107 posts categorized "Seattle"

Another Car2Go story

I love this service.

A lot of people in Seattle are talking about the politics of ride sharing services.

But Car2Go is more like a self-service. Or the loan of hardware, I guess you could say. Because you find a car, passkey yourself in, and drive yourself to where you want to go.

Latest episode of ad hoc transportation delight: I left my downtown office midmorning yesterday, running for my car to make a meeting with a client in Fremont. When I got to the garage, I found I didn't have my keys on me. I started to trudge back to the office, thinking of the alternatives: be a half hour late; call instead of meet in person.

Then I thought of checking on whether a Car2Go buggy might be near. Checking the app, I found one a block away.

I was only 10 minutes late!

Got home the same way, via Car2Go parked outside the building I'd just visited.

Midweek Report

Cherry blossoms

The Angel Capital Association 2014 Summit took me to Washington DC at the end of last week. I stayed over Saturday, mostly to take the opportunity to see Eddie Johnson play for the DC United football club at RFK Stadium, but also in the hope of seeing cherry blossoms at the Tidle Basin.

The cherry trees in DC were not in bloom.

But they are in full bloom back in my neighborhood in Seattle.

Cherry blossoms

Looking under the hood at the Washington State crowdfunding bill

A Washington State crowdfunding exemption is not yet a law, but substantially identical versions of a crowdfunding bill have now been passed by both houses of the Washington State legislature. So it's a good time to have a look at what the Washington State legislators have come up with.

6a01156e3d83cb970c017d3c5361f7970c-800wiWe're looking here at the bill as amended on the floor of the Senate and passed by that chamber on March 7. (I should say, we're looking as best as I can tell at the bill in its most active form. If 'm reading the official bill history report correctly, the bill as amended by the Senate should now return to the House for consideration.)

One great thing about it is that no portal is required. Portals are optional.

Now, don't misunderstand me; crowdfunding portals are good things, in the area of accredited crowdfunding, particularly, I think. But one of the main ways the federal crowdfunding bill lost its way - forfeited most of the strengths of the original Rep. Patrick McHenry bill that passed the US House of Representatives with such huge bipartisan support and had the support of the White House - was when the Senate added a requirement that a portal must be used.

The Washington bill otherwise copies key parameters of the federal statute:

  • $1,000,000 annual limit, per issuer;
  • same (confusing) per-investor limits (whatever; just say the limit is $2,000 and call it good);
  • escrow of proceeds until a stated target is hit.

But no requirement for audited financials, no new theories of personal liability for directors and officers, no (oxymoronic) ban on advertising, or any of the other show-stoppers in Title III of the JOBS Act.

All in all, I think the bill makes the grade and, if passed and signed by the Governor in its current form - and if not later undermined by administrative rulemaking - it will meet the criteria I set out last summer in testimony before a Washington State legislative committee.

Of course, the Washington crowdfunding exemption is boxed-in; it stops at the borders with Canada, Idaho, Oregon and the Pacific Ocean. Like all the other state crowdfunding exemptions, on the books or in the works, the potential viability of the Washington bill depends on the federal intrastate offering exemption.

The most surprising thing to me is that advocates for the Washington State crowdfunding exemption - indeed, more to the point, the state legislators themselves - doubled down on the utility of the exemption in helping tech startups. Here's a quote from the bill's preamble:

"Helping new businesses access equity crowdfunding within certain boundaries will democratize venture capital and facilitate investment by Washington residents in Washington start-ups while protecting consumers and investors."

Emphasis added. This is more of a tech startup perspective than we've seen in connection with, say, the equity crowdfunding advocacy efforts in North Carolina or Wisconsin. It may speak in part to the widespread perception in Seattle that venture capital financing in the state is too hard to secure, the ranks of venture capital firms here too thin. (Personally, I believe there is plenty of seed financing available in the Seattle area, though agree that it is true that emerging companies typically have to go out of state for VC financing.)

I'm troubled, however, by the bill's requirement of potentially perpetual public disclosure of competitive business information. The following is from Section 3(3) of the bill:

"For as long as securities issued under the exemption provided by this section are outstanding, the issuer shall provide a quarterly report to the issuer's shareholders and the director by making such report publicly accessible, free of charge, at the issuer's internet web site address within forty-five days of the end of each fiscal quarter. The report must contain the following information: (a) Executive officer and director compensation, including specifically the cash compensation earned by the executive officers and directors since the previous report and on an annual basis, and any bonuses or other compensation, including stock options or other rights to receive equity securities of the issuer or any affiliate of the issuer, received by them; and (b) A brief analysis by management of the issuer of the business operations and financial condition of the issuer."

Emphasis added. That aspect of the bill, unless changed, will compel equity crowdfunders in Washington State to figure out how to sunset or buy-out their crowdfunding investors. You'll want to choose a revenue loan or other kind of security that can be bought out or redeemed. One of the benefits of being a private company is that you don't tell your competitors what you pay your management, don't tell them how much revenue you have, etc. It's a bit crazy to think you'll be putting such stuff on the open web every quarter. (Folks involved in the drafting of Section 6 of the bill: is there something there to narrow the scope of Section 3(3)?)

Photo: US National Archives / Flickr.

Radiator Whiskey

Last evening I took a dinner break from work and walked down to the Market to, at long last, try Radiator Whiskey.

It's the bistro(?) offshoot of Matt's in the Market, across the hall.

I would have thought I would have been here much sooner because the theme of the place is whiskey: scotch, rye, bourbon, brown sauce.

If I had dropped in accompanied by a friend, I would have been outta luck: standing room only, but for one stool at the bar.

I had a "Talisker Storm," on tap from a barrel. The menu describes this single-malt as having been "crafted by marrying together both rejuvenated and refill, heavily charred casks of different ages."

I believe in the efficacy of heavily charred new wood after recently discovering the acceptably smoky single malt produced by Westland Distillery, in the SODO district of Seattle. Now, that American whiskey is good, and I'm thrilled to find American distilleries making a scotch-style whiskey rather than more rye or bourbon. But, brother, the Talisker reminded me: there's more to a robust scotch than meets the barrel. ("I knew Talisker Distillery. Talisker Distillery was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Talisker Distillery.")

And the brisket, the soft brisket served over soft onion rings under a bed of loose rocket (arugula)!

The brisket I had for dinner here was not the Texas, convection cooked, sugar cookie-rimmed dry butter my friend Jack Timmons smokes. It was wet and the fat was soft, not crystallized. A completely different meal from the same (right?) cut of meat, but also good.

Radiator Whiskey

Squeegeeing snow

It's snowing this morning in Seattle.

This was forecast, but it will still be interesting to see how the morning commute goes. Hopefully not perilously.

In the building I work in, and the one across the street, staff are doing something smart: brushing the half-inch or so of snowfall so far from walkways, before people tromp on it and make slush.

But they're not using brooms. They're using giant squeegees!

Squeegeeing snow

How to tell the difference between Stefan Frei and Stephen Fry

Contrary to rumors, Sounders FC have NOT signed Stephen Fry, the British actor and author, to replace Micael Gspurning at goal.

Stephen-Fry-Mast-of-Lake-Town

Instead, they have traded with Toronto FC to bring Stefan Frei, a goalie from Switzerland, to Seattle.

Stefan-FreiFans of Stephen Fry cannot be blamed for assuming Fry had assumed a nom de guerre. That would be very much like him.

Here are photos to help you keep from mistaking Stephen Fry for Stefan Frei, and vice versa.

Tweeted play-by-play

I'm not a big US football fan, though I live in Seattle and am caught up in the excitement over the season the Seahawks are having.

6a01156e3d83cb970c019b02635c99970c-580wiThe hard part about watching US football games on TV is they take so long and there are so many commercials.

Well, I'm walking home right now, half conscious that the Seahawks are in San Francisco to play the 49ers. And I wonder what the score is.

But by following the Seahawks Twitter feed, I get what amounts to a play-by-play description of the game as it progresses!

Now, all you need to do is attach 5- to 15- second video snippets of the good plays, and there's no reason at all to watch the game on TV.

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