Posts tagged ‘San Antonio’

Our Business Needs Government Funding Because We Don't Want To Drive Out Of State To Talk To Bankers

This is from an article in Distro, free publication that Engadget pushes to my iPad.  The only version I can find to link to is this pig of a pdf.  The article is on 38 Studios, the Curt Shilling video game company that the taxpayers of Rhode Island lost over $50 million funding.  This is a justification for a similar tech funding program in Nevada:

“The Catalyst Fund and the NCIC Fund are two of the best things that have happened in Nevada in the time that I’ve been here,” he said. “The biggest challenge facing Nevada is that we have very little in the way of risk capital. Our funding capacity is only a fraction of what our actual funding needs are.”

Meanwhile, most of the limited venture money available in the area tends to be in the hands of investors who lack familiarity with the tech sector, said Colin Loretz, co-founder and CEO of Web-based  startup Cloudsnap. Loretz — whose company recently received support from startup accelerator TechStars — ended up going out of state to secure funding from investors in San Antonio and San Francisco.

“What we’ve always found was that there were few funding options in Reno, and most of them didn’t understand what we were doing,” Loretz said. “They were very, very knowledgeable in more traditional areas such as manufacturing, mining and clean energy, but not cloud services.”

This is simply bizarre.  Why does every single geographical box we might draw on the map need to be self-sufficient in tech venture capital?  What is the big deal about going out-of-state for investment.  It can't be hard to do, since the person speaking actually did exactly that himself.

According to Google Maps, Sand Hill Road, the epicenter of tech venture capital, is just 4 hours and 24 minutes from downtown Reno by car.  That makes the venture capitalists in Menlo Park closer to Reno than to LA.  What is the big freaking deal that makes it so important for Nevada to have in-state tech venture capital, even at the cost of blowing a lot of taxpayer money to get there?

By the way, I thought this was a funny adjunct to that justification:

Meanwhile, Nevada officials said they have learned from the problems experienced by other states and built the necessary protections into their programs. Management of the NCIC fund, for example, will be overseen by a private equity firm, said Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall.

We need a state private equity fund because we have no private equity expertise in Nevada.  The state fund will be run well because we will put the (supposedly nonexistent) state private equity experts in charge of it.  Not to worry.  No chance at all that this state money will just be used to back and bail out the private equity managers' investments.

The article is light on details about how the whole Rhode Island debacle went down.  I would really like to find a step by step history that shows how debacles like this occur.

Am I Freaking Prescient of What?

A while back I wrote about racism vs. tattoos, in the context of a story that claimed black players had more fouls called against them than white players in the NBA

My sense is that we make snap decisions about other people based on a
wide range of physical attributes, including height, attractiveness,
clothing, tattoos, piercings as well as visible racial characteristics
(e.g. skin color) and race-related appearance choices (e.g. cornrows).
It would be interesting to see where skin color falls against these
other visible differentiators as a driver of third party decisions
(e.g. whether to call a foul).   My sense is that 60 years ago, skin
color would be factor #1 and all these others would be orders of
magnitude behind.  Today?  I don't know.  While skin color hasn't gone
away as an influencer, it may be falling into what we might call the
"background level", less than or equal to some of these other effects.
It would be interesting, for example, to make the same study on level
of visible tattooing and the effect on foul calls.  My sense is that
this might be of the same order of magnitude today as skin color in
affecting such snap decisions.

In a follow-up I posited that tattoos may be the new black.

Now, Via Overlawyered:

"Some San Antonio apartment complexes are refusing to rent to people with tattoos and body piercings."

Report from Houston

My mom, who lives in Houston, spent much of today trying to get out.  Getting on Interstate 10 about 4AM, she doesn't seem to have made even 60 miles my 8PM at night, where she just plain couldn't drive any more.  Since she somehow got separated from my sister in their driving convoy, she pulled to the side of the road to rest.  Fortunately, a local minister and a fireman took her to a local shelter at a fire station to sleep tonight, where she reports all is well (many props to those folks).  Hopefully she can make it to San Antonio tomorrow, and hopefully they have not given away her reservation.

She reports that gas availability seems to worry folks the most.  No one was running their air conditioning, to save gas, and traffic was moving so slow that several were pushing their cars with the engine off down the road rather than running the engine.  There is apparently gas in inventory in the area, but tank trucks can't get to stations since inbound traffic is blocked.  Also, cars seem to be taking literally hours just to get to the next exit.  Yuk.

Since I grew up in Houston and know the people there fairly well, I can make one prediction:  They will evacuate this time, if only as part of the post-Katrina panic, but if the city is not leveled they are not going to do it again any time soon, no matter what is coming at them.

Update: Mom is back on the road this morning, and traffic is moving much better.  She reports she is 99 miles from San Antonio and has a half tank of gas.  That means in her first 27 hours of travel she made less than 100 miles of progress.  She says that there are hundreds of cars by the sides of the road that have run out of gas.

Final Update:  Mom reached SA OK, and in fact as of Monday morning is back at home in Houston.  The power is on, the cable is running, and the house is fine.  Mom lives does not live in a low-lying area, and her house has survived many hurricanes.  I know that Rita veered off from Houston, but was it really safer for her to be on the road for 30 hours, with no place to sleep at night, worrying every minute about running out of gas?

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