First Principles or Bread & Circuses?

In the last 10 years, Israel & China have surpassed the U.S. in the origination of meaningful innovation.

While they are building deep tech, we are funding food delivery companies, sports betting, Angry Apes, and weaponized social media platforms — the modern equivalent of ‘Bread & Circuses’.

Venture firms are launching to invest only in metaverse digital objects and virtual real estate?


First Principles

John F. Cogan & Kevin Warsh of the Hoover Institution recently released a white paper titled ‘Reinvigorating Economic Governance — Advancing A New Framework for American Prosperity, framing the ‘First Principles’ necessary to regain our innovation ‘mojo’:

The economic success of the American experiment is the result of the proper functioning of three separate but interrelated elements of an economic system:

  • Ideas that maximize human welfare
  • Individuals that choose to conduct their affairs consistent with their talents, preferences, and the best of society’s norms
  • Trusted institutions — distinctly public or private — with enumerated responsibilities and clear accountability

It’s time we address the pathologies within our venture funding process that have metastasized to such a degree that Theranos, WeWork, Ozy Media, Fast, et. al., could even find an audience, much less attract — and destroy — so much capital.

Note: Have you been to a Demo Day lately? Talk about a circus!

What Can Be

If you would like to see what ‘can be’ — nay ‘should be’ — review:

Tourist or Principled Investor?

With the current ‘reset’ the tourist investors in both the public and private markets are heading for the exits — again.

Maybe, just maybe, we will use this opportunity to revisit the principles which defined American Exceptionalism, creating arguably the greatest empire in recorded history.

Maybe we will celebrate those risk-takers that are appealing to our better selves, not just those ‘performance artist’ entrepreneurs able to command the most attention, and often times the most investors’ capital.

Maybe we will find a way to mobilize & reward the $trillions of principled investors’ capital that is seeking a better way to have an impact on the human condition.

And more importantly, what if we don’t?

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