"Thank God for federal government grants, and the NIH, and Musk, and Google."
- Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank (and professor at Berkely and Stanford)
BLANK: I see my students trying to commercialize really hard stuff. But the VCs are only going to be interested in chasing the billions on their smart phones. Thank God we have small business research grants from the federal government, otherwise the Chinese would just grab them.
THOMPSON: What's the fix?
BLANK: I don't know what the fix is. Thank God for federal government grants, and the NIH, and Musk, and Google.
"The Golden Age of Silicon Valley Is Over, and We're Dancing on its Grave"
Suggested repeatedly in the comments was crowdfunding / Kickstarter.
Unlike other [Edit: equity] crowdfunding platforms, GLBSE has the opportunity to reach globally. So maybe there isn't enough backing for something like early Bitcoin enthusiast Mark Suppes (@FamulusFusion)'s $200 million nuclear fusion reactor from the crowd in one country, but perhaps adding the rest of the globe makes it so something that was previously not possible suddenly becomes possible.
Because maybe 10 million people in the world with $20 to invest can figure out a better place for that money than the federal government, the NIH, Musk and Google could.