Evolve Podcast
A podcast about heroes solving the world's greatest challenges.
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From Moonshot Idea To Startup

Featuring Guest -

Kathy Hannun

Headshot of podcast host.
hosted by: Brandon Stover
April 26, 2021

Kathy Hannun is Co-Founder & President of Dandelion Energy. Kathy has spent the last decade focused on finding “Moonshots,” which are business opportunities that harness technology for large-scale positive impact for millions, even billions, of people. Starting as a rapid evaluator at Google X's moonshot factory, she took the leap at a moonshot idea for reducing fossil-powered heating costs and carbon emissions with earth powered geothermal energy.

Most recently, this innovative startup has raised $30 million in funding from top venture capitalists like Bill Gate's Breakthrough Energy Ventures, set a new standard for geothermal quality and cost-effectiveness, and empowered homeowners to avoid over 100 million pounds of carbon emissions and counting.

As a leader in the Green Tech industry, this founder has been showered with accolades. She was listed on Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” the Albany Business Review’s “40 under 40,” and was recently named to the MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35,” among other awards.

And if all of this wasn't enough, not only did she secure her funding while pregnant, twice, but she is also running her business in a market where just 7% of CEOs on the United States’ largest energy companies were women as of 2017.

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Scroll below for important resource links & transcripts mentioned in this episode.

Want hear another moonshot expert talk about how technology can help solve massive problems? - Listen to Episode 035 with Dr. Emily Musil Church, strategist, thought leader, writer, public speaker, Fulbright Scholar, and former professor who is now taking education and learning to a whole new level as Executive Director at the groundbreaking XPRIZE which harnesses technology to address global challenges for social good.

what you'll learn in this episode

  • How to identify and validate moonshot ideas
  • How to create an MVP for a moonshot idea
  • Dandelion's 3 innovations that make it successful in the energy market
  • How much a founder should disclose about their personal life during fundraising
  • Why risk taking is necessary to solve global problems
  • Why the culture you surround yourself with is so important
  • How Kathy became a moonshot evaluator at Alphabet's (Google) X
  • How to build a culture that focuses on innovation
  • Why moonshot ideas are more attractive than other startups
  • When moonshot ideas look promising but actually turn out to be too difficult to pursue
  • Why geothermal energy was an attractive moonshot idea
  • How Kathy made the decision to leave your comfortable job and become a first time founder
  • Dandelion's 3 innovations that make it successful in the energy market
  • How Dandelion identified its initial customers
  • How to educate customers on complex products
  • How Kathy navigated fundraising as a pregnant, female, first time founder
  • How much a founder should disclose about their personal life during fundraising
  • How to make the decision of being CEO or another role as a founder
  • The values Kathy has lived by on her journey
  • If Kathy believes we can solve the climate crisis
  • Why risk taking is necessary to solve global problems
  • Why industries should be more transparent with the problems they have

How Kathy Believes We Can Push The World To Evolve

Keep taking those risks!

Selected Links & Resources From This Episode


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Kathy Hannun Interview

Kathy Hannun: [00:00:00] one thing I've learned is, taking risks personally with one's career  I encourage it.  I encourage anyone, if there's something, a problem that you want to go after. That seems worth doing.  it might be worth it to just try, because in the downside case, you've learned something about a problem you care about, and then the upside case you get to do what you want to do.

I feel risk-taking is going to be a central part of change. Right. Whenever making new ideas happen. It's part of that, because if you know it's going to work, then it probably already exists.

Brandon Stover: [00:00:53] Hey everyone. Welcome to evolve. I'm Brandon Stover and today's guest has spent the last decade focused on finding moonshot. Which are business opportunities, the harness technology for large scale, positive impact for millions, even billions of people

starting out as a rapid evaluator at Google X is moonshot factory. She took the leap at a moonshot idea for reducing fossil powered heating costs and carbon emissions with earth, power, geothermal energy.

Most recently, this innovative startup has reached $30 million in funding from top venture capitalists, like bill Gates set a new standard for geothermal quality and cost-effectiveness and empowered homeowners to avoid over a hundred million pounds of carbon emissions and counting.

as a leader in the green tech industry, this founder has been showered with accolades. She has been listed as fast company's most creative people in business. The Albany business reviews, 40 under 40, and recently he was named to the MIT technology reviews, innovators under 35 among other awards. And if all of this wasn't enough, not only did she secure her funding while pregnant twice, but she also is running her business in the market where just 7% of CEOs on the United States, largest energy companies were women as of 2017.

Today's guest is co-founder and president of dandy lion energy. Kathy Nana. Before Cathy bell here, career identifying the next world, changing opportunities while working at

do relax. She grew up wanting to be an inventor, wanting to create and put something out into the world. Eventually she went to Stanford and graduated with a BS in civil engineering and an Ms. In computer science.

Kathy Hannun: [00:02:34] When I want it to be an inventor, I was quite young, right? Like that was a, what do you want to be when you grow up childhood aspiration? And I think as I got older, it just was very unclear to me. What does it even look like to be an inventor? How does somebody do that? Right. I think just a everyday person in society, we use all sorts of products, but it's very mysterious where they come from or how they're made.

So to be honest with you, I kind of. Didn't think about that aspiration and considered it a little unrealistic, a lot of my early, you know, my teenage years and then early adulthood. And, and I think going to school in Silicon Valley at Stanford was the first time where I was really exposed to a community that believed that invention was attainable.

It was like a totally different culture than what I was used to. My peers had this confidence that they could do things like start companies. And I didn't have that at all when I was first there. But I think being around that sort of mindset and those sorts of people, it has a way of rubbing off on you.

And so, as I, as I stayed in Silicon Valley and sort of in these communities of entrepreneurs it started to feel. Less mysterious or I just like had more exposure to it over time.

Brandon Stover: [00:04:01] Is that a pretty common occurrence being around those people that they're always talking about, making something or going out and creating something in the world.

Kathy Hannun: [00:04:09] I think one thing I've learned is the communities that you associate yourself with and just like the people you spend time with, it really does change you and who you are. And so one thing that I've tried to think about as I'm making decisions about, you know, what job to take or what to do is do I want to be more like these people?

You know what I mean? Because as much as you can hope that you would resist the worst urges of certain groups or you would be in a different mindset, I think it's actually very difficult to do that. And so I think that has been. It's a guiding sort of consideration that I have in them when I've been growing dandelion.

It's something I tried to think about, right? The culture is actually really important and the values of the company are important because the people we choose to be part of the company, ultimately we will become like them, whether whether we want to or not so better to choose the people that you want to become.

Brandon Stover: [00:05:07] Yeah. Well, when you went to Google, you started in cloud technology, ended up in a marketing role and then a product manager at Google X, which is quite a community to get into. How did you end up landing that gig?

Kathy Hannun: [00:05:20] when I got to Google, as you said, I was in a totally different part of the company. I actually, my first job, there was customer support for what was called ad sense at the time, which is their service, where if you're a website owner, you can run ads on your website to make money. And you know, I was really interested even then in energy and the environment.

So I wanted, my dream was like, can I find a way of harnessing alphabet towards solving the problems of climate change? Because what an innovative company, what a powerful company, if they, if they, you know, become interested in solving this, what an impact it could have, but I had no idea, like I, you know, entered as a very, very entry level employee.

Like there was no one below me on the hierarchy. Right. And certainly it was not clear if that was even a realistic endeavor, but my strategy was to just try to like navigate to parts of the company that seemed more likely to take on those problems. And so initially my. Goal was to get onto google.org, which is the part of alphabet.

That's more non nonprofit focused. So I ended up entering a rotational program to try to rotate into that part of the organization. But I had this encounter with somebody at Google X and he was actually in a marketing position, but leaving it for a different position with an ax and looking for his replacement.

And when we met. He learned about me that I was studying for my master's in computer science, but at that time I was working in marketing at cloud. And so he thought how unusual a marketer who actually is getting a master's degree in computer science that might actually be a really good fit for X.

So would you be interested in replacing me? And I thought, wow, what an, what an amazing opportunity. Of course I would be interested in being considered for it. It had so happened that I was scheduled to go on vacation immediately thereafter with some friends and we, we took a trip to Hawaii. And so I ended up interviewing with Astro, who is the leader of Google X, very charismatic leader, who I admired from afar.

I had my interview with him while on vacation. In Hawaii. And I had just gotten back from the beach. I was, I like literally had wet hair. I was probably burned cause I'm a very pale person. So it's like, it felt so unprofessional. I remember being like, look, I have this amazing opportunity. And here I am sort of like setting myself up in the worst possible way.

But then as I came to learn about X culture, that actually was probably like the best case scenario for an interview with Astro because I dunno, it's like the culture is so it, does celebrate sort of like the unconventional. So it worked out right. Of course. I ended up getting this opportunity to join X, which was ultimately a really good Avenue for pursuing some of these energy ideas that then alphabet.

Brandon Stover: [00:08:33] Yeah. Before we get to dandelion what you've done with that, I'd like to spend some time talking about how Google thinks and identifies moonshot ideas. Can you explain why Google spends time searching for these ideas and how the thinking is reflected in the actions of their culture?

Kathy Hannun: [00:08:51] I think there's this core belief with an alphabet and certainly with an X that technological progress is happening very quickly and many important problems in the world will be addressable with technology. And so alphabet is in this position where they have an incredibly successful core business, which is, making the world's information, universally accessible, useful, but.

They want to be a company that diverse, supervise and lasts and just like creates value beyond that core mission. And they have this core expertise in technology. So the question is how do we apply this to create other very valuable businesses that do good and the signature project and the one that started acts is the self-driving car.

So that's a great example because the technology that makes that possible is advanced machine learning, sensors, data processing, you know, it's like a lot of the things alphabet is really good at already, and it can be applied to this massive industry to do something very useful, the way that that value gets reflected and X, I would say, first of all, Google as a whole and X is very bottoms up. So a lot of freedom to really explore ideas that seem interesting and then justify them and support them to the higher ups to say like, look, this is really interesting. We should really be doing this and we can make the case. And that was really amazing as a Relic, as a very junior person who was there.

Right. Cause I had all this latitude that I think is fairly unusual. I think another way it's reflected as X really tries to tackle problems where the solution is technology-driven. So there are so many problems in the world that are important and meaningful, but they're not necessarily going to be driven.

they're not technology problems necessarily. And I think X wants to be careful to focus really on the problems that seem most addressable with technology.

Brandon Stover: [00:11:02] How do you identify and evaluate these moonshot ideas? Like what criteria does it have to go through?

Kathy Hannun: [00:11:09] We had and have there today, those that are still there, a few different criteria. So one is how big is this opportunity? So that is actually a really important criteria and I don't think I even appreciated how important it was until becoming an entrepreneur myself. And now I really have a lot of respect for that criteria.

I mean, they're just like all pro all, whenever you want to do anything new in the world, it's going to be hard pretty much. and I don't think the level of effort is commensurate with the the size of the opportunity necessarily. And so focusing on problems that. have a huge impact. It's critical because otherwise you can execute brilliantly.

You can have the best people, you can have an amazing strategy, but you'll just bump up against the ceiling of the opportunity because it's too small and a lot of companies and a lot of startups run into that and it doesn't go well for them. So one of the first things we looked for is, is the opportunity big enough.

And there are several different ways you can measure that. But you know, you can think about some of the things X's taken on, like self-driving cars or internet access, or you know, some of these, a lot of what they do, you can see that signature of like, these are giant global markets. Second thing is, is it technology driven, which I mentioned before.

And then the last is. Is what we're doing truly innovative. I don't know if it's phrased that way by X. I think when I was there, it was, is it a radical idea or radical approach, but it really it's like, are we bringing something unique to this problem? Is there a unique insight that will go into unlocking this opportunity?

Brandon Stover: [00:12:59] A moonshot idea, more attractive to go after, say over like a regular South startup that may have less risk or you know, less intensiveness that is going to be needed to get this thing off the ground.

Kathy Hannun: [00:13:13] Well, I think that a lot of the moonshot is a good fit for alphabet because alphabet has a lot of resources. So for a typical startup that does not have the resources of that, it's very important to be able to launch early. Something that's like not overly ambitious, a minimum viable product and then iterate and build over time.

So certain types of problems are harder to take on, like, if, if you want, I mean, there are startups that are tackling nuclear fusion, but that's an example. I would say, I have a problem that is certainly difficult to tackle as a startup because you just need so much startup capital. It's probably going to take a really long time to have a product that you can sell and bring revenue in the door.

So if you are going to take that on, you need to be in the position to raise a lot of money and then hire amazing world-class people potentially for many, many years, if not a decade or more before you can see any return on those investments. And again, like we do see startups doing that work, so it's not impossible, but I think that type of problem is easier in some ways for alphabet because they have.

The capital. So like, if there's, if the leadership of alphabet has the will and the interest in placing a bet on some of these technologies, they can create the stability of funding and resources to really work on a very hard, expensive, but like amazing payoff problem like that.

Brandon Stover: [00:14:51] Well, you mentioned that the culture there it's very bottom up, the ideas can come from anybody. And the idea for dandy lion came from an email from an engineer working there. What was in this email or idea that made you say yes, this is the moonshot idea I want to work on.

Kathy Hannun: [00:15:08] Well, I will say that So to your story, that the initial impetus for what would become dandelion came from an email sent by a software engineer, not with an X, but working in the New York city office. Just to like a bunch of people at Google, interested in energy, just to sort of a list serve of people, interested in energy.

And when I first read it, I didn't think, Oh, this is the moonshot I want to work on. In fact, I hadn't really heard of geothermal heat pumps. So I think my reaction was more like, wow, I'm so impressed by how much Bob Weimann the software engineer knows about this topic. He's making these claims that geothermal heat pumps are actually the single most important intervention we could make as a.

Country to combat climate change, which is like a huge claim. So I had some skepticism, I guess, about, is that actually true? Like how could that be true? I've never even heard of these things. And then I just had a lot of curiosity, right? Like here's an expert that's within Google who has a lot of passion and a lot of knowledge about a technology claims could be very impactful.

I would love to learn more. And so that resulted in me replying to his email and a conversation between us and it evolved from there. But it took many months, many, many months before I even knew enough and understood enough to develop conviction that this was an idea worth pursuing.

Brandon Stover: [00:16:37] Hmm. Yeah. Can you give an example maybe from the instance of you working on the project before a Foghorn, I believe of where maybe a moonshot idea looks good, but it's actually an illusion and it's not going to work out and kind of how you worked through that process of making dandy line. Like, Oh, this could be a viable idea.

Kathy Hannun: [00:16:58] Right. Exactly. So the project I worked on before dandelion was codenamed Foghorn within X, and this project was looking at, could we take carbon dioxide out of seawater and combine it with renewable hydrogen to create carbon neutral fuels? So clearly a giant market, potentially if you get it right, very impactful and a new way of doing it.

So it met the criteria on the surface for being a moonshot, and we built a prototype to take carbon dioxide out of seawater and combine it with hydrogen. We visited a bunch of desalination facilities to figure out. Could we actually put the carbon dioxide removal technology as a step in diesel because it's processing all this seawater anyway.

And we solved a bunch of problems around mineralization happening on a very key membrane. We were able to really resolve some technical risks there, but ultimately the project came down to this realization that even with retiring that technical risk with the mineralization, even with combining with desalination plants, the cost and the technical risk associated with getting carbon dioxide out of seawater, layered on to the cost and technical risk of making renewable hydrogen, and then having to do both of those things in the same place so that you could then combine those two products into.

Synthetic fuels. There's just so much complexity. And there was no clear path to being able to do this at all cost effectively. And that made me recommend to ex leadership. We should not continue to pursue commercialization at this time. The cost of oil is just too low. Like we could invest a billion dollars in developing this technology and it would still be very unlikely to have a competitive product at this time in history.

I think synthetic fuels will happen. Like I still have a lot of conviction around the general idea, but I, it was just the specifics of how we did it. There was just too much complexity to make it seem like we could execute it.

Brandon Stover: [00:19:18] Yeah. So then what made Danny lion more attractive?

Kathy Hannun: [00:19:21] Okay. Yeah, exactly. So by contrast, when, when as I was learning more about geothermal heat pumps and how they work and what was holding them back, which is again, truly about costs, like I think the technology itself has so much to offer. It's actually been around for decades. And they're very low cost to run, but to get them installed upfront was very expensive, which made it out of reach for almost everyone. But when you looked at the reasons as to why they weren't fundamental things, it wasn't like with this sea fuel project where it was like, okay, you know, fundamentally there isn't that much CO2 and seawater, so it's going to be very difficult to extract it. It was things like the way the industry was set up or the fact that this had traditionally been a niche product for the very wealthy or the fact that no one had invested in creating drilling equipment.

That's. Tailored to the problem of installing ground loops. It was like all of these things that seemed very addressable. And that got me very excited because how often do you find such a massive opportunity where the things holding it back seem like they're so addressable, not in a decade or two, but like right now.

So that that's really what spurred my, my excitement about geothermal heat pumps.

Brandon Stover: [00:20:41] Well, you've said that moonshots like required having a hypothesis and then doing an experiment of that. How do you create an MVP for a moonshot idea? I know for like Danny Lyon, you guys started with an existing product. How did you determine this was the best experiment to do?

Kathy Hannun: [00:20:57] Well, because we had decided to take Dan lint out of alphabet and operate it as a startup. A lot of our strategy around which experiments to run first were aligned to. What risks do we need to retire in order to continue to fund this company? Right? So like, because we took it out of alphabet, we actually did have to answer to all sorts of external investors in venture capitalists.

And so we had to pursue sort of a more traditional startup path, which we chose to do. Like, we, we thought that would be the best route for this problem. So one of the key questions I got all the time when I was trying to raise seed funding for dandelion was will anyone actually want a geothermal heat pump?

Like I, no one has heard of, these are very few people have people don't want to take a risk with their heating system. Are they really going to even buy this? Like you, you Kathy say that they will, but like, will they, you know? So because I had heard that from almost everyone. And there was no existence proof because these systems really were not widely purchased.

That was the first thing we prioritized. And so, as you said, we took this off the shelf heat pump. We actually did pilot, our drilling technology, even in that very first pilot, because we had worked on it and developed it at X. I went out at somebody with no sales experience at all.

I went out and sold geothermal heating and cooling systems to our first few dozen homeowners. And I think like that was a really important time. That was 2017. We, we were able to sell geothermal systems. To too many people we oversold and that causes its own problems. But like we were able to show, look, there's actually really high market demand, even in sort of the upstate New York market, which isn't the first market you would necessarily think of for early tech adopters, but there are still many of them, you know, there, and people really wanted this.

And then we were able to use that data to then go back to investors and help us raise the next round of funding for the company to further advance the technology.

Brandon Stover: [00:23:15] Hey, this is Brandon Stover, and you're listening to the evolve podcast with Kathy Hinan co-founder of Danny lane energy in just a moment, you're going to hear about how terrified Kathy was to launch out of alphabet, but why it was the choice she had to make.

Uh, first, I want to let you know that all the resources and lessons from this episode are available as a free worksheet@evolve.world and clicking on the worksheet button in the upper right-hand corner.

All the lessons that Kathy has dropped about moonshot ideas are super valuable, But they are only as valuable as the ones that you were actually going to put into execution. So that's why I distill all the action items from each episode in one, easy to use step-by-step worksheet. So you can immediately start applying them to your life and business

lessons. Like how do I identify moonshot ideas? How do identify them initial market and how much personal information you need to disclose during funding? And so much more. All of these lessons are available@evolvethe.world and clicking on the worksheet button in the upper right-hand corner.

That's a vault.world where you can follow the link inside the show notes of your podcast app.

Now let's get back to the evolved podcast with Kathy Hannon. Co-founder of dandy line energy. Uh, she shares how she made the choice to leave the comfort of her job at X and go into the unknown territory of being a first time founder.

Kathy Hannun: [00:24:37] I was so terrified. it's almost like I had a sinking feeling when I realized that I. It should be taken out. It was like, I knew what was best for the idea and for alphabet and for dandelion would be to run this as a startup. Because, because again, it has more of that pattern of you don't need all of the capital upfront.

You can do it. You can iterate over time. You want to launch early and then iterate over time. It's like very well suited to that startup model. And it was clear that we should launch this company in New York and do residential retrofits in the Northeast. And that is very different than anything else off of it is doing.

So it didn't really fit within the alphabet portfolio. So I knew that was right for the idea, but I also didn't really want to leave X, to be honest, it was like, I liked working at X. I liked my colleagues. I had a great job that I enjoyed. It was. A very known job to me. I knew how to do it. Well. You know, I was thinking of becoming a parent soon and alphabet has amazing sort of world-leading benefits for new parents and all of those things would be gone.

I would be leaving this very familiar, known environment that I liked for the unknown. And I knew it would be really difficult. I didn't know anything about starting a company fundraising. I didn't, I'd never been in the HVC industry. I had never done sales. I had never done accounting. I had never like done really any of the things I would have to do to be successful.

And I just had, I knew it would be really hard. I would say it was harder than I thought it would be, even though I was just already afraid of how hard it would be. So like, I w I think I was right to feel that way, but but ultimately What made me leave is that, you know, I still had, I wanted to be the type of person that would take the opportunity to launch a company out of X that I really believed in. How could I not take that opera? I knew I would regret it if I had that opportunity. And then I didn't seize it. So on just, just by saying like, I wish I was the type of person that would do this. I was like, okay, I guess I'll do it. But it certainly wasn't, it wasn't easy.

Brandon Stover: [00:27:06] Yeah, I bet. Did they help any with resources or mentorship? Like once that you spar now?

Kathy Hannun: [00:27:12] I would say that I have a lot of great relationships with people that are still at ax and with the leadership of X. And they've always been very supportive and whenever I reach out to them, they are helpful. So I don't want it to sound like. It's not been supportive because it's been very supportive, but we were not, we launched out truly independently.

Like we were not funded by X and we didn't have any formal mentorship. It was, it was a jump into the deep end. Right. And and in some ways I think that was best because certainly that forced me to learn and adapt very quickly. And it was hard of course, but but it was effective.

Brandon Stover: [00:27:55] Do you have any recommendations for, you know, entrepreneurs that are thinking about big ideas like this moonshot ideas for getting resources and mentorship and just help with that beginning process.

Kathy Hannun: [00:28:07] I think now there are just so many amazing incubators and communities that are being created for entrepreneurs with early stage ideas. So I do think the resources are there. I would say that when I first started, I didn't really know where to look for them, but I think like I've started to notice so much of that community in my time running deadline.

So everything from incubators that give you lab space, and then you happen to be near other people doing the same thing and they're connected to mentors or you know, like there's the Y Combinator of the world as well, that are just there specifically for this purpose to really orient first time founders and help connect them to resources.

So I do think that there is a lot there. It's just, I also can relate to how it can be hard to find when you're new to the scene.

Brandon Stover: [00:29:04] Well, let's go ahead and dive into some of the innovations that dandy line has. There's three key things that you guys have really hit the nail on the head with, which is the drill, the heat exchanger, and then the monitoring and management system for the entire thing. And so I would love if you could talk about each of these and how you identified that if you addressed each three of these components, it would not only help the environment, but was a huge business opportunity as well.

Kathy Hannun: [00:29:33] Yes. So let's start with the drill. What we need to do is install inch and a quarter diameter, plastic pipes. So not very wide pipes, right? Pretty narrow pipe. So we need to install them down to about 400 feet deep into the yard vertically. So it's quite deep. There isn't a lot of existing equipment out there.

In fact, really not any use case out there where you have to do something similar in a typical suburban yard, the closest thing is installing a water. Well, right? Like in that case too, you need to drill a sort of long narrow hole in a yard, but water Wells tend to go in and rural homes without access to city water.

So one of the first problems that we thought that we tried to solve while we were at ax and one of the first key differentiators of dandelion is we thought, you know, like waterfall rigs are not very well suited for many homes that want to go deal with them. Well, because these are very big rigs.

They're mounted on these big trucks and they simply don't fit into like most suburban yards. So you, even if you wanted to do this, you just can't. So we Had to design a suite of drilling equipment. That was very purpose-built for the suburban yard. That's close to other yards. Perhaps you have to go through a narrow side entry path to get to a backyard.

You know, like you might have to go under some electricity lines. So we really tried to design this equipment so that it was very much jeweler and that it wasn't mounted on a giant truck and you access a lot of spaces that were small and residential. So that is the first thing we've done. And it's allowed us to sell geothermal to so many homes that just like couldn't have gotten it before, because they wouldn't have had before yards

Brandon Stover: [00:31:26] sure. Yeah.

Kathy Hannun: [00:31:27] on the deck design of the heat exchanger itself.

And by heat exchanger, what we really mean is the ground loop that is in the yard, exchanging heat with the ground. We've really invested in understanding the geology. Of different areas so that we can predict like given certain rock types or certain geologies in one area versus another, how much ground loop, how deep do we have to go in order to provide enough heating and cooling capacity to that house?

And because that ground loop is such a big part of the total cost of installing these systems, getting that right is very valuable because you don't want to install too little ground loop, of course, because then you won't have enough heating or cooling capacity. So that's the worst case scenario. You never want to install too little, but you also don't want to install too much.

Cause then you're just paying for ground loop that you're, you don't really need. And that becomes very expensive. So we've, we've focused on really honing our understanding of how much ground loop does every house need so that we can install the right amount. And then on the monitoring and software side, A lot of heating and cooling systems in general.

Like not even geothermal, but just in the world today are not monitored. So you have, you, you know, your furnace let's say has an efficiency rating or your air conditioner has an efficiency rating, but almost no one actually knows what's going on in, in reality. Right? In fact, there've been studies that have shown as many as 50% of air conditioners have some issue with installation causing them to run much less efficiently than they're supposed to.

So these issues run rampant and our heating and cooling systems today. But there's no way to really check because how do you measure how efficiently your system is working? One of the things we've done is when we designed our dandelion air geothermal heat pump, we really prioritized having monitoring and sensors built in.

So every system comes standard with a full suite of sensors. So we can see how efficiently the system is working over time. And also if there are any issues, so we can see like, Oh, this homeowner probably should change their air filter because it looks like it's getting time. You know, it's getting a little blocked or Hey, we noticed that you've set your thermostat in a certain way, just through how we don't have access to people's thermostats, but just through how the heat pump is behaving, we recommend you revisit your thermostat settings so that your units operating more efficiently.

Or if something, if there is an issue, we'll be able to see it right away and send somebody out to correct it. And I think like that that's unique, fairly unique today,

Brandon Stover: [00:34:17] Yeah.

Kathy Hannun: [00:34:18] I could imagine a world where people will demand that for their appliances across the board. Cause like, isn't it better as a homeowner to know that you're getting what you're paying for.

Brandon Stover: [00:34:31] It's like the check engine light in your car. I mean, if something's not running correctly in your car, you get notified of it and you can fix it before something severe happens. Same thing with your home. You know, if your HVAC system goes out and is going to go out soon and it's the middle of winter, you would rather take care of it when it's still working, rather than it's freezing temperatures.

And you're trying to heat the home.

Kathy Hannun: [00:34:51] That's right. And yet we all know people or it's happened to us where your furnace does just spontaneously go out. Cause we don't have the check engine light. Right. And so there's just like all of these emergencies in heating and cooling that happened to people and it seems unnecessary. And so building monitoring in and making that data useful has been part of our mission from the beginning.

Brandon Stover: [00:35:17] The Ford customers. What's the cost differential between the current existing systems and your guys's system.

Kathy Hannun: [00:35:25] Yeah. So like most renewables geothermal tends to be more expensive than a furnace to get installed up front, but then way less expensive to operate over time. So our sales model is similar to solar panels. Some, some customers buy the geothermal heat pump upfront, and some people choose to finance it and pay for it with their savings.

So for homeowners that buy our system upfront, it usually costs about 20 to $25,000 net after incentives and rebates. And that's compared to a furnace replacement, which will likely cost around $10,000. So there is a premium there, but the homeowner. Is usually saving on the order of $2,000 a year. So the payback is quite fast for homeowners that choose to finance it.

They can pay nothing upfront, get the full system installed, and then it costs $150 a month over the 20 year lifetime of the system. So that's a really popular option because people are saving more than that. So they come out ahead even without having to have this big capital expense upfront.

Brandon Stover: [00:36:40] You mentioned you guys started in New York. How did you identify this as your initial market?

Kathy Hannun: [00:36:46] So if new England or the Northeast, I should say where its own country, it would still be the best market for geothermal heating and cooling of anywhere, just because. There's so much, there's a very high population density and millions of those homes are using very expensive heating fuels. Like fuel oil is very common in the Northeast and it's very cold in the winter.

So it's like a lot of people using a lot of energy and that energy is very expensive. So it was clear to us that the best place to start a geothermal heating and cooling company was the Northeast. And then we really zeroed in on New York because New York as a state recognizes that there is no way for them to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction targets without addressing heating and buildings, just because it is such a, you know, it is the source of.

So much, so much of that state's emissions. And so they put some policies in place to really help get this market started. And that was very critical for us in getting started as a company.

Brandon Stover: [00:38:01] well, geothermal energy is something that like requires a lot of educating the customer before they buy. How has dandy lion approach this challenge both in the beginning. And then what are you guys doing now?

Kathy Hannun: [00:38:13] Yeah. A lot of what we do is focused on education and spreading the word. And so we do everything from trying to talk to people like you, you know, and sort of spread the word this way. But then also when homeowners reach out to us and express interest, our process is very high touch. So we have each homeowner that is qualified to get the system like they live in the right.

The areas that we serve right in their home is appropriate for geo. We match them up with somebody on our team who can talk to them. One-on-one about how much money they would save in their home, what it would look like, how big of a system, they need, answer all their questions. And really just like put that time in,  people tend to have a lot of questions.

It's not yet a very familiar technology. And I think a lot of what we have to do is just answer questions and be a source of information about this technology and just like get better and better at, at explaining the right, answering the common questions, making it more familiar. Another thing we've done is we've partnered with some utilities because they also want to get the word out.

So for example, we did quite a bit of messaging and educating with con Edison utility to help educate their. Surface area around this option in case homeowners wanted to consider it as an alternative.

Brandon Stover: [00:39:40] Nice. And you guys also partnered with some new home builders as well.

Kathy Hannun: [00:39:46] So Lindar the home builder is one of our investors and  we're in discussions with them about a pilot to, to look at, you know, could geothermal actually be a good option for brand new homes today. Dandelion does mostly retrofit. So taking out furnaces and boilers and replacing them with heat pumps.

But wouldn't it be great if we just like, didn't keep installing building new homes with fossil fuel, but actually just like the new homes we build can go in with fully electric infrastructure.

Brandon Stover: [00:40:15] Right. And I was hearing during an interview, you talking about this and there's a like economy of scale with doing it within like a development. If you were to send a truck out there and it needs to drill holes for all of these new homes, it costs a lot less than having to like come out one by one.

Kathy Hannun: [00:40:32] One of the things I've learned at dandelion that was counterintuitive to me is when we looked at the cost of drilling a hole in the customer's yard. And of course that's a key focus for us because we're constantly trying to make that cost less. It's not really about the, like the cost of actually drilling the hole is not as important as the cost of getting all the equipment to the house, setting it up and then taking it all down at the end of the day, moving it onto the next house.

Winterizing it in the winter. It's like all of that setup and take down costs is actually more costly than the work you do at the hole itself. And so to your point, if you're doing a hundred holes at once, cause you're just installing these things in a new development, there's real economies of scale there.

Brandon Stover: [00:41:25] Yeah. Well, I'd like to talk about some of your fundraising journey.  In the fall, after you started, you were fundraising and you'd written an excellent piece in tech crunch about being a first time founder being a woman and being pregnant while you're fundraising.

And I think we're all aware of the challenges that come up during fundraising for female founders. But what I'd like you to particularly address is what kind of thoughts were you having during that time? And how did you like formulate strategies to kind of come over these challenges?

Kathy Hannun: [00:41:55] Fundraising is a challenge for almost all entrepreneurs. It's like, no matter who you are. It's an intimidating process, especially. I mean, for me, I think, especially in the early rounds, you're working against the fact that you're probably new at this. So people tend to be less experienced almost by definition in the early rounds of funding, unless you are a serial entrepreneur then maybe not, but like for a lot of us.

And also when you're selling the idea at the very beginning, it really does feel like a lot of what you're selling is yourself, because you kind of are, to be honest, it's like really what the investor is asking themselves. As you know, certainly some questions about your idea is the market size big enough.

Does this seem plausible? What challenges do I foresee trying to actually pull this off? But then a lot of it is like, and is this person. Going to be able to pull off these challenges because you have, I think most investors would say like, if there's an entrepreneur, they true, they believe in who's delivered again.

And again, they'll pretty much fund anything that person does because they just believe in the person and their own ability to find their ideas and then execute on them, hire the right team, et cetera. So, so I think that's the, tricky part is so much of an investor's job in choosing at the earliest stage is choosing the founders and.

And there's a lot of pattern matching that goes on with that. And a lot of founders in the past, just through to, you know, due to reasons that are widely talked about, they've all been white men, right. Or like, you know, it's been most. So if you're going on a pattern match or going on to like, what, what has worked before mentality, you probably won't choose the pregnant woman to be the founder that you, that you back.

I think a lot, maybe not all, but I would say probably many of us who are not the traditional entrepreneur founder have that in the back of our minds. Like we know we're a departure from the norm and that added to all the other self doubt and just like intimidation of the fundraising process and being rejected over and over.

It's hard. And for me being pregnant, it only exacerbated that cause it was like, what, what else could I have done more emphasize the fact that I am a woman and not your typical founder and also like, will investors see this as a liability?

Brandon Stover: [00:44:29] I mean with them betting as much on like the founder, as a person, as much as they're betting on the idea, how much do you feel as a founder that you need to disclose about your personal life or, you know, yourself? Because they are judging so much of you as well.

Kathy Hannun: [00:44:45] Well, one of the things I said in the article I wrote was like, I did not choose to disclose my pregnancy, which I think was maybe a controversial decision, perhaps. I don't know, but I had to think about it a lot. I wasn't sure what the right thing to do was, but the reason I decided not to is because I felt confident that.

My pregnancy would not be relevant to the success of the company. And because I felt so sure about that, I felt confident not raising it as an issue. Cause one, I couldn't, I couldn't figure out how to do that gracefully and not totally distract from everything else I was saying. And second it just, it seems like there are so many health issues or just like life issues that everyone who's a human has that aren't disclosed in business meetings.

Brandon Stover: [00:45:40] Yeah.

Kathy Hannun: [00:45:41] And so why is it that we need to make a special exception for being pregnant? It just feels unfair and not right to me. And the example I gave is if you had a founder going through a divorce, To me in many ways, that seems just as if not more emotionally taxing, financially stressful life disruptive than giving birth, but like no one would expect a founder to enter an early stage fundraising meeting and disclosed all the investors that they're going through a divorce.

So Y you know, it's like, or if, if that person had a health condition, they probably also wouldn't feel obligated to disclose it. So I just, I think like some of these issues are hard because we don't have a good map. Like, I didn't know the etiquette. I kind of had to just make my own call. And you know, at the end of the day, when I did tell my investors, after they had become my investors, they were all very supportive.

So I don't even feel like it necessarily would have been an issue. It's just, I didn't feel like obligated to take the risk, you know,

Brandon Stover: [00:46:54] I appreciate you sharing that because as you said, you know, many of us don't have the map when we're going into this thing. And being able to hear that somebody, Hey, you don't have to divulge everything to them. You know, go in there with your best foot forward. And then later, if you feel that's something that you need to share with them to, you know, strengthen the relationship or whatever you can do that.

And you know, still be successful in your fundraising.

Kathy Hannun: [00:47:15] Yeah, and I hope that over time we just have more examples of pregnant women being awesome at business, then it will just become a easier to disclose would be we won't even have to disclose it because it won't, it won't feel there won't be so much a dissonance between those ideas.

Like I think even the fact that it feels high pressure, should I disclose it? Should I not? It's a Relic of the fact. That pregnant woman does not fit very well mentally with like great business woman just given our culture today. So I think there's some hopefully evolution that that will happen.

Societaly and we'll get to a place where it's less uncomfortable

Brandon Stover: [00:47:58] Hey, this is Brandon Stover, and you're listening to the evolve podcast with Kathy and Nan and co-founder of dandelion energy in just a moment. You're going to hear about how. After championing the startup as a CEO, she decided to step away from the role to focus on what she does best product management.

Uh, first, I want to let you know that all the resources and lessons from this episode are available as a free worksheet@evolve.world and clicking on the worksheet button in the upper right-hand corner.

All the lessons that Kathy has dropped about moonshot ideas are super valuable, But they are only as valuable as the ones that you were actually going to put into execution. So that's why I distill all the action items from each episode in one, easy to use step-by-step worksheet. So you can immediately start applying them to your life and business

lessons. Like how do I identify moonshot ideas? How do identify them initial market and how much personal information you need to disclose during funding? And so much more. All of these lessons are available@evolvethe.world and clicking on the worksheet button in the upper right-hand corner.

That's a vault.world where you can follow the link inside the show notes of your podcast app.

Now let's get back to the evolve podcast with Kathy hand-on and co-founder of dandelion energy as she shares how she made the choice to step away from the CEO role of Dean.

Kathy Hannun: [00:49:17] Yes. So this was a decision that also was hard for me. So I was know I was CEO of the company from its founding and then hired a CEO, Michael to join the company and replace me as CEO in January, 2020. And then I became, as you said, president running product and R and D for dandelion. And I made that decision because the role of CEO at a company like dandelion, it's very operationally focused.

So dandelion, you know, we're installing real things in people's homes every day across a large geography. And the CEO role really has a lot to think about managing our sales pipeline, our installation pipeline. There's just a lot of moving parts and it's not work that I'm drawn to, or like particularly love to be honest, something that I've always known about myself, right.

That's why I sort of gravitated towards a Google ax. That's specifically less operationally focused and more product and R and D focused. And I really prefer that's the work that inspires me. some advisors told me, you know, like there are lots of CEOs that are product focus who hire a COO to run operations.

And some people encouraged me to consider that path. And I did think about it, but I think at the end of the day, I do feel dandelion should be run by an operational CEO because operations are at the heart of this company. And do you know, like having an excellent product it's also very important, which is why I wanted to run product.

Right. But it's, you know, it's, I just wanted operational excellence to be at the heart of what dandelion was about and making that. The CEO it just felt like the right thing to do to me to make the company the most successful. So I made the decision in tire, Michael, and it's been great. Like I just, I love my job so much more now.

I think he loves his job and it's just like so great for me to have somebody who loves doing the things that I do not love doing. And so we can both really enjoy our work and the company gets what it needs. And I don't have to feel like I'm sacrificing as much personally,

Brandon Stover: [00:51:44] Yeah.

Kathy Hannun: [00:51:45] but yeah, I'll say one more thing and then turn it back to you.

But I think the hard part of the decision was part of me was like, okay, I'm I was the co-founder of this company. And one of my privileges is I get to choose my role. Right? Like when do you get to do that? So I would like to choose a role that's product and R and D focused. So that was. That was the part of me that I ended up listening to, but there was also a real, a real part of me that was doubting.

That was thinking everyone, like society says, I should want to be the CEO. Is it a failure? Is it, how will I be seen to be given up this position that I'm supposed to want? And so I just had to kind of overcome that doubt to make the decision. And over a year later, I'm so glad that I did, you know, but it wasn't, it wasn't obvious at the time what to do.

Brandon Stover: [00:52:40] Do you have any advice or processes for getting into that process of self-reflection and evaluating? What is my actual wheelhouse of skills versus, you know, what should I have somebody else come in is separating your ego from that. And also being an aligned with the values that you have. Is there any way that you could explain to our listeners how to kind of work through that?

Kathy Hannun: [00:53:03] For me, I think a lot of it is trying not to make decisions out of fear. And so where I have remained CEO and it would have felt it would have felt emotionally, like forcing myself to continue performing in the role because of the fear of what it would mean for my reputation or for the company to hire an unknown.

Right. Which is a very real fear. I mean, what, it is a real risk to hire a CEO, that's a very sensitive on the most sensitive hire. So I don't mean to minimize that, but like it would have been a fear-based decision to stay. Whereas the decision to do it was based on what I wanted, which was like my vision of what I wanted my role to be.

And what I thought would be most fun and enjoyable. And I think over time, I've just noticed that when I do things when I try to ignore fear and just do the things that seem most aligned to the outcomes, I want things tend to work better because you're, you're like not forcing yourself to go against your natural inclinations as much and forcing yourself to do that takes a lot of energy.

Like it took me a lot of energy to run operations in marketing and sales as CEO, I could do it, but it was exhausting and it's just much, much easier. I have much more energy for my work now that I'm not forcing myself to do those sorts of things. And I think like the decision to spin out with similar, if I had stayed, it would have been out of fear of all the difficulty of spinning out.

But what I really wanted was to be the type of person who would spin out a company,

Brandon Stover: [00:54:50] Well, you've defined successes living by your values, which I think from these examples, like you could clearly see that you're doing that. What are some of the values that you're trying to live by?

Kathy Hannun: [00:55:00] what a difficult question and important one. Yeah, I think I'm trying to really live through a value of, you know, it's like easy to say, putting family and relationships first, it's much harder to live that way, I think. But I've made, I think I've made some real decisions to do that, right. Like including deciding to have kids early on in the startup.

Even though I knew there would be downsides to that decision. Right. But I, I knew I wanted to have a family and I didn't want to delay it on the account of the company. I just decided, you know, I'm going to dive in and, and figure out a way to do both, which is hard, right? Like it's not, it's not simple, but I, I think I am glad that I did that.

Recently my my father unfortunately, is diagnosed with cancer. And so I made the decision to move closer to home. And I would say COVID made that slightly easier in the sense that everyone was working remotely. So it sort of made it less disruptive for me to work remotely, to be near him because everyone at the company is working remotely, but it was a real decision where I knew it would be so important to me to be here with him right

Brandon Stover: [00:56:23] Yeah,

Kathy Hannun: [00:56:24] And I. It's not one of those things. It's not time that I'll get back. Right. So it's important to do it. And then even like, when I, I tried to, I have two young kids now, a three-year-old and a one and a half year old. And I really do try to be present as hard as that can be during the times when they're home, because I also think it's just so easy.

It's so easy for me to just get consumed by work. And so I just have to like fight against that to be present with my family and not with my phone all the time, which is another reason that I'm moving into this role was great for me at this moment in my life. But I would say another way that I try to live by my values is I do try especially as a founder, I feel like I have some, I have like.

An amount of power and influence in the company where my actions and my words matter in the company. Right. And I don't want to ever take advantage of that or treat people badly, right? Like I think there are so many stories of founders and executives at startups that take advantage of their power and just like misbehave in all sorts of ways.

Brandon Stover: [00:57:43] Yeah.

Kathy Hannun: [00:57:44] And I just really feel so grateful that talented people, right? Like the best thing I've done is I've convinced really talented people with amazing opportunities to actually focus that talent on trying to advance this dream of geothermal that I really want to be advanced. And I just like try to live by acting and behaving in a way that.

Recognizes, they could be doing so many other things, but they're doing this. And that's the only reason that any of this is going anywhere. And so, yeah, I would say that that's another value that I try to live day to day.

Brandon Stover: [00:58:25] Yeah, your own definition you've been successful. And I also think this hasn't made you any less effective as a founder and in the traditional markers of success. I mean, you guys just raised $30 million in February you announced that I think it's amazing you taking and making these decisions and still being able to do this.

What is the direction that you are hoping for dandelion now that you have some extra backing behind you? Like what's the impact you're hoping to make with that capital?

Kathy Hannun: [00:58:55] Yeah. I'm very excited about the next few years at dandelion. So. A few of the things we're going to do with the capital. So one is of course, as the person now leading product in R and D, I'm very excited about the work we're doing to really advance heat pump technology. So we're working on creating our next generation of heat pump products that are specifically designed to be very easy to retrofit with furnaces and boilers.

And I just feel like the opportunity to do something truly meaningful is there. And I'm excited about the approach we're taking and thinking it could have a big impact on making yeah. Just making these installations increasingly cost-effective and simple. We're also working on expanding our service territory.

So right now we actually are only available to homeowners in New York and parts of Connecticut. But of course we would like to be available to all homeowners eventually. So we have some work to do. And so we're really going to use some of this funding to expand and become available to more types of homes and homes and more places.

Brandon Stover: [01:00:02] Hmm, well, working inside the industry, how optimistic are you about the climate crisis? I mean, what are the odds that we can actually turn this thing around in a meaningful way?

Kathy Hannun: [01:00:12] I think we will turn it around. It's just a question of how bad it will get. And I feel like no one knows the answer to that question, but the positive side of it is I think we actually do, like if we had to, if we had to change quickly, we could like, we know how to do it. The tools are there. They're known now.

It's a really, I think the, the question is how quickly will it happen? And some of the things that give me. A sense of optimism are like looking at, for example, what's been happening with electric vehicles, right? Like 10 years ago, people kind of knew what they were, but it was pretty rare. I would say certainly not mainstream today.

Every major car company has a commitment towards electric vehicles and they're just, you know, they'd be like become inevitable. And I think that we're starting to see that too, a pattern with a lot of these technologies, certainly even in the relatively short amount of time I've been with, you know, running dandelion from 2017 to today, we've seen a dramatic increase in excitement and awareness about heat pumps, right?

So it's been only four years and I've seen it really market change. So I do think the pace of change is accelerating. People are taking the issue seriously, and we. Do you know how to solve it? Now, the question is just about implementation. So it's a good place to be, but I do think it's still very urgent that we act quickly because things could get a lot worse before they get better.

Brandon Stover: [01:01:53] Yeah. I th I feel like it's the same problem that we had with medical before COVID hit that there was change happening, but it wasn't as quick as it could be in something painful, had to happen. And then once that happened, everybody pulled all the resources, all the funding, everything together to try and solve this problem.

I feel like climate is going to be a similar thing where it's like something painful is going to have to happen. And then yes, we're going to quickly turn it around because we can't

Kathy Hannun: [01:02:19] agree with that comparison, you know, like vaccine production, where it used, I think the record was, I don't know, was it multiple years in the past was the fastest list that had ever happened. And then within a few, within a few days of sequencing the COVID-19 genome, they had a vaccine and then it was within a year that it got.

Created and distributed and we realized, wow, we can actually make a vaccine really quickly if we have to. I think the same thing is true. I just hope we don't have to face the COVID-19 equivalent of a crisis in order to, to get there. But yeah, I think it's a good example.

Brandon Stover: [01:02:59] Yeah, well, with all the experience you have evaluating problems and designing solutions, you know, from doing it index all the way to doing it now with dandy line, how will you be teaching like your children to think about, you know, problems in the coming decades and how to solve them and that whole design thinking process.

Kathy Hannun: [01:03:19] I think one of the lessons I hope to impart to my kids is one thing I've learned is

taking risks personally with one's career and the problems you decide to go after. I encourage it. I think like, of course there's the need to have financial stability and not everyone is in the same position to be able to take a career risk. And I fully acknowledge that. And I think that's an important consideration.

However, I think a lot, like fear does drive a lot of career thinking and sometimes more than it needs to. And so I know for me it felt like a huge risk to leave a job. I liked to try to start a company that I believed in. And it, and of course, I'm glad I did it, but you know, it's worked out this far, but I think as I reflected back, even if it hadn't worked out, I could have just, you know, I feel like I could have gotten a different job and it would have been okay.

And so I think I'll just want to encourage my kids and I encourage anyone, you know, all my friends, like if there's something, a problem that you want to go after. That seems worth doing. It's it might be worth it to just try, because in the downside case, you've learned something about a problem you care about, and then the upside case you get to, you know, you get to do what you want to do.

So I feel I feel risk-taking is going to be a central part of change. Right. Whenever making new ideas happen. It's part of that, because if you know it's going to work, then it probably already exists. Right. So yeah. So I think that's probably the central thing.

Brandon Stover: [01:04:58] I think I'm so grateful to live in a country, you know, for whatever people say about capitalism or anything that some of the worst things that will happen to you is you're going to go bankrupt. And then you may have to go and get like a minimum wage job to start back up again. But you're not gonna, you know, die or you're not going to be, you know, left out on the streets or whatever

Kathy Hannun: [01:05:20] Yeah, it's a really good point. Like there've been so many times when I've thought this is just incredible that investors will fund dandelion with millions of dollars. And of course we will, you know, we have every intention and expectation of doing great things with that money and giving them a return.

But in the downside case, if disaster struck and we did not, and everything turned to nothing, like they kind of expect that to happen a large fraction of their companies and there would be no yeah, to your point, it's like, I would not end up homeless. I would obviously have a period of. Morning, but it's just, it's an incredible thing that the structure exists.

And I think that's, what's led to so much innovation is that you can actually take on a lot of risk and the downside is very protected and that's just an incredible privilege that we have.

Brandon Stover: [01:06:19] another interesting thing that you mentioned during an interview was wishing that industries and markets like they would publish the problems that they're having. So people can more easily see what's going on inside. How do you think we should think about like truth and transparency as a society?

So that actions like these are normal, we're looking at problems happening and we are willing to take the risk to go solve those problems.

Kathy Hannun: [01:06:43] it's a challenge. I don't know the answer to this question of course, but I think it is interesting that you know, who, who really understands, for example, The day-to-day challenges that utilities face so complicated. It's so regulated. Very few people have worked at a utility compared to like the number of people who are interested in energy.

And I think it just, it it's like that level of that layer that clouds what's going on. It's one of the key things that holds us back. I feel from creating innovation and advancing then utilities is just one example. I mean, you could say the same thing about almost everything. I do think understanding the problem, like truly understanding the problem is such a key first step to doing meaningful innovation.

That said, I do think determined and persistent people can become world-class experts in any given problem fairly quickly, just because there are never that many people. Going all in, on any given very specific problem. And I found that with geothermal heat pumps, for sure, like there are people who've been doing this work for decades and they have all of this wealth of knowledge and expertise and are truly deep experts, but the community is so small. So, you know, even as a newcomer, I was able to meet those people and talk to them and sort of get up to speed in a relatively short timeframe. Not because I'm a special person, just because it's a, such a, it's such a niche topic, right? That like you can actually become an expert in it fairly quickly. And that's not true of everything.

Of course, like once something becomes a topic that's more in the mainstream, you actually do need to spend much more time to get to the cutting edge of that topic. But certainly for a lot of things, you can make a lot of progress very quickly.

Brandon Stover: [01:08:45] Yeah, I love that. Well, before I get to my last question, where can everybody find out more about you and about dandy line?

Kathy Hannun: [01:08:52] Well, dandelion energy.com is this place I welcome everyone to visit. Yeah, and I don't have a very strong online presence I admit, but certainly dandelion energy.com is the best place to learn about our work and what we're up to

Brandon Stover: [01:09:07] Well, my last question is how can we push the world to evolve?

Kathy Hannun: [01:09:11] take those risks.

Brandon Stover: [01:09:13] I think that's excellent. It follows definitely everything that we've talked about today, and I appreciate you so much for coming on and sharing your journey and about dandy lion.

Kathy Hannun: [01:09:23] Thank you so much for having me.

Brandon Stover: [01:09:25] That was Kathy and Diane and co-founder of Daniella and energy and green energy startup, pioneering novel drilling techniques to make geothermal installations less expensive and intrusive. I'm found Kathy's process of evaluating moonshot is absolutely fascinating. A past guest, Tom Dawkins have started some good talked about how the biggest problems our world faces are.

The biggest business opportunity. You can hear his name interview on episode number 56, but the tools Kathy gave us today allow us to see whether these opportunities are viable. And if we use these tools, we may be able to identify markets like geothermal energy for homeowners in which the barriers to solving the issue are relatively easy to overcome just by updating technology and business practices, just like Daniel and energy has done in this episode.

Now, if you want an easy to use resource full of all the lessons from this episode, they are available as a free downloadable worksheet@evolvethe.world and clicking on the worksheet button in the upper right-hand corner. You can also find all the show notes and transcripts for this episode at evolve, the.world/episodes/kathy.