Saturday, November 06, 2004

Ron Morris and being serious

A blog comment elsewhere about a "a serious candidate" has gotten under my skin and here is my vent.

Consider the business world and what Ron Morris mentioned on his Saturday radio talk show. A fellow asked him for some angel investment money to work on a new-business plan. In turn, that plan would then be able to be shopped to venture capitalists. In this early stage of the business, the principal would be collecting a six-figure salary. Hence, some of the need for angle investment. Plus, the principal was not putting his house on the line.

Ron's point was that he wanted to see more skin in the game from the individual involved. He wanted the owner to work with the start-up for nothing. He likes to make investments when the owner is hungry. He likes to see married folks who put their house on the line and then wake up with a watchdog, often in a cold-sweat.

He said it was better to write the business plan on the weekends, nights and while working for someone else.


I know what it is like to write and pitch business plans. Before the kids were born, I worked in a start-up, my own small-press. I tried to move SportSurf.Net to the AOL Greenhouse, before Netscape went public. I had a relationship with a California client and furnished them with a modem so they could email me orders, well before ever opened. After we moved to Pittsburgh, I could see the business climate.

As a candidate, I feel at times like I'm in a start-up. I've got some skin in the game. I work for nothing. I scratch with others on evenings and weekends, to mine for ideas and plant seeds for a better community.

Meanwhile, those in the ivory towers of old-school thinking need have a measure of being 'serious' that is about something else. Theirs has little to do with civics, with freedom and with community. Perhaps the insulting remarks can be tempered. Perhaps the goal-posts can be moved, again.

What we have is serious miss-management. We have serious miss-spending of public money. We have serious breaks in democracy and accountability. We have serious instances of corruption. We have serious efforts to posture and back-pat with false praise for doing next to nothing.

So J.P., does a serious candidate for public office need to be serious in those realms?

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