7 year old vs. Thomas Friedman, Inspiring a Green Revolution

At the Uptime Institute, Thomas L. Friedman presented his ideas from his latest book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded – why we need a green revolution – and how it can renew America .”  it was impressive to have Friedman speak. Curious I decided to look up what Friedman’s speaking fees are.

Friedman has built a comfortable life, even leaving aside his wife’s family fortune. His speaking fee recently passed $50,000; with his Times salary, syndication rights, and royalties from his bestselling books, his annual income easily reaches seven figures.

Listening to Friedman’s talk was in some ways depressing, trying to inspire people to take action to do the right thing for the environment.

Here is a video you can view to give you an idea on what Friedman presented.

Leaving the conference, I ran into Olivier Sanche who I had blogged about at the Google data center event. We were chatting and he was short on time as he needed to meet his family.  Olivier asked if I wanted to meet his daughter, Emilie Sanche.  Why would Olivier want me to meet his daughter? Because I was the one who helped tell the story of how Olivier’s daughter was worried about global warming and the polar bears were going to drown.


One of the questions for the panel members was on subject of green and sustainability.

Ken Brill gave a practical view of show me the money. Green is overhyped and a clear ROI needs to be established for projects.

Olivier Sanche starts by telling the story of his child telling him how the polar bears are drowning, then he thinks he is potentially building a data center that will have a bigger impact to global warming than any other action he has as an individual.  Olivier tells his team we need to do the right thing, and how we impact the environment is part of the equation.

I have 7 year old daughter as well, and quite frankly thinking about my children’s future is a big inspiration to do the right thing.

I had great conversations with Google and Microsoft engineers who get the whole idea of taking risks to be environmentally sensitive in data center design and operation.  Financially all the ideas may not pay out, but taking risks to be innovative in sustainability is worth it in the long run.

So at the end of the day was I more inspired by a Pulitzer winning author or a 7 year old who is proud of her dad’s efforts?

Emilie it was a pleasure to meet you, and keep on prodding your dad to do the right thing.