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A look back at 2015: personal, professional & industry wide. 
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2015 Report Card

After my first work day of 2016 I decided to send out a 2015 recap, both personal and professional.
2015 was a year of massive change personally. I moved from Vancouver to Kenya at the end of February, worked for a start up company only to experience a massive pivot and get laid off two months later. Luckily I landed a 1 month contract which gave me the time to find and interview with SteamaCo, my current employer along with fitting in a 3-week trip to Turkey and Georgia between jobs. The rest of the year has been a blur learning the emerging market Microgrid sector. To cap it off I visited Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. It was literally being constructed before my eyes!

Career: 7.5 / 10

3 years after leaving the Food Equipment business I've fully transitioned my career to focus on Bottom of the Pyramid Innovation landing a full-time role with SteamaCo. Q3 & Q4 allowed me to grow my understanding of microgrids and add depth to my off-grid energy understanding.
 

Positives: Landed a role at a fast moving company!

Negatives: Short contracts & bumpy first 6 months

2016 will be the year of the “T-Shaped” man, adding extensive depth to my experiences across many countries and industries. This metric will most likely improve next year!

Health: 6 / 10

After leaving one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver I’ve had difficulty keeping up a high level of fitness. One of the factors I didn’t consider when moving was the lack of public facilities in Emerging Markets. Public pools don't exist, and most leisure activities cost the equivalent of western prices. Without sidewalks, a large pool and a dedicated group of amateur athletes my fitness level has slid but I’m still a 2 workouts a week guy at least!

Social: 7 / 10

Not surprisingly moving halfway around the world isn’t a sure fire way to have a stellar social life. What is unique about moving to an emerging market is the welcoming expat community. Nairobi's community is spread out into little pockets and the road network is jammed making short evening visits impossible.

Off-Grid Energy & Emerging Market Bottom of the Pyramid Business: 9.5 / 10

 

The area I'm most excited about is my industry, off-grid energy was super hot in 2015. The solar home system sector raised millions and microgrids saw pilots launching in various countries around the globe. Technology in both sectors is rapidly advancing and business models are gaining traction. My prediction for 2016 is that over 250 Million will enter the sector in a mix of debt and equity. Stay tuned for my January Podcast on Solar Home Systems in latin America!


Overall I view 2015 as the springboard to a great 2016. More and more amazing people are shifting from corporate roles to find jobs in emerging market energy and with 1.3 billion people unelectrified more smart minds means more solutions! Funds are following and hopefully by 2017 companies will go from servicing thousands of customers to millions!

A few interesting articles & Links:

Usually I share a couple tidbits every month, so I've included a few here for my readers. 

1) Infographic : Visualising Chinese Investment in Africa

If you've worked in Africa recently this infographic explains a lot! 

2) Israel’s Lishtot is one of world’s hottest startups

A friend of mine from Jerusalem is running a very cool company that's looking to rapidly identify dirty water. 

That's all for this month. Have a great 2016, Happy New Year! 
-Ryan 

 

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