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A New Beginning Returns To The Beginning

TWEET with this short link

This is a story that I have tried to tell for years but could not quite put the pen to the paper. I think I was blocked about revealing the emotional catharsis, which in my view is inseparable from the experience but not a subject matter that seemed appropriate to the context of the blog until now. The story suddenly found it's way out into the larger world when I needed to write an About Us page for the Shopzilla Shop where I am marketing the digital  download  time line that I created as a product to sell in the free enterprise system. The product seems more appropriate to a non-profit organization, but that is not a viable option in the USA year 2014 for the content that I am producing- and thus I went opted for the free enterprise system- which is my preference any way.

I am sure that just about everyone will tell me my approach is wrong, and this may be true, but wrong is the only way I know and so I have to function within the theoretical hypothesis that two wrongs do indeed make a right.
My first wrong is the story line I wrote to my first unsuccessful KickStarter project for Andersen Studio (no longer available online) - too long it's supposed to be an advertisement- not a story- I am told!  Ok! You are right! I am wrong! internally, by my very nature- I can't help it- God made me this way!

 I started investigating the Maine economic development statutes when my pursuit of capitalization for Andersen Design, my family's ceramic art ,design and handcrafted ceramic enterprise intersected with a presentation delivered by what appeared to be the board of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund. I say "appeared" because the event, which took place in 2009 , was promoted as a competition for a very modest sum of money from an 'anonymous“ source , which in the year of Obama stimulus , I took to be a grant. Only after the fact did I understand that it was an investment requiring an exit strategy enabling the investor to make a profit.

I had never participated in anything like this. My preparation for the event was largely in terms of a internal struggle over whether to do it or not. The day before the event I found myself uncharacteristicly and physiologically depressed. The depression took over every cell of my body. Initially my mind did not understand what was going one until I remembered the event I was to attend the next day. My entire involuntary subconscious being did not want to go there. From that point on I could only weep my way through the day but my intellect understood this to be a form of cleansing, enabling being in the zone at the moment I was to give the presentation- a cleansing of all the mis-givings I held toward the players in the social drama that I was about to enter upon - even as at that point I was completely naive about the events that have transpired in my home state which I have since documented in the time line offered here.

The next day as I was walking toward the event I encountered a tall elegantly dressed woman. I can't recall how we became engaged in conversation, just that she told me that she was there because her company had come up with a new pain killer. I had not dressed for the event and she did not ask me why I was there. I felt a cold whiff of social superiority in her indifference and I thought to myself that I won't be needing her pain killer, having discovered my own rhythmic method over pain, which once consciously practiced, kicks in automatically in moments of severity. I am only telling this here to illustrate that different belief systems produce different solutions,which I believe that a society must accommodate to be worthy of the qualifier "free".

When I entered the building I encountered more instances of rudeness until found myself in the room where the participants in the competition congregated. Was it that I had failed to style myself before attending that produced such an affect?

Once in the contestants room, the atmosphere was more amiable. The award was for a small amount about the size that makes a difference for a Main Street business. The room was populated with middle class hopefuls.

Then the panelist came into the room- all of either a corporate or banking background. One after another they all rose to the occasion to tell of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund and as if in a state of bliss, they each told us that the Maine taxpayer invested 10% of the funds in this high growth investors corporation and that the tax payer's investment always rolled over to re-invest in the fund.

After my emotional cleansing of the previous day I was trying my best to be open minded about what I was witnessing while struggling to suppress the voice in the back of my mind that was in a state of shock. Why was the taxpayer an involuntary investor in a high growth investment corporation- and why was the taxpayer's investment treated like a donation to a non-profit corporation ? Prior to attending this event , I had come across the Small Enterprise Growth Fund in internet searches but the words “high growth investors” caused me to quickly move on as it clearly signaled that it was not a match for a hand crafted ceramic business in the USA. It is the high growth investors that have caused the collapse of the western ceramics industry, causing most production to be exported to global low wage labor markets.

This is a wax sculpture of a Tufted Titmouse for which I have been waiting over a year for teh mold to be mad- Soon to attempt another crowd funding project in hopes of making it happen
The group of contestants were divided into five groups, each group scheduled to be interviewed by a different panelist. I encountered only one contestant as she came out of the interview. She was very discouraged, feeling that she had received no response to her presentation, only silence.

My cathartic event of the previous day had the effect that I had anticipated. I was in the zone when I gave my presentation which had to do with new molds made for our ceramic line of designs which have maintained their marketability since the fifties. At the time there was another slip cast production in Maine that was wanting to expand. Our business would help that company to expand and their expansion would help us to continue as an American made ceramic product, outsourcing our production to another Maine company. This would be a start for my vision of a Great American Ceramic Designer Craftsmen Network.

We had about five minutes to make our presentation. I was presenting to Mr John Burns, director of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund- whom I found to be a likable man. I was quite surprised when his response was an enthusiastic.”Excellent !' and even more surprised by his next question, which was could I say more about the network. I couldn't imagine how I could say anything of value in the half a minute which must by now be the remaining time. In retrospect I realize that he was fishing for one simple sentence “ For an exit strategy, we will sell the network” I cannot imagine why anyone would make such a promise over an investment of the size being offered- a size that seems appropriate to a grant or a loan but absolutely inappropriate as an investment in which one promises to sell the business to the “anonymous” investors.

Below is a small peek inside the Time Line where in I came across a recent testimony from Mr John Burns, which gives more information to my speculation to include that the motive of the SEGF is to buy businesses. Since the SEGF are "angel" investors- as described in a pamphlet published by the FAME corporation, That means reselling the business in 7 years in order to realize a high growth profit. The motivation of a working partner involved in the business process is entirely different , while the concept of "public benefit" emergent from a working partnership makes for a different paradigm.

  • The remainder of the fund comes from private high growth investors who require an exit strategy from the business applying for funds. ( usually selling the business) so that they can make a profit ( 2009 Juice Conference) In his testimony in support of the recently passed Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit, SEGF Fund manager John Burns stated " At SEGF, we purchase equity or near-equity securities in startup, early-stage, and smaller established Maine companies." The SEGF demands an exit strategy for businesses receiving investments,( usually means selling the business) Mr Burn's testimony suggests that the SEGF can act as the agency that purchases the company which has received benefits.(unconfirmed speculation on my part)

I think Mr Burns said “excellent” because in the network, I had a big idea. I imagine that the board from the SEGF was pretty discouraged to find so many Main Street business ideas being presented in response to the Main Street scaled investment offer. At this date after four years of research, beginning with the statute chartering the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, I understand that Maine State Inc and all its subsidiary corporations exist to serve the interests of global capitalists. If I were to be so foolish as to promise to sell a ceramic network for an investment of a size appropriate only to getting some mold production going for our established line of designs, I should then not be in the least surprised to discover that the anonymous investors export production to a low price global labor market ,as has been the fate of most western ceramic companies.

That Is why our ceramic business can be said to be a poster child of Maine's UN-targeted sector. If the goal is to create an American Designer Craftsmen Network, the goal cannot be to make a profit in the billions, which is the goal orientation of the global capitalists with whose interests Maine State Inc is aligned. A made in America product has always been the goal of Andersen Design. This does not preclude a product line to be produced in another country but not the entire line. The motivations for wanting to retain a large hand crafted production in the USA has to do with the value of the work process itself and with cultural values and life style values that are threatened to be annihilated by the hegemony of power concentrated in Maine State Inc, which in its current state of aggression has transformed the state of Maine into a colony of the corporate state.

There is more to my story about my encounter with the SEGF- but I will wait until later to tell that- stay tuned!



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