A political rant worth noting

Good grief! It’s still 12 days away from the elections, and the tiresome rhetoric, pot shots, endless polling and even more endless speculation about race and politics — NPR, you’ve really, really overdone this topic — have me feeling rather sour. The weather — cold and rainy today — isn’t helping either.

Thank God for Mark Cuban, the screeching, often obnoxious owner of the Dallas Mavericks who’s one of the sharpest entrepreneurs out there. And who’s incensed that his favorite word has barely been uttered during this campaign. The “E” word, in fact. And please, spare him the Joe the Plumber nonsense.

So in the spirit of the moniker I’ve coined for my writing here, I excerpt a few highlights of Cuban’s latest post, and declare it the runaway winner of this blog’s inaugural Kvetch of the Week:

“It’s always the new idea that re-energizes this country. Industry, manufacturing, transportation, technology, digital communications, etc., each changed how we lived and ignited our economy and standard of living. Tax policy has never done that. The American People have.”

Gee, he does sound a bit like a candidate with that last sentence, doesn’t he? But he’s so, so right that taxing whom and how much isn’t the issue. Remember this summer’s stimulus check? How long did that last? Do you really think another one will make a big difference? Will a middle-class tax cut be much better? No from what I’ve heard on the campaign trail.

“Instead of bitching at each other, could one Presidential candidate please show even the least bit of leadership and character and stand up for and encourage the entrepreneurs in this country?

“I don’t care who is friends with whom, who preached when you went to church, whether you know the actual role of the Vice President, whether you voted with President Bush. I dont care about any of the mudslinging going back and forth. All it does is waste the time of every potential voter. All of that is meaningless.”

For those of us post-newsroom journalists thinking of starting our own businesses, or at least being nominally self-employed as freelance writers, the lessons of Cuban’s own experiences are instructive:

“The best time for little guys to start a business is when the big guys are worrying about surviving in theirs. You don’t need to raise money. You need to be smart and be focused. I had no idea until this current financial crisis that when I started MicroSolutions, my first company, it was in the middle of a very bad recession. I had no idea whatsoever. I didn’t know what the tax rates were, and I didn’t care. I had an idea, a floor to sleep on and a lot of motivation.

So thanks, Mark, for your much-needed bloviating, and congratulations on being the IDK’s very first honoree. You’ll be a hard act to follow.

The runner-up:

“Newspapers won’t be around long enough to reinvent news, right now they need to reinvent how to make money — and here’s a hint in case you haven’t gotten it yet: advertising-only revenue streams aren’t the answer.

Kiyoshi Martinez, “Advertising plunge will kill newspapers, and there won’t be a bailout”

And a few more parting shots from a busy week on the online journalism front, more or less:

— A good roundup of thoughts and ideas from Thursdays “New Business Models for News” summit in New York.  These folks are on the front lines of entrepreneurial journalism.

— Some ideas on how copy editors — threatened with outsourcing in newsrooms across the country — need to make themselves more valuable. Or else.

— Questions for those seeking work to ask of themselves before responding to offers. In any profession.

— And what happens when a reporter, a journalist and a correspondent walk into a bar? That’s no joke. (via James Mitchell)

Cheers for a happy weekend, everyone.


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