Monday, January 9, 2012

Building Rules - 1.0

I used to be a nuclear operator. A nuclear operator's job involves walking around the plant and examining all the equipment. You look at oil, steam, feed and electronic systems. You crawl around, you climb, you duck and so forth. You wear gloves, you carry a rag, a flashlight and maybe a knife - some guys have full on bat belts. Hope that explains my old job to some degree.

As I said my job involved climbing up/down ladders. Some of these ladders were quite tall and the height made many of us feel uncomfortable. Consider that the water and oil we worked with got on our hands and boots so when we climbed up tall ladders it was a no joke concern. We brought this concern up to our management. Management listened to our concerns but explained that the ladders were to code. I thought... hmmm... code eh? Why not just change the code? So I studied up on ladder safety rules. I contacted all the agencies that made the rules and I ping ponged my way up the regulatory chain of command via letters. In the end I was offered a seat on The Committee that was to review ladder safety rules. Unfortunately, the timing wasn't right as I had just gotten married and was in the process of quitting my job and moving.

This story doesn't have a great punchline but it does have a point. You don't need to play by the rules - You can rewrite them. This mindset adds some spice to normal thinking.

This is exactly the way we need to think of solar. It's not about following the old rules. It's about building new ones.

1 comment:

  1. Fully agree. But I'm finding that with solar, it's not just technical knowledge that supplies The Big Picture, but also political and economic knowledge. Blend all three to answer this question: What will best drive "the masses" to go solar? More here: