Amazing eco system

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being exposed to a great eco-system in someones backyard. And although it isn’t a startup business, it is one of the best startups I have ever seen. Let me explain.

After seeing an idea on television, Shane decided to build a food eco-system in his small suburban backyard. The concept is simple enough. Take tank water from the roof of the house. Build a two meter long 70cm deep fish pond in the backyard. Build a raised vegetable garden which doesn’t have soil, but gravel. Link all of them with some piping, and 12 volt pumps which are powered by some solar panels on the roof. In the fish pond Shane has placed 60 baby rainbow trout for winter. They’ll grow to harvest size by spring. They take freshwater from the roof and the vegetable garden beds. Water is then pumped back from the bottom of the pond with the fish poo in it to provide nutrients and water to the vegetables. Remember the vegetables are planted in a gravel bed. The vegetables then take all the nutrients from the poo, clean the water and aerate it and then it goes back into the fish pond to create clean water for the fish. It’s a wonderful system. It’s a self sustaining, edible example of what can be done with micro thinking. See the big picture photo easy below, and some closing comments under the pics:

I told Shane he should be selling this and start a business building it for other less scientific minds. But it also go me thinking about what the future looks like. Future solutions to energy provision and the food industry are not anchored in macro infrastructure, but selling micro infrastructure for self sustainability in home. Like what Shane has built; on roof wind generators, roof tiles made from solar panels, septic systems which clean and recycle the water we use from our tanks. This is the future entrepreneurs should be inventing.


Salvage Bazaar

I’m really impressed with new Melbourne Startup

What is it? Salvage Bazaar is an online marketplace where you can buy and sell recycled and scrap building materials.

I’m impressed for a few reasons:

  • It’s a nice iteration for on line real estate market
  • It has strong eco / environmental credentials

It’s a very nice addendum  to the existing established real estate websites in most markets such as in Australia.

It also has a strong play with the move towards gentrification of housing in inner city areas, as well as green / eco requirements emerging in the architecture scene.

But here’s the kicker: the founder Kim Pannan, has never done anything in the tech space before in her life, not even blogging let alone founding, designing and building her own commercial web business. The bit I love is that Kim was a graduate from Startup School. So a feel a bit like a proud uncle.

If you want to learn to what Kim did – who incidentally bootstrapped Salvage Bazaar on very little money, then you might want to grab 1 of the 2 seats left at the Melbourne Startup School.


I’ve been thinking late that many of our so called labour saving inventions are simply a bad idea. Including but not limited to escalators, revolving doors, auto opening doors and electric hedge trimmers. These tiny ‘exercise saving’ devices have become so pervasive that we had to invent other little machines which are ‘labour creating’ – like gym memberships, treadmills and other contraptions we’d find in a gym….

Net result = obesity crisis

Picture 7

Here’s an idea: remove all the unneeded labour saving devices, (exclude those needed for disabled access) reduce energy requirements, remove the need for gyms and improve the health of the populous.

Startup crew out there – create something which helps society.