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Montecristo Captain Quixote

montecristo

The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world


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Schlock Captain Quidnunc
montecristo

Levers big enough to move the world, fulcrums and places to set them.

It's been awhile since I've written. There has been so much that has happened. Very often I am too busy to write, and very often I am uninspired to write. I'm not really sure why the mood takes me to do so, or where it goes when I am not under its influence. In so many ways I am such a dilletante. Sometimes, this bothers me, but most of the time it doesn't, as it doesn't right now. I suppose that it doesn't right now, because I have not been much the dilletante lately. McGuffin has been proceeding apace, although we are still somewhat distant from proving that it works. Another point of progress has been that Robert's other big idea, dubbed "Trigger" by the official describer, documentor and giver-of-names (that would be me), has been filed with the Patent Office. We have yet to market the thing, but I suspect that our efforts could prove very lucrative indeed, if we handle the issue correctly. We're still trying to figure that out. I have been involved in lots of work. When Robert first approached me to join this project, I never envisioned getting involved so deeply. It has been one of those things that my Dear Ex termed my "Bobsessions" for the past three or four years of my life now. Sometimes it's hard to think about devoting myself to something like this for so long. I still don't know if this thing is going to pay off or not.

I do know that things have opened up on the project. We have been dealing, for the last month or so with one of the most dynamic personalities in Silicon Valley. He is the founder and CEO of one of the defining companies of that culture. Robert and I put McGuffin in front of him and he is interested to know whether or not it can fulfill its potential. He's offered us equipment and space to work in his establishment and we have been working with him to set up operations at his location. As shocking as the information would be to the benighted souls of this country who have no inkling of how capitalism works, he has not called his assistance an investment, although he has not been shy about calling our attention to the value of the advice and information he has offered us and has demanded nothing from us, other than that we dilligently put our ideas to the test and allow him to participate in designing experiments and acquiring the materials and expertise to pull them off. At this point in the game, he really just wants to know if our hypotheses hold water. Apparently, he and some of his acquaintances have given this issue some thought and he is convinced that this area of inquiry is worth the expenditure of a modest amount of resources to determine if there is anything in it worth pursuing. He knows that there is plenty of time to discuss investment and control of the company after we get McGuffin working. At that time, we will need much more capital and expertise and he is confident in his ability to pesuade us that he is the proper person to offer such things to our enterprise at that time. Given what Robert and I had previously known of him, it would not be inaccurate to say that both of us had early on fantasized what a help his know-how would be, and he has done nothing to diminish our expectations -- quite the opposite, in fact.

I knew a bit about the guy before having met him. He's portrayed in the press as a tough, no-nonsense, accomplishment driven individual who is not shy about sharing his philosophies or his methods nor is he uncertain of his own rectitude. I've always admired that characteristic in people. What is amusing to me is what he is like in person. He's surprisingly approachable, providing that you are not wasting his time with baloney. He does not suffer fools kindly, but seems to be benevolently disposed to persons who are serious about realistic and useful ideas. He's a lot friendlier than many people who have heard of him would suppose. He's confident, scrupulously honest, knowledgeably opinionated, and very forceful -- if you're going to disagree with him, you'd better have your facts straight and have you're ducks in line. It's not that he's rude or overbearing, far from it, but he acts when he knows the facts are on his side of the table. He lays them out and then backs away to let the other party come to the logical decision. He doesn't debate, so much as make an airtight case and then wait patiently for the other person to see the his point of view. It's fascinating to watch. I saw him turn around the president of another company inside of five minutes, after the other fellow was prepared to be obstinant on a particular point (at least that was my assessment). He didn't twist arms and he didn't debate -- he just laid out the facts in a straightforward and clear manner and stood back, waiting for the other guy to reach the obvious conclusion. We were in a meeting with some very high-power people from three different companies at the time. It was an interesting experience. This was a group of individuals with whom I would have never imagined being in the same room only a year ago. We are fortunate to have this opportunity. If/when McGuffin gets off the ground we will need expertise of the sort represented by these individuals in order to have any chance of commercializing it. McGuffin is definitely not the kind of technology upon which people with an untested set of management skills such as ours should be cutting our teeth.
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It all sounds great, but you need to sexup your entries.

...but it's hard to be sexy at 4AM...at least for some of us. ; )

Fascinating report

It makes sense that a big company would do this. They spend a lot of time watching their in-house geniuses chase their own tails as they try to develop revolutionary products out of thin air.

Re: Fascinating report

Our benefactor, R., has a theory about genii chasing their tails. He says that it is similar in concept to the Laffer Curve. (As an interesting asside, he actually knows economist Arthur Laffer). R. calls it his PhD Curve. He says that the productivity of ideas in a company rises dramatically after the first and second hire of a PhD, but falls off even more precipitously as more PhD's are hired beyond that, so the optimum number of post docs working for a private firm is about two.

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