Sustainable companies benefit from a community built on truth, transparency and the free exchange of information.Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Join on Linkedin
Q & A
What is the Gort Cloud? The Gort Cloud is a vast, largely invisible and growing 'community' that sieves, measures and exchanges information on green products and services. The community includes NGOs, government agencies, certifying groups, academics, eco-tech specialists, business alliances, green media including green business news, sustainable designers, foundations, social networks, conferences, trade shows, events, competitions, green blogs, special interest groups, and trendspotters - to name just a few.
To illustrate how outreach within the Gort Cloud grows and expands virally, I partnered with software artist, Burak Arikan, to create this animation. This video clip illustrates the spread of a hypothetical product idea originating with a post on TreeHugger, for instance. Use granted by permission.
Who created or controls the Gort Cloud? No one. Nobody created it, and no one controls it. The Gort Cloud is simply an interconnected group of people with a common cause: the health and preservation of our planet. But unlike consciously created social networks, no one dreamed up the Gort Cloud or organized it for a specific purpose. In fact, it's not organized. It just exists as a fluid community. For businesses that recognize its existence, it is a powerful component to factor into business plans because it can help entrepreneurs and their marketing partners reach out and touch their stakeholders in a credible way. Instead of paid advertisements or stories placed by PR agents, the endorsement of the Gort Cloud is more credible to the audience. It's a form of word of mouth bound by the honor system. Accurate information is the primary currency.
Where did the name come from? I made it up. The inspiration is the Oort Cloud, a vast field of cosmic debris that is orbiting our solar system at approximately one light year from the sun - far beyond the orbit of Pluto. The existence of the Oort Cloud was hypothesized by Jan Hendrick Oort, a dutch astronomer. The estimated mass of this debris is huge - five times greater than the earth - but each bit of dust and comet nuclei are separated by miles. This is where comets are born. While far away and out of sight, the Oort Cloud has huge implications for the rest of the solar system including our earth. The Gort Cloud is similar. It is a vast and largely invisible 'network' that can make or break emerging green brands.
Why does it need a name? The Gort Cloud is one of those 'hidden in plain sight' concepts. Because it defies comparisons, it was easier to give it a unique name. To correctly understand what it is and how it works, it is best to start out with a phrase that has no existing definition - a tabula rasa. While I do make use of words like 'community' and 'network' to describe it, the Gort Cloud is neither and both.
How does the Gort Cloud work?
Companies that want to participate in sustainable business need partners and access to markets - like any business. However, in the case of sustainability, they will need partners who can help them develop and measure the effectiveness of their new green products and services. These include academics, certifying organizations, green-tech experts and eco-savvy designers, for example. Once their products have been developed and independently certified, they must find upstream partners who will supply sustainable-sourced raw materials and downstream partners who will connect them with distributors, OEMs, wholesalers and retailers who have tapped into green markets. Many of these start-up companies will not have huge budgets, so they must identify first adopters among key audiences and deliver product messages virally through green communication channels. The Gort Cloud supplies all of these important connections. By understanding which elements of the Gort Cloud are appropriate for a given business, ecopreneurs can use the Cloud to reach out and build business relationships.
How does the Gort Cloud vet individual products and services?
The Gort Cloud works like the academic peer review process. Once a new green product is introduced, the 'community' will analyze it and judge it without mercy. Claims are investigated and facts checked. Where our government has failed to protect us from greenwashing, the Gort Cloud steps in. All this is made possible, of course, by the Internet - although the Gort Cloud is not simply a collection of websites. It is not an aspect of the Internet at all. It uses email and the Internet as well as book publishers, magazines, radio, television, trade shows and green events to communicate. The Gort Cloud is ultimately people and their organizations.
Can you communicate with the Gort Cloud?
Yes. The best example is the recent book, The Green Collar Economy, written by Van Jones. Van used Gort Cloud outreach to push his book up and onto the New York Times bestseller list. This was documented in a recent post on The Huffington Post. Many of the ecopreneurs interviewed for my book have also used the Gort Cloud to reach out to the green community. Their companies include Seventh Generation, Tesla Motors, Nau Clothing and Earth Friendly Moving to name a few. It is also possible to "seed" the Gort Cloud through a process of honest, fact-supported communication. My company, The Brand Architect Group, provides this as a service to our green clients.