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Cassimir Medford

Plex Picks SaaS Veteran as CEO

Cassimir Medford
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William Terdoslavich
William Terdoslavich
1/16/2013 4:01:39 PM
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Re: Outside Investment Dilemma
The weird thing about the US is that sometimes we have industrial policy, and sometimes we don't. The government intervenes as circumstances warrant (GM and Chrysler bailouts, AIG, bank bailouts, Long Term Capital, S&L crisis). Otherwise, companies are pretty much left alone once you get beyond the petty details of tax codes and industry-specific regulations. Business has some input via Congress to influence this sort of stuff. 

This is not to be confused with neo-mercantilism, a good example of which is China, Inc. State-owned companies establish new industries behind tariff/trade walls, supported by cheap capital from state-owned banks and fueled with stolen technology from foreign competitors. 

in the US, "industrial" policy is the accidental by-product of the interaction of interest groups on the US government. Abroad, it is the government taking very deliberate steps picking winner and loser industries and backing it with state capital. 

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legalcio
legalcio
1/16/2013 3:49:43 PM
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Re: Outside Investment Dilemma
And @Cas, we wouldn't have a US auto industry today if it wasn't for government money.  The value of that cash infusion can be debated, but as GM and Chrysler emerged from government influence we've also seen a re-investment in IT.  GM is bringing back IT in-house, building new IT facilities and hiring a few thousand IT professionals.  I can't help but wonder if SaaS will be part of their new model.

And let's not forget the supply chain.  GM is in the car assembly business.  There are thousands of suppliers that are actually in the parts manufacture business.  Will the real home for SaaS in manufacturing be in the supply chain?

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Cassimir Medford
Cassimir Medford
1/16/2013 1:52:45 PM
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Re: Outside Investment Dilemma
Something that often gets missed in discussions of US manufacturing is the role of government. The minute you talk about the role of government in business, you get the naysayers. But the truth is governments play a very important role in many industries particularly manufacturing. Unfortunately the examples are all abroad. Just about every government other then the US government is deeply involved in helping their manufacturers through things like  funding which can lead to innovation. Government also provides a market for many of these innovations. If I started to list the innovations that came from government funding in areas such as computers, jet engines, lasers and on and on, the list would go on for pages.

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batye
batye
1/16/2013 1:23:47 PM
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Re: Outside Investment Dilemma
Cass, you are right, cash is king so to say, and yes, they need this investment and contacts...

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William Terdoslavich
William Terdoslavich
1/16/2013 12:47:55 PM
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Re: Outside Investment Dilemma
I think SaaS/manufacturing will reach its peak potential when you combine that ERP system with automated manufacture using 3-D printers. 

This won't be happening for five years. But when it does, expect to see a lot of manufacturing to be discontinued in East Asia and repatriated to here. Older metal benders won't get rehired. Technicians will replace mechanics.

Venture capitalists are always prowling for disruptive technologies. Getting in on the ground floor of a big change is how fortunes are made. 

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Cassimir Medford
Cassimir Medford
1/16/2013 11:48:28 AM
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Outside Investment Dilemma
Every firm that takes equity investment has to make a lot of tradeoffs, but one of the big positives of taking VC cash is you get the benefit of the VCs Silicon Valley contacts and the firms in the VC's portfolio. Without the VC's involvement (the cash being the main involvement) the Oracle executive would not take the job of CEO at a small SaaS company based in Troy, Michigan. He would not leave his cushy job at Oracle and head off to Motown.

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