Friday, June 22, 2012

No Pity for Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling had been uncharacteristically quiet after the demise of 38 Studios, even taking a leave of absence from appearing on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. This morning, he decided to give his side of the story.

Of course, he did so with two people who are big admirers of his. I'd even go so far as to call WEEI's Dennis & Callahan shills for Curt Schilling.

I do have to give Dennis & Callahan credit. Their knees must be scraped, their jaws sore, and their tongues dry after washing Curt Schilling's balls for over an hour. They really worked their mouths off this morning.

And give credit to Curt Schilling for being willing to take on members of the media who would ask him tough questions such as "You didn't walk away with anything, did you?" or "How much of your own money did you lose?" or "Did the comment about solvency change the landscape?"

These weren't softball questions. It was tee-ball.

When asked why his video game company failed, Schilling blamed a "lack of capital." In other words, not enough people were investing in it. Schilling then blamed Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee for scaring off an investor that would have helped keep the company afloat with a $35 million investment.

But if the company wasn't making sufficient money on its own and was supported by a combination of private investments and public tax credits, then there was something already wrong with the company.

Imagine if a restaurant is struggling to pay its bills. It looks for investors, but nobody wants to buy into it. Then it shuts down. The cause of death isn't lack of capital, it's lack of sufficient profit. The capital could have staved off death, but a lack of it didn't cause death.

Schilling refused to admit this. And Dennis & Callahan refused to call him on it. They still love Curt in the Car.

Schilling claims he lost about $50 million investing in this company, and is now "tapped-out." I feel no sympathy for him. Only an idiot would risk everything he had on a business without putting a little bit away. He's made his bed.

Schilling accused Governor Chaffee of deliberately undermining the venture by making public remarks about the company's solvency and ability to pay bills. But the Governor spoke the truth. 38 Studios was dependent on tax credits and needed more capital just to survive.

And when you get involved with Government funds, you have to deal with the Government. That's the deal you make when you deal with the Government.

And that's why conservatives who have a brain don't like Government programs such as the one Schilling took advantage of. They don't help businesses that much, and any potentially successful business should be able to attract private investment based on its own merits. If a business needs Government money to survive, it's much less likely to be a successful one.

Schilling feels as though he fell prey to a politician's agenda. But he put himself in that position. The Government and the Mafia are the same (that's not a joke abour Rhode Island). You ask them for a favor, and then you're in their pocket.

Speaking of politics, Dennis & Callahan asked this hard-hitting question:

"Did you know that loan guarantees were just for liberals?"

Schilling responded with "I'm not sure where my stance and opinion in that we need a smaller government, I don't know how that correlates to this."

How does advocating for less Government spending correlate with taking advantage of Government spending? Does he really not see the connection?

Schilling argued that he just took advantage of an opportunity. And if he didn't take the tax credit offer, it would have just gone to waste. Nobody else had applied for it.

As an actual conservative, this logic pisses me off. I'd probably take some Government cash if it were offered to me, but if I were starting a business, I'd try to avoid getting involved with the Government. Especially if it were a high profile business. Government money is conditional money, and that money is controlled by politicians who are very conditional people.

Actual conservatives know this. But Schilling is just a loudmouth, opinionated collection of uneducated thoughts.

Schilling did say that he is mostly responsible for the failure of 38 Studios. But that statement was always qualified. As I mentioned earlier, he blamed Governor Chaffee for scaring an investor away. He blamed lack of capital for the company's downfall. He blamed people with an "agenda" for initiating that downfall.

Maybe it was just a poorly managed company. They sold a decent amount of their first game (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning), but EA got a sizable chunk of the money from that. And their business model seems antiquated, very cartridge-era for a gaming company. They sold copies of their game to people. Very basic. Too basic. So many games are available for free out there. Then companies make money off subscriptions, or sell stuff in the game that opens new levels or characters or weapons. And then that way the keep spending as they're playing.

And Schilling admittedly spent very freely. He created an impressive office, and paid his young employees $86,000 plus full benefits.

That's one thing true conservatives hate about Government funded companies. So long as the money is flowing, the company spends freely. It doesn't seem like Schilling ever asked "could I get a programmer 90% as good for 50% the pay?" It doesn't seem like he was worried with spending at all.

Baseball has no salary cap and neither did Schilling.

He tried very hard in the interview to sound like he knew what he was talking about. He injected business-speak jargon at every opportunity. "Senior position of debt," "Transient companies," "Payables," "A staff ramp," "A neutral burn," "domiciled."

He even said "things" when referring to Government programs, then corrected himself with the word "mechanisms."

He explained what this jargon meant as he went along. But the point of jargon is to be understood by fellow speakers of the language. If you have to explain it, you shouldn't use it.

Just say "First to get paid back" instead of "Senior position of debt." Say "located" instead of "domiciled."

Curt Schilling wanted to sound like he knows what he's talking about. But it seemed like he'd taken a 30 minute course on how to sound like a businessman, and that's it.

Throughout the interview, Schilling never apologized to the people of Rhode Island who paid for his failure. He frequently mentioned his own family's troubles, usually at the prodding of Dennis & Callahan.

A caller stated to him that she would never try to do business in Rhode Island because the politicians make it so difficult.

"That would have been good advice three years ago, hun," Schilling quipped. He then became serious and almost sincere "I also understand the anger. The anger, though... it's as much about... the misinformation that people believe to be true than about the actual facts that happened."

So there you have it. Curt Schilling is blameless for what he did. The anti-Government spending, so-called conservative who took advantage of government spending, is merely a victim of misinformation and political agendas. The spending on facilities, the high salaries, and the mediocre products weren't to blame for 38 Studios' downfall, it was a lack of investment and a politician scaring investors away.

With all this complaining, all this passing the buck, Schilling would fit in nicely with the 2011 Red Sox.

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