Fighting Climate Change With Finance and Technology Solutions With Alex Wright-Gladstein, Sphere

November 10, 2021

Have you been investing in fossil fuels and climate change without realizing it?

Alex Wright-Gladstein, Founder, and CEO of Sphere, sits with A.J. Lawrence to discuss how the investment holdings of most people’s 401(k)s support the financing of fossil fuels. They also talk about her journey in climate change and sustainability, transitioning from being CEO of Ayar Labs to starting Sphere, and all the entrepreneurial lessons along the way.

Listen to this episode to learn more about climate change, entrepreneurship, and understanding where the finance in your investment holdings actually goes.

About our guest:

Alex Wright-Gladstein is an entrepreneur with a passion for addressing climate change.  She is also the Co-Founder of Ayar Labs founded in 2015, formerly OptiBit, a company transforming computing performance by moving data with light. 

On today’s episode:

  • Meet Alex Wright-Gladstein, Founder and CEO of Sphere – 00:50
  • Alex shares where she stands in her entrepreneurial journey – 03:51
  • The difference switching from technology to finance – 08:18
  • The importance of developing a community focus when creating a movement – 12:08
  • The approach for advocating climate-friendly practices in companies today – 16:19
  • Alex explains the impact of each person’s “pocketbook” – 17:41
  • Alex talks about what had the most significant impact on improving her growth as an entrepreneur – 20:52
  • The intentionality required for building the right team – 23:29
  • Alex shares about what she currently finds really interesting – 27:42
  • How Alex defines success – 33:01

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the need for systemic change is really important for tackling climate issues. There are so many factors that keep things in place and are root problems for why an issue exists. It will be tough to make a significant difference if you don’t understand the deeper problems and hidden forces behind why they still exist.
  • It is so crucial for entrepreneurs to be intentional. Intentionality is about where you focus your time and energy. Being intentional about building the right team that can run with your vision is time worth spending. Do not make the mistake of quickly filling gaps in your team and stunting long-term growth with the wrong people in the driver’s seat.
  • Have clear, measurable goals towards your success. Do not make the journey towards success and progress vague or arbitrary. Some things have to be made black and white. The clearer and more measurable you make your goals, the better you will have insight into what you need to do to reach them.
  • The next seven years are a crucial window for climate change action. Scientists predict that the global warming impact will cross the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold in seven years if things continue as they are. This can lead to irreversible damage to the planet. The good news is 80% of Americans are concerned about climate change, and the correct systemic change can avert this problem. (Read about the Sunrise Movement for more information)

What do entrepreneurs need to be intentional about and focus on?

[22:39] “Be really intentional about hiring. It can be so easy to take shortcuts and bring someone on because you desperately need to fill a gap, but it is very hard to reverse mistakes.”

Are you on the journey of growing as an entrepreneur? Let us know how you are building your knowledge and developing intentionality. Also, don’t forget to drop a hello if you want to share your entrepreneurship story on the podcast.

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