Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Seven Natural Wonders of the USA

 The T4L list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the USA.

What makes something a natural wonder? 

Natural of course means that it's not man made. Not the Great Arch of St Louis, the sky scrapers of CA, the Golden Gate Bridge of SF, or the sculpted faces on Mount Rushmore.  A wonder is something that upon first visual impact and after some reflection, continues to make people go WOW!  And it should be relatively unique in the world.   So our amazing beaches around the county might count as inspiring and natural but there are really tons of great beaches much like them around the world. Here in our view are the seven great natural wonders of North America. Those that combine the visual WOW with a sense of how unique it is.

  1. The Redwoods Trees of California - Tallest Trees on Earth
  2. Niagara Falls of NY - Largest volume of a high waterfall
  3. Glaciers of Alaska
  4. Everglades of Florida - Totally unique
  5. The Grand Canyon of Arizona
  6. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado
  7. The Mammoth Caves - world's longest known cave system, with +400 miles explored
  8. Mt McKinley - Third highest peak in the world.

The Alaskan glaciers are perhaps the one to come off the list.  
Should the Mississippi River be added.
Do the Rockies really count? What makes them unique?

As an educational exercise, this could be set up as a question in which the student has a list with pros and cons of being on the list and then, the student gets to decide.

There could also be the 7 Man Made Wonders:

Great Arch
Mount McKinley
Backwards flowing river
Hoover Dam
Manhattan's Sky Scrapers
Washington Monument
Space Needle
Brooklyn Bridge

Seven American Tech Accomplishments in the 21st Century

Human Genome (American)

The Unicorns are Deadly

 Don't worry, I don't literally mean that the unicorns are goring people. 

I mean that a Unicorn Mentality is gumming up the start-up and growth infrastructure.  

I just sat through a great pitch fest where plenty of good company pitches were delivered. These were early stage companies, none of them had more than a million in revenue. The incubator that hosted had been selective and the companies were good, many had good potential to become profitable businesses in the $5M to $100M range.

But, rather than the upbeat exciting atmosphere that there should have been, a few of the VC questions (and these were VCs with interest in early stage companies) framed questions in terms of why doesn't their company have a path to becoming a unicorn. 

I could write this off as being provocative and awkwardly worded but I see enough evidence of a problem that I thought I would comment.

 I think the constant citing of "Where's the Next Unicorn"  is a poor mentality which impedes seeing real value and benefits (and strong IRR risk/return) in companies. The unicorn mentality seems to be sucking a lot of the oxygen out of the room where otherwise, there is a lot of potential. 

I get that the huge funds and especially in growth capital only want to go to bat if there's a chance for a grand slam homerun.  But I think it's dysfunctional for that thinking to appear too often in the earlier stage startup infrastructure.