Monday, July 17, 2006

DaVinci Initiative

I want to be the recipient of $2MM USD in venture capital - with as loose of strings as possible. A discussion as to why (aside from the obvious) follows:

A common passive-aggressive tendency decries the fortune of wealth and opportunity of others as an unfair distribution, insinuating that were such splendor bestowed more equally or fairly (i.e., upon the complainant), similar "worry-free" success would naturally result. To this type of personality the grievance is a means of absolving responsibility for actual achievement by placing it upon the distant real or imagined figure; removing the requirement to make attempt without damaging the pretense of unbridled personal potential. This case does not, however, diminish what may well still be an accurate observation when viewed from a less self-oriented perspective: that the undeserving are at times seemingly afforded greater means while other more worthy candidates remain unpunished.

"Undeserving" as a title carries tremendous amounts of baggage. I believe it to be most commonly implicitly bestowed (as opposed to expressly remarked upon) during the expression of other related grievances. Perceived incompetence (especially of hierarchical superiors in business, or loathed celebrities), gross opulence or conspicuous consumption, or insensitivity to the under-privileged: the long-lived missquote, "Let them eat cake," aptly embodies all of the above. Conversely, the honestly endeavoring character of misfortune evokes deep sympathy and natural generosity (the reason this role is so classically successfully employed by con artists). Middle-of-the-road examples and extremes of the blessing of the worthy and cursing of the vile also abound.

Altogether, this roughly computes through an internal and social algorithm to determine the opinion of how deserving or undeserving a person (or creature or abstract entity) is of their current station, and provides justification for response and behavior toward that person. A stereotypical mid-life crisis, in this terminology, would be an attempt to reconcile the lack of deserved success upon the worthy yet somehow overlooked self.

The full exploration of the applicability of the assumptions I've just outlined is beyond the scope of this article, however.

I'll leave it at (and segue with): honest results from hard work are rarely challenged. The dumb luck aspect invites the true cynical scrutiny, and my requesting a windfall of cash should do just that. What audacity inspires me to think I should be given nearly boundless resources to pursue my own ends, and what measure of work can possibly justify and off-set the suspicion? The specifics will be reserved for the official solicitation/proposal, but the gist of it is thus: I have too many ideas I want to get more than a small start on, and a number of "distractions" I would like to get out of the way in order to do so. That idea bank is comprised of several business initiatives requiring due diligence and a budget, a few inventions (less likely I'll be exploring those though, based on lower ROI expectations) and software packages, and a prose novel or two. I have no illusions that I would be set for life (that's not the goal), or that I would not be required to make repayment based on the success of these projects: venture capitalists are not strictly philanthropists, after all. The probability of the endeavors bearing fruit greater than the invested moneys is the real question; hopefully I can convince him/her/them that the answer is a qualified and unequivocal yes.

The five-to-seven year plan starts with a large bonus to the sole proprietor (me) sufficient such that after taxes and charitable tithes the outstanding debt on the house is erased - quite a hefty bonus. The remainder would be used to establish an institutional trust out of which I would continue to draw less than half my current annual salary (seeing as I really wouldn't need more without the mortgage) and which would be used to fund the aforementioned undertakings (acquisition of materials, talent, advice, as little travel as possible, etc.) as approved on the basis of individual proposals.

The first 2 years would see implementation of a pilot program from one of the more promising business concepts and the simultaneous completion of the first novel. This is assuming an overhead of up to 30-40% (in terms of time) spent in communication, reports, and analysis of other ideas put forth by the investor(s) - myself acting as an entrepreneur-in-residence. I would contract with other resources as necessary to assist me in reaching the ambitious goals (well, except for the book - editors maybe, but no ghost writers).

In return for the funds, any and all rights and ownership (including copyrights to creative works) of these creations reverts immediately to the control of the financial contributors. Similarly, at the sole discretion of investor control the income from projects will either be reinvested into its origins, in order to prove self-sufficiency, or be used toward repayment.

At the conclusion of the 5-7 year span some non-exclusive rights would be returned to me (to allow me the use of characters and material from creative works should I decide to continue a series), but the disposal of all other ventures would be at the whim of the owners, who would of course be free to retain my involvement under newly negotiated contracts should they wish to do so. I'd also be keeping notes and journals about the whole exercise and attempt to distill the experience into an Entrepreneurial Handbook of sorts fo subsequent publication.

The reason I've been referring to this intrigue as my "DaVinci Initiative" is due to the multiple disciplines involved, and because of visions of unfettered creativity and (hopefully less cryptic) notebooks packed with the exploration of bringing imagination to reality. No delusions of grandeur - at least, not many - and not attempting to classify myself among the true masters through such ad hoc association by any means.

But with the explosive wealth of information readily available to the common man, one could reasonably expect a new renaissance by now. Let's have at it, shall we?

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