GF had begun large scale compression tests before their Kobe, Japan September 25, 2013 presentation. In the December 2013 release of the September 25, 2013 slides (the updated release had fewer slides and left these large scale test pictures out - 30 pages vs 49 pages), GF showed pictures of the 42 cm diameter, 10.5 mm thick liner, 60 MJ driver and test pictures, no data, so it looks like a non instrumented preliminary test just to visually check compressive explosion for uniformity and time the wall collapse. Frost was on the ground for the test (in the mountains?) and the hefty concrete blocks for containing the blast got knocked around. So, GF seemed to start their large tests by October of 2013.
It is now middle of March, so would not be surprised if they have had positive progress on their large compression test program, and bringing Nathan Gilliland on board as CEO looks like a move to go for a round of big financing, which would also put weight behind positive results for their large scale compression tests. On the other hand, it may be that he was brought on board early enough so he can get up to speed in anticipation of future positive results, and do some glad handing with TED attracted VC's.
Still, my take on the 50-50 comment was that simulations of such a complex event (it is all simulation until the net system is built, even with full scale subsystem tests), numerical computer simulation of acoustic compression of plasma by 200 pistons in a 3 meter diameter sphere, can only be trusted so far. Therefore, I take that seemingly grudging odds comment as really encouraging that their full scale subsystems test results are indeed positive and ready for building a net test device (planned for 2018?). The TED event then must be perfect timing in that regard, and Nathan Gilliland value is he knows the special VC hand shake; how much will an accountant be able to come up to speed in the end, anyway.
I think they are going for financing the net machine at TED.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.