Inventors vs Founders – Why the VC Model is Ruinous to America

In response to Marc Andreessen's "Techno-Optimist Manifesto"

Inventors vs Founders – Why the VC Model is Ruinous to America

In a recent article, The Cringe/acc Manifesto , Marc Andreessen of A16z espoused a new manifesto of technological accelerationism or as he coins it, e/acc. While Mr. Andreessen spends word after word on the greatness of ‘free markets’ in promoting innovation and growth, any normal American who wishes to engage in technological development sees anything but freedom. Instead the landscape is nothing but gatekeepers, naysayers and speculators who block real progress. Capital markets are a closed monopoly tightly controlled by Venture Capitalists (VC) and only given to a small chosen few, The Founders.

As such, technological development is governed by a small minority of aristocratic VCs as a ruthless and unaccountable dictatorship, over the objections of the starving American masses who yearn for airplanes and cnc lathes not apps and social media. This monopolistic financial dictatorship based in Silicon Valley represents a great threat to technological development and despite their loud rantings has slowed real technological progress in America to a painful halt.

In a series of essays, I would like to address the problems brought forth by the Venture Capital (VC) model of business and its ruinous consequences to Our United States and put forth a proper course of action based on the proven American School of Political Economy (ASE) and Economic Protectionism

Marc Andreessen on the nature of VC investing

The VC model is based on the idea that there are these wonderous Venture Capitalists (VC), who when endowed with (seemingly) unlimited money, are capable of spreading it to a few chosen Founders, who will then statistically produce a miracle of technological advancement, mostly through failure. Such steps are done at the pace of a break neck gallop with horizons barely stretching past one’s nose. Move fast, break things! Investors demand ten, nay a hundred times the return on their investment in a short time and do not allow their funds to throw money away on anything that doesn’t have ‘hockey stick’ growth in a 4–6-year timespan.

This strain of ‘investment’ has all been too clouded by the ZIRP monetary policies, the emergence of software where much low hanging fruit was grabbed by speculators, and general short term, low bandwidth ‘thinking’ made delirious with financial gambling

This financial degeneracy has led to abandonment of any and all material and technological needs of America, as most technological progress does not meet the needs of Investors for short term gains. As such whole industries have been allowed to wither away, picked to pieces by outsourcing, hyper-financialization, private equity debt maxxing, and other practices that can best be described as treasonous usury.

In the current moment, Mr. Andreessen wishes us to believe his model, if applied to precisely the same fields his VC ilk have ruined, by the same short-sighted and greedy ‘VCs’, but with a fresh and catchy rebrand of e/acc, will somehow miraculously restore America to its proper prominence. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Real advancement is based on innovation climbing the solid steps built previously by classical orders. The VC fascination with “moving fast and breaking things” is the complete opposite of proper development, and today we are bearing the cost of this horrible short sightedness. Moving fast and breaking things is also called “looting”.

Typical VC Backed Founder

The Founder’s main goal is not to develop new ideas, technology, inventions or processes nor is the goal to improve America. The Founder’s goal is simple, to cash out via the great “Exit”, which is also the goal of his VC investors. And to do so as quickly as possible so the process can be repeated. This “Exit” is a grand event in which a cascade of money is showered upon its recipients via an acquisition, IPO, stock buyback, or some other financial celebration. Until that point, the Founder is to toil ceaselessly and without complaint, bound to his computer (for nothing other than software can exist to the VC) no different than a serf bound to his plow and bound to his master’s land. Perhaps one day if the crop is good, the Founder can then become the Investor, driving his own serfs to enrich his hand.

Since the point of the Founder is to scale and grow at near infinite rates, ‘asset light’ ventures are the only ventures which can be attempted. This leads to a myriad of activities that can best be described as ‘skimming’. Software solutions which pluck the soft middle between the producer and user, better yet if they can be rented as SaaS rather than owned outright.

The VC model has no room for asset heavy industry (such as mining, heavy manufacturing, or infrastructure) which are crucial to the existence and prosperity of a proper nation. This results in the rot of critical economic organs, while the few pimples are force-fed until they become cancerous tumors. It has no room for long term innovation and research. It certainly has no room for the continuing investment required to sustain any industry.

In many ways, the Founder is not as different from the master of a latifundia, a feudal estate or a plantation. The latter’s income would come annually from a one-time event of selling his crop, and would require constant credit to ensure operation. As such, the Founder must obsess with his daily expenditures, the burn rate, to keep them as low as possible extending the resources he has, (The Runway), until the grand spectacle of the ‘Exit’ can take place. The Founder must depend on distasteful practices such as outsourcing, shipping sub-par product (the MVP) and massive capital misallocation designed to deliver short term results. Thus, no thought can pass through the Founder’s head which would look past the 4-6 years of the Investors’ real goal, the “Exit”.

The pure profit motive of the Founder hollows out Providence’s Gifts of Innovation and Discovery, devouring them for short term speculative gains instead of their proper purpose of ascending America.

Any long-term negative consequences simply cannot exist in the VC system and if they are accounted for at all, it is to sell the solution as a future source of revenue. This effect can now be easily observed as the same voices that cried for outsourcing, offshoring and ‘to learn to code’ just a few years ago are now promising to solve the issues of deindustalization and hyperfinancialization that THE VCs THEMSELVES CAUSED with a rebrand they call “e/acc”.

The Founder and the VC both represent many anti-American tendencies. Their outlook is globalist, chasing yield where they can find it.  Furthermore, they represent a vile strain that has no place in America, the (global financial) aristocracy. The pool of Founders that the VCs invest into is very small, coming out of a few select finishing schools (such as Stanford) regardless of country of origin. The vast majority of Americans are locked out of any capital investment opportunities. The VC holds those they conceive below their rank with contempt, vilifying them with phrases such as “Learn to Code” and today’s favorite “Start Building”. The very same Americans denied the chance to pursue their own ideas due to lack of capital or ability to raise funds (via such un-Constitutional laws such as qualified investor rules). What do they think would happen if they said such vile things to the Americans who lost their jobs due to globalization in real life?

Typical American Inventor

The Inventors take the millions of sometimes small and seemingly mundane minutiae of national needs and wants and weave them into the tapestry that is technological progress. Anyone doubting this is free to look up the patents of their favorite device and see what the claims really cover.

And what is the purpose of this tapestry? To enrich and empower America.

Orville and Wilbur Wright Pose with their Invention

Let us take a brief look at a pair of American’s most amazing inventors, The incredible Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Oliver. Born to a Preacher family, the Wrights became business partners first in a print shop, and later manufacturing and repairing bicycles in Dayton, Ohio. Their work on the bicycle gave them the skills and income they needed to pursue their lofty goals of conquering flight.  

The Wright Brothers were able to fund their experiments free of external controls, a need for an exit strategy and assuredly without having to explain a ‘market fit’. High wages in the workforce provided a market for their high-quality bicycles. Low input costs (such as mass-produced domestic steel and real estate free of airBNB speculators) allowed the Wrights to retain a significant portion of their income to dedicate to their interest in solving the greatest technological of challenge of mankind, flight. The Wrights did not have to explain product fit, market projections or develop an exit strategy. They could go on with their work supported by an honest income. The Wright’s shop was also not threatened by low-cost, poor-quality imports and their bicycle improvements protected by enforceable patents, thus they could focus on a quality American product to meet the needs of their American customers without cutting quality, engaging in financial speculation or needless marketing and branding.

From the 1900 Wright Cycle Catalogue advertising their Van Cleve Bicycle

With a steady disposable income and their newly gained experience, the Wrights were able to solve the challenge that has haunted mankind since the beginning. In the process the Wright Brothers invented the Wind Tunnel, A Propeller, a wing control system, the first airplane engine (with a light weight aluminum block) and many other seemingly disparate technologies that all came together in a perfectly balanced form. Such genius would have been spoiled if they were forced into unscrupulous behaviors like never ending funding rounds, pushing out a sub-par minimum viable product and marketing campaigns such as demanded by investors in modern startups.

And what marketing would an airplane need? While the VC would demand sales projections and customer demographics, any normal American of the time would be in awe of the prospect of owning their own horseless flying carriage.

Thus, the American Protective System created an environment where the real genius of the Wright Brothers gave an immeasurable technological gift to the world. An inferior free trade system would have forced them into lower professions and never allowed their talents to develop and creativity to flourish, as the economic inputs needed would have been eaten up by cheap imports, incessant need for a sales force, a lack of capital from VCs interested only in sales and many other free trade social blights.  

For a real and proper country to exist, its citizens must seek to improve it, by technological progress, by enriching the skills and abilities of fellow citizens, by helping each other succeed to their highest level regardless of their rank in society and seeking the noble goal of having a great country they can all belong to.

The current crop of Founders seek only to break, destroy and exploit for their own benefit believing they are above America.  National technological development cannot under any circumstances be left to yield chasing globalists, yet that is precisely what removal of tariffs and other economic borders, as advocated by free trade propogandists, accomplished with disastrous results. If industry was so vital, why was it neglected by the Silicon Valley VC for so long? What did a16z and other e/acc proponents invest into for the last decade (or two)? The record is clear, allowing VC to control technological investment in America has resulted in ruin, loss of technological advantage and general societal degradation.

 In order to continue as a country and a people, we must cut out the speculative VCs and imagination-free Founders and their pointless misuse of capital and return to the ideas, policies, laws and actions upon which America was founded, built and developed. Policies that would reorganize capital investment and make it available to all Americans and channel capital into productive domestic enterprise, and towards the betterment of our Nation and the American people. Policies that would endeavor productive enterprise and bound companies to America and not faceless financial multi-nationals.

These are the proven policies of protectionism, industrial growth and innovation, fiscal and monetary soundness, widespread availability of capital to productive enterprise and denial to speculators, and national unity as espoused by the American School of the Political Economy. These policies have time and time again shown themselves to promote technological, economic and societal improvements.