Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Microsoft layoffs

John Lok / The Seattle Times

Microsoft announced last week the company will cut 5,000 jobs in the next 18 months. At far right is the West Campus, which is under construction.

What it means

to invest “seed capital”

Editor, The Times:

Ditto to The Seattle Times editorial about Microsoft’s layoffs [“Microsoft’s layoffs: challenge, opportunity,” Jan. 24]. Microsoft was an innovative Northwest company that took a small idea, “software,” and made it into a big idea.

We need more innovative new industries that can make this happen, such as the solar-power industry. I know it well; I am a solar-energy inventor.

Like it or not, most solar-energy inventions take 20 years to develop before hitting the market. What investors today call “seed capital,” is really “developmental capital” after the inventor has spent 20 years trying to develop their product.

There is a gap in investment capital between “proof of commercial market” and the patent issued, at least when it comes to renewable energy. Gone are the days when Nikola Tesla would invent alternating current (AC) systems and Westinghouse Electric Company would invest.

Today, what investors call “seed capital” isn’t really seed capital at all. They don’t want to take the risk. It is the burden of the investor to come up with $10 million development plans to raise $10 million in “seed capital.”

We have numerous solar inventions sitting idle; nothing is going to happen unless investors change their attitudes.

If solar technology were fully developed, we could employ people, giving inventions a “Made in Washington state” stamp, not “Made in China.”

— Martin Nix, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Microsoft

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►