Washington is mostly Pandas

Washington is mostly Pandas

[This was just too good not to re-post. True then (2015) and true now]

I was asked recently on the air, so here’s a straightening out of my opinion about how Washington helps (or hurts) entrepreneurship. I totally ripped most of this off from from a recent talk with David Rubenstein of Carlysle at a recent FOA conference. But I doubt he will mind.

Washington reminds me of the Pandas, hanging out and occasionally mating in the National Zoo;

  1. Everyone wants them to do something, deliver something actually.
  2. Everyone agrees, within some tolerance, on what they should deliver.
  3. Pandas actually only are in heat like 4 days a year, so their DNA isn’t ideal for effective production
  4. Which means neither side gets much practice actually coming together on anything
  5. They go about their own business most of the year, then have very little time to get anything done
  6. A few days off, here or there, and nothing happens ’til next year
  7. There are surrogates for each party, helping the subjects get ready for the big meet up
  8. Everyone stands around in anticipation that something has actually been done.
  9. Rarely is anything delivered.
  10. They are essentially leased by the Chinese

The recent Jobs act might be a good example of what I’m talking about. The election-year cycle had all kinds of rhetoric about government being a partner of small business, you would have thought salvation was just around the corner. But real partners are there sweating new releases, making payroll, burning midnight oil on weekends to get things done. Partners don’t just show up on April 15th looking for a dividend. But despite the crowd funding provisions and some headway on H1-B visas, the Jobs act did little to stimulate. NOT THAT I EXPECT OR REQUIRE anything; I’m thinking that, as an entrepreneur, it would be best if we just knew where Government stands, and we can work around, over, and through those rules.

I mentor two kids and several entrepreneurs. Similarities are coincidental.