In the movie Moneyball, a pro-baseball manager isn't afraid to turn conventional recruiting practice on its head. When it comes to VC funding, shouldn't the same daring apply? This week software execs and entrepreneurs Pavan Muzumdar, CFA, and Neal Fairbanks have a friendly back-and-forth on the state of funding from the investor and entrepreneur points of view.
Post 4: Where do we go from here?
Pavan: We did have fun with this blog and while we enjoyed the discussion, we thought it wouldn't be complete with some ideas and recommendations on what we should be doing as a region.
The first thing we need to do as a region is to focus on our strengths. Being the automotive capital is an enviable position. Let's capitalize on that. No other area in the world can claim this. The executives of Daimler saw the value of establishing a presence here when they purchased Chrysler several years ago. Fiat has seen the same value recently. There is an incredibly strong network and ecosystem of engineering in multiple disciplines that go into making the modern automobile.
We need to encourage investments of all kinds here. While venture capital is definitely glamorous, there are many other sources of capital that are perhaps more appropriate for our region. We also need to encourage keeping the ecosystem strong by making it attractive to all automotive companies to do business here. Not just the domestic ones.
From my perspective, we need to encourage collaboration between high-tech people. Bring together people with the ideas along with the people who can commercialize them effectively. I am imagining a big convention in a hotel where people can take ten to fifteen minutes to talk about their ideas and products and connect with others who can help them.
I also see that the state is doing some good things relative to funding through Automation Alley, the smart zones, etc. But I don't know why they don't spread the word outside Michigan. They should offer these incentives to people in other states. I would like to see that guy in Nebraska heading to Silicon Valley take a turn and end up in Michigan because of a state incentive.
The state did a nice job of attracting the movie industry with tax incentives. But we know that they will leave and go somewhere else if the incentives go away. It's not that easy to move a business, especially if there is no reason to leave and plenty of reasons to stay.
I also think that we need to stop apologizing for who we are.
Last year we had that gritty commercial from Chrysler with Eminem. It was great at the time and we needed it. But why are we doing the same thing again? Move on to the shiny cool stuff now. We are back from the dead. Let's all act that way!
It reminds me of one of the scenes from the movie Moneyball. Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) the economist for the Oakland Athletics is showing Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) the general manager, a video clip of a pudgy baseball player.
The batter in question is clumsy and can't move very fast and is apparently embarrassed at barely getting to first base after he hits the ball. The crowd goes wild and he thinks that they are making fun of him. What he doesn't realize is that he has just hit a home run.