As Chief Executive Officer of Biofriendly Corporation, Noel Carroll focuses on modernizing the company and pushing it toward a leadership role in the environmental space. Carroll has been involved with Biofriendly, in various capacities, since 2002 and took the helm of the business in March of 2018. Passionate about the environment, Carroll is widening the focus of the company from its flagship product (Green Plus® fuel enhancer) to a broader organization that educates, invests in and promotes a greener planet.
Biofriendly Corporation, known as the world leader in green fuel solutions, produces Green Plus, a breakthrough technology that is Eco-labeled by the United Nations for reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. This patented, homogeneous catalyst has undergone rigorous, certified testing on four continents and has treated over 8 billion gallons of fuel worldwide, reducing millions of CO2 pounds annually. In 2018 Biofriendly launched its award-winning, environmental, education and entertainment site, www.biofriendlyplanet.com, which has served as green hub for hundreds of thousands of eco-friendly readers already.
Carroll was recruited to run the company by his brother, fellow environmentalist Michael Carroll, who is responsible for the company’s technology. Noel was excited about the opportunity to tackle real issues for the betterment of the world. He brings to the table a fresh point of view and an open mind focused on solving problems that will both make a difference and actually work. A forward thinker, Carroll appreciates working with his team who also boast diverse backgrounds to identify and resolve present and future issues that threaten the environmental health of our planet.
As a lifelong soccer player, Carroll got started in business by manufacturing and selling soccer goals online. The social media marketing and promotional techniques he developed, grew that business into the largest, web-based soccer goal manufacturer in the United States. These same techniques opened a backdoor into the entertainment industry when Carroll, Co-Founded and ran Good Cops Entertainment. Under his guidance the ‘Good Cops’ produced three hit web series and an award-winning feature film, working with companies such as Warner Brothers, Machinima and Shoreline Entertainment.
The son of Australian immigrants, Carroll spent some of his childhood in Melbourne, but grew up in Pasadena, CA. In college, he studied acting at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California. Carroll currently resides in Pasadena with his wife and two children.
Where did the idea for Biofriendly Corporation come from?
When I was recruited to run Biofriendly (an eco-friendly fuel additive company), one of the concerns that the board had, was how it would continue to survive as the world starts to move away from fossil fuels. My background is in the entertainment industry, so naturally I thought about how media, education and entertainment were being presented in the green space. Biofriendly Planet was started to provide an education and entertainment service that seeks out people who aren’t ready for (or aren’t even looking at) an eco-friendly life. I felt that if we could reach these people without talking too much about the doom and gloom, or beat them over the head with their environmental failings, that they might be more willing to listen and try a few simple things. Biofriendly Planet exists to be an approachable, safe way to find out about the environment and what you can do to help without turning your life upside down.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is a lot happening here now and I have yet to see a typical day. This business is international so I get phone calls at all hours. Our energy transition fuel additive is growing quickly in popularity, particularly in developing countries where electric and renewable options are still far away, so I have to travel quite a bit and I’m often taking meetings either in person or remotely. I remain intimately involved in the growth of Biofriendly Planet and am the co-host of the Biofriendly Podcast, so that offers me a nice daily distraction. But this is also an investor-owned company with a world-class Board of Directors, so there is an aspect of reporting and updating that can take time too. My plan is to use this fast growth to expand our team and make the days a bit more typical, but in the meantime, this job is a daily adventure!
How do you bring ideas to life?
The number one thing with ideas is understanding responsibility. If no one is responsible for the care and growth of an idea, then that idea will die quickly. So the first thing we do with ideas is talk through them with the person or persons who would have to turn that idea into something that would actually exist on earth. If that conversation leads to a lot of dreaming, expansion and excitement, then the responsible party will take the lead on studying the feasibility of implementing the idea. This leads to a report with a budget, resource analysis and so on. If the numbers don’t prohibit the excitement, we green light the idea, officially assign responsibility and we go!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m an environmentalist, I come from a long line of environmentalists. So seeing a world that is truly waking up to the importance of being green is a really cool thing. I have always felt that if businesses factored in their environmental footprint, that habit changes and innovation could make this planet a modern, wonderful place to be, while still being sound and healthy for nature and all of those species with whom we share it.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
A broad plan, several smaller, more detailed, plans and weekly and daily list of action items. It is very easy to get distracted in today’s world so the trick is having a guide to remind you of what is important in that day. The only way you can know that is by having a list based on the earlier, increasingly broader plans.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Every failure is a gift. You will learn more from your failures than you have ever learned from success, so don’t be afraid to be dead wrong and don’t be afraid to change your mind with new information.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Your political and religious views are flawed. So are mine. Let’s stop beating each other up over it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me that “Playtime is better when you’re not looking over your shoulder.” Her point being that responsibility and obligations take up mental space and the worry/fear that comes from failing those who are relying on you to be responsible also takes its toll. So you are better off to just get the “work” stuff done first. That way when you take your “playtime” you can do so without being worried. So my recommendation is to ask yourself, what do I want to do today and what is needed from me today? Get the latter done first and not only will the former be more enjoyable, you will quickly find that others consider you to be very valuable. Success will quickly follow.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Realism. It is so easy to get caught up in your own excitement and your own promotion when running a business, but you can’t solve problems or make good decisions if you are unwilling to confront all of the (sometimes difficult) facts.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Oh I haven’t failed yet… everything I’ve written here is for your benefit, I’m doing JUST fine… (I hope it’s obvious I’m kidding). I took a crew of 20 people to Wisconsin to shoot a horror film and production was hit with a week-long, unseasonably early, polar vortex and multiple feet of snow. We left that city with a little more than half of what we needed to film, no money and a story that didn’t really make sense any more (based on what we were forced to film). It was an abject disaster and we still had to release this movie or face a mountain of lawsuits from angry investors. We rewrote the story, raised additional funds on Kickstarter so that we could shoot missing scenes and then a dedicated few of us personally burned the midnight oil to do what was needed to complete the movie. It went on to get over a million downloads on Amazon Prime and continues to exist today as a B-comedy/horror classic (I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker). I learned from this that problems defeat you when you give up. If something needs to happen but the world continues to throw poop at your face, then all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep on solving the problem in front of you. Eventually, the problems will run out if you can just keep going.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I give the readers the right to develop an App called “Counter Balance.” This is a personalized news provider that will give you stories with your preferred political and social slant but also provides you with a nearly identical article from the opposite point of view. This way people can understand what the other side is thinking, even if they don’t agree with it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought my 11-year old new golf clubs for his birthday ($160, is it cheating if I spent a little more than $100?). His old ones were too small and we weren’t playing much anymore. With the hustle and bustle of business these days, I was not getting as much quiet time with him, but this has forced us both to find a couple of hours to play nine holes together and catch up every week. We’ve really enjoyed it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
WhatsApp (and WeChat in China). So much of my job is communicating with partners, and WhatsApp allows us to create chat groups, have conference calls and even video chat internationally without spending an arm and a leg. I use it constantly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I read for fun. Don’t get me wrong, I also read for education and I have fallen down many a rabbit hole in my life while Googling for data and then contradictory data. There is a ton online, so many white papers and journals are there for the taking and you can get specific to a personal question when you search. But in terms of books at home, I read to escape. I like stories and I Iove what stories do for my mind in terms of opening creativity, so I’ll recommend a great story that was ahead of its time, the book is, “Armor” by John Steakley.
What is your favorite quote?
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein
- The number one thing with ideas is understanding responsibility. If no one is responsible for the care and growth of an idea, then that idea will die quickly.
- It is very easy to get distracted in today’s world so the trick is having a guide to remind you of what is important in that day.
- Your political and religious views are flawed. So are mine. Let’s stop beating each other up over it.
- Get the “work” stuff done first. That way when you take your “playtime” you can do so without being worried.
- If something needs to happen but the world continues to throw poop at your face, then all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep on solving the problem in front of you. Eventually, the problems will run out if you can just keep going.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.