The Original American Safety Net
Why investing in my horse vending machine business is the patriotic thing to do.
The other day, for a forthcoming podcast episode, I sat down with private equity tycoon David Rubenstein about his new book, The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream.
We spoke about democracy, capitalism, the endless toll of slavery and the success — or failure — of the Experiment. The subject of his personal $4.5 billion barely came up. That’s kind of amusing, because after our amiable chat, two things were abundantly clear:
Our Constitution and earliest federal laws prove that the founders saw entrepreneurship as fundamental not just to American capitalism, but to our democracy itself.
The certainty that Mr. Rubenstein and I will soon be business partners. In the coming days, you will be reading of a “significant investment” in my startup, Horse Vending Machine Associates. Potentially, this prudent wager will make him a very wealthy man. Because, while you probably haven’t thought of this I have: the quik-horse market is vastly underserved.
Now let me get a couple of things straight. First of all, this is in no way comparable to a few of my previous entrepreneurial ventures. At this time of year, when holiday celebrations are so abundant, it pains me to remember how much I overestimated the demand for a pork-based product that I called Meat Nog. It was to have extended the nog category to include not just egg and meat, but eventually fish nog, pepper nog and mulch nog. This was a bad bet on my own part, and I accept responsibility.
Not so my previous unrequited dream. Eyeing the $24 billion sushi market in the U.S. alone, and more than $100 billion worldwide, I spent four stressful years pitching backers for a chain of restaurants that would have gotten them in on the ground floor of my masterstroke concept: chicken sushi. With initial capitalization of $35 million, I forecasted retail sales at Salmonella Villa of $247 million after only three years in the U.S. alone. But I simply could not attract the capital. This was emphatically not my fault. The bankers and VCs were simply stupid. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
I do not want to relive that nightmare, so — speaking of dumb — I guess I should clarify my business model for the countless dopes who hear about Horse Vending Machine Associates and ask: “Are they machines from which horses may buy items, or are they machines that dispense horses?”