Monday, February 11, 2008
My Contribution to Reality TV
Forro and I were going over this during one of our regular Costco runs, but we work with people who are awful venture capitalists. For those who are not in the know, a VC invests money in a business in exchange for something, usually a stake in the company. When the company hits it big, they cash out big. Think of it as a supercharged loan vehicle. Anyway, here's a list of projects that The Big Three have invested in with their investment results:
A self-help product: $-75,000
A pyramid scheme: -$14,000
Compact Disc products: -$150,000 (and counting)
Industry software: $0 (and counting)
Some of these are actually pretty good things. The self help product could have provided some solid return if they stuck to their guns with the founder of the company. Instead they decided to give in to his demands and pretty soon those demands turned into "give me your money and I will use it and you will get nothing." Lipo-dissolve was a little before its time and they didn't have the patience for it, the pyramid scheme was a Ponzi that collapsed right as they got in, and the CD and software stuff still has the jury out. I don't know what it is about them that causes this (perhaps it's the oil/water mix of one person who just slaps stuff on a wall and calls it good and two people who sit and theorize and never move - that's not dynamic tension), but for some reason it's the case. As a result, I would like Mark Burnett to take a listen and then give me a little something when he makes it into a hugely successful show.
I give you The World's Worst Venture Capitalists! Unlike most reality shows, the winner is actually the loser. It's like Brewster's Millions only weekly and without Richard Pryor. Let's say that every contestant (let's do 16 for uniformity's sake) got $100,000 to invest in the company of their choice. These people could be a mix of average people, actual VCs, or monkeys. You get them to invest in a company that they think will do poorly. The companies they invest in don't think that they're betting on disaster, but the audience knows better. The contest runs covertly for probably 6 months to a year with contestants booted off by someone (heck, let's get Trump) every quarter of the competition, 4 at a time. We'll follow their decision making process and what their money is being used for and the culture of the company they invest in. The winner gets a half a million bucks to invest wherever they want. I'd watch this, and I actually have 3 contestants to start with.