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Bits vs atoms: a framework for thinking about climate tech companies

by Steven Zhang · updated Sep 5, 2023

When navigating a space as large as climate tech, it's important to have frameworks to help you understand the space and place companies.

One framework that we like is the 2-axis climate tech talent & capital mind map put out by MCJ Collective.

You can use the navigation buttons on the iframe below to view the framework or click here to view it in a new tab.

How to use this framework for your job search

A couple of ways you may use this framework in your software engineering climate tech job search:

  1. When encountering new companies, think about whether they are moving bits, moving atoms, or bits coordinating atoms. If they are moving atoms primarily, yet you come from a pure software/tech background, learn clearly about how your role as a software engineer will be different.
  2. When encountering new companies, in addition to thinking about their verticals, think about whether they are engaged in carbon/GHG stock reduction, flow reduction, adaptation, or enablement.
  3. You can use each group of companies as a jumping-off point to research similar companies.

Other frameworks

We have a few other frameworks that we will write about soon (especially the Drawdown Solutions Framework), stay tuned.


This framework was originally written about in this MCJ Collective post.

I, Steven Zhang, was one of the contributors, along with Charles Yang, Lily Bernicker, Mark Wong, Nicholas Adeyi, Shilpika Gautam, Yin Lu, Zach Stein,