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Jim Morris's Thought of the Week (or month, or year, ...)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference

I spent two days at this meeting in Sacramento. They had been hoping for about 120 people and 500 showed up. There were excellent talks and the vibe was great. How could it not be with 500 idealistic, altruistic activists there?

My take-aways:

When marketing an innovation you need to decide what to present as new, what to present as old, and what to hide. Edison said Electricity was new, the actual lighting was old—just like gas light—and the electricity generation and distribution was all hidden. Today, Google presented page-rank and new, advertising as old—just like New Yorker column ads—and hid all the fancy web-crawling, indexing, and machine learning. Encasing a compact fluorescent bulb in the familiar light bulb shape is a suggestion. Such tricks are called skeuomorphs.

Andy Hargadon,
Center for Entrepreneurship UC Davis

Jim Sweeney, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency, Stanford University was a major sponsor. He knows Max Henrion, Granger Morgan, and other from Carnegie Mellon and would be a good ally.

The carbon footprint of a single cheeseburger (counting cow manure) is 5kg of CO2.

Jamais Cascio, Institute for the Future

Asking hotel guests to “help the hotel be green” by reusing towels elicits 30% participation.
Asking them to “join with the 52% of other guests” elicits 60% participation.
Asking them to “join with the 52% of guests who stayed in this room” elicits 75% participation.
A Zillo-like service that showed your neighbors’ energy bills would be powerful.

Robert Cialdini, Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University

A social web site devoted to promising and self-reporting on various green practices,, can build wide-spread green communities.

Jennifer Mankoff, Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

European energy efficiency product labels use an ABCD ranking system that causes manufacturers to tweak their products to raise their letter grades. The US system which simply uses a number has no effect. Comparing the energy efficiency = capacity/energy is less useful than comparing total energy used if you want people to buy the smaller product.

Jennifer Thorne Amann, ACEEE

The VALS system classifies archetypes into idealists, achievers, and experiencers. We are generally idealists and should be pitching the achievers.

Bill Guns, President and CEO, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence

The fictional movie The Day After Tomorrow had a much wider impact than the LiveEarth concert, and even bigger than An Inconvenient Truth. The latter two may have preached effectively to the choir.

Anthony Leiserowitz, Director, Yale Project on Climate Change, Yale University

Stanford’s Precourt Institute is building a Bibliographic Database on BECC Topics. See

Carrie Armel, Stanford

The Alliance for Climate Protection is spearheading a massive campaign to persuade Americans--and people elsewhere in the world--of the importance and urgency of adopting and implementing comprehensive solutions for the climate crisis. The organization is chaired by Former Vice President Al Gore who gave it his Nobel Peace Prize award money. It has portfolio of activities, including the recent global Live Earth concerts, viewer-generated advertising contests, collaborations with new community-based organizations and a forthcoming substantial mass media campaign. This is located in Silicon Valley and looks like the real deal to me (jhm). See

Cathy Zoi, Alliance for Climate Protection

Linda Schuck of the California Institute for Energy & Environment appears to have been the impresario of this very well-run conference.

All the presentations will be posted at or around

posted by Jim Morris @ 4:06 PM 


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