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Special Monday Open Lines, Monday, 3-3-14 March 4, 2014

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Special Monday Open Lines, Monday, 3-3-14


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Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  Business plans, due diligence, Mars One, skepticism, cynicism, SpaceX & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

Our scheduled guest for this program, Dr. Jeff Bell, was a no-show.  At the request of several listeners, rather than canceling the  program, I let it run as a special Open Lines show.  There were no breaks in the discussion.  Our first caller in this 1 hour 53 minute discussion was Dwayne who inquired about my frequent comments on the need for a business plan and due diligence in evaluating potential space businesses.  I offered to send interested listeners a copy of the business plan outline I work from if they email and request it.  We went through the business plan outline I use, then we talked about due diligence for all aspects of the venture including management, financial, marketing, technology, engineering, and more.  Dwayne wanted to know about possible market saturation for the low barrier to entry cubesats and Earth imaging satellites now entering the market place.  Doug was the next caller.  He had wanted to talk with Dr. Bell about an older paper of his showing skepticism for the COTS program which Doug believes to be successful.  The discussion with Doug was too long so callers, you need to be succinct, consolidate your comments and questions, and don’t expect unlimited time for your call.  As they say, “this was my bad” to have let the call go on for so long and I apologize to those of you who got tired of waiting to call the show and just logged out.  The discussion with Doug included how to assess the likely success of a business venture, management, and more.  We used both Mars One and SpaceX as examples.  Charles then called to talk about his book Microlaunchers and The Space Review’s book review of it by Dr. Jeff Foust. You can read the review at www.thespacereview.com/article/2461/1.  Our last caller was Tony who challenged the electric car comments made by Charles and me.  Tony wanted to advocate for green technology, solar, etc.  I apologize for how I talked to and handled Tony’s call.  Because I did not agree with him was no excuse for my being rude and I will do my best to not let that happen again.  Tony and I disagree on these issues which is fine by my book.  Most of the time listeners don’t know my own thoughts on lots of the topics discussed on TSS so you have no clue if I concur or not with what is being said, but I did engage Tony & I should have been more respectful with him.  I understand the validity of the points he was making though I dispute that any of that is reality at this time in the U.S.  We ended this special program by pointing out that our regular March OL show is Tuesday, March 4.  I will make an announcement when I can reschedule Dr. Bell.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. If you want to reach any of our callers or emailiers, you can do so through me.



1. Jim Davis - March 8, 2014

This was an excellent open lines show; in many ways better than the scheduled one the following night. I would like to comment on two points of Doug from Southern California’s call.

1. “Cynical skepticism”. Doug stated that “cynical skepticism” was skepticism motivated by antipathy toward the subject at hand, for example, a “cynical skeptic” of Mars One secretly wishes that Mars One will fail. There are people of that sort but I think a better term would be dishonest or disingenuous skepticism. Cynicism is a form of skepticism that is directed more at motives and/or intentions. For example, someone might opine that Musk is actually completely uninterested in Mars and that he only waxes on the subject to entice naive space cadets to work long hours for low pay for SpaceX. An extremely cynical statement to be sure but there is no suggestion it isn’t an honest opinion.

2. “The beauty of the public/private partnership”. One can certainly point to a lot of public/private successes – the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, the Interstate Highway system, etc. But there is also the curse of the public/private partnership – government subsidies of schemes of very dubious utility and soundness for short term political gain. Solyndra comes to mind as does the ongoing SLS debacle. I (cynically) suggest that the invocation of a public/private partnership is a de facto admission that a scheme is economically unsound and that its proponents have deluded themselves into believing that their personal convictions are in the public’s best interests.

2. Dwayne - March 5, 2014

I normally never listen live, but I did and David sounded depressed because his scheduled guest was nowhere to be found, so I called in, figuring that I would pull his tookus out of the fire.

I thought David’s comments about a business plan were pretty interesting, and they confirmed many of the things I suspected. For one, a business plan may not be necessary, but it is often very useful. For another, it may in many ways be more useful to the person creating the business than the person looking to invest, because it forces them to organize their ideas and to think about things they might otherwise ignore. (A friend of mine once created a spreadsheet to justify his consulting fee. He did not have to use it, but occasionally shows it to people in business who do not realize all the hidden costs that they are paying for their own employees. So people can be unaware of things that affect their bottom line every day.)

I also appreciated what David said about due diligence. For instance, you start out with checking the basic facts using things like Google. This may weed out a fair amount of the posers. Only if you are really intrigued do you spend money to do greater research.

But perhaps the most useful comment David provided was that sometimes even if a business plan does not totally make sense or add up, investors still throw money at a proposal simply because they want to get in at the ground floor. They may allow their exuberance to make their decisions over common sense. So quite interesting and informative. Thank you.

I’ll confess that I thought that David ended the show soon after I hung up. I did not realize that he got more callers.

3. Network Doctor - March 4, 2014

Hi David,

In my opinion NewSpace suffers from way too much LaLa land thinking.

Your 1 hour conversation with frequent caller Dr. Doug was NOT too long. You provided an excellent educational summary of the uses for a business plan. Kudos !!

Dr. Doug is incredibly bright & is a deep, logical thinker who brings a lot of value to the show but he can be sidetracked by ideas that make no economic sense when he throws in what he thinks will be a “small amount” of government funding.

I think history shows appealing to government funding to close a business case is, in general, wasteful social policy. It leads to government picking winners & losers, a task at which government most often fails miserably.

Caller Tony & Greenies worldwide have been touting Germany as a model Solar deployment. The reality is an increasing economic disaster of “ecological central planning and its subsidy monopoly”. Here is a hard to find objective review on the German solar power “miracle” by someone NOT an Envirowacko: http://notrickszone.com/2013/05/06/leading-economics-publisher-calls-germanys-subsidized-solar-industry-a-capital-destroyer-of-historic-dimensions/

All electrical power generation & transmission unavoidably generates waste heat which is several percent of the generated or transmitted power. The planned space solar power plants are in the several hundred megawatts. Similar plants on earth use water cooling (towers) or air cooling not practical in space. What is the space solar power plant promoters engineering plan for dissipating dozens of megawatts in space?

4. Kelly Starks - March 4, 2014

You send a message on the 4th announcing a special show on the 3rd??

Sent from my iPhone


drspaceshow - March 4, 2014

yesterday’s program just got archived. I always do them the next day.

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