Dane Baker: Founder of EcoCart – Ep. 82

About Dane Baker & EcoCart:

Dane Baker is the founder of EcoCart, an inspiring way for businesses and eCommerce customers to offset their carbon footprint.

Dane is a serial entrepreneur who’s always seen the world a little bit differently. He wanted to find a win/win/win for businesses to offset their carbon footprint, right at the checkout stage. What does this mean? It means that if you install his Chrome extension, you can automatically offset the carbon of your own purchase by adding a small amount to the purchase price. It’s a really innovative way to help solve the problem of eCommerce waste. Dane is a very smart dude, and his passion for making the world a better place is palpable. 

Full Unedited Audio Conversation:

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2:23 – “We’re trying to save the planet one e-commerce order at a time.”

2:34 – “We’ve developed the technology to calculate and ultimately offset the carbon footprint of any purchase, any consumer activity, and we sell this technology directly to e-commerce brands – and retailers generally. Our technology, our algorithm, takes factors like shipping distance, package weight, product type into account to be able to calculate the specific carbon footprint of any purchase and then ultimately displays a checkbox to the consumer at checkout through an e-commerce platform to be able to make their order carbon neutral by adding a few extra cents to their order. With that, we’re then funding certified carbon offset projects like planting trees, building wind farms, sustainable agriculture, really frontier carbon removal technology. And that’s how we make the order carbon neutral.”

5:12 – “I’ve been humbled in a lot of ways over the last couple of years. And one of those experiences has been just simply the demand in the market by both consumers and brands. We see immense support for our work and what we’re doing…A lot of the brands we work with today have actually come in-bound to us, they’ve actually reached out to us. It’s a pull, not a push from our perspective…Greater than 50% of our brands have actually come in-bound to us.”

12:29 – “We have tons of projects across different categories. For street-based projects we have sustainable agriculture – methane capture projects. We have wind farm building projects, we have a ton of general alt-energy projects. So it’s varied across category, but also geography; so projects all over the world as well…We’ve in the past had projects that are building water filters for folks in local developing nations so that they can have clean water.”

14:38 – “[Dane’s previous company] was something that we started inherently because we thought that renting versus consumption was better for the environment, net benefit. And so, all of the undertakings that I’ve done personally have always tried to weave in how to make the world a better place. And so I think that that’s always been how I view the energy that I output on a daily basis and the things that I choose to work on and spend my time on and that can have a really amazing multiplier effect of impact in the world.”

16:09 – (Ross) “That’s what this show is all about, trying to find those Win, Win, Wins – things that are good for you personally, good for the world, good for all of that – because it can happen if we focus on it, and not a lot of people are focusing on it. And if you don’t set something as your goal, you’ll never achieve it.”

18:16 – “I’ve had experiences across different companies which I’ve always thought is like learning experiences for what I’m doing now and today. It’s been a great journey to get to use all of those different experiences, no matter how different they have been. And take little nuggets of information, learnings, and craft and always be focusing on improvement…I think it’s been really meaningful from the perspective of being able to build a company and a team.”

19:33 – “If there’s one piece of advice I’d give, it would probably be just get started. There’s a lot of analysis paralysis that can happen when considering something to jump into, whether it’s a project or whatever it may be. And I think you never know until you actually do it.”

20:03 – “De-risk it as much as possible by doing a bunch of research, figuring out is this the right market, is this the right idea, is this the right space? Are there competitors out there doing something similar? What is the alternative that a potential competitor is doing today? And how can we do it better? Doing all that research upfront, de-risking it, and then ultimately getting yourself comfortable to a point (because you’ll never be 100% comfortable jumping into anything) – maybe 70–80% of the way there. And then at some point just saying, ‘let’s just try it.’ And then having the mentality of: figure out if it works fast and if not, then get out – basically fail fast.”

25:20 – “The only thing that matters is the velocity of improvement. You can start off at zero and if you’re improving at a really fast rate, constantly doing so, and if time is on your side, then over time you’ll ultimately become whatever you’re striving for.”

27:38 – [On having a co-founder] “It’s all about picking the right partner. It’s like a marriage. It’s the same thing, right? You’ve got to know your partner, know what your skills are, and theirs, and how they complement each other, and how you interact together, how you solve problems. Or when problems come up, how do you tackle them? …It definitely makes a lot of sense and can be tremendously helpful in terms of trajectory – the company and sanity…entrepreneurship is a tough path.”

33:03 – “Recommendations are a big part of what we do as well. Assuming we’re able to see behind the curtain with the company and partner with them, we are able to benchmark and say, ‘hey, you’re here, you want to be here, and this is how to get there.’ Recommendations towards how to cut your emissions to begin with is an important element of any sustainability strategy, not just offsetting, and so we provide those recommendations as well as part of our analysis.”

34:03 – “We’re really excited to be powering and leading the sustainable movement of shopping…from an offsetting perspective and be able to make all of consumer activity net-neutral, and then help brands and give them the tools that they need, empower them to cut their emissions to begin with through analytics and reporting and recommendations. But really have this is this scalable impact movement be forefront for every consumer activity and consumer purchase…We’re really excited to be leading this movement.”

36:46 – “I really am feeling the passion here with the team we built and the work that we’re doing. I think it’s like a magnet – it attracts even more passionate folks as we continue to move on and move forward. And we just love it. Everyone is incredibly psyched about working on the work we’re doing. It feels really good to succeed and success isn’t just about making money. It’s about making an impact in the world and that is something that everyone feels on a day-to-day basis.”

41:59 – “I think folks are looking for a home, they’re looking for a place to call home, and a work environment to feel like home. And so it’s an opportunity to foster that feeling for the team, and I think that that’s something that that I strive to do on a daily basis and provide amazing experiences, amazing feelings of going to work every day. Fostering a culture that’s collaborative pushes people to be their best that they possibly can be and that’s where you find personal fulfillment.”

46:09 – “Looking at things – whether it’d be a concept or an idea or a framework, a methodology – looking at it in a contrarian way is really important. I would say I try to play devil’s advocate with myself in all ways… if you’re always looking at things from a multidimensional fashion, and try to poke holes in everything that you do, then you can prepare for any failure that you might have.”

48:22 – [On knowing when to persevere and when to ‘fail fast’] – “It’s very situational. I think there’s always an element of passion. Are you excited about what you’re doing still? Is that driving you? Because there’s tons of stories and examples out there of really successful entrepreneurs who’ve been working on ideas for years without any sign of success, but always fundamentally knew that it was going to be something meaningful to the future. And all of a sudden something clicks in the world, for whatever reason, and it becomes standard – Airbnb comes to mind…Ultimately, it comes down to: is this something that’s going to drive you to wake up in the morning and work on that thing that you’re working on?”

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