Progress Report and Strategy

Taylor and I are now talking about strategy. We have a good idea but the learning curve is pretty much vertical and there’s skills we need that have to be certified, the most important of which is how to get a structural engineer interested in this.

Taylor is investigating his network of artists and the like. When he brought it up I figured ‘sounds good’ we’ll need video stuff soon and need to document what we’re doing. Taylor however suggested that if there’s something going cheap then artists, who also need materials and have no money, would be good people to talk to.

Taylor is also translating a lot of this stuff into Japanese, something I’m not up for. He’s also started translating into English some books in Japanese about rooftop gardening in Japan from Ms. Setsuko Miyakawa, Industry Department of the Asia Productivity Organization, and officer in charge of EPIF (Eco-Products International Fair). She’s been very helpful, despite being run off her feet with organizing an annual 100,000 people fair in a different country every year and having to make arrangements for national presidents and captains of industry from all across Asia. She also passed me the Eco Products Directory which lists hundreds of eco products.

For my part I’m trying to find a waste management professional working for a city ward, someone who knows where the big organic waste flows are located. I’m working on the assumption that if we find people with a problem, i.e too much garbage to be disposed of, they’d give Taylor and I a hearing. If they give us a hearing then there’s a chance we can get started.

On another note, recieved an e-mail from Matt Engler at the Engler Group. They’re a fee based consultancy group who help businesses. They have an office in Tokyo. The problem is that I think if he’s looking for a customer he’s a bit premature and I’m also concerned that any consultancy just won’t get what we have in mind. Straddling the border between co-op, community action group and consultancy ourselves, I imagine it would strike them as a little strange. I also imagine they’d tell us to go looking for investors.

Problem is on that score that when Anita Roddick of the Body Shop went public she lost control of her company and it went from being socially responsible to merely having the appearance of being socially responsible.  I figure if you want to keep the thing anchored in communities it has to be a family thing.

We might be seeking funding at some point, but having done a lot of research on how Toyota continues to fund everything internally and never relies on capital markets I can honestly say I find it preferable, even were it to turn out to be a slower development model.

God forbid we should ever have shares and be gobbled up by Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. I figure we have to be part of the solution not part of the problem and current business models are part of the problem. I mean even if you are selling eco products, you are invariably using a mass production, mass marketing method to sell it. That’s not ecologically friendly to my mind. It would be better if it were DIY but then there are quality concerns. Hard to see where to go at that point.

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