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No collateral needed

Times are always a-changin' but it always seems that the times that you, personally, live through are always changin' the most. I remember when you needed a miracle to get a long-term, $10,000 Small Business Administration loan to reinforce your little retail establishment or whip up a new business idea department.

I remember when you had to leave a pint of blood at your local bank on Main Street for a loan because you never had asked for one and therefore you had no record of having paid them back before. To get credit you had to have had credit.

And then I remember once that I went to one of the biggest banks in the country for a new idea loan of $250,000 because they had run a full-page ad in the New York Times saying something like: "We help little acorns grow into big oak trees." Never got that one either because-as they told me after three months of playing hide-and-seek with me-that the loan I was asking for was too little and the oak trees they were talking about were $2 million large. Oy! Vey!

But today, times are really a-changin'. Hah! It seems that money is no object. There are little buddies out there in venture capital clusters called VCs (a few brothers and sisters-in-law form a family team) who are bustin' at the seams to stuff money in your account just for the fun of a financial run. Wow-e-e!

Do they still want your pint of blood? Uh-uh! They don't even care if you don't have any blood at all. In fact, if you were a robot they would double the cash they'd lay on the line because robots not only don't pump blood but don't need corporate HMOs, either.

So what is the most important collateral you can lay down? An exquisite spiral packet in four colors loaded with all kinds of multi-colored graphs and interactive bits of photography, art and graphics. Plus a schmeer of musical CDs with interactive DVDs splashed with colorama dancing interactions like you see in front of you on a movie screen that's advertising soft drinks, nacho chips and popcorn after the wild, roaring previews of next month's movies and the current showing.

Plus a second packet in four colors for a quick future IPO of a non-profitable corporation that doesn't have much blood, either. Not to forget: A zip-zap, graphic corporate name all in extra bold, lowercase letters followed by .com and two 27-year-old MBAs with high-end business degrees from Stanford or Berkeley in funky California, carrying the latest, lightest, smartest color laptops.

So Michael, you ask, is all this whoop-dee-do finance for real? How would I know? After all, I just write about home furnishings and shmattehs that have been nonexistent for decades. Thanks, again, for listening.

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