News

ThinkGeoEnergy and how things are going – a personal note on things

ThinkGeoEnergy team meeting up for the first time in Turkey, 2019: Alex Richter, Cannur Bozkurt and Carlos Jorquera (from left to right)
Alexander Richter 24 Jan 2020

ThinkGeoEnergy has evolved over the years and the past few months have not been easy, but getting back on top of things I thought it would be worth to share a little background on the site and our activities.

This post is one I have been wanting to write for quite some time to provide a little bit of background on myself, ThinkGeoEnergy and the struggles of the entrepreneurial life.

Watching a video today, kicked me into motion to do this today. The video shares the story of Beau Miles and his approach to running a marathon, a mile an hour for 24 hours, while doing as much as possible odd things here and there during the time. Having done a few sprints of work, with working heavily non-stop on my ever growing to-do list, I saw the great value in pushing through things with concentration and an effort to fight-through. … so despite the struggles of recent months, I feel finally getting back on top of things.

The last few months have been a struggle for personal reasons. Going into the summer of 2019, I thought I had recharged my batteries, went into a sprint to work on rethinking how ThinkGeoEnergy works, how I can strengthen the sustainability of the business and not burn out doing so. I shared some of the things I was working on at the time in an article and posts on LinkedIn. But as life has it, things got derailed in an unsuspected way.

Instead of pushing forward with some of the things I had planned, I was focused on balancing family and work … not sure how successful that was, but clearly this put many things on hold.

So the last few weeks were focused on getting back on track and this piece is trying to start taking control again, while at the same time fighting a general feeling of fatigue.

When I founded ThinkGeoEnergy in late 2008, the goal was to create a website sharing news on geothermal development, quickly the site gained a regular readership and I got the first request for advertisement. How cool was that, a side kick creating revenue. Quickly I had the site redesigned and found myself writing news every evening. With three kids not an easy task, but it worked.

Over the years, I have had a large number of friends in the industry helping me out, pushing me forward, giving me advise and essentially kept me going. In 2012, Abraham Ormad joined ThinkGeoEnergy and started our Spanish language service PiensaGeotermia, in 2014 Francisco Rojas started to work with me in Iceland. The first real employee and an incredible difference to the level of output. With big plans, we moved to a larger office, which turned a bit lonely when Francisco left for another job. Loosing a big client then in 2018 forced me to scale down and I ended up back in the building and same floor as Iceland GeoSurvey (ISOR) here in Reykjavik. In 2016, Carlos Jorquera from Chile took over PiensaGeotermia and has been in charge of it since.

In 2016, together with my partner Jochen Schneider of Germany-based Enerchange, we established IGC Turkey, an international geothermal conference for the Turkish market. In 2017 we launched JeotermalHaberler, a Turkish language service for the country’s geothermal sector, run by Eren Gunuc. In 2018, the site was then taken over by Cannur Bozkurt, who has been managing the site writing articles since.

At the same time, I have continued to write articles around every day, or at least mostly. In 2016, I was elected President of the International Geothermal Association, having joined the board in 2013. Understanding that it would requite some time investment, little did I expect it to be as extensive as it turned out to be. So since 2016, I have been struggling with writing, posting on social media, answering emails etc, particularly during travelling. Particularly the last few months have been difficult and a lot of things have fallen through the cracks.

Last fall, Carlo Ace Cariaga from the Philippines joined the team, who has been providing fantastic support, making sure our news go on Twitter and Facebook and writing news as well.

So how do we keep this afloat financially? That is a good question. Without the passion by all involved this would not be possible. But with the large readership, we have been able to count on the great support of our advertisement partners providing visibility on the site, among them Turboden, Ormat, Exergy, ÍSOR, Mannvit, Verkís, GeothermEx, Seequent, Controlled Thermal Resources and a few more over the years. But it is not sufficient to live off, particularly with costs, such as hosting, the newsletter service, some social media tools, website technical support, travel etc. so additional income is necessary. You can read some of the challenges and thinking on revenue generation in this LinkedIn article.

Our recent reader survey helped a lot in determining next steps, but on this in a later piece. So stay tuned.

Alex(ander) Richter – editor & founder of ThinkGeoEnergy