Friday, October 13, 2006

Investing non-traditionally

Paul Grim talks about investing in non-traditional targets (airplanes) and I think he has cause a bit of a minor local stir. But it all makes sense to me.

Aviation is an entire industry that is dying because there hasn't been any real innovation, and from a VC point-of-view, where they see neglect in the past, they may see profits in the future. (And personally, when it comes to airplanes I'm happy to have someone innovate beyond, as Grim puts it "rubber mallets pounding ill-fitting parts into place.")

Look around now at all of the VC money going into alternative energies, that is really just funding innovation on top of 100+ year old combustible engine technology. Seems to me that this is the same thought process as Grim's avaiation adventures. Hopefully investments made today in energy will clean up our air in the future (and probably make a few people rich in the process).

So is energy, then, technology? Again, I would say yes. In the same way I would say that fire and the wheel were technology. (You may want to flip through "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond for a fantastic discussion on how technologies, shaped by local environments, have helped plot the development of humanity; starting with fire and the wheel, but even moving on to seed and animal breeding "technologies" and methods.)

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