June 06, 2008
Government Development Bollocks
Yesterday I attended a "Private-Public Partnership" something or other for the financial sector sponsored by the US development agency, to "engage" the private sector about supporting (and I understood financing) their development agenda. I have rarely sat through such utter bollocks.
First, they need to fucking talk like normal human beings rather than use development speak. I have no fucking clue what have their jargon meant, and nor do I care to learn.
Second, if they really want to make a developmental difference, they should look to leverage off of local private sector priorities. Pro Poor growth is fucking meaningless. Don't fucking call senior management of major financial firms to bloody fucking drone on in Development Speak without any goddamned real economic interest for us.
Further, by all that is holy, don't fucking waste our time with idiotic schemes about making entrepreneurs out of unemployed youth. That is, to be quite frank, dumb fucking Leftist thinking. Entrepreneurs need to have MANAGEMENT SKILLS (the only kid entrepreneurs that work are Tech geniuses that end up presenting enough potential financial upside as to make rolling the dice on their pimply inexperience in real management worthwhile. I don't personally appreciate some Development authority who has never had his own capital at risk preaching to me about how VC firms and the like are not "doing their duty" in financing young entrepreneurs, nor some socialist professorial type idiot questioning "financial returns" relevance versus employment growth. You are not going to get fucking employment growth via loss making entreprises and if the Americans are going to have a value, promoting French style "social" porgrams for warehousing unemployment is not the bloody way to go.
The worst part was the pep talk on governance and "civil society" (apparently us as the private sector) engagement, and the apparent desire for us to finance their goals, although their fucking goals are fucking khayali bullshit.
Most of my colleagues felt rather deceived as we thought they would be proposing governmental capital kickers to high risk investments.
What stupid fucking whankers.
Waste of an afternoon, god damned cretins.
Posted by The Lounsbury at June 6, 2008 05:26 PM
Filed Under: Biz - Private in MENA
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Nice thing about hard times is that BS meetings like this, which are reasonably common in huge, insanely global private companies, get shitcanned. Good thing, since all they do is make you either miss your deadlines or work twice as hard to meet them.
Another way that productivity goes up when the going gets tough.
Posted by: pantom at June 7, 2008 03:03 AM
"Most of my colleagues felt rather deceived as we thought they would be proposing governmental capital kickers to high risk investments."
Ah, nothing like base (though indirect and moderate) rent-seeking as a more productive alternative to absorbing paternalistic government drivel.
Posted by: matthew hogan at June 7, 2008 07:48 PM
Well, successful investments would earn a return to the government as well.
However, asking us to kick in for taxpayer funded things strikes me as a bit vulgar.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 8, 2008 12:47 AM
I was once a commercial bank president. Then I went to work in the development industry. Now I work as financier in developing countries. All I can say is "amen"...development industry sucks.
Posted by: Michael at June 8, 2008 10:17 AM
Entrepreneurs need to have MANAGEMENT SKILLS
And they need to be able to prove it before they see the money. I learnt that the hard way. (I know, I promised you details, and I will give some, I just need to tidy this thing up).
the only kid entrepreneurs that work are Tech geniuses that end up presenting enough potential financial upside as to make rolling the dice on their pimply inexperience in real management worthwhile
I disagree even with this exception. Tech genuises are not in short supply (well, they are, but it's not like they're difficult to find if you put the right amount on a paycheck).
What distingues those successful tech start-ups from others is not so much the technical skills of their founders as much as their ability to identify a profitable market niche and sustain a lasting competitive difference - or be first movers in the winner takes all market structure of pure web based business models. Those are essentially business/management skills, not tech ones.
For a few famous examples, Amazon or Facebook have no tech wizardry whatsoever, but they met a market (whether it was planned or not is not relevant, see below). Google or Skype require higher tech skills, but any distributed computing expert could have worked out the underlying technology. What made the difference is Google's and Skype's ability to outperform competitors by providing significantly lighter weight, smoother quality products that answered actual market needs. Sharp tech skills are needed for that, no doubt, but they come as part of a project's HR process. This is essentially about quality assurance and marketing research, i.e. managerial skills.
After my recent unfortunate experience, (though unrelated to IT) I took a look around, and this is a true for even the less famous successful start-ups. They're mostly ran by workoholic entrepreneurial types who all form a synergetic elite squad of complementary managers. In IT, their tech skills are above average but are not necessarily geniuses, just enough to be able to make technical strategic decisions by themselves. It's also a closed world, with many people having identified each other personally from previous experiences precisely because it's that rare and specific team profile and its individuals that are needed.
So how you do you identify the next Bill Gates? Short answer: you don't, you indentify markets on which you can cash. You don't play against the odds. If some genius kid brings a product that may have a market, investment should come conditionally on him willing to step aside and make room for the kind of team described above. The kid gets his share and is part of the team as a source of tech feedback. He might, if he proves able to train, with time, participate in the company's actual direction. But in the meanwhile, he should be happy to focus mainly on what he does best: be a tech monkey. Or else don't invest, because whatever advantage he might present on the spot would not be sustainable and would be drowned in a sea of managerial illiterate decisions.
Fair additions, although I would put the investor - investee role a bit differently, that's likely merely style.
Nevertheless, the relative difference in IT allowing for fair "Youth Entrepreneur" - meaning not 40 year olds but 20 year olds - is there. Your additions, which I in effect agree with highlight the madness of development people who know fuck all about real entrepreneurship and in my encounters to-date love to lecture actual venture financiers on who we're "not doing our duty" and "taking risks on the future" in picking "Youth Entrepreneurs."
If they want to support entrepeneurship, give support to the VC community that has skin in the game and it is looking for that 30% upside average.
Reminds me of a recent experience lending a hand to these retards in giving an introduction to one of their "stars" to a Fund that matched the project profile, only to find out that they had never done actual due diligence on the fucker. Asshole had a bank fraud case on his record. Obviously the Fund told them to fuck off, and I had to give a ring the the Managing Director apologizing. I can only thank god that I made the intro on a "damning with faint praise" basis.
Fucking cretins the lot of them. Well, that's not fair, starry eyed fools and Left idiots playing at business.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 8, 2008 05:06 PM
Michael, welcome aboard mate, seems we are in closely related businesses.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 8, 2008 05:12 PM
I would put the investor - investee role a bit differently
Ok, don't throw that and then not elaborate.
I essentially gave up on the devel folks long ago, after my late teenage/early adulthood...
We'll get back to that, I have enough problems right now with the motherfucking Algerians. If they didn't have so much fucking money, I'd tell them to fucking take a fucking hike.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 9, 2008 06:16 PM
Entrepreneurs need to have MANAGEMENT SKILLS (the only kid entrepreneurs that work are Tech geniuses that end up presenting enough potential financial upside as to make rolling the dice on their pimply inexperience in real management worthwhile.
I more-or-less agree with Shaheen. When faced with this situation, the make-or-break question isn't whether you "roll the dice on their inexperience." Rather, it's whether it's worth the trouble/feasible to get a vague aproximation of proper management in place. A lot of very good deals are killed because the VCs recognize that injecting the necessary management skill is going to be too much trouble. This problem is exactly where the parody of the piratical VC who pushes the successful hi-tech entepreneur out his own company comes from. The VC ends up taking over because the original team that started the company couldn't run a brothel in a men's prison.
Posted by: Anonymous at June 11, 2008 04:07 AM