Monday, February 23, 2009

1st Annual Best of TheEEStory Awards

If there's one universal truth one can take away from The Academy Awards, it's that the more you insist that your awards celebration is important, the more important it becomes. With that in mind, it's time to recognize achievement in the field of EEStorytelling. The ballots have been cast and the winners shall now learn of their greatness.

The first category recognizes an individual who has shown promise as an independent thinker, the sort of soul who can make up his own mind decisively while still uncovering wide swath's of clues that show he may be correct. The EEStor EEScar for non-Anonymous EEStor Believer goes to Daniel R Plante.

Coverage of a topic like EEStor Inc., would not be complete if there weren't a few sound individuals who can hold in their mind contradictory concepts while maintaining logical consistency in support of EEStor progress. The EEStor EEScar for Things are Great But I Can't Tell You Why Without Employing Non-Verbal Communication goes to Ian Clifford, Zenn Motor Company for his statement that the EEStor NDA has no restriction on 'bubbling' over EEStor progress.

Fans of theEEStory revel in diametrically opposed communication plans, especially when they emanate from a single entity. The EEStor EEScar for Best Case of Here's Everything I Know About EEStor, Oops! But I Can No Longer Make Public Comments Maybe For Saying Too Much Initially goes to Lockheed Martin's Lionel Liebman and Craig Vanbebber.

It's not excruciatingly rare to come across someone knowledgeable who has never heard of EEStor. Therefore, it's necessary to recognize keen work in the field of Not Knowing And Thus Failing to Ask Interesting Questions. This year, we have a tie and so the EEStor EEScar goes to Every Person Who Has Attended An Event Where Kleiner Perkins Has Had A Speaker And Open Question Session But Failed To Ask EEStor Questions. (This includes especially American Federal Government Officials).

Sometimes it takes genuine muscle to pursue nuggets of truth in the EEStory. Doubts are there to be conquered which occasionally takes great effort with little that can be shared publicly. In the area of Best Individual Conviction That I Should Fly Cross Country To See EEStor's Possible First Unveiling, we recognize a person whose dedication to the EEStory is second only to one. I'm talking about the infinitely trustworthy, non-Anonymous EEStory crusader "with a few secrets of my own" Tom Villars.

In the area of multimedia displays of affection, we find the core of hope for the EEstory outcome. And so we must recognize talent especially that which must never be repeated for fear of offending the eegods. The EEStor EEScar for Best Lyrical Adaptation of A Popular Christmas Jingle As Sung By The Adapter goes to Mr. AD2.

Everyone knows that EEStor technology will create numerous jobs hitherto unimagined. One job worth noting that already exists is that of EEStor Poker Player which gives rise to our next category which is Best Straight Face To Maintain Consistency In Light Of Numerous Sources of Stress Not The Least Of Which Is A Timeline Moving Right On The Old Gant Chart And For Coining the Phrase No Net New News Yielding A Useful Acronym (NNNN). For worthy communication excellence, the EEStor EEScar goes to: Catherine Scrimgeour, Zenn Motor Company.

Now it's time to recognize the faithful. Some people collect giant balls of yarn. Others collect hundreds of dogs or cats. But in theEEStory, a person who can place EEStor clues along a timeline--hundreds of them-- must certainly be among the most publicly obsessed. So in the category of When Exactly Did EEStor Do This Or When Did So and So Say X about EEStor or How Long Has EEStor Been Engaged In Y the EEStor EEScar goes to BretSpot.

The Tickled To Death award recognizes giddiness in the face of potentially great personal fortune for having a little bit of faith and a lot of money. The EEStor EEScar goes to Mr. Carl Watkins, Light Electric Vehicles Company.

The Dielectric Saturation Is Not An Emotional Plea For Help And No, I Won't Be Allowing B An Interview Until I Am Proven Correct award goes to a skeptic whose consistency of position is only continually contradicted by his ongoing participation with the EEStory. The EEStor EEScar goes to Dr. Y_PO.

In the realm of Best Article Piecing Together The Economic Significance Of EEStor To Investors or Better, Best Article Describing EEStor's Marketplace As A Horse Race goes to Jim Kingsdale.

Now we come to the important awards according to me. In the category of Best EEStor Forum Post, we recognize the achievement in deriving significance to EEStor based on it's potential impact. The EEStor EEScar goes to Tea4Me, for What Are The Most Valuable EEstor Licenses In Order Of Value.

In the category of Maintaining A Business In Stealth Mode Despite How Cool It Would Be To Talk, The EEStor EEScar goes to EEStor Inc.

And now, the award we've all been waiting for and moreso after reading a posting with so little substance. In the category of Greatest Documentary Blog Uncovering The Coolest Technology Of Our Lifetimes Operated By A Mostly Clueless, Awkward Dork Preferring Run On Sentences To Non Run Ons, we recognize greatness simpliciter. The EEStor EEScar goes to me. Let's go to the acceptance speech:

I'd like to thank Tom, Dick & Harry Weir for providing me one of the best cyber adventures of a lifetime. Oops, late for a meeting! Gotta Run!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How One Ought to Think of the Economic Stimulus Plan

Now that the economic stimulus plan is the law of the land and ordinary citizens like me are learning about it's various provisions partly through the salesmanship of its supporters, it's time to consider carefully whether or not it's going to work.  It's not going to work and here's why.  In the most simplest terms possible, the absolute best way to summarize what is wrong with the plan is to simply concede to the other side that the vast majority of provisions in it are going to work.  Healthcare, science, education, state/local govts, ie, lump it all together with everything except energy provisions. Assume that every bit of what I consider to be "the other stuff" may come off flawlessly, achieving it's most exact goals to a high level of success.  But before we go congratulating ourselves on successes in those areas, ask yourself a fundamental question:  will whatever we do in those areas matter at all if we're back to $5/gal gasoline in 18 months?  More fundamentally, can our way of life as Americans, complete with our freedoms and comforts survive in any significant way if the price of oil returns to and exceeds the prices that preceded our rapid downfall?  It cannot.  Paint your utopia any color but try to situate expensive oil into it and you've just made it a complete pipe dream. Smoke up. 

 The problem is that the American people are confused about the sources and causes of our economic downturn. They see chaos in the real estate markets, the financial markets, the automotive industry and don't have a grasp on cause and effect. Everything seems to be going at once and no one on TV can put their finger on what the economic dependencies were that drove us to where we are.   I can help in this case.  Mr or Mrs Citizen of the USA, the price of energy is the single biggest determinate of whether or not our country enjoys prosperity.  There are no good 'ole days during times when energy was expensive. Energy is fundamental to our way of life...unless you feel that perhaps things like TVs, Phones, Cars, refrigerators, ovens,  heaters and air conditioners are over rated.   The real issue with energy though is its impact on businesses: when energy prices are high, manufacturing and transportation of goods becomes expensive causing the prices of things we need to skyrocket.  When this happens, we buy less. Demand goes down and businesses go out of business. It's as simple as that. It doesn't take a PHD in Economics to say what I am saying. It's a fundamental thing that you too can arrive at  if you turn off the TV for 15 minutes and think about it.  For the politically blind please note: I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat--and I don't identify with many independents either. I'm independently independent, a party of one but always enjoying consensus as a result. I digress. 

Let's get to the histrionics part of this article now.  How should our political leaders be conducting themselves given our state of affairs?  Let me make analogy.  Suppose North Korea started shooting 2 or 3 nuclear armed missiles per day at San Francisco at the same time that Iran started sinking US cargo ships & US Navy ships around the world.  We would be at war with foes we know we can defeat but we would be paying a heavy price especially if the other side had any luck.  Our leaders should be treating the economic situation as though the country were at war. (oh wait, I forgot we are at war)  We are experiencing a devastation to our country that is like 50 Hurricane Katrinas occurring simultaneously. It cannot be exaggerated...its worse than any damage any war has caused us in the last 150years.   4mil homes may go into foreclosure this year---yours may be one of them.  The bottom is falling out of this whole thing and you and I may get swept into it....because you refuse to educate your political leaders about what should be a priority. 

What is the answer?  3 Issues need to be addressed ASAP. 

1) Truly invest in energy indepedence.  We have to build out the grid's transmission capacity. If we dont do this, we can't add renewable energy sources to it,  allowing wind in North Dakota to produce energy for New York City or solar in Arizona to produce energy for Los Angeles.  A smart grid would move electricity to places where it is needed in a way similar to the Internet.  The funding in the stimulus plan to make this happen is a tiny fraction of what is needed. Building out the grid would create numerous jobs, an industry skill-set that would be exportable as other countries follow our lead.   The plan does not create enough energy jobs because it treats energy as though it were a nice to have in our economic recovery.  The price of energy is the same thing as that nuclear tipped missile zeroing in on San Francisco...or Menlo Park.  

2) Businesses that can create jobs should be worshipped by the tax code.  Nothing else in the code should take priority except the ability of small businesses to create jobs.  Related to this, every dollar of the stimulus package should be earmarked for companies who have less than 100 employees. Large firms should be required to partner with smaller firms to get a piece of the pie.  Every dollar!!!  Do you hear me Mr. Citizen!!!??? Every dollar!!!!! There are federal procurement laws in place that do this routinely with DoD contracts and it works well.  If it didnt, the United States would have only 5 stars on it's flag, one each for:  Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, & General Dynamics. 

3)  Across the board, the mortgage rates should be lowered for everyone by at least a full percentage point.   Rules should be put in place making write downs of foreclosure properties less lucrative than reworking a mortgage with the owner.  This would encourage people to look for ways to get into foreclosure?  No, put an up front fee on it. $10K--$15K...whatever makes the most sense for the property in question. That money has to be raised by the borrower to get the reworked mortgage and it has to be paid up front.  Bingo, more lending. 

Ok, I admit I don't really know whether or not #3 will improve our economy but every plan needs 3 prongs so I took a stab at it nonetheless.  But I'm telling you #1 and #2 are go-to-the-bank ideas. ...if only going to the bank meant what it used to mean.  Oh sure, of course, Dick Weir and EEStor should receive a grant of about $500Mil from Uncle Sam. That's a given since it would accelerate our energy independence unlike anything else.  Speaking of several hundred million for advanced batteries, what the hell happened to John McCain's battery contest with $300Mil going to the winner?   Resurrect it ASAP! I vote that the winning entry be hand delivered by Mr. John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins to McCain and a group of scraggly scientists from some large lab who verified the capabilities.   By the way, mark my words:  Doerr knows the potential & status of EEStor and since he's on the economic stimulus advisory council, history should judge him EXTREMELY HARSHLY if his actions  go towards filling his pockets more than giving this country what it needs in these HARSH times.  We should all ask 5 years from now, did Doerr use his insights to help this country by using his influence to accelerate the delivery of the key energy intitiatives that have the most positive impact on our country or did he act like an oil executive.   

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Renewable Energy Disappointment:

President Obama signed into law the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act today.  Unfortunately, the law did not name Dick Weir as Secretary of Energy Storage, a title he surely deserves (if a 3rd party confirms his production line capabilities). The law failed to name barium titanate the official energy storage material of the Department of Energy or Department of Defense, despite it's certain adoption by both for a myriad of solutions.  

Not disappointed enough yet? Why not surf on over to,  so you can track in painstaking detail all of the misspent funds?  If you're like me, the allocation of monies calls to mind some obvious questions.  How the hell can the act spend $163B on Infrastructure, Science, Education & training but only $43B on energy?   If everyone has a PHD, will we be able to afford $6/gal gasoline?   I DONT THINK SO!!!

How many recessions do we have to experience immediately following a run up on the price of oil before our so called leaders recognize that energy independence is our only strategic choice when it comes to stimulating our economy?

Get on the horn with your representatives and let them know that we need infrastructure to take on renewable energy sources: we need greater transmission capacity, better storage and smart grid technologies.   

Monday, February 2, 2009

General Motors & EEStor & Kleiner Perkins

Lyle at sent me note this weekend with a link to an interview he did with Denise Gray, head of GM's advanced battery division. A little bit later, Hank Green from Ecogeek, sent me what appears to be video of this interview and if you note, it looks like Hank may have been working the camera when the question was asked.

It's good to see GM acknowledging EEStor. Maybe this will cause Kleiner Perkins to stop pretending EEStor doesn't exist....behavior I find in direct contradiction to their self described talent to provide more than "solid financial support." I raise this because in EEStor's case, I can't find any evidence that having Kleiner as an investor has helped EEStor at all beyond the "financial support." Prospective startups should also note Kleiner's policy of investing in competitive companies by simply asking what that policy is. If you are a startup company, how would you feel about one of your major investors funding one of your rivals? Quite frankly, it doesn't make any sense to me. I can understand the generic concept of having a diversified portfolio. That's crystal clear. But when two companies are competing and reporting their progress to a central funding source, how is the proprietary information protected?

Are there any Kleiner Perkins historians out there who can offer more information on Kleiner investing in rival companies? When I asked Kleiner that question via their PR firm, the offer to respond was declined. Additionally, I was told that the stealth mode of it's portfolio companies is dictated by the companies themselves, not Kleiner, even if they often recommend it.