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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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22 November 2021

Regular readers will be well aware that I predicted the failure of the Martin Jetpack right from the get-go.

In a number of my daily columns, I documented the progress of this device and what I honestly believe, eventually become nothing more than a scam designed to fill the pockets of venture capitalists whilst emptying the pockets of small investors.

As someone who's been involved in numerous startups and hi-tech ventures that have both succeeded and failed, I saw all the hallmarks of an idea that was never going to work but which was rapidly hijacked by a few people that saw the opportunity to make some money out of the "sizzle" even though they knew there was no steak behind the smoke and mirrors.

Sad to say, I was right on the money and now the MJP is effectively no more.

However, you can buy some of the original prototypes and a great deal of the cool bits that your tax dollars (to the tune of almost a million dollars) went into funding.

Yes, they're having a firesale and there are now 40 pages or so of listings online.

The listings include an actual jetpack which, as of the time I write this, has already attracted over 100 bits to push the price up to about $36K.

That's an awful lot of money for something that you'd have to be pretty crazy to even contemplate flying.

The list of items up for sale gives some interesting insight into just how much money was wasted on this project and just how the claims that were made for the MJP seem to have been significantly different to reality in some cases.

The revolutionary high-performance engine that powered the MJP for instance, appears to have been largely based on "off the shelf" Honda CR500 parts, with a significant number of cylinders, pistons, con-rods and reed-valve blocks included in this auction.

Anyone with some spare cash could actually make quite a profit from some of the items still hovering around their reserve price. For example this Voltz servo is a premium unit which sells new for a very significant price. If you check Google you probably won't find an exact price because "if you have to ask..." :-)

Although some seem to have already sold, there were significant numbers of camcorders, aviation-band transceivers, lithium batteries, bits of electronic test-gear and other stuff that was so plentiful in number that you really have to wonder what they did with it all.

Model aircraft hobbyists can find a raft of very expensive hobby servos, RC equipment and FPV gear going for a song as well.

Looking at this inventory of stuff it is clear that money was no object, thanks to the fact that taxpayers, VCs and other investors seemed happy to swallow the hype and throw round after round of funding at this lame duck venture.

Unfortunately, the insanity regarding investment in "pie in the sky" things that fly is not over.

I still see countless startups begging for money (and getting it) for all sorts of ventures that do not have a hope in hell of ever becoming a viable commercial venture. It seems that far too many people still take these over-hyped tech pitches at face value and do nothing in the way of due dilligence or research in to the reality of the situation.

They say that a fool and his money are soon parted... so true, so very true.

Have you bid on any of the old Martin Jetpack inventory? If so, what are you hoping to score and what's your budget?

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