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The Morning Grumpy – 7/24/12

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Z80 Incubator Labs is a game changer for Buffalo. For real.

What is Z80 Labs?

Our goal is to re-ignite the internet-based technology sector in the Buffalo area, providing a catalyst in building a technology economy in Buffalo and western New York.  We are a technology incubator, which allows participants to build technology businesses within an accelerator environment that provides valuable support across a wide range of functions. 

Z80 Labs will invite entrepreneurs from WNY, Southern Ontario, Southern Tier and Rochester areas to be a part of our program in downtown Buffalo, and participate in the new opportunities offered by the internet based world in building a new economy for the Buffalo and WNY areas.

In addition, we’ll allow Life Sciences, GreenTech and SaaS companies to be part of the Incubator, should they have a local sponsor and meet the other criteria for acceptance in our facility.

Z80 Labs is funded by SCP Management and Softbank Capital. Additional funding for investment in startups will be provided by SCP Buffalo Incubator LP, who was awarded $4 million from the Innovate NY grant. Corporate support in services and personnel will be provided by The Buffalo News, HP Synacor, Campus Labs, PC Business Solutions, Creo451° and Hover Networks. 

The incubator formally launched yesterday and it was covered with some regard by the tech industry’s “paper of record”, All Things D of the Wall Street Journal.

What’s most heartening to see, of course, is the definitely more earnest and rawer kind of entrepreneurism on display, of a kind that is often lost in the slick, well-oiled machine of Silicon Valley.

“It’s easy for entrepreneurs in places like Palo Alto to get going,” the voluble Jordan Levy said to me on my visit. “We wanted to find a way to keep really great techies here to create an ecosystem that would be able to jump-start even more and help this city keep jobs.”

The author dubbed Buffalo as “The Silicon Snowbank”, which is excellent. These articles are the types of things that help change the mesofacts about Buffalo.

Providing mentorship to young entrepreneurs and then connecting them with capital is exactly what we need in order to rebuild the economic engine of this city and region. I’ll be providing frequent updates on what’s happening down at the Z80 Labs because, frankly, you need to know about it.

2. So, this exists. A Tumblr of context-free comments left on articles at The Buffalo News website.

It’s fascinating to me that people are willing to put their real name underneath some seriously vile, racist, and/or insipid bullshit on the Internet pages of a major metropolitan newspaper. The ugly id of Buffalo on display daily.

3. Rolling Stone takes a look at the terrifying new math on climate change.

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

This article is a sober reminder of the epic challenge before us and the political realities of effecting change.

4. According to a report from the Tax Justice Network, a British think tank, the world’s wealthiest citizens have hidden an absolutely staggering amount of money in offshore tax havens, likely around $21 trillion, but as much as $32 trillion. To put that in perspective, the combined gross domestic products of the United States and Japan are around $21 trillion annually. 

$9.8 trillion of it belongs to just 100,000 people and here is where it is stashed.

Who is helping these people hide their wealth from the tax man?  The three largest tax haven banks are UBS, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. HSBC, Citigroup, and several other American banks and firms are also complicit. Keep in mind that on top of their hidden international horde of cash, American corporations are sitting on $5.1TN in liquid assets.

5. The ultimate collection of videos featuring Mitt Romney arguing against himself. He is the ultimate “do anything, say anything” politician, desperate to get into power at any cost.

I have no idea how someone can vote for this guy with a straight face.

Fact Of The Day: During a 2006 game against Ohio State, Joe Paterno pooped his pants.

Quote Of The Day: “An intellectual is a person who’s found one thing that’s more interesting than sex.” -Aldous Huxley

Video Of The Day: A long, but illuminating video from BBC Panorama on the poor children of America. With one and a half million American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth.

Song Of The Day: “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” – Wilco (Steely Dan Cover)

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com


  • On #4, curious as to why no slice of that pie is American. Because we have no one that qualifies in that top 100,000 off-shore stasher set? Did I miss something?

    And it looks like my next book will be a fantasy novel…

    • That graph shows where the money is being stashed.

      • Got it – I’m an idiot. Though that is hardly the stashed list I was expecting. Are Korea’s or Brazil’s or Mexico’s laws so forgiving?

      • No, but they offer tax-free investment vehicles and capital transfer facilities for high net-worth investors.

  • Wow it really bothers you guys that Romney is collecting more than King Barry? Maybe Romney will hit that billion dollar mark that was the public stated goal of Obama campaign. Then we can really hear you guys cry. Or maybe if Obama gets desperate he can remove the name requirement of online donations so that Mickey Mouse from Saudi Arabia can start donating like he did in 2008.

    Obama has really reaped what he had sown.  What will really be fun is when the republicans take control start ruling by executive fiat like Obama does and you guys will really scream. Only problem is there will be precedent thanks to King Barry, and not much you will be able to do about it.

    • Mike_Chmiel

      King Barry? I love how worked up people can get by someone who is arguably the most cautious president in recent history.

      Christ, I wish Obama had half the balls you folks seem to think he has. 

    • BlackRockLifer

      “When the Republicans take control”? lets hope not, the Republicans continue to cling to the failed ideology of enabling the wealthy, most Americans recognize the folly of such nonsense. The economy can only grow from the bottom up, not the top down, basic common sense.
      As for Romney, he is seen as arrogant, elitist, and dishonest (because he is). I just hope the republicans will stop the obstruction that continues to undermine our economy during Obamas second term. Maybe Mitch McConnel will finally do his job for the citizens rather than spending all his energy on “making sure  Obama is a one term president”. The Republican Party is fading, 2010 may have been their peak, the future looks brighter.

    • When does someone start the generic “dumb Buffalo comments” tumblr? 

    • EricSaldanha

      “Republicans…start ruling by executive fiat..”

      Did you sleep through the entire George W. Bush Administration?

  • That Tumblr page is an absolute gold mine of things that make me want to punch myself in the face.

    • Mike_Chmiel

      Amazing how many of the moronic comments are made by the same idiots, like Rick Hutchison and Chuck Goodspeed, who I can only imagine are the loneliest clods in Western New York.

  • Jesse Smith

    I thought the issue was not a lack of business incubators, but the lack of venture capital in our region.

    • Not to be a typical online buffalo hater, but I googled z80 labs because a close friend of mine happened to be at their opening party held yesterday in Buffalo to see what they are about. I turned up this article about their first start up project. 
      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/z80-labs-tech-incubator-selects-100000427.html

      The first start up is called AppVue, an App discovery service. AppVue is going to create some kind of recommendation system for which apps to download to your smart phone. 

      I don’t have a smart phone so I may not perceive the real need for this kind of service but it does not seem like something that could turn into a valuable business.

      • … and who would’ve guessed Instagram, a free service to make cell phone pictures look old timey, that generated zero revenue, would’ve been bought out for a cool billion…

        doesn’t make sense to me either but I wouldn’t be so quick to write off what’s valuable or not anymore!

      • Jesse,

        It’s a bit of chicken or the egg situation. While money is important, if there’s great companies starting up, then there will be a flock of Angels or VCs ready to throw around some capital. We’re not quite where we need to be with deal flow and number of successful startups, but Z80 will help solve this issue.

        Michael,
        The main purpose of this incubator is to take smart groups of people with good ideas, and help them mature their idea and business strategy. 

        As someone who doesn’t have a smart phone, it obviously wouldn’t be useful to you, but can  be for the large amount of people with smart phones. At one point last year there were more iPhones sold than babies born:

        http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/01/25/there-are-now-more-iphones-sold-than-babies-born-in-the-world-every-day/

        If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me: dan at z80labs com

      • Good luck to you guys. 

    • We have never had a legitimate business incubator in Buffalo. And a significant portion of the value the board and management of Z80 bring to the table is connections to national venture capital.

      • BufChester

         What I particularly like about this story (after reading the version in the Buffalo News this morning) is that Jordy and Ron got $4 million from the taxpayers of NY for this and some portion of that is going to Warren Buffet in rent for the space at One News Plaza.    This is a perfect example of the way in which our entire economic and political world benefits the very rich.  The icing on the cake is how hard Jordy fought to make sure that workers at “Canalside” businesses wouldn’t necessarily receive a wage that would keep them out of poverty.