Simon Monk

Simon Monk

CleanTech investor based in Sydney, Australia.
He is passionate about the value of great design, loves innovation and gets excited imagining the future.

Climate

Climate is without doubt the most pressing challenge of our time. The world needs to look very different if we are to remain inhabitants of it.

The science of climate is clear. By 2030 we need to have made spectacular progress reducing CO2 emissions. It's a complex subject but looking at CO2 sources is a good place to start.

The best thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

A vast energy transition is underway, driven primarily by fundamental economics rather than the fact that energy is the largest contributor to CO2.

We're still in the early years of this transformation and this is where I focus my time, energy and attention.

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. I find it remarkable that the value that design excellence brings to business, particularly startups, is still largely mis-understood and under-valued.

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

Joe Sparano

This remarkable Marc Andreessen piece on product market fit is essential as is Build by Tony Fadell where he shares his wisdom and expertise from building insanely great products like the iPod, iPhone and Nest.

Much has been written about design thinking, but the best process for rapid design innovation is the design sprint outlined by Google Ventures.

Giving

I'm extraordinarily privileged to have been born into a place where education was highly valued.

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

Nelson Mandela

Not only have I been able to travel widely, but I've witnessed those less fortunate and it's incredibly humbling to try to help 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.

Climate 200

We believe it's essential to enable climate policy. By shifting the balance of power to Independents, we could end over a decade of climate inaction in Australia. We kicked off fundraising with a $100,000 donation matching campaign.

EDO

In the absence of any responsible climate policy, the EDO are using the courts to hold companies and organisations to account. They've had some fantastic wins in 2021 and are making a real difference.

AGNSW

Given our family background, the AGNSW help Australia develop appreciation of Asian culture through their Asian Collection.

WaterAid

WaterAid do fantastic work and they don't do vanity projects like building wells, but long-term sustainable change like hygene, sanitation and education.

Fred Hollows

Restoring someone’s sight, brings back their independence, ability to work, or get an education. Ending avoidable blindness helps people out of poverty.

Room to Read

Educating girls is one of the most effective ways to address global poverty. Educated women are also more likely to educate their own children.

World Nomads

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.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Heraclitus 475 BC

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 even 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 like me. 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.

Adventures

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. Lord Howe Island

    Simon Monk Australia

    A little bit of Australian magic in the middle of the pandemic.

  2. Kumano Kodo

    Simon Monk Kumano Kodo

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

  3. Raja Ampat

    Simon Monk diving Raja Ampat

    I've had some remarkable dive adventures, but this was my son's first trip after getting his diving license. That's him on the left!

  4. Lycian way

    Simon Monk walking the Lycian Way

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

  5. Central Asia

    Simon Monk at Kel Su Lake

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

  6. 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.

  7. Himalaya

    Simon Monk on the Snowman Trek

    The Snowman Trek is one of the finest treks in the entire Himalaya. It's also one of the most challenging.

  8. 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.

  9. Climate Witness

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    Witnessing climate change first hand is sobering. Out onto the ice with Jason.

  10. Tigers Nest

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    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.

  11. Abydos

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    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.

  12. Saigon

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    An extraordinarily chaotic collision of cyclo's, ducks, decrepit Renault buses left by the French in the 40's and huge Chevy's left behind by the Americans in the 60's. Today's it's all rather tame.

  13. 1989

    Chengdu 1989

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

  14. Camino de Santiago

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