Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Water-Flowers-Games - and Chopping Up the State?

Yours truly happened to be reading the LA Business Journal and came across the clipping at the left, which was a reminder of the Regents' action some time back creating the UCLA Venture Fund. The idea was to get local entrepreneur types to invest in companies based on UCLA-developed technology.

Anyway, you can check out the website at Turns out the Fund has invested in a flower delivery service ("free delivery from a volcano") and game company, as well as the water treatment company in the clipping. (The game company's website doesn't mention any games the company actually has, but I'm sure they'll find something, now that they have funding:

Six is better than one!
Now the Fund has an executive committee and one name on it is one you might recognize even if you aren't into entrepreneurship: Tim Draper. You might remember Draper as the guy with the wacko idea of dividing up California into six new states by ballot initiative. (OK; some folks said at the time that it was actually a clever idea to divide California's electoral votes to favor Republicans because some of the new state-lets would be red states rather than blue. Still, pretty wacky because it would never happen.) Anyhow, Draper announces with a fanfare that he has over 1.1 million signatures for the initiative (which cost him over $5 million for signature gatherers) and which should have been more than enough signatures, even given that some always turn out to be invalid. But when the secretary of state sampled the petitions, it turned out that so many were invalid that the initiative was rejected.** So it seems that Draper had been sold a bill of goods by somebody. In short, whether Draper actually believed in his initiative or just wanted some good PR, he got himself neither.

Anyway, it sure is great that Draper and his good ideas are on the executive committee of the UCLA Venture Fund, don't you think? The Fund surely needs someone with the good judgment to believe whatever he is told:

"The petition-gathering firm hired by the Six Californias campaign “predicted a much higher validity rate than the random sample result,” Mr. Draper said."***

And why wouldn't anyone believe what the firm said?

** He needed about 800,000 valid signatures and normally the number he turned in should have been enough. The fact that it cost him around $5 per signature - a lot - suggests the signature gatherers had problems finding folks who thought chopping up the state was a good idea.

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