Reid Hoffman is right. It’s about the startups

John

This is a TechCrunch post from March. If you don’t want to click over to TC (Don’t blame ya) I’ve pasted Reid’s big points and will expand with my thoughts.

1. Small business loans. Apply a micro-lending model that has proved successful in developing countries, extending credit lines up to $50,000.

Why? Because models of investment besides just venture capital can stimulate the economy. Let’s not neglect entrepreneurs who create coffee shops, florists, taxi services or other small businesses that help the economy thrive at the local level. Sometimes, a coffee shop becomes Starbucks. These don’t require venture funding; they just need a small business loan to get started and grow. Micro-lending has proved viable around the world — let’s do more of it at home. If a service like Kiva.org (disclosure: I’m a board member) can succeed in 12 countries, it can succeed here too.

I couldn’t agree more! 360|Conferences doesn’t need 9mil! We don’t want 9mil! We really (and currently) need just enough money to push us into Full Time employee status and pay ourselves salary so we can focus on more events, which drastically improves our money situation. Right noew we’re at a weird tipping point, needing more money for more events, but not being able to do more events because we have jobs and need the money to quit those. funny Interesting, not funny ha ha.

2. Abolish the limit on H-1B Visas. Remove the cap on H-1B visas and impose a 10 percent payroll tax beyond the benchmark salary for each visa. Then channel the proceeds from the payroll tax into US re-education programs.

This is a country founded on immigration. We should welcome the best and the brightest as our own. Abolish the H-1B cap, and give me an economic reason for preferring local. I’ll only do foreign if I need to. A 10 percent payroll tax for each H-1B visa can be reinvested in whatever it takes to get American talent up to the same level. This has been proposed previously, but a payroll tax ensures that H-1Bs are used for skilled labor, not cheap labor.

I’m really torn on the whole H1-B. Reid’s solution at least makes sense to me. I just can’t stomach the typical reason for hiring H1-Bs, which is to essentially get cheap indentured slaves. People can cry fould, but I’ve worked at more than 1 place with H1-B folks, and have known many others.  The fomer companies find the cheap labor, screwing US workers. When I hear “There aren’t any programmers in the US” my Bullshit alarm goes super sonic and dogs start barking.

I’ve also known H1-B folks that have had to stick with a shitty company, that’s in a slow death spiral, working them 12+ hour days because the Americans have long since quit for better opportunities, because the company held their paperwork. Weak sauce.

So while I’m no fan of the H1-B ‘thing’ at least Reid’s idea incentivises companies to really try to find local talent, and invests in our future. The US is in a death spiral of our own. When kids see adults losing their tech jobs left and right (to outsourcing and H1-Bs), what on Earth makes us think they’ll want to go into a tech field when they’re older. We’re sowing the seeds of our own demise, for short term profit bumps (executive bonuses).

3. Match funds for venture capital and angel investors. Match up to $100 million in stimulus funds for qualifying venture and angel investments if they create jobs in the US. Let these investors keep their normal return plus 50 percent of the returns on the matching funds, while the other half goes back to the government to revitalize further investment.

This one doesn’t apply to Tom and I, since we’re in the Taxi, Coffee shop, Florist realm, but I think it’s a good idea. Screw GM and the big banks bonusing out and partying on our tax dollars. Put stimulus money where it can do good, in start ups who are creating jobs in the US!  This is a win/win idea as far as I’m concerned.


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