To a person, the GOP candidates running against incumbent Democratic Senators are strong on the reasons for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — i.e. Obamacare. Much of their focus has been on the law’s implicit taxes on hiring. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the ACA will induce 2.5 million workers to leave the labor force by 2024. The last thing the U.S. economy needs is another barrier to getting out-of-work or underemployed Americans back in the workforce.As a general rule, the GOP candidates have been less clear on what they would favor to replace the ACA. There are,…

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Visit the rogue’s gallery of international patent law and you’ll find an unrepentant crew glowering back at you: China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and…Canada?
Yes, Canada, sorry to say. Usually a reliable advocate for property rights, free trade, and global law and order, in recent years our northern neighbor has been honored with a spot on the “watch list” for intellectual property violators by the U.S. Trade Representative, right up there between Bulgaria and Colombia, and has occasionally graced the “priority watch list” in company with the hardcore offenders named…

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Whatever the results of the election, Congress is planning to reconvene on November 12 for a lame duck session, so-called because the days in office of some members will be numbered. As well as passing a budget for fiscal year 2015, the 113th Congress will try to finish up other bills, including the extension of tax provisions that expired on January 1, 2014.
Yes, even though certain tax provisions expired 10 months ago, Congress is planning to reinstitute them, not just for the future, but retroactively. People who took certain actions without the tax provision in place between January and…

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Few Americans know that the tax they pay to finance Social Security gets split into two unequal parts. The larger part goes to a trust fund that supports pensions for retirees and survivors. The smaller part goes into another trust fund that finances benefits for the disabled. Usually they have no reason to care about such technicalities. That is about to change because the trust fund that supports benefits for the disabled is set to run out of money at the end of 2016. If Congress were to do nothing, benefits for just over 11 million people eligible for disability benefits would have to…

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Debt does have its purposes, but they are much more specific than many people think. Borrowing to buy a productive asset (like a factory or an education) that will generate sufficient income to repay the loan is fine. However, using debt to pay for current consumption, to live above your means, is counterproductive and forces a future decline in consumption in order to pay off that debt. In other words, that type of borrowing is simply stealing from the future.
Countries can use debt productively by borrowing to build infrastructure or use it unproductively by borrowing for transfer payments…

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The vast majority of political journalists - and I include some of my conservative colleagues - are missing a very big story.
The Republicans are going to recapture the Senate, picking up more seats than most any forecaster expects. And the House GOP is going to add to its majority. But then comes the big story: The beginning of a new conservative revolution.
The idea that nothing much will change if the GOP captures the whole Congress is just plain wrong. The politics and policies in Washington are about to change in a major way.
Obama may still be president. But he is going to be…

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Every month we run an open office hours. It’s a great way for us to meet with lots of founders, improve our deal flow and hopefully give a little back to teh community.. Many other VCs do something similar.

We’ve just had our October office hours, and we’ve now met with approaching 100 founders through this programme. Most entrepreneurs come here to pitch us. They don’t have to, the session is theirs to do what they want with – take advice, ask about market trends, anything – but most choose to pitch. Some do it well, whilst others do it badly.

The meetings are only fifteen minutes, and that makes them difficult. Here are some tips you could follow if you are pitching and want to get the most out of the session:

  • Don’t talk fast. The meetings are only fifteen minutes, but the trick is to choose your words carefully and not try to say everything.
  • Try not to be nervous.
  • Do your research on Forward Partners ahead of time (or other VCs if you are meeting them) – you want the whole 15 minutes to be about you.
  • Think about what you want to say before you get here and leave more time than you would think for discussion.
  • Paint the big picture AND show you have a grip on the detail of execution in the short term.
  • Don’t use slides, or if you do keep it to one or max. two.
  • Be clear what you want to get out of the session. Tell us.
  • Ask what the follow up will be.
  • Respect the 15 minute time limit.

Our next open office hours will be on November 21st. You can apply here.

NB 15 minute meetings are a little painful, but I think that’s worth it because we can meet more people. Literally twice as many as if they were 30 minute meetings.



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SearchToNative

There’s an interesting post up on Stratechery asking whether we are approaching Peak Google which features the graphic above. The central argument is that in the way IBM fought to protect their PC platform and missed the Windows opportunity and Microsoft fought to protect its Windows franchise and missed the web opportunity Google will fight to protect their search platform and miss the native advertising opportunity. Search is a c$50bn out of a total advertising market of c$450bn, and hence a winner in native advertising winner could be bigger than Google.

I’m a big believer in the increasing importance of native advertising. The best companies these days have interesting products and brands that lend themselves to this new medium. That said, I’m not sure that means another company will eclipse Google. Search always looked like it might have one major winner, but I don’t see the same network effects at play in native advertising which will find its audiences on the multiple content sites where they hang out.



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By speaking out on the issue of inequality, has Fed Chair Janet Yellen risked appearing as a ‘partisan hack’? That is certainly the view for some on the right. (For a nuanced version of the argument see AEI’s Michael Strain here - for a more polemical treatment, Diana Furchgott-Roth here.)No doubt there are some political risks here. But was she supposed to remain silent on inequality for her entire tenure? For the Chair of the nation’s most powerful economic institution to ignore one of most powerful economic trends of our time would be close to a dereliction of duty.Arguments are…

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As of Wednesday, almost 800,000 Californians have voted by mail, representing 9% of total registered vote-by-mail voters and possibly about 17% of total 2014 ballots. With the election rapidly taking place, it is important to remember that Californians are not just voting on candidates, but also ballot initiatives.
Two weeks ago, I examined the four propositions on the 2014 ballot (Propositions 1, 2, 47, and 48) that are important to pass. As noted, all six of California’s 2014 propositions are boring because none have a large and vocal voter constituency on both sides, making the campaigns…

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Entrepreneurs launching “disruptive technologies” are reshaping markets across the U.S. economy, often by disintermediation and innovation. While these new products and services provide consumers more choices and better value, regulators have place increased attention on these activities, from car services such as Uber and Lyft, to those offering accommodations like Airbnb, to pop up restaurants running afoul of local health codes. In many instances, these new products emerged because innovators were one step ahead of the regulators. But as the regulatory state grows, these innovators…

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Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.26.45

33bn connected devices in the next six years, up from 12bn predicted at the end of this year. That will be four for every person on the planet. As others have said before me, our grandparents could count their electric motors, our parents could count the things they owned with a chip inside, and we can count our connected devices….

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head of inventions enabled by integrated circuits and/or electric motors.

  • Computers
  • Plasma and LCD screens
  • Remote control cars, copters etc.
  • Satellite and cable TV
  • Washing machines and dishwashers
  • Modern radio and television

Most, if not all, of these things would have been impossible to imagine one hundred years ago and it’s reasonable to expect that similarly unimaginable inventions will be spawned by the internet of things. And it will happen faster this time.

Our goal is to partner with the companies creating that future.



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It’s common to hear that Americans face a “retirement crisis.” In response, progressives have come up with their own solutions; including expanding Social Security and having the government run retirement plans for workers. In reality, though, the crisis is vastly overstated. And progressive solutions would do surprisingly little for those Americans who truly are underprepared for retirement. Real answers exist, but they are more about making government work better, than about making it larger.One prominent study claims that 53 percent of Americans won’t have enough income in retirement….

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The Federal Reserve’s talking heads have been hard at work over the last week. They have tackled issues ranging from early childhood education, to the Fed’s “duty to advance the maximum well-being of all citizens,” to regulatory compliance by financial firms. The Fed’s musings on topics far outside of its mandate seem odd for an institution that has a lot more thinking to do about-just to throw out a crazy suggestion-monetary policy. But the Fed’s regulatory mandate is also large, so its reflections on compliance are worth a closer look.New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor…

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It is difficult to decipher why David Gordon of the Ludwig von Mises Institute is being so critical of Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames’ book Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy - and What We Can Do About It. His clearest objection is Forbes and Ames’ belief that money is a unit of measure that that needs a fixed gold price to remain a reliable and useful unit of value over time. In Gordon’s view this belief and this book are “odd”. Unfortunately, by the end of his review, the only “odd” thing is Gordon’s lack of understanding of some basic economic…

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