A New Underwater App Ecosystem May Help Save Our Oceans


On the last EcoWatch report card our oceans received a “D” grade.  This grade is based on factors including pollution, overfishing and the impacts of climate change, biodiversity, carbon storage, coastal protection, clean waters, natural products, coastal livelihoods, economies, tourism and recreation. What is most frightening is that we don’t know how far we can go before hitting a point of no return to improve and restore our ocean’s health.

What is inspiring is that we may be about to experience a revolution in what work, play and education underwater looks like.  We may be able to speed up documenting and helping ocean health with technology breakthroughs like iDive, a pressurized housing case for iPads that allows you to use an iPad up to 10 meters below the surface of the water. You can now use a mobile device underwater rather than just keep it from dying if it is dropped in the water. Basically, 21st communication technology is finally coming to life underwater.


71% of our planet is made up of water, so what can happen with the ability to use a mobile device underwater? What will happen now that there is ‘an app for that’ for the first time in the underwater world? What innovative applications will be dreamed up to enhance our underwater lives and help our planet?

Initially microbiologists, scientists and engineers can download PDFs of blueprints and manuals to build and weld bridges and pipelines, communicate, and use documents and note taking apps to catalog species and note the health of coral reefs. Scuba instructors, photographers, videographers, recreational divers and snorkelers can enhance their dives with check lists, fish guides, dive site maps and music.  NASA and the U.S. Navy can enhance their communication and tasks for zero gravity training. Commercial divers can go deep, stay long and when they have to come up slowly and stop at specific depths to decompress they can read books, watch movies or play games.  Long decompression stops are like commuting to work so why shouldn’t divers be able to do what we do on our commutes in cars, trains, buses and planes?

IMG_7360Data collection of species tracking is currently spread across several global databases like the World Register of Marine Species and the MarineBio Species Database that require manual entry steps. But imagine what else will be possible as the general public begins to come up with ideas for underwater apps, when bluetooth technology eventually works underwater, and people like citizen scientists note the health of their local water systems and share information through collective data sharing.

Organizations like REEF, Reef Check, Shark Savers and the Cousteau Society  have standardized collection methods and recording on waterproof paper or on slates and fill out forms on each dive and then mail the data to someone who inputs the data. Now they can more accurately note data into an iPad while working underwater and then easily upload the data when they return to the shore. Crowd sourcing to save reefs and water species can move out of doing things the 20th century way.

Animal tracking by citizen scientists can record what they see into websites to help with conservation, track patterns of die-offs, understanding how many animals are in a part of the world at one time, population sizes, predatory species spreading, migratory patterns.

Similar to the Christmas bird count, people who love our oceans and lakes can participate in activities that connect them in a way they might not otherwise be connected while sharing more accurate data, and connecting the data into connected networks to share findings that support nature conservation.  Maybe one day we’ll even have a Christmas fish count to rival the Christmas bird count where the average person can make significant contributions to scientific data that makes a real difference.

Now that consumer technology is dipping into the water we can learn and share more about sea life. As we engage more deeply with our underwater worlds our chances become greater to save more species and strengthen ocean life around the globe.

This article first appeared in Huffington Post



Photo of BEATLES

Business Tips From The Beatles

Everyone knows that The Beatles broke up because of Yoko Ono, right? Well, like every relationship, it’s more complicated than one factor bringing down the whole house.

One of the biggest issues the Beatles had from the first time they recorded an album together was fighting over which songs would make it to the album. This is very significant because whoever is listed with a songwriting credit on a song that becomes a hit gets not only the accolades, but some or all of the publishing money, which comes from how often a song is played on the radio or licensed for commercial use.

Lennon and McCartney would often compose one song per album for Starr to sing, and let Harrison either cover an old standard, or record one of his own compositions. …Though Harrison emerged as a proficient songwriter and producer, he nonetheless continued to have his song ideas for the most part rejected. He became frustrated and this led to estrangement from the rest of the group.

Band members who do not receive money from publishing have to rely on an advance from the record label that is essentially a loan against the future costs of recording, marketing, PR, and other costs of doing business which the band has little say over. Beyond this, band members live off of a cut of the profits from touring and selling merchandise for income.

Since publishing royalties can be the best opportunity for earning income, watching one or two members live large from this income while you struggle financially can breed discontent and feelings of not being appreciated.

The Band and The Eagles are two examples of countless bands like The Beatles that couldn’t overcome fights over royalties. R.E.M and Depeche Mode are examples of bands that learned from The Beatles’ mistake. They give every band member a songwriting credit on every song on every album. Even though only one or two members may have written some songs, it took all of the members to add their creative input, musical talent, and execution to produce each song.

All businesses, like bands, are made up of a collective of individuals. Though some may contribute in larger ways than others, no one person is responsible for the company’s success. It’s important to share accolades, credit, and profits with the core group members that drive the business forward.

Lack of appreciation is one of the largest reasons that personal and business relationships fail. Employees and business partners need to feel that they are valued, just like everyone else in your life. Beyond treating them with respect, giving them credit publicly for wins they achieve for the company, increasing their pay, and promoting them to a bigger title, remember to challenge them, make them feel needed, and support the full team in working as a solid positive unit.

Even if you’re as talented as Lennon or McCartney, it takes the talent of your full team to make hits with lasting impact.

This article first appeared on Huffington Post.

Hi, I’m Brett Greene – The Seattle Anti-Freeze

5c94c1c227661b6ffb9782004ddd5549Originally I wrote this post as a comment in response to yet another article about the “Seattle Freeze” in the Puget Sound Business Journal:

This concept of a Seattle Freeze is BS. The Seattle freeze is either a myth, or only happens to people who are focused too much on what others can give them rather than what they can give others. 

Saying it’s true because of how people in Seattle use a networking app versus how San Franciscans use it is also not proving the articles premise that it’s ‘killing our startup culture.’ Dramatic headline and angle used to write a story to promote an app, true. Factual, false. 

And by the way, every city has people who are warm and people who are cold. Get over it, move on, and make things great in your own life rather than wasting time whining about what others aren’t doing for you.

By hustling, helping others, and hoping for good things to happen, I’ve experienced more amazing experiences and deep relationships than I have through years of living in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Boulder. 

I’m an evangelist for the Seattle anti-freeze. I moved to Seattle in September 2012 knowing 5 people from high school and college from Las Vegas who had moved here. When I chose to move to Seattle I reached out to my extensive network (who I’ve been helping and giving to for years) and asked for connections to anyone they knew in Seattle to help me build a professional and personal network here. 

Through asking, I began to actively build my Seattle network, and my conversations began with asking how I could help my new connections, not how they could help me.

The first 6 meetings I had with with people I reached out to in Seattle were awesome, and 5 of the 6 refused to let me pay my bill or the bill for both of us when we met for coffee, lunch or dinner. Six out of six repeatedly said “welcome to Seattle!” and verbally acknowledged that they actively welcome new comers to the city because of of the negative “Seattle Freeze” hype.

In less than two years of living in Seattle, I’ve co-founded the fastest growing event in Seattle history , which is currently the largest monthly event in Seattle (Seattle Tech Meetup). I also just joined Project Bionic as a partner and finally found my dream job. In both cases, my partners are warm (some would say ‘hot’ in the startup community) Seattleites that I did not know when I moved here.

My success in Seattle has happened partially through my efforts and ideas, and mostly by everyone I’ve met in Seattle supporting me, my ideas, and sharing their resources openly with me. The majority of people I’ve met in the startup community have been immensely helpful to me, love this city, and are dedicated to making the community better for everyone.

I encourage everyone, especially the Seattle media, to look for positive examples of Seattleites helping each other and new comers rather than perpetrating this “Seattle Freeze” negative concept. It’s a tired headline that does an injustice to the people of the warmest city I’ve lived in. (Boulder is a close second though).

This is the most heartful, intelligent, civilized, humanist-driven city I’ve experienced, and I’ve spent time in most states across this country. There are other great cities, though none I’ve known offer this level of both opportunity and people honestly supporting the innovation and dreams of others.

If you think you’re a victim of the “Seattle Freeze” I invite you to continuously ask yourself “How can I help everyone I meet to get what they want?” 

The more you help others get what they want, the faster you’ll get what you want. That’s how you melt any concept of a “freeze” – be the warmth, do not blame anyone else for not going the extra mile for you before you do it for them, live with an open heart, be actively grateful for what you have, and you’ll attract the warmth.

Today’s Growth Hacking is Really Just Yesterday’s Digital Marketing

Are you tired of the word ‘hack’ yet?  A few years ago the word held meaning.  First it described a clever and playful way to program and code.  Then it became a scary word for how rogue coders exploited weaknesses in a computer system to do bad things like break into your bank and steal your identity.  That’s still true of  black hat hackers ( aka crackers), but sites like LifeHacker (which I love) brought the word into the mainstream.   …though a life hack is just another way to say ‘helpful tip’.

Somehow the word hack has evolved into a hip way to refer to a tip or a best practice.  Yes, ‘hack’ sounds more dangerous and cool, but if the hack is simply a different way to do something, it’s not a hack.  Modifying a system is the basis of a hack.  If nothing is modified, it’s not a hack.

Oiling and sharpening your lawn mower blades is a tip, this is a lawn mowing hack:

See the difference?

I recently attended a Growth Hack meetup because I’m aware that there are always things I don’t know that I don’t know.  After not understanding how growth hacking is any different from digital marketing, I thought this event might school me.  It didn’t.

The meetup had great food, drinks and a nice crowd of about 30 people, but it ended up being 3 companies pitching what they do, and one company (known for doing cool things) almost convincing me that growth hacking is a real thing.  One company sells video services, one sells social media services, one sells marketing services, and one sells a dashboard to track marketing metrics.

All of them (besides the dashboard company) presented digital marketing tips and called them hacks. The video production company presented ‘hacks’ like, “If you’re a woman wearing a lapel microphone don’t wear a scarf because it will scratch the mic and make noise over your voice.”  Would you call that a tip or a hack?

A hack in that case would be to tell her how to modify a button on a blouse into a laser microphone.

Growth hacking consists of using using techniques such as search engine optimization, web site analytics, content marketing, A/B testing and social media to get better conversion rates.  …so how is growth hacking any different from digital marketing which consists of (you guessed it) using using techniques such as search engine optimization, web site analytics, content marketing, A/B testing and social media to get better conversion rates?

Though we’re going to continue to hear more about ‘hacks’ for a long time, lets try to use the word appropriately.  Like guru, rockstar, ninja, and diva, ‘hack’ will be misused to make normal things seem awesome until we hit a saturation point and the word stops being cool.

Top 10 Reasons Why Walking Meetings Will Be Your Best Meetings

Walking meetings are nothing new, but they are becoming trendy for great reasons.

The most famous walking meeting is the historic walk that Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev took at the 1985 Geneva Summit. It’s been said that after many failed attempts to come to shared agreements, Reagan invited Gorbachev to walk with him and that walking meeting was the turning point to end the Cold War.

392x338xwww.openideo.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.t535jCnkyrTaking walking meetings with coworkers, clients, and new connections can make a big impact on the effectiveness of your conversations and outcomes. Imagine for yourself how much better walking together is versus sitting in chairs at the office, or a coffee shop, looking at each other from across a table.

Walking; it’s not just for in person meetings. Try walking outside for some of your phone meetings.

In one of my recent walking meetings we walked from lower Queen Anne to the Elliot Bay waterfront and back. Just imagine how different a meeting goes when you’re smelling the sea air, feeling the sea breeze, looking at a beautiful city, looking at a beautiful body of water, feeling the sun on your skin, and enjoying a stimulating and productive conversation. It’s awesome.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you’ll benefit from taking more walking meetings whenever possible:

10. Being outdoors inspires your creativity.

9. Walking side by side rather than facing each other directly creates a sense of collaboration rather than competition.

8. You are getting great exercise while being productive in your job.

Read the full article on Huffington Post