Monday, March 29, 2010

Credibility Questions Emerge Over Kleiner Perkins' Involvement with Terralliance

Although it's been pointed out several times previously that not every Kleiner Perkins investment yields a win, many still believe Kleiner Perkins' involvement with EEStor provides credibility. But a new article penned by Adam Lashinksky about a firm formerly known as Terralliance challenges this belief. Lashinsky makes a compelling case that relying on the due diligence of firms like Kleiner Perkins or Goldman Sachs is not without risks.

The whole story is, quite frankly, hugely embarrassing for Kleiner Perkins since it seems to show that if you are good at weaving stories regarding fantastic returns on investment, you may just be able to shake close to $100Mil from Kleiner despite any of the consultants they hire to vet out your claims. Billionaires with slightly above average interest in the likelihood of success with investments with Kleiner should pay close, very close attention.

First of all, things have gone so poorly with Terralliance that they changed their name to TTI Exploration. The old Terralliance website doesn't even redirect to the new one. EEStory followers will also note that the Bio for Kleiner Perkins' appointed CEO, Mike Long no longer mentions EEStor as it did when it was on the former Terralliance website.

The similarities and differences with EEStor are worth noting. TTI's founder, Erlend Olson is depicted as a persuasive dreamer who is better at locating investor money than oil, which is what his technology was claimed to do ( a claim the new website maintains). The same can't exactly be said of Dick Weir who only accepted $3Mil of Kleiner's money but whose claims of grand outcomes is certainly on par with Olson's. (it's worth remembering here John Doerr's much written about and touching story about being inspired to invest in green technology after his daughter asked him what sort of planet she and her children would inherit... in light of the enormously disparate investments in TTI ($93Mil) & EEStor ($3Mil) ). As for other differences, EEStor, unlike TTI, has pursued a path of protecting it's intellectual property with patents. According to the article, TTI's founder not only didn't file any patents, he also must not have written much down which brings us to the climax of an apparent trainwreck.

Seems everyone is suing everyone associated with TTI or Terralliance. Kleiner is trying to sue the founder. Investors are suing other investors. It's all so disturbing that it's now little wonder so many Kleiner firms have sought Federal funding lately. Surely the due diligence of career federal government bureaucrats cannot equal that of competent Venture Capital firms? And if they can, surely any ensuing lawsuits won't be as formidable as those lodged by disgruntled investors.

Is EEStor another Terralliance waiting to happen? I suppose asking KPCB that question is a no-go.

EEStor's Dick Weir Talking Again: EEStor has 5 Patents Now

A renewable energy blogger I correspond with occasionally shared with me details of his recent interview with Dick Weir taken on Wednesday, March 24th 2010. He had no current plans to publish it because the topics he was mainly inquiring about did not receive comments from Weir.

In the interview, Weir made several comments on a number of other topics however.

1) Weir feels strongly that the release of his audio to the Internet was "a lousy trick" and "probably illegal."

2) EEStor now has 5 patents. (a quick poll of some TheEEStory regulars suggests only 4 are publicly known...speculation is that this might be the grid leveling patent but there's no way to know for sure)

3) After making clear that it was not his place to comment on Bloom Energy (instead recommending people talk to Bloom or Kleiner Perkins), Weir stated that "they put a lot of money into it. I've spent much less time and a fraction of the money" implying a direct comparison of the value of EEStor over Bloom. The blogger taking the interview suggested Weir was saying more about Bloom than he wanted to say and sternly broke off his comments by referring him to Bloom.

4) Weir was adamant that EEStor has never published an official statement of EEStor's development schedule. "People say we're late. We're not late! Zenn put out some things but we didn't authorize those statements." While it's true that EEStor has never published a schedule, it's also true Weir has made statements about timing on multiple occasions to multiple reporters. As to whether EEStor can be praised for rapid development, the only evidence we have on that is public statements made by Ian Clifford. Without knowing where EEStor is in it's development, we can't yet say whether or not it's true.

5) Weir insists EEStor's PR strategy is a no-hype strategy. He feels there are many "rude remarks" about EEStor on the Internet which are probably coming from competitors. He says that "there are knowledgeable people" who say many complementary things about his EEStor work.

6) EEStor's current published certifications of their work were not paid for by EEStor.

In another interview this past Friday, regular Larry visited EEStor and Weir offered the following comments:

7) on Carl Nelson's illness: he is feeling better.

9) Larry mentioned to Weir that Ian Clifford recently stated that he has no doubts about the viability of EESU now. Weir replied to say that Zenn does not speak for EEStor.

10) Larry also reminded Dick that he has stated the R&D at EEStor was complete to which Weir replied twice, "What?!"

Just a friendly reminder to anyone curious about this: it is my personal recommendation that people not visit EEStor without EEStor's express invitation. It can be perceived as harassment and you might even have the police get involved. That, of course, is entirely EEStor's call.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Zenn's AGM

I was disappointed by the AGM. I think the target should have been:

1) say a few encouraging words about EEStor progress that is tangible yet respects the NDA

2) say a few encouraging words about success marketing Zennergy to the automotive market

I think the market opportunity discussion was not as important as expanding on the facts surrounding marketing it to potential automotive customers. Innocuous facts like, number of meetings, number of repeat meetings, etc seems like it would have been helpful. Interested parties aren't asking for highly secret information---anecdotes of a generic nature would be very helpful but not harmful.

Concerning the alleged harassment case: it does not appear that the correct facts of the case were actually brought to light in regards to the human rights commission. Keep in mind Zenn that the best way to put something behind you is to not create new opportunities for additional questions.

In my unhumble opinion, the single biggest challenge for Zenn at this point in time is to prove that the burn rate is actually accomplishing something tangible and concrete when placed against the backdrop of the fact that no one knows when EEStor might announce something. Also, there seems to be no sense of if the wait for EEStor might be 30 or 90 or 240 days.

So, to prove the burn rate makes sense, someone needs to elaborate on the "outsourcing" that is currently occurring. That is a very mysterious destination for investor funding at the present time and I'm sure if a bit of information could come out about it, it would be well received.

Finally, I think the missed opportunity to provide an encouraging message at the AGM is a direct function of the distraction caused by mishandling the harassment case. This needs to be placed in the rearview mirror as a much accelerated pace. Had the AGM gone over better with me, maybe it would have convinced me it is NOT a distraction.

Note to Rick McGraw: hope you're feeling better today. Shoot me a copy of your Doctor's permission slip. Thank you.

Gigya Reading My Email?

Gmail informed me today that someone from this IP address attempted to access my email:

The registry shows the IP belongs to Gigya Inc. From their website, we learn this:

Who We Are

Founded in 2006 by a team of Israeli technologists, we are experts in how people interact on the web, both with content and each other. We have focused since our inception on simplifying the connection process between our clients’ websites and the social networks and on enhancing the resulting connected experience at every level to grow your online business.

Ok, Gigya, sounds great but let's not incorporate my email into your system, ok? Here is the screenshot from Gmail:

Let's see, should I tweet about this now and link to it from Facebook? :-)

Also, I sent a note on this to abuse@gigya but if anyone wants to work with me on this from Gigya, here is my email address: I'm happy to work with you and google to resolve this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick Says EEStor is Real

Quite unexpectedly, I got a call from St. Patrick today. He wanted to say a few words about EESU. Go ahead, Pat.

"The EESU packs energy so astronomical
In space that is very economical,
But the new ones I've seen
So hard to believe,
That baghead is correct... if not comical."

--St. Patrick March 17, 2010

Thank you, St. Patrick. That'll keep all the snakes slithering along.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Zenn Motor Company New Executive Short List

In light of the prior story I posted over the weekend concerning alleged misbehavior at Zenn Motor Company, I've been bombarded with questions & concerns expressed by the sizable portion of EEStory followers who are also Zenn investors. Out of the multitude of interests expressed therein, I've selected one to dissect in this article:

Dear EEStory Blogger B,

Theoretically, suppose the handling of this incident at Zenn leads to the departure of Brian Cott from Zenn, who would you recommend fill his role?


---EEStory Regular---


Dear EEStory Regular,

This is a good question which focuses on Zenn's future rather than it's past and if considered carefully might turn some lemons into lemonade. So, to whom should we trust the 11% EEStor fortune's immediate future? ( Before I go too far, please let me note that my occasional jovial take on events should in no way be interpreted as trivializing any trauma experienced by the alleged victims. I mean no disrespect. )

First things first, let's sketch some of the attributes of what we're looking for here. Any new executives at Zenn must pass the Dick Weir DNA test. That is to say, it is a good idea to examine the genes of all candidates to ensure that at least some distant 4th cousin of Dick Weir is placed into the open slot. Secondly, if this person had, for example, saved Dick Weir's life in the war or introduced him to Betty or funded some of Dick's early projects, you're going to have a tight relationship there. You want the new executive to be bros with Dick & Tom. Picture Fist Bumps, ok?

Top picks in this category would be Dell's Greg Weir who is Tom Weir's twin brother. Another option would be Dick Jr. Can you imagine the conference calls if Dick Jr or Greg were up in Toronto?

"Dad, will you please give me a battery, Dad? Dad, please. Please, Dad. Dad, the battery, please. Please Dad. Dad I need the battery. Mom, will you tell Dad to get me a battery? It's NOT FAIR!! Tom's got a battery, why don't I get one! I need the battery Dad!"

Ok, you're right, having a family dynasty turns everyone else into outsiders. What you want is someone with a relationship but also some dispassionate appreciation for the bottom line. Someone who is going to take his/her cue directly from the numbers. To that end, perhaps Alan Topfer, Mort's son would be a good candidate. He already manages portions of Mort's wealth and the Weir's know him from their days at Dell.

You think someone with closer ties to Kleiner Perkins might help Zenn, after all, my partner's partner is the partner of my partner, right? ....someone with all the Kleiner Perkins connections to power, particularly political power? Well, if you're looking for someone who has Kleiner's exact vision of success & who is almost robotic in carrying out the will of John Doerr, you're going to have to put forward President Barak Obama who has pretty much rubber stamped anything Kleiner Perkins advances as slightly more than a half-baked idea. And YES, you know that I am very biased on this point in believing that practically everything President Obama has supported with regard to renewable energy is worth far far less than what he could achieve as one of the leaders Zenn Motor Company's executive team. Crazy talk, sure. That's what they all say. Raving lunatic, that's me!

Ok, if we're looking for something more level headed, let's point out that any new Zenn executive really needs to have--in additional to Weir genes--deep ties into the automotive OEM and Tier One contacts along with experience with Mergers and Acquisitions. That brings us to Senator Carl Levin who is rumored to be very close to retiring or should be (oops, did I let that out of the bag?). Who else besides Levin knows the ins & outs of the automotive industry without actually being in it, except for that minor issue of owning General Motors (M&A. Check.)? Additionally, we know Levin is excited about the prospects of EEStor because Lockheed Martin told him he should be excited about it....which lead to smiles all around. Or how about Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm? (her political future is not promising given the snubs her team issues bloggers like me for a few innocent EEStor discussion topics). OK, Ok, Wrong side of the aisle, but good idea? True but I don't think Representative John Carter TX-R has the proper ties into the automotive industry....even if he is convinced EEStor will transform it.

Lockheed Martin connection? You have to put George Karayannis in the top position if you want a Lockheed connection. Who else has stated unequivocally that "absolutely they will support EEStor" if utility customers want it? That's the sort of conviction we need even if one isn't entirely familiar with EEStor or whether or not it works as they say. Second place goes to Robert J. Stevens, current Lockheed CEO, who, although he doesn't appear to have any strong ties to the automotive industry has strong ties to just about everything else which might lead to some creative thinking about how to maximize Zenn value. For example, picture utility grade storage units with 2 doors and 4 wheels--technically a vehicle but one that's permanently parked at a power plant to level production. These could be stacked and racked like BattPack (say that 3 times fast). This would be consistent with Zenn's license and yet allow Zenn to move into spaces maybe no one was anticipating. That's stealth baby, and Stevens can make that happen. Oh, one more, picture wind mills bolted to the car formerly known as CityZenn. At weighing time, it falls under the license limit, but in use, it makes wind mills "real." (Third place goes to Will Shores, the current manager of the EEStor relationship for Lockheed).

Maybe I'm over thinking all of this. Maybe what's needed isn't so much business acumen or connections but proximity. In that vein, I'd put forward the Pastor of Lakeline Church, conveniently located at 715 Discovery Blvd in Cedar Park, TX just a stone's throw away from EEStor. I think a prayerful partner who can connect video surveillance technologies to their roof for constant shareholder updates would be a great combination in a new Zenn executive.
(Incidently, I made use of the online prayer request form on Lakeline's website. Yes, my prayer request was specifically for the rapid adoption of EEStor technology and the well being of the Weirs. I'm not kidding. You should do the same).

Ok, you want a serious candidate? No kidding around? I'll put my money on any one of William Clay Ford Jr's four children. The oldest one may have recently graduated from Princeton and the youngest is probably about fifteen years old. See that? I think if those kids can run a website and log into conference calls, they can run Zenn. Stop, I'm kidding again.

What this article proves is I have no idea--not even a clue-- who should be the new executive at Zenn. All I know is the future is bright. EEStor and Zenn are bigger than any one person and let's all rally around the future and not stay stuck in a quagmire when we've got so much to be looking forward to and working towards.

Ok, I do have one serious request here. I recommend the Zenn Board of Directors bring forward a female candidate. Give me one good reason why not. (by the way, the women pictured above are all successful executives at Gucci.) Global business experience? Check.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zenn Motor Company BoD Botches Harrassment Incident?

According to multiple sources including a Zenn Motor Company institutional investor (who all spoke on the condition of anonymity), a sexual harassment scandal may have been mishandled by Zenn's executive team and board of directors. Apparently, an internal investigation has determined that a senior Zenn executive violated sexual harrassment rules with a junior employee. The executive was disciplined but not terminated. Instead, a senior officer who voiced concern to the board of directors that the incident and alleged victim's well being were being mishandled was later dismissed from his job. Additionally, an alleged witness to one of the incidents was also dismissed. The sequence of events, whether related or not, will likely result in questions leading up to the Annual General Meeting on March 24, 2010.

The anonymous reports on the incident matched details dropped by others in various internet message boards in recent days. Zenn CEO, Ian Clifford offered no comment.

Out of respect for all parties, I have left out the names of those involved.

When asked if he felt the incident will be very damaging to Zenn, the institutional investor said it all depends on whether Zenn's board determines to put it behind them quickly or let it drag out (with the standard caveat regarding Zenn's complete dependency on EEStor).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Word of the Day: Chronopotentiometry

The word of the day-- today-- is chronopotentiometry which edged out it's near cousin chronoamperometry.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deutsche Bank Ahead of the Sharply Downward Curve

Brain Surgeon, Dr. Lyle Dennis of, cracked open my mind today (I didn't feel a thing and was actually awake the whole time) to a report from a trio of analysts at Deutsche Bank claiming greater optimism for the future of electric vehicles including primarily that the price of batteries "appear to be coming down faster than we expected." The sharper decline in pricing "implies potential for more rapid EV penetration," according to the report.

I would like to echo what the astute seers--Rod Lache, Dan Galves & Patrick Nolan-- from Deutsche Bank have pointed out for us with one slight modification. Not only will the price of lithium ion batteries continue to fall--in my opinion--but they will soon enough become more worthless than dirt. Dirt, as you know, has many uses and for the most part, you don't have to pay any fees to dispose of it as it just sort of stays where it is. Lithium ion however, is a toxic substance. Accordingly, I predict that the introduction of the EEStor EESU into the market place will rapidly turn lithium ion assets into toxic liabilities....worth less than dirt, when you factor in the appropriate regulations that should eventually be introduced to keep them away from the water table.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

NASA: EESU Originally Called "Rapid Energy Delivery Battery" REDB

You may recall a couple articles I wrote concerning a FOIA request issued to NASA headquarters by world famous EEStor follower, RT. In that request, we learned that EEStor had submitted six proposals to the SBIR program in 2002. If you check the original release, the last page shows an email from an employee who found the proposals using a search tool at NASA. The original FOIA request should have encompassed those proposals redacted of any proprietary information. Additionally, NASA should have provided any records surrounding those proposals including meeting notes, emails, etc associated with the proposals. They should have done this because it is the law.

Instead, NASA said the proposals no longer existed. Out of anger, I used the word 'Assholes' to convey my displeasure. That is a really inappropriate word to use in a serious blog such as this where my world renowned journalist skills are showcased so frequently. I really regret having said that about NASA. I wish I had chosen a more professional way of expressing myself and calling to light an issue which definitely deserves more light. Therefore, I am redacting what I said earlier and would ask you, kind reader to forgive me for this breach of your trust in my professionalism. I would be very appreciative, dear reader, if you would replace what I said earlier:

'Assholes at NASA'

with this updated phrase which I think may foster more understanding of the actual facts:

'Incompetent Assholes at NASA.'

Perhaps slightly because of my maniacal, non-stop prodding, RT continued to follow up with NASA and recently asked for a print out of the prior search of the proposals. Fortunately, we got a copy of that print out. While it doesn't seem to provide any important new information, (unless you consider what is likely the first attempt at naming the device prior to arriving at EESU), it did lead me on a little quest for knowledge.

First, it would appear from the proposal notes that the first name for an EESU was intended to be Rapid-Energy-Delivery-Battery. REDB. Does't roll off the tongue, does it? No. We can conclude then that EEStor has made progress outside of what has been revealed in their press releases. Don't accept any lies to the contrary.

Secondly, at the bottom of the print out, you can see the server against which the query was issued. After poking around, I called the support line for the system in question and learned that indeed all 6 of the proposals ARE IN FACT STILL ON THE SERVER. I asked the person supporting the app to look at each proposal and determine the number of pages in each. (ranges from 14-17). Alas, the documents were not authorized for this particular individual.

At first glance, there would be sufficient facts to warrant calling this a NASA COVERUP!!! But, I'm not prone to conspiracies and so I actually did a bit more digging and as best as I can surmise, we're dealing with nothing more than incompetence and laziness in the FOIA office. I won't name names or go into any's immaterial. But I am convinced there are more documents that have not been released.

I hope this clarifies this particular episode in the EEStory and that you won't judge me by my incomplete phrasing about NASA earlier.

PS: No, I don't mean ALL of NASA.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Al Gore on EEStor: I'm Not Doing Interviews Right Now

But, thank ya anyway.

Lockheed Martin revealed their WORLD CHANGING SEEsuite software capabilities today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, God Bless Them. Unfortunately for this important Lockheed initiative, no new information about EEStor was revealed. However, Lockheed Martin DID make an excellent choice today and they actually answered a question THAT I SUBMITTED online during the webcast. KUDOS to the person reading the questions coming in from online. I love you!!!

And as luck would have it, tonite, we have a little bit more to reveal about EEStor.....if you can follow the clues.

Lockheed Martin EESUite, I mean SEEsuite to See EESU eat

Lockheed will be rolling back the curtains on their SEESuite or grid management applications today at the National Press Club. Early indications are that there will be no new information concerning EEStor. However, based on past events, Lockheed officials have been desperately working on their EEStor poker faces. I anticipate forced grimaces and stone faced indifference when invariably asked about EEStor today at the event.

Are you planning to attend via webcast and slip in a question about EEStor? Please do but keep in mind Lockheed received well over 50 questions last time about EEStor and they refused to address a single one.

My advice to Lockheed in all of this? Provide a tiny update on EEStor so that people aren't distracted by it and so renewable energy bloggers like me will actually put in the effort to write about SEEsuite. It only makes sense.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Counterintelligent? National Security Agency Seeks EEStor Intelligence

In his new book, "Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy," veteran Washington DC reporter Eamon Javers provides a vivid picture of the current collaboration taking place between various multi-national corporations and individuals and firms arising from the intelligence community. As Javers discovered, today's large businesses & a growing number of hedge funds are increasingly utilizing the spy skills of individuals trained to support various state sponsored intelligence agencies around the world: NSA, CIA, KGB, FBI, etc.

What is drawing these spys into spying for big businesses like Disney, Mars & Nestle? Money. Javers points out that many US agencies have moonlighting policies which allow agents to perform work on the side if they obtain approval to do so....for the purpose of improving morale and retention. These individuals, current in the art of collecting intelligence and in running counterintelligence operations are going to work for a growing number of private companies formed by former members of intelligence organizations around the world, some of them very high ranking. (Not even going to mention countries where the Intelligence community now rules the people)

Shockingly, some of these private firms combine forces with their adversaries around the world who work or worked for unfriendlies such as the Soviet Union & China. The success of these firms has also turned intelligence gathering into a business into which large companies are investing money and resources. Just as with other types of businesses, these companies are being bought and sold by entities that would give the average American pause, such as companies in the Middle East.

One fruit of Javers work is that conspiracy theorists will have much more reality to draw upon to spin their tales which brings us to Javers "modest suggestion" to society,

"The spy firms must be dragged farther into the public view, where citizens can keep an eye on whether what they're doing is constructive or destructive."

Javers recommends that the framework of registration and disclosure successfully applied to the lobbyist industry also be applied to spys.

With Javers thought in mind, it is worth noting that at least 1 individual working in our country's intelligence community keeps close tabs on EEStor and and has been doing so for months.

Website statistics for the barium titanate blog and show that someone whose traffic originates from the md procurement office (what some consider the contracting office of the NSA) has been lurking on the site for quite some time. Interestingly, it may be more than one individual since the traffic originates from up to 5 separate networks. Either this individual moves around for his/her job or there is more than one interested party at NSA keeping tabs on EEStor information. Interestingly, some of the recent traffic has arrived via google searchers for "eestor scam."

Who are these people at NSA gathering EEStor information? Are they making sure nothing spills out? Are they working for private industry and orchestrating a dirty tricks campaign on behalf of EEStor competitors? Is it an old friend of Dick Weir's or Carl Nelson's--both of whom worked at one time for the CIA? Or is it just the janitor who occasionally hacks into the most secure, well-logged network in the world to check up on his investments?

You be the judge. But please don't complain that you were not informed. MUHAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!