About me

Simon Monk.

Excited by innovation & design. Passionate about climate. Loves travel. Sydney based.

Climate focused.

Climate is the most pressing challenge of our time.

Although I've had an interest in solar for many years, it's recently become clear that actually a vast energy transition is underway, driven primarily by fundamental economics rather than the fact that energy is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emmissions. Given the abundant opportunities, this is where I currently focus my time, energy and attention.

2020 investments
5B solar
5B

To build solar at scale, we must reimagine how to deploy it faster and cheaper through prefabrication and automation.

JetCharge
JetCharge

Most new vehicles will be EV's by the end of this decade. Imagine when millions of batteries have wheels.

GridCognition
GridCognition

The future of energy is decentralised. Software can simulating commercial returns in the planning and operation.

Ping Monitor
Ping Monitor

A stethoscope for wind turbines that uses accoustic data to identify blade damage, saving operators millions.

The philosophy of giving

I'm extraordinarily privileged to have been born into a place where education was highly valued. Not only have I been able to travel widely, but I've witnessed those less fortunate and it's incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to do something about it. I invented one of the first digital micro-donation platforms, which helps change the lives of many people around the world, and as a family we continue to give.

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

The power of design

I trained in Industrial Design (now more frequently called Product Design) where the skills are much the same whether the product is physical or digital, and I find it remarkable that the value that design excellence brings to business, particularly startups, is still largely mis-understood and under-valued.

World Nomads story

Many businesses have a good creation story, so this is mine.

In 1989, I quit my job, sold everything and headed off to explore the world. The experience of being able to go anywhere, do anything and taste unconstrained freedom was memorable.

When you're young, you feel bullet-proof. I had nevertheless bought travel insurance to cover me for six months but, as with all the best travel plans, they changed and I ended up in China during the tumultuous summer of 1989. Being pre-internet, staying in touch was by letter and post restanté and there was certainly no means to buy travel insurance while you were still away.

After emigrating to Australia in 1993, I bought worldnomads.com as my personal website, thinking the name philosophically reflected who I was. I created one of the first travel blogs (before ‘blogging’ was invented) by sending stories home by fax and film canisters by courier!

In 2000 I started developing an online travel insurance service for independent travellers with a couple of partners. My travel experiences inspired the World Nomads core concept of being able to buy a travel insurance from anywhere and have the freedom to extend it as many times as you needed. It was the first of its kind.

For more on what I've done since, listen to my 2018 interview for the World Nomads PodCast.

Travel

Travel has always been a big part of my life and I've been dreaming about what's over the horizon for as long as I can remember. I'm fortunate to have had some incredible adventures over the years. Here are a few.

  1. Kumano Kodo

    Simon Monk Kumano Kodo

    A trek through the mountains and temples of Wakayama offers another perspective on Japan.

  2. Raja Ampat

    Simon Monk diving Raja Ampat

    I've enjoyed had some remarkable dive adventures, but this was my son's first trip after getting his PADI license.

  3. Lycian way

    Simon Monk walking the Lycian Way

    A family walking trip through parts of ancient Greece. Here at the Acropolis of Bergama.

  4. Kul Su

    Simon Monk at Kel Su Lake

    Yeah, that's me on the horse, right up near the Chinese border. This was one of the last pieces of the puzzle that is Marco Polo's 14th century journey to China and back.

  5. The Marquesas

    Simon Monk & Kai on Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.

    I didn't even know the Marquesas existed until I stumbled across them scrolling around Google maps. Although hard to reach, they made for a wild family adventure.

  6. Snowman Trek

    Simon Monk on the Snowman Trek

    The finest trek in the entire Himalaya. It's also one of the most challenging.

  7. Shuzenji

    Simon Monk, Shuzenji, Japan.

    Japan never ceases to amaze me. At a Ryokan in Shuzenji, the food was so spectacular you didn't want to touch it.

  8. On ice

    ...

    Out with Jason again, this time witnessing ice loss first hand.

  9. Tigers Nest

    ...

    Like a dream come true, on my first trip to Bhutan I was incredibly fortunate to go with National Geographic photographer, Jason Edwards. Sometimes even the famous places can still take your breath away.

  10. Abydos

    ...

    On a trip along the Nile we were lucky enough to stumble upon the temple of Seti I at Abydos. Here my son's are captivated by a ray of light crossing the floor.

  11. Saigon

    ...

    Cholon bus station was an extraordinarily chaotic collision of cyclo's, people, ancient renault buses with no glass, ducks & American cars left behind after the war. It's all rather tame today.

  12. 1989

    Chengdu 1989

    On the streets of Chengdu among millions of Chinese. A truly searing memory, one that transformed my opinions of both media and society. 1989 was such a pivotal year in so many ways.

  13. Camino de Santiago

    ...

    Nobody really walked the Camino back then. There was almost nowhere to stay except dusty schools, old barns and the odd police station.