of the random strangers, some of whom have becomes friends and the fellow insiders that have made the blog what it is today by sharing their stories.

What I’ve Enjoyed the Most

1) The people. Most of all the insiders, each of them is a friend and its been great to stay in such close touch with awesome people. Second to the insiders, is completely random people I run into and learn from. Having a blog has given me the opportunity to get into conferences and speak with people I wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to connect with. I learn something from everyone.

2) The adventure. I started the blog just to start it, I didn’t know where it was going. To see the blog shift in focus about four to five times before I really found its niche has been my little experiment. Although there is ZERO risk involved in changing the strategy as in a real business, it was fun nonetheless.

3) Helping other people. I see GLD as a platform to connect people working on amazing projects – related in some way to addressing the environmental issues we face – to each other. Not only so they can learn from other, but help one another as well. Each time I’ve been able to personally make a connection, or see one happen, its great.

4) Learning. I love to learn. The blog has provided a great platform to get a firm grasp on copy writing, SEO, internet marketing, CSS + HTML + PHP, and twitter. I’m not an expert in anyone of these and I’ll never be, but I’m getting pretty good at them.

Here’s What I’ve Learned

1) Copy writing is important. At first, I didn’t care about the writing quality and I’d argue it really wasn’t important. If I had waited until I was a perfect writer or even a good writer, I never would have started the blog at all. But things are different now, a small number of people are reading the blog and there are also other writers to think about. Quality is now important.

2) Things can be taken out of context. By nature, I’m very critical but also understanding. I look for flaws but also the positives. I like to joke around but am also very sarcastic. My friends know this, but strangers don’t. So, it’s important to make sure that posts are written clearly, so strangers that do not know the author personally, will not take what’s written the wrong way. Personally, there have been a couple posts I’ve written poorly and as a result have offended some. If anyone has been offended or angered by something I’ve written, I apologize.

Plans for GLD Year Two

1) Build out Green Light Distrikt NYC, DC and Boulder. Having a gang of industry insiders from Boston has been amazing and provides a true ‘inside’ scoop into the industry in Boston itself. The cleantech scene in NYC, DC and Boulder are all developing quickly, but I have no clue what’s actually happening there because I don’t live there.  I can’t wait to recruit people working on amazing projects to start sharing their stories so that we can all get a glimpse into their world. If you’re currently living in one of those cities, or another city in the US, or abroad and wanted to get involved or start a GLD chapter, give me a shout.

2) Get better at writing. Any advice?

3) Create more video content. Nothing can capture intent and passion like video. I dabbled into video content with an interview I did with Shelby Clark, founder of RelayRides, and I plan to start using more of it for interviews and events around town. I feel this will provide a much better ‘inside’ presence that the written word can.

4) Getting more involved in the community. One of the main values of GLD is online/offline interaction. It’s become clear that people have gone way too far overboard with social media, the internet and have forgotten that real face-to-face interaction is where stuff gets done. I see GLD as a platform to connect young cleantechies in cities across the US and I’d like to use it more effectively to achieve this goal. Any thoughts on this?

Again, Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has read the Green Light Distrikt.

Thank you for coming back and following us as we grow.

Thank you to all the insiders who have taken time to write for Green Light Distrikt. I’ve read each and everyone one of your posts and each has provided an unique insight to the world.

Thank you to all the speakers and attendees of our Cleantech Kingpins speaker series.

If you have any feedback on the blog, content, our cleantech kingpins speakers series, have any questions or want to get involved in anyway, don’t be shy.


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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.