Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jamie Simpson - Ecological Hosting

How old are you?

What’s your occupation and who do you work for?
Owner of Athenaeum Limited the company behind EcologicalHosting.com. We host web sites and other Internet services, currently from systems we installed in a data centre in California that is 100% solar powered. Currently, I am the business, but this will change to “I am the inspiration behind the business”!

How long have you been doing this?
Since 1999 with the company, since end of 2005 for EcologicalHosting.com.

What’s the best bit about your job?
Making a difference in the world, working with some amazing people and the general niceness of people you meet and talk too in this market place.

What’s the worst thing?
Running a 24 hour business that is just under that threshold where staff of some kind is the next move and in the meantime; you’re it… for everything – no escape, mobile phone constantly with you.

What have the last 12 months been like for you?
A complete blur. Things have really ramped up a pace again and everything is going fantastically well.

What were you doing before?
Floating around in space waiting for my next life! :-)

What was your very first full-time job?
Working with some pretty nasty chemicals in a quality control laboratory for a factory that made amongst other things pre-impregnated materials that could be used to form army helmets. Not very hip(py) I know. It lasted 4 weeks, then I returned to college to do A-levels.

Have you got any plans for the next 12 months you’d like to share with us?
Huge plans… we’re working on the idea of building a UK based renewable energy data centre with a group of friends and work colleagues from different companies we’re associated with.

What do you do to relax?
Go out and watch a film. Read books. Sit and do absolutely nothing in silence/meditate – usually lasts about 2 minutes, then I get that guilty feeling and have to run off and do something! :-)

Who do you live with?
My wonderful partner Sue and our two children aged 6 and 9.

Whereabouts do you live?
In a semi-rural area part way between Leeds and Wakefield.

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you do?
Resign? It’s not a job I’d want because I’m very aware that even with the best intention you’re up against it. The prime minister may have a fair amount of power, but they’re not in full control no matter which way you cut it.

Have you got any guilty carbon secrets?
We have a fairly substantial car (not a 4x4 though!). Quite frankly though, I don’t feel guilty because I don’t really have any other sins to mention and nobody is perfect! Here comes the justification (and trust me, I’ve thought about this a lot):

I’m 6’2” and it’s the only car I’ve ever owned that doesn’t completely kill my back; which would stop me doing all the good work I do! :-)

It’s also fit for purpose because it generally spends its productive time on the motorways (where, for the tech heads amongst you, thanks to the power available it cruises at 70mph at an extremely low 2000rpm).

We did look at the now rather obvious Prius, but the electric part isn’t operational above 30mph (i.e. it’s just a 1.5 petrol car on the motorway), and in any case we simply couldn’t afford it. I’ve owned this car for around 5 years now and I had it converted to LPG around two years ago after tackling the Prius question. I even talked with some very green and eco friends I have about embodied energy and the fact that if I didn’t own this car, the person that did would almost certainly use it more than me.

I work from home, so I don’t commute. We walk to school. The main use is at weekends where we have family commitments that require substantial cross Pennines motorway travel. We also use it for those rare times we go on holiday and for travel to places where public transport is simply not viable (i.e. one or more of: would take too long, would cost more that the car, doesn’t go there etc). Either way, it tends to be full (four or five seats occupied).

What have you done that you were most proud of?
I struggle with these questions. I don’t tend to have “best” things. I’m proud of getting to this age and achieving what I have in the many areas of my life; my family, the house we live in, the way I interact with people, the fact that I run a business that can and does make a difference in the world.

What are you most concerned about in the world at large?
Probably the environment because without a planet that can sustain our particular life form, any other concerns are ultimately fruitless. Moving to the wider scale though, I could easily be concerned and possibly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things going on in the world that come to my attention moving in the circles I do (charities, campaign groups, ethical networks, green, vegetarian etc). So in this wider sense I operate by either supporting charities close to me on a personal level, or I make contributions of additional time, expertise or similar through my business.

Which person in the public eye do you most admire and why?
I spend pretty much all of my time (and my clients will testify to this - Jason!) [note from Jason of Ethical Jobs "It's true; I have had Jamie fixing and mending things at gone one in the morning"], either working or being with my family. Not for lack of wanting to veg in front of the TV like anyone else, I simply don’t allocate time to watch, so I couldn’t really answer a current affairs media question like this. I also find the news depressing because of the concentration on the negative and so despite my Dad’s “you have to know what’s going on in the world” ringing in my ears, I tend to avoid it. Most of my inspiration comes from those close to me and other positive forces in my life.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to embark on the same sort of work as you?
Seek counciling! :-) Only joking… Like most small businesses (especially if you’re doing the family thing in parallel) it can be very hard work. There is also a lot or drudgery in life (like accounts and keeping on top of government deadlines and legislation). So I guess the only advice I’d give is: follow your heart. If you want to do this, go for it – but go in with your eyes wide open to the whole and not just the tiny bit that is what you want to achieve.

What's your website address?

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