—Systemic change begins with personal change—

716: Arnold Leitner, part 2: How much energy and power do you need to be happy?


How do we affect others and how does it relate to what brings meaning to life? I'm surprised it took this long for one of my conversations to cover the meaning of life, but I'm not surprised it came with a fellow physicist. Being able to talk quantitatively about nature comfortably, from lots of practice, lets us understand patterns of what's happening. Arnold can also talk with integrity for living by the values he talks about. We see the challenges similarly, though I focus on changing culture and he focuses more on technology. Talking about culture and meaning comes later in this conversation. First we talk in numbers about the patterns he sees in power use, then we expand to reducing battery needs overall, though mostly in houses and transportation. We also talk about most likely outcomes for humanity. He sees similar results to what I expect if humanity continues business as usual, which isn't pretty. I think we can do more than he can, though I recognize few people think hundreds of millions of Americans can reduce their overall impact something like ninety percent in a few years. I didn't think I could until I did. Listen and find out why I looked up the lyrics to 99 Red Balloons and watched the Matrix for first time in at least a decade.

707: Arnold Leitner, part 1: The founder of YouSolar, more than off-grid living


Do you like my work because of my nearly unique background of a PhD in physics, having cofounded a couple companies, and having an MBA? You're in luck with Arnold, who has done the same. We got our MBAs together at Columbia so inevitably met. He was working on his solar startup then, Skyfuel, which was making news, though I wasn't working on sustainability yet the, still feeling like individual action wouldn't matter yet. We ran into each other and talked about his new company, YouSolar, comparing how much power, energy, and reliability he supplies his clients with my little portable battery and panels I have to carry to my roof. In today's conversation, after he shares his background, he shares YouSolar's grand goal, which is to change the grid, not just provide solutions to some clients. He's looking toward systemic change, filling in a power gap.

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