I am a Senior Technology Fellow at Conservation International and no longer accepting new consulting work. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss something related to my current role.
If you represent a foundation, philanthropist, or nonprofit organization, I can help you turn your big ideas into reality. I have a long track record of doing this in my career at Oceankind, Google, and X (“the moonshot factory”). Most of my focus has been in conservation and food systems; however, my work is based more on following a well-refined process than the subject matter (we can interview experts for that).
I can also help you find the perfect candidates to lead your new initiative since that is often a gating factor for new philanthropists. It can be really hard to find someone you can trust and know they will come into the job with an open mind to solve the problems you care about. Please remember this: it’s extremely important that you don’t go hire a subject matter expert until you have clarity on how your organization will pursue its mission. Ask me about this and I’ll explain it in detail.
What I Believe
I believe that philanthropists should be at the bleeding edge of innovation to help discover solutions to some of the world’s biggest, most neglected problems. Who else can explore audaciously risky ideas with the singular goal of helping people and/or nature?
I believe that philanthropists should fund high-risk, high-reward projects with catalytic potential, which means one must:
- expect that many projects will fail, so ensure there are clear learning goals regardless of the results (new knowledge will help donors others from wasting money)
- plan in advance how one will exit successful projects (to government, VCs, other foundations, etc.), so that budget can be re-allocated to new ideas and ensure the organization continues to be innovative and available for new proposals
I believe that philanthropists should have a blended portfolio of projects that includes traditional grants to nonprofit organizations and research institutions, investments in impact-focused startups, and forward-looking market-shaping work. When possible, partnering with a family office’s investment team increases impact dramatically.
These are just some of the principles I helped develop as the founding CEO of Oceankind with the goal of bringing “moonshot thinking” into ocean conservation. I worked closely with an ultra-high net worth family to help them design, launch, and build a revolutionary new approach to philanthropic giving. The mission was ocean conservation; however, the approach and strategies are broadly applicable.
The processes and strategy I developed at Oceankind for innovation, rapid evaluation, and failing fast were borrowed from what I learned while at Google and at X (formerly Google X). How this translates into philanthropy could fill a book, which I hope to write someday.
Contact me for a free consultation to discuss your vision for making the world a better place.