Ten Years After

July 27, 2017 |

Today, the Digest celebrates its 10th birthday — and we thank each one of you, our 2.6 million unique readers — for your support, your work as an actor or observer in this inspiring story of industrial transformation, your perseverance, sense of humor, and never-ending fount of innovation that has given us our story lines— some comic, some sad, some inspiring or just plain fascinating. Through the Valley of Death and Beyond, you’re even more diverse, creative, important and persistent than you were 10 years ago.

There was a British blues bang a generation ago called Ten Years After (they became well-known for their classic performance at 1969’s Woodstock). Hands down, their biggest selling hit was a song called “I’d Love to Change the World” (it’s an alt-culture classic, sample it here). Ten Years After the founding of the Digest, the number of innovators, companies, technologies and investors has brown by an order of magnitude — now, you are not only hoping to change the world, you have changed it — and the changes are only beginning to be felt in the way we live, in the decisions we are making about who we are as a society and how we assign value.

In that song, Alvin Lee wrote:

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

You, that’s you. You’re the innovator chasing technologies this planet needs — who must struggle, fail, get back up and struggle some more. It is not an easy life, but you have chosen the hard journey, and the world is a better place because of you, and in generations they will look back on this age and wonder at it all, and say “wasn’t that a time?”

Companies come and go, technologies rise and fall in the creative destruction of capitalism, and I know that many of you look at $45 oil and wonder how you will ever succeed.

In my industry, media, we have seen our key revenue metrics — which is the cost per reader for advertisers and the investment per pageview by subscribers — drop by 97% in the past 20 years. And it’s true, AOL is more or less gone, CompuServe, MCI Mail, MySpace, Friendster — more than 98% of search engine technologies and 95% of social networks failed. Caving prices, failing technologies? That’s not the story. Media is bigger than ever. The story is Google and Facebook and Snapchat and LinkedIn and Instagram.

And Your story is the biggest story of all. This is the biggest industrial transformation ever attempted — to decarbonize a sophisticated global economy — you’re on the right side of history, and you are disrupting fuels, chemicals,  materials, nutrition, genetics, robotics, and big data. Keep bringing those products to market and don’t listen to the naysayers. I’ve heard them all my life in the media business, and they are never right in the end.  As Gerry Ostheimer wrote very elegantly in The Digest a few weeks ago, “The world really does want an advanced bioeconomy, it just doesn’t know it yet.”

The Digest has published more than 30,000 news items and columns since we began. Today, we’ll hope to entertain with the 35 Most Bizarre Things ever used to make a Biomaterial, the 10 Strangest Storylines of all time. Later in the day, we’ll be back online with a special feature, Ten Years After: 120 Digesterati, as you were then and as you are now — and your thoughts on what inspires you ands challenges you today as you continue your own journeys in the advanced bioeconomy.

We started the Digest because it seemed to me then as now that the industry could use a good 5-minute round-up of what’s going on around the globe. Nuu followed in time to address the closely related innovations in advanced nutrition, agriculture, genetics, robotics, and big data. It seems like a big leap from the family-owned ethanol plant to silk ties made from spider silk and meat without the cow and milk without the cow — but not really.

It takes a village to make a Digest, as it turns out, and we are lucky to live in the virtual village we have. We are very grateful for all our sponsors, conference volunteers, guest columnists, event staff, and technology service providers. We also have been blessed to have the help of Flavia Lane (since Day 1) Bill Lundberg (since 2009) and Dave Clark (2011-12) to direct our conferences and serve our marketing partners. The Digest and Nuu have been written and produced by Helena Tavares Kennedy (2016-now), Isabel Lane (2010-2015), Lucas Santucci (2010-now), Tom Saidak (2011-2015), Meghan Sapp (2011-now), Briana Sapp (2012-2014), Gary Scoggins (2016-mow), and Michael Theroux (2011).

For me, meeting you via events, email, calls, and the occasional visit at our local Starbucks — that’s been the most rewarding. Thank you and God Bless you in every thing you do.

your online pal,

Jim Lane
Editor & Publisher
Biofuels Digest and Nuu

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