An article in last week’s Wall Street Journal explained that the government TARP bailout program features some significant limitations on executive pay. I think the new administration has done a great job in finding a reasonable solution to the excessive executive payments that have gone on in the past. I think the taxpayers will now be much happier providing the multi-billions of dollars for the bailout. Good work, Obama!

We noticed an interesting post by Mark Cuban on his blog last week. Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team. He is proposing a revolutionary idea: open source funding. The idea is for entrepreneurs who need funding for their business ideas to post their business plans on his blog. Cuban has promised to review all the business plans and to personally fund the ones he likes. There are a number of rules, such as the company must break even within 60 days and be profitable within 90 days, and the businesses are funded on a month-to-month basis. Particularly interesting is Cuban’s requirement that the business plans be posted publicly on his blog where they can be seen by anyone. I think this is a good idea for a pilot and it may become a new approach for the venture capital community to fund businesses.

Last week was quite busy for me despite the rain. On Monday afternoon we attended the Xconomy forum entitled Physics for Future Presidents. The talk was very good although I’m not sure I agreed with all the conclusions put forth by the author. He has a somewhat gloomy view of the U.S. economy, and he thinks it will take several years for the economy to approach normal. I have not seen anything that would make me disagree with this conclusion.

On Wednesday, Ray Smilor, head of the Beyster Institute, and Tony Matthews met with me at the house to discuss the Beyster Institute’s plans.

On Friday, the weather being typically bad lately, Ron Arnold and Bill Proffer and I took Solutions to the Loews Resort in Coronado and had a great time.

I have included a couple of photos for your consideration. One of the photos was taken at the recent Chamber of Commerce event — that’s Ben Haddad and some of his former SAIC colleagues. The other photo is of Solutions and the survivors of a recent trip.

– Bob

Ben Haddad and former colleagues

Solutions and survivors

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10 Responses to “Government Bailout, Open Source Funding, and More”

  1. 1 Mike Cook

    Hi Dr. Beyster,

    I’m changing the subject a bit here from your original posting… Hope you don’t mind.

    I went to a good conference today. http://www.greenergadgets.com/index.php/schedule/

    I’m researching green products and services… So, it was very interesting.

    But the best part was that I got the opportunity to meet a really interesting person. His name is Dr. Saul Griffith, and I think you’d get a kick out of meeting him. Here’s a link to his bio: http://www.makanipower.com/griffith.html and another of a magazine article about him: http://money.cnn.com/2007/11/14/smbusiness/Saul_Griffith.fsb/?postversion=2007111509

    Anyway, he’s done quite a bit of research on current and projected energy consumption patterns from individuals to nations. He’s got the best slide deck I’ve seen on the projected energy needs and possible alternatives to meet the demand. And he gave a very thought provoking lecture on both the need to increase energy supply and the imperative to reduce demand.

    Trust me, the guy is very bright. And he’s apparently a passionate sailor. If you get a chance, you should meet him. You’ll be impressed, I think.

    Be well,
    Mike

  2. 2 Blake Escudier

    Dr. Beyster,

    The concept Cuban is using is not new - but his boundaries are his criteria - and anyone with money to lend/invest should have some strong boundaries of risk they are willing to accept. Of course RISK is the key concept in all financial transactions - the problem we have is - the risk is mitigated by government bailout - so what is the true risk? That is for another discussion

    I wanted to show you a company that is slowly moving along - I have been an advisor since the begining.

    http://www.venturechoice.com - this company web site was originally designed to help match entrepreneurs/business owners and venture funding organizations. The business plans are entered by enterpreneur/owner - the venture funding organization joins (pays fee) and puts in their criteria and PRESTO - a list of opportunities for investment are provided. Of course they can search all entries. The present operations of the compnay have adjusted strategy towards a mentoring process rather than open market.

    If you want to know more- please email me and I’ll fill you in on how the process may be adapted for private organizations (Such as Cuban) and for open market groups - I’m presently setting this up for Australia.

    Blake Escudier

  3. 3 Dr. Beyster

    Mike: Thanks for the message. I find what you brought up extremely interesting. I’d love to know what Dr. Saul Griffith is recommending as the possible alternatives to meet our future energy demands. I’ll take a look at his website. Meanwhile, remind me what you’re doing these days — where you’re working and what you’re up to. — Bob

  4. 4 Dr. Beyster

    Blake: I’m interested in this concept for funding young companies and early startups. I would be curious about what companies you’ve done this with and how they’re working out. — Bob

  5. 5 Mike Cook

    Dr. Beyster,

    I’m assigned to the CTO of Comcast working on new technologies and products. I’m currently building a number of interactive applications on connected home devices. In so doing, I’m learning all about the next generation of Peripheral Internet devices.

    I am enjoying working with silicon manufacturers, software start ups and established players in the process of inventing new distributed applications.

    Currently I’m developing an interactive portal on a touch-sensitive digital picture frame. It will display interesting information to users in near real-time.

    I’m also working on new energy monitoring tools and software. I built a prototype website to learn more about this area. It’s available at http://www.currentwatchers.com On it, I display my home’s real-time energy consumption and allow users to add their own data as well.

    Last year I filed 12 patents covering various areas associated with distributed computing.

    I’m continuing to take graduate courses at Harvard in Comp Sci to keep current.

    All is very busy, and I’m being very productive.

    You have to meet Dr. Griffith… You’d really enjoy the experience.

    Mike

  6. 6 Dr. Beyster

    Mike: Thank you for going to the trouble of explaining what you’re doing at Comcast. It sounds exciting, and I’m sure your patents are significant ones. Although I don’t have any of my own, I realize the creativity it must take to get one. Are you studying for a masters or a Ph.D. in computer science at Harvard? Please keep me informed on your doings, and I will periodically check in with your website. — Bob

  7. 7 Blake Escudier

    Bob,
    Sorry for the delay in answering - research tends to dominate my time these days. (article writing)

    Venture Choice an asp that has been used in a variety of ways. The initial purpose was to create a format for having a universal business plan input for venture company evaluation. I convinced the designers of the impracticality of that concept (businesses are too different to have any sort of universal plan format).

    The second variation had a right side and left side. The right side was for businesses to input an executive plan, attach their documentation, and have this available for review by people interested in funding ventures. The left side was for venture funders to have the opportunity to use the program to evaluate potential investments.

    I proposed a side variation in which Venturchoice was turned into an ASP for venture organizations in which they could solicit and review b-plans for their own purposes - (ie. used exclusively and private by organizations such as the Foundation for Enterprise Development - for a license fee of course) This did not take off due to not having a sales force.

    The second phase was again limited on the investors side as most venture organizations and individuals have their own evaluation criteria and sources. Thus there were limited numbers of venture funders signing up to review the businesses that have entered info looking for capital. These organizations have their own network for finding opportunities.

    Thus development of the third phase, in which Venturchoice is presently being used, as a Mentoring Program and networking for partner venture organizations. A business will contact the company (or be sent to Venturchoice by partner funding organizations) - enter their information and pay a Mentoring fee - the principles with Venture Choice will work with the business to help them prepare a presentation for potential venture funders.

    While I don’t care for the present format of use - I’m not going to take over operations and change things.

    My recommendation for you is to look over the site and open thoughts to potential. Presently I am working with a group here in Melbourne, Australia to establish the Australian Entrepreneurship Association (AEA). I have been given permission to use Venturechoice.com as a tool to support Entrepreneurship in Australia. My concept is to allow businesses to enter their information (does not need to be an AEA member) - the entry is to be reviewed for quality of entry by AEA consultants (contracted by AEA) — then made available for review by AEA members interested in making business investments (They will be given access based on AEA membership)

    The goal is to have an Entrepreneur / Financial meeting - on their own time and place - the intermediary (Venturechoice) only introduced them. No liability for vouching on either entity will be made. As for income for the AEA (and to pay the Venturechoice license fee) - I forsee advertising by business services companies. (Not being used on present site)

    Anyway - if you think of variables or have interest in working on a direction please let me know and we may talk further.
    Cheers,
    Blake

  8. 8 Dr. Beyster

    Blake: Thanks for explaining your business area. Your idea for matchmaking seems quite unique to me. If you think that I should know more about any of these enterprises, please let me know. — Bob

  9. 9 Eric G. Nelson

    Dr. Beyster I met you in 1983 when your son, Mark, and I came down for a visit. I would love to get back in touch with Mark if you would be so kind as to give him my email address. My how things have progressed over the years. The Army was a good memory but the best one of all was my freindship with Mark. Thank you for passing it on. Eric G, Nelson

  10. 10 Dr. Beyster

    Eric: Thanks for the note. I will pass your address on to Mark when I see him. Mark just got married, and he works at UCSD doing graphic arts. I’m sure he’d be glad to see you. — Bob

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