And now for something completely different …

Well, I wanted to get back to our core for a bit.

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium has been done for a month. My great fear in presenting there was that I wouldn’t be speaking to money people, but would in fact be speaking to business consultants, advisors, CEO/CFO/etc for hire. Sadly, most of my audience appeared to be that. Some were PR folks, some were nice to speak with, some were, well … A few VCs and fewer money people. I get the distinct impression that if you want to do very cool HPC and get someone to step up to work with you and get the capital you need to make it work, you need to be in California.
The Michigan 21st Century continues its slow and inexorable march to completion. We just received an email saying if we go on to the next round, these are the dates when you will be interviewed. Great. So did we get on to the next round?
This would help with the capital process if it happens. I have been told that it might not happen at all for anyone. I hope the people who told me this are wrong, but it is possible, and their arguments made sense.
Being a small but profitable revenue-backed business means that you don’t have lots of time to spend on a capital raise. Our time is a zero sum game. We can pursue more business, or we can pursue capital. Interesting things happen to revenue streams when you spend too much time not pursuing revenue streams. Since we seek to be stable and there for our customers, we have to make hard choices about what to spend time on.
Since the only time most of the money people spend in Michigan is in the airspace above us, this probably won’t change for a while unless the state really gets behind the 21st Century program and similar efforts. You can’t make money unless you spend money. You can’t grow companies and and a vibrant economy unless you are willing to invest in the people and organizations that will grow the companies.
If the only way for us to get the capital to build the things we have our customers excited about is to move to California, this doesn’t help Michigan very much. If we have to grow the funding organically, which is how we have been doing it, then it will take quite a while to get there. The first one with the great idea doesn’t always win. Its the first one with a great product in the market that customers want. Look at iPod. Not first to market. First to market with a great product. They made portable music easy. Look at nVidia, not first to market with graphics cards. Some of the best stuff in the market, they share leadership with ATI.
Your stuff has to be good, be different, enable people to do stuff they couldn’t easily do before. You have to lower meaningful barriers. Which is what we are trying to do in HPC.