Random Chris Ofili pencil on paper image

ofiliI bought Art in America for $11 (June/July 2014) partially because I recognized the name Chris Ofili, who did the cover art. I am a little disappointed there is not a corresponding article on the Nigerian artist in London famous for offending a New York Catholic Mayor.

Upon whom am I flinging revenge by lifting his work from there to here?


backed with:


I had some wicked thoughts about a parody of the Fortune cover about the nice looking young lady and her multi-billion dollar value pre-IPO, which I imagined merging with Chez Franc gourmet hot dog stand on Cali Ave, the result of which would make even me blush, gag and wash my hands with liquid perfumed alcohol goo.

I think I posted on Palo Alto Weekly site something about the famous New Orleans based one-timed novel about hot dogs, because Chez Franc is in the former Know Knew Books site. I think here I am deliberately mis-reading “house” for “cheese” as in big money.  it’s not foamy if you have to explain it. Speaking of hot link: P

Elizabeth Holmes, Fortune cover story by Roger Parloff, “This CEO is Out For Blood” Theranos

and San Jose Mercury by Quinn, which is where I came in Michelle Quinn. Wow, Al Henning of Dartmouth and Palo Alto — I remember leaving him a voice mail about his letter to Council about utility rates — pisses all over Theranos as a post to Michelle on Elizabeth:


While I wish Ms Holmes and Theranos well, the experience of NanoInk offers an object lesson for what may occur in the market for medical diagnostics.

NanoInk was founded in 2002 based on dip pen nanolithography technology developed in the chemistry lab of Chad Mirkin from Northwestern. Lurie Investments of Chicago provided most of the funding. This investment firm, headed by Ann Lurie, generates monies used by the Lurie Foundation (also headed by Mrs Lurie) in its philanthropic endeavors, for instance for a children’s hospital and a cancer center. The Foundation and investment firm were created by Mrs Lurie and her husband Bob, as he approached his death in 1990 due to colon cancer. (Mr Lurie had been equal partner with well-known real estate investor Sam Zell.)

NanoInk had developed a 10-protein bio-assay diagnostic panel for inflammation response. Much less than a drop of blood was required to perform the assay. At the same time, sensitivity was dramatically improved, by at least several orders of magnitude, compared to conventional assays for inflammation response. LabCorp and NanoInk had reached tentative agreement to deploy this assay in LabCorp’s dried blood spot processing center in Florida, which performs hundreds of thousands of assays each day.

Regardless, NanoInk, through the efforts of the investment bank Lazard, was unable to capitalize/sell its technology during 2012, and as a consequence (along with other cash flow issues at Lurie Investments), NanoInk closed its doors suddenly in February 2013, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April 2013. The bankruptcy trustee attempted without success to market NanoInk’s IP. Most of it has reverted back to Northwestern, and it’s unclear whether another startup will emerge to commercialize the technology.

At its close, NanoInk employed nearly 100 people. The company spent a total of $150M over 10 years, while generating total sales of about $30M.

I have noted the new Theranos facilities on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. While impressive, they seem profligate to me, given NanoInk’s experience: even a startup as well funded as Theranos needs every penny for operations and development, not for buildings. So, I hope Theranos is merely renting this space, and not wasting precious capital on a headquarters which awes but does not further the enterprise substantively.

He probably has a good take on Lisa Conte and Shaman Pharmaceuticals, which ran thru $90 Million, a lot of money at the time, trying to repeat in a lab what witch-doctors could do in the bush, so to speak. Caveat emptor.

In terms of Al Henning’s concern about profligacy in a fancy headquarters, I agree with him but for a different reason. I think it is very deliberate and calculated — with a track record — to continue the image that works just well enough for that $9 Billion initial public offering; I commented previous — vox clamantis style — about image-manipulation and “plays” for Survey Monkey and Go Daddy and even Grocery Outlet. How good we actually are at creating useful gadgets and cures, or creation of wealth, seems secondary to the fact that the finance business is really good at going from idea to payout to those in the know. Like Buddhists seeking for the reincarnations of their former teachers, the VC community is looking for that billion or ten-billion dollar bonus baby who is the second coming of Steve Jobs. Isn’ t it pretty to think so. The stuff of dreams. Yadda Yadda.

Another thing: Here is more on Nanoink, from Neil Kane in ChicagoBusinessInsider. I also, as is the nature of search engines, spent a few minutes futilely trying to figure how closely if at all the Chicago real estate and philanthropy Luries are to the San Francisco real estate, baseball and philanthropy Luries r. (Robert H. Lurie w. Bob Lurie). My payoff would have been, since this is a music blog, tying in to Bobby Lurie’s rock band, The Billy Nayer Show and their debut album, speaking of cheese franks, The Ketchup and Mustard Man. At best, Bobby Lurie the rock musician is Ann Lurie’s cousin; probably more like the fact that Steve Cohen the Plastic Alto regular, Steven J. Cohen is not and is not related to Steve Cohen the Wall Street cheat. I am fairly certain (only) that Bachelor Bob of BNS was almost Batboy Bob of the Giants. Steve Cohen is cousin to Howard Cosell however, it that helps.

face that launched ten thousand chips

face that launched ten thousand chips


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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