What Greentech Media’s April Fools Joke Taught Me

The headline: A First Look at Amazon’s New Drone-Based Solar Installation Service
My initial reaction: Fear

Why fear? Because I’m gullible and totally believed it. But more tellingly, because I was afraid Amazon would sell distributed solar at a fraction of competitor pricing, and would soon dominate the industry. Local solar companies would fail. OnGrid revenue would tank, and I wouldn’t be able to support my family. My 18-month old daughter would be impoverished, and I’d drown in despair. …At least that’s what my lizard brain insisted.

For the first time, I could relate to the obstructive utility executive.

I’m trying to build a better business. This is challenging enough in a stable market, let alone a fiercely-disrupted market. I want to keep leveraging OnGrid’s current resources…not abandon them and start over. I don’t want to acknowledge that I’m hopelessly archaic. I just want to continue offering the reliable service we’ve offered for 10 years.

Fortunately I was able to pull myself out of this headspace quickly. I remembered that any related technology advances will get us to a sunshine-powered planet faster. And that I’ll be damned if I don’t see a sunshine-powered planet before I die. I remembered that I can win by embracing change with humility and gratitude. And that I have value and options…my daughter won’t become a vagabond.

I ditched that headspace quickly because the transition towards renewables is good for OnGrid. I might be stuck in it if I was an older utility executive.

I’m challenging myself to approach future utility dialogues with a little patience and understanding. In these tumultuous times, the emotionally mature will prevail.

Michael Bishop, 6/30/16