The future of Auckland
A group of us spent an afternoon last week at LanzaTech in Parnell. This little company tucked away in one corner of Auckland is doing some amazing things. LanzaTech has developed a technology to convert high volume industrial waste streams in the form of carbon monoxide into bio-ethanol using patented microbes.
Existing technologies work on converting corn or sugar cane into ethanol, and we all know that's unsustainable. Which is why this new technology is so exciting. Exciting enough to attract Vinod Khosla, well-known founder of Sun Microsystems and legendary VC to put some money in.
It's indeed heartening to see such an amazing company operating out of Auckland. The best prices on genuine pfizer viagra founder also said that he's looking for a CEO. It's courageous of him to be letting go of the reins at a critical time. It's certainly not easy to decide that someone else is better at running the company you founded. When asked how will he ensure that the person he appoints will have the same passion as him, the response was “a business is not just built on passion and enthusiasm, but cold, hard facts”. “We need someone with greyer and shorter hair th
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an me to convince people”. “No one's going to give me $50m because I don't have a history of spending $50m in a wise way”. Losing a bit of the humour as I translate this into text, but this guy is really witty. I don't think I know that many scientists that are witty / funny as well.
He wants to get back into the lab to do what he's good at, and let someone else who has learnt from his mistakes somewhere else to run the company. Sean reflects that he has “spent half the time trying not to get it wrong”.
Another question from our group: “What's the greatest challenge of leadership?”
The answer came quickly: “Getting people to argue and still like each other afterwards”. Sean explained that his team members are PhDs and best in their field in what they do. It's important that people not feel bad for suggesting an idea that's not implemented, as well as feeling that it's OK to criticise. “Getting it wrong is halfway to getting it right”. This is such an awesome insight.
I certainly hope that LanzaTech takes off. Then we'll have a great story that will inspire a generation of young scientists at our schools and universities to strive for the impossible.