Paper Cuts!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2009 by lmdiorio

If you didn’t know already we are experiencing one of the most dreadful economic situations that I have seen in my lifetime (29 years as of yesterday).  Everyone is experiencing some sort of pain and it is leading to things like people cashing out their airline miles, AMEX offering $500 gift cards for cardholders to close their accounts and normal everyday cut backs on expenses.  Here is a great article from MSNBC regarding a concept of Insourcing – basically Do It Youself (DIY).  People are now doing the things that would have otherwise paid someone else to do.  This include home projects, landscaping, car washes, sewing, dining, spa services and even pet care.  Let’s take a look at a few of the stats from the article:

  • Starter sewing kit sales has risen 30% at Wal-Mart (I sewed a button on my pants myself this morning)
  • The landscaping industry has experienced a 7% drop in revenue
  • Pet services is expected to grow 6% rather than the 40% from the year before

All of this news hurts just like a paper cut – stings to high heaven and you can never get it to stop bleeding.  However, I recently watched Idiocracy, a movie in which the future that is depicted is scary.  People have become such idiots that you can even get a law degree at Costco and the smart people are outcasts.  The main character was once considered an idiot in our time but in the future he is considered to be a genius.  Perhaps these economic times will challenge citizens to work a little harder, not rest on their laurels and take back a society that has developed only because of our hard work and determination.  Things cannot be taken for granted anymore and I only hope that if and when we come out of this – we realize this and regain our dominance.

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1984 in America?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2009 by lmdiorio

I do not normally speak of things that are too political but this caught my eye and my blood pressure.  At the beginning of this year it was reported that states are looking at taxing the miles driven by Americans rather than a gasoline tax.  This made me think of when I read 1984. In 1949, George Orwell published 1984, a book that basically predicted the concept of “Big Brother” within government.   Widely viewed as an attack on Socialism, I think almost every high schooler has this as part of their curriculum (but don’t hold me to it).

Despite being “relatively” conservative, I’ve been extremely excited about the new administration and its youth and vigor, now I’m a little scared.  As someone whose clients are located all over the country and in areas that are not in major metropolitan hubs, I tend to drive to visit a lot of clients who are within 5 or 6 hours of Washington, DC.  Needless to say I drive a lot and with this proposal, I would be taxed according to the amount of miles I put on my car.

Where is the incentive, where is the privacy?  What if I need to travel to a store that is not within walking distance of my apartment?  Am I more apt to not go because I’d be watching the mileage on my car?  How does this stimulate the economy?  I’m sure all of my local stores would be excited because I would frequent them more often, but it may upset other specialty stores that require a person to drive to.  What if you live in a remote area and it takes at least 20 miles to get to anywhere with a store?  Let’s be honest – this is taking too far.   I thought naming a reality show “Big Brother” was funny and entertaining – I guess not anymore.

Link to the MSNBC Article is here: States eye taxing miles driven, not gasoline Oregon has tested cars with GPS trackers, taxing drivers at the pump

Road Block to the Ventur(e)a Highway – unblock it with Deal Flow and Cash Flow.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by lmdiorio

Happy New Year.  There is a really interesting article in the most recent edition of Forbes entitled, Venture Capital’s Comping Collapse. It is definitely a great snapshot of some of the performance measures in the Venture Capital world over the last few years and their dramatic decline.  In some aspects of the world of technology licensing, VC’s are often looked at with awe because they invest and help create start-ups and have been associated with the likes of Google, Skype and many others.  Even the movie Wedding Crashers pays homage the VC’s, John Beckwith: We’re brothers from New Hampshire. We’re venture capitalists.  Jeremy Grey: I’m sick of that. Let’s be from Vermont. And let’s have an emerging maple syrup conglomerate.” andClaire Cleary: So is it just about the money? John Beckwith: No no, it’s about, uh, investing in companies that are ethically and morally defensible. Sack Lodge: Well, like what? Give me an example. John Beckwith: Like what? Well, there’s the company that we have where we’re taking the, the fur or the wool from sheep and we turn it into thread for homeless people to sew. And then they make it into cloth, which they in turn sew, then um… make little shirts and pants for other homeless people to sell. It’s a pretty good deal.”

There has been a dramatic push in the technology licensing and economic development arenas to take new and innovative technologies and spin out companies.  Everyone seems to be looking for the next Google.  But in a world where people like myself are trying to market very, very early stage technologies is it the right idea?  Do not get me wrong – if you can do it – do it.  I’ve watched a few start-up companies initiated and I’ve seen them be successful.  They can be great in terms of job creation and wealth – both great things.  But – during these difficult times financially shouldn’t DEAL FLOW and CASH FLOW matter the most?  I understand mandates for economic development initiatives but there is also a mandate to try and commercialize these new and innovative technologies for the greater good – to promote innovation and possibly save lives.  In doing so things like reimbursing expenses, upfront fees, royalty and milestone payments may add up to more than what others can provide.  Not only may it have the potential to be greater but it helps in funding and maintaining the organizations supporting the commercialization.

So take a look at the article and judge for yourself.  I love what I do and I love the people that I get to work with on a daily basis.  All I want to see is copious amounts of University and Research Institution technologies commercialized and continue the goals that Bayh Dole set out to support.   Whether it is a start-up company, the next Skype or a plan ‘ole license deal – let’s promote innovation.

“I’m A Worried Man”

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2008 by lmdiorio

This song I think sums up what a lot of people may be thinking as we continue to experience the economic crisis.

“I’m A Worried Man” by Willie Nelson with Toots and the maytalls

My Top Ten Christmas Carols

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 10, 2008 by lmdiorio

I’m Catholic so I celebrate Christmas – so this is not meant to offend.  As many people know the Christmas carols start coming out on the radio earlier and earlier each year.   I thought I would divert from my usual banter and list my top 10 Christmas Carols.

What are your’s?

10. Little Drummer Boy – who doesn’t love to recite pa rum pum pum pum. Check out this version with Bing Crosby and Davide Bowie.

9. Jingle Bell Rock

8. Frosty the Snowman

7. Feliz Navidad – something about this song just makes me want to dance.

6. Joy to the World – at our Church the have a horn section that rocks out during this song.

5. We Three Kings – I’m a bass so it is easy for me sing

4. White Christmas – Bing Crosby still sings it the best

3. Carol of the Bells – Ding Dong, Ding Dong. Trans-Siberian Orchestra does it best.

2. I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – I’m sorry this is hysterical

and finally,

1. Grandma got run over by a reindeer – “And the pudding made of pig – Ahh”
My family usually all joins in and sings this one at Christmas dinner, especially after a few drinks.  I think we     have a weird John Prine obsession because we sang “Please don’t Bury Me” at Thanksgiving.  I have a video of my Dad and Uncle that will be up on YouTube shortly.

Finally (Red) Friday

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 5, 2008 by lmdiorio

Opposites attract – take for example the following: falling, declining, down, up, rising, increasing.  What is the attraction?  Well – they are all words that are used to explain the various financial crises in the world today.  In November we experienced the largest loss of jobs since 1964, unemployment is up to 6.7%. The price of gasoline was at its highest over the summer in a long time and now it has fallen and one CEO is saying that it could fall to $1/gallon.  Yet the oil companies are experience rising profits.  The Federal government is providing various corporations with billions of dollars to “bail” them out of their financial hardships.  Taxes are going up or are they going downCuts or hikes? Banks are being bought and sold, some are strong and some are weak or not at all. I think I’ve been lucky.  I have a very steady job, business is good and I have great family and friends.  But all in all – the whole situation seems devastating to the psyche of a lot of people.  Was it avoidable – Yes, no, well if we did this and we did that – who knows.  Sure things are avoidable, hindsight is 20/20.  With the right precautions, colds are avoidable.  I’m not sure that the same applies here.

As opposites seem to be more of the same – I hope that we continue to try to move “Out of the blue (red) and into the black. “ I’m off to put some money back into the economy.

Craigslist Ride of the Day – MB 280SE

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2008 by lmdiorio

This Mercedes 280SE is one of the all time classic sedans.  The hubcaps with matching body paint coloring and the big grill make it one of the most sophisticated cars I’ve ever seen.  Plus, this car was classically featured in movies like Rocky IV and Indiana Jones – mostly driven by Germans and Russians.

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/cto/945894581.html