Monday, April 21, 2008

Danica Patrick Energy Policy

I just returned from New York for the 57th Anniversary celebration of Equities Magazine, where we spent a couple of days rubbing shoulders with small cap companies looking for funding for their next great ideas, and venture capitalists and investors willing to take a chance bringing the next great idea to market.

I would characterize the mood in the room as cautiously optimistic—in contrast to the constant dosage of gloom and doom that’s being shoveled out the front doors of most mainstream media outlets.

Just this morning, that paragon of journalism, the New York Sun, in an never-ending quest for greater readership, printed this sobering headline:

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

(insert Dr. Evil minor-chord here)

Staff Writer, Josh Gerstein, breathlessly posts from Mountain View, California, “Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing."

Gerstein writes that “major retailers” on both coasts are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

Hold that thought as I share with you this headline from the Associated Press over the weekend:

"Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.

"Patrick finished 5.85-seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile oval after leader Scott Dixon pitted with five laps left and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan came in a lap later," said the AP.

"It's a long time coming. Finally," Patrick said. "It was a fuel strategy race [italics are mine], but my team called it perfectly for me.”

Why is auto racing so important?
Where is the payoff from the huge amounts of money that are poured into the cars and the teams that sustain them? Why is NASCAR rapidly overtaking more traditional sports as the number-one fan attraction?

From a purely entertainment perspective, there’s always the expectation of something spectacular that’s about to happen, maybe just around the next bend.

Secondly, we can all identify somewhat with the modified stock cars that are out on the track---at least they more closely resemble the cars in our garage than the Indy cars do.

But the fundamentals are still there, whether you’re watching NASCAR or Indy racing…and Danica Patrick’s quote underscores a strategy we should all employ: Fuel Strategy.

Where did we ever get on the track of hoarding?
Each of you understands the destructive mentality of hoarding…and the viral effect such behavior can have in an economy.
Did Danica Patrick hoard her fuel?

She and her team precisely calculated the weight, speed, temperature and track conditions to determine what it would take to beat her competitors…by 5-seconds over a 300-mile race.

We’re in a race for survival in a global economy.
This is not a sprint.
Could Danica Patrick have won the race, towing a trailer with an extra 100-gallons of fuel?

So why do these people in California and New York believe hoarding rice is going to pay off for them in the long run?Instead, the prudent thing to do is measure carefully the consumption of grain, just as Patrick measured precisely the consumption of her fuel.

America will continue to be the “bread basket” of the world because we continue to have the ability and technology to out-produce anyone else on the planet so far. How long we can continue to do so depends upon how well we integrate policy and planning, not hoarding and stocking up…. especially with commodities like grain which are perishable.

The people we talked with last week at Equities Magazine’s investor conference are cautiously optimistic: They’re looking for reasons to invest. They’re looking for the next great idea that can carry American business, ingenuity, and influence on the global stage to the next level.

We’re competing with China, India, South America, Europe…for funds, food, and energy. It’s like a 300-mile race, where everything you do will count or detract from the outcome. It’s a long-distance race, not a sprint, and the race will belong to the swift and the wise, not the slothful and greedy, looking to hoard instead of consume intelligently.

By the way, if you found this Blog in a search for Danica Patrick, hoping to find photos of a scantily-clad Danica on websites hoping to capture page views, sorry.
Get your mind out of the infield.

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