November 6th, 2012

Moving Back to Boston, Current Projects, and Goals in Boston


After almost two whole years, I’m headed back to the hub. I last lived in Boston in March 2012. In 2012, I quit my job at Nexamp and started working with Brian Hayden at HeatSpring again. Since my work was virtual, I decided to go to Europe for a few months for fun and to research the cleantech space out there. My time was not as useful as it could have been (from a professional perspective) and I learned a major lesson. Research is very hard, and the more specific you goal, the easier it is to perform it. My research was very vague so it was hard to gather any specific information. Thought I made some great relationships while there.

This year was spent in NY. It was a good year, I enjoyed my time in NYC, but the city is not the lifestyle for me both personally and professionally. Don’t get my wrong, there’s great stuff happening in NYC but I also enjoyed the culture in Boston better, at least as far as cleanech goes, there’s both a sense of competition and collaboration that I noticed lacking in both NYC and SF. Boston is also still small enough, and people are nice enough, to help each other out, without being ridiculous. NYC has some weirdness, there were many times I met someone at an event and they told me they’re looking to invest XX millions of dollars. Let’s be clear, if you meet someone and they tell you about their XX million dollar fund in 4.67 minutes they don’t have an XX million fund. With that said, NYC is also a place where you can be offered a job on the street. That’s how I ended up working with Voltaic Solaire.

As I brainstorm what I’ll be working on and my goals, here are my thoughts.

What I’ll be working on.

  • Continuing to make sure that HeatSpring and HeatSpring Magazine are taking over the internet. Creating great articles, well cited industry research and opinion, interviews, creating new trainings, and creating really simple tools to give away. By that way, creating really simple tools is a great way to test our new business concepts.
  • At HeatSpring, we’re spinning of a software product called Cammpus. So, I’ll continue to close sales and develop it. We’re focusing on developing relationships with subjective matter experts that are working around the green building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy industry because that is where our existing relationships and track record is. After we’ve dominate this, we’ll move into new verticials.
  • Working with NEGPA on geothermal and renewable thermal policy in New England. We’re currently focusing on implementing the New Hampshire thermal REC program, I’m sitting on a thermal efficiency task force in Vermont and Massachusetts is releasing a new geothermal program
  • Advising Ground Energy Support. GES is a company that has developed a cheap and accurate way of monitoring ground source heat pumps in real time. I’m working with them to create a performance based contract for residential geothermal contractors because I believe this will reduce significant amounts of risk for property owners and help contractors SELL MORE JOBS!
  • Residential and Commercial Sales Consulting for solar thermal, solar PV, and geothermal projects. The name will remain secret for now because the details haven’t been confirmed, but I’ll talk about it later.

My Goals

  • Connect with businesses that are looking to sell B2B products or services to contractors that are selling and installing renewable energy products. I have a lot of relationships and contact with those companies through HeatSpring and it would be great to help those companies out.
  • Start working on EnergyBar events again. I want to start building customer centric and sales centric events for people that are not looking for investment and don’t have IP. Most of the cleantech industry industry in terms of renewable energy and energy efficiency is all about customer acquisition. This has nothing to do with IP. EnergyBar started as “Cleantech Kingpins” back in the day at the NEXUS Building Resource Center. We then had an event at Venture Cafe and moved in Greentown Labs when they had just moved. I went away to Europe and Greentown made the event 10 times more awesome then I ever made it. I’m hoping to build on what they made.
  • EnergyBar Event Idea #1. I’d like to get 4 people in a room that are responsible for at least $200k in energy spend per year and have them explain exactly what they’re looking to spend their money on.
  • EnergyBar Event Idea #2. Applying Search Selling to Cleantech. Too many people are focusing on pitching investors blah blah blah and not doing the hard stuff, selling customers and finding things that large companies will pay lots of money for. Read more about search selling here. 
  • Connect with the tech scene in Boston. I’ve always been somewhat annoyed by the tech scene, namely because they’re use of buzzwords, it’s focus on investment instead of sales and profit, for tech celebrities and because they’re spending all this brainpower to…sell advertising! But they’re not that bad, namely they’re creating tools, it’s up for another group of people to use those tools to save the world. With that said, I’ve learned a lot about developing and selling tech by spinning off Cammpus from HeatSpring. I’ve always been interested in the overlap of tech and cleantech and I believe there’s a new buzzword for it.
  • Doing a series of interviews with the investment community in Boston. I’d like to do some good angel investor interviews to learn what they’re seeing in the space, I’m less interested in the VC perspective, but I’m super interested in what project financiers are looking at. There are SO MANY projects ready to go, and they just need capital. Anyone with cash and a tax appetite should be killing it out there.

If you’re around, let me know.

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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.