Subject: Re: So... Re: offering pre-purchases
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 10:29:54 +0900

Don Marti writes:

 > -- basically any technical advance that would
 > materially change the ratios of energy, labor, and
 > capital in the budget of a startup that the VC is
 > interested in.

That's cheating.  We're not really talking about *any* here.  We're
talking about technical advances that Tom is developing that are big
enough to be worth betting on.  At least, I'm not interested at the
moment in discussing big wins for VCs, unless there's an incentive for
them to cut Tom (and other FSBs) in on the deal.

If by "any" you really mean "all" (and thus necessarily catching Tom),
well the "basically all technical advances I care about" approach
isn't even feasible for Warren Buffet, let alone a typical small-
potatoes VC with only a couple hundred million to invest annually.
Now you're saying "split it among 100,000 research projects that might
pay off and wreck one of my startups"?  What's going to be left to
invest in startups?

On the other hand, if you say "be selective", well, then I have to
give Tom a pretty good look, and once I've done that, why not think
about him as a candidate for startup support?  And if I decide
against, the logic for prepurchase becomes awfully strained.

Similar arguments apply to prediction markets, of course.