Saturday, March 01, 2008

It's All About the Bucks Kid, the Rest is Conversation

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. -Gordon Gekko
I thought I'd take a moment to post a quick summary of this weeks brouhaha over the Lion Launch Pad.

Here are the facts as we know them. On February 8th Dave Barton withdrew his financial support for the nonprofit business incubator Lion Launch Pad. Sometime between then and February 24 he launched his own incubator, The Blue Line, in the Lion Launch Pad's office space. This was space which Barton controlled. In turn, the Lion Launch Pad clients became The Blue Line clients.

What was the motivation behind Barton's actions? You can read what Barton says they were in the comments here or in Jeniffer Thomas' Centre Daily Times story. But there is ample reason to doubt what Barton has to say. The first thing to consider is that Barton, as a condition for no interest loan from Penn State, promised to create jobs in Centre County for Penn State grads. The jobs never materialized. There is also the odd circumstances surround the whole Lion Launch Pad affair such as Barton's unwarranted flaming of Daehee Park. Finally, Barton makes clearly self-serving statements which I discussed here. All of this undermines his credibility.

So what do I think is going on? Here is my best guess.

The Lion Launch Pad is a nonprofit, but there is no indication that The Blue Line is a nonprofit. Because the Lion Launch Pad a tax-exempt organization Barton could not profit from any contribution which he made to it. Hence he couldn't take a piece of the action of any business which got its start there with the help of his donations. He does not have the same restriction placed on him with The Blue Line.

So my guess is that Barton was motivated by what motivates so many in the business community:greed.

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