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Meet the analyst: Adam Lesser talks guitars and green IT

Each week, GigaOM Pro chats with one of our analysts to find out which technologies they read about, write about and can’t live without. This week, we talk to Adam Lesser, our green IT curator and the author of the freshly released research note “Cleantech, meet connectivity: a new era of energy efficiency.”

GigaOM Pro analyst in Adam Lesser his hometown of Capetown, South Africa
GigaOM Pro analyst Adam Lesser outside of Cape Town, South Africa

1. Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m the green IT curator for GigaOM Pro, where I analyze the intersection of technology, renewable energy, computing and sustainability. At heart, I’m both a reporter and an analyst. Back in the day, I was an assignment editor for NBC News, where I started working about six months prior to the Iraq War on both the domestic and foreign desks (it’s hard to forget the six months that I worked the foreign overnight: I got to work at 4 p.m. and came home at 5 a.m.). After taking a break from broadcast news to work at the Weiss Lab at UCLA, indulging my interest in biochemistry and biophysics research, I transitioned toward more of a research analyst role. I went to work for Blueshift Research, an investment research firm that focuses on researching publicly traded companies for Wall Street asset managers. It was there that I became very interested in the energy aspects of modern computing, working on key players like Intel, ARM, AMD, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent.

2. As a GigaOM Pro analyst, what are your areas of focus?

The green IT mandate is broad, but basically I focus on tech that impacts energy consumption and the environment. Think green data centers, renewable energy (solar, wind, biofuels, fuel cells), the share economy (car sharing, vacation sharing), smartgrid, electric vehicles.

3. What’s your favorite article you have ever written (in general or for Pro)?

A few pieces of work are memorable. I did an article for Pro about the impact smartphones are having on cleantech. It’s an important trend of companies finding ways to use mobile technology to unlock their business models and conserve resources. And at Blueshift Research, I worked on Palm in late 2009 and early 2010. Wall Street was gung ho on the Palm Pre/Pixi, believing that Palm’s fanbase combined with the newly designed phones would prevail. But our research and analysis showed that the hardware was problematic and more importantly, the webOS platform was struggling to build an app ecosystem. It’s hard to go against consensus, but we were right and the shorts did very well.

And one more thing: I was working the NBC News desk at 3 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2003, when news from an Iranian source came across the wires that Saddam Hussein had been captured. It was an intense night.

4. What was the last piece of media (music, video, book, etc.) you paid money for?

Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah (about the mafia’s infiltration of the Italian economy), The River Café Cookbook (a London restaurant obsessed with authentic Tuscan food), a Spotify subscription.

5. What are the first three media outlets (websites, blogs, actual physical publications) you read in the morning?

Google News (I’ve started building my own sections with personalized search terms. It’s awesome), the green business section of Reuters, and GigaOM’s Earth2Tech. And Twitter, which is the ultimate RSS news aggregator that tells me what everyone else is reading.

6. You’re stranded on a desert island: What are the five gadgets/devices/services/apps you can’t live without? (Presumably, there’s electricity and Wi-Fi on this desert island.)

Macbook Air, Spotify, Skype, a guitar, Kindle.

7. When you’re not writing for GigaOM Pro, what’s your favorite thing to do?

Guitars: I like shopping for beautiful ones and taking lessons. I also mess around with a sewing machine.

8. What’s your favorite nontech blog?

It’s not really a blog, but I subscribe to Sean Parker’s playlists on Spotify (username: NapsterSean). Dude has good taste in music.