Tag Archive for: economic crisis

Let’s Bail Out the Future, not the Past

Tom Friedman of the New York Times has a very thoughtful column in today’s paper (February 22, 2009 – “Start Up the Risk-Takers“).

His basic recommendation is for the federal government to put $20 billion into 20 venture capital funds and let them invest in new businesses that will drive growth and innovation to help “jump-start” the economy.

In Friedman’s words:

You want to spend $20 billion of taxpayer money creating jobs? Fine. Call up the top 20 venture capital firms in America, which are short of cash today because their partners — university endowments and pension funds — are tapped out, and make them this offer: The U.S. Treasury will give you each up to $1 billion to fund the best venture capital ideas that have come your way. If they go bust, we all lose. If any of them turns out to be the next Microsoft or Intel, taxpayers will give you 20 percent of the investors’ upside and keep 80 percent for themselves.

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Concentrating on Concentration

By Charlie Grantham and Jim Ware

Here we are at the start of a New Year and everyone including “No Drama Obama” is saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Now that we’ve gotten right with our expectation state, what do we do? For the past three months people have been asking – no, begging – us to give them some hope. To let them know what they can do in the face of disaster.

But hope is truly an audacious idea when people sitting right in front of us are getting Blackberry messages that their company has just gone into Chapter 11. Last month we published an article on taking control of your personal destiny by doing things as simple as writing out a one-page business plan (“Compass: Taking Charge of Tomorrow”).

This month we want talk about what companies must do today to prepare for the future – and why it seems to be so difficult. Because, quite bluntly, if you don’t anticipate the future, your Blackberry is going to buzz too. We can all whine on and on about why we are where we are, how we got here, and who didn’t do what, but that doesn’t do much to foster survival.

Let’s face it, the United States’ (if not the whole world’s) economy is currently about 30% over capacity, over-priced, and over-extended. We have more than we can digest – and that goes all the way from calories in our food to big office buildings that are (or soon will be) vacant. It’s time to “cowboy up” (see the Urban Dictionary for an explanation of that term – it’s slang for “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get to work” – an idea we enjoyed hearing in President Obama’s Inaugural Address).

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