What Can One Blogger Do?

An entrepreneur I knew ten years ago contacted me recently for a recommendation. While I learned a great deal from working with the entrepreneur–some of it life-changing–for which I was awed and grateful at the time, what lingers is distrust. I invested and lost.

The reasons for my loss are logical and rational. In Peter Meinke’s poem, "Noreen," he writes, "How much we need reasons! How reasons make us feel better!"

The reasons do ease my thinking. I understand.

But my heart still feels the humiliation and betrayal of believing a pitch, taking action on that belief with my hard-earned cash, and losing it all.

Don’t mess with the funds for Anne’s shopping.

What I did was miscalculate risk.

I can imagine angel investors or venture capitalists–who have believed pitches, invested, and lost–view all entrepreneurs with distrust.

They calculate risk very, very carefully.

Having been an entrepreneur and an investor, I identify with both the VT KnowledgeWorks CEO and the investor from whom he or she seeks funding.

From reflecting on the brief, renewed contact with the entrepreneur, I have realized one of my self-appointed jobs as a blogger for VT KnowledgeWorks is to assist entrepreneurs and investors calculate risk.

I want less loss.

How can I do that as one person writing one blog?

I offer these:

I do my best to write truthfully.

Until I understand it, I don’t write about it. (For example, after answering a vast number of e-mails from me, Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Schultz-Creehan, would probably say, kindly, because that’s the way she is, that understanding Friction Stir Fabrication did not come to me easily.)

I have ditched the part of my genteel Virginia upbringing that requires one to not mention money. When I talk with CEOs, I always have in mind the brutal but essential question, "How does this idea make money?"

If I can’t figure out how the VT KnowledgeWork’s company’s product or service relates to real life–well, okay, to stick to the truthfulness rule, to me, to shopping, to my cat, or to the people in my life about whom I am passionate–I can’t pitch it.

Hey, Nanci, thanks for sending me your press release and inviting me over to see the new Micro Machining Center at Schultz-Creehan!

I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear that I don’t understand it. Can’t wait to see you!


  1. Risk is a major part of business-related decisions. In my distance-learning course notes (http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/rhgiles/ModernWildFauna/RiskReasonableCertaintySpace.htm)
    I wrote of the personhood of risk: Effects of failures of any system for friends or families are of greater importance or intensity than for unknown or un-liked people. Prized members of society (e.g., leaders, artists, inventors) also elicit different responses to risk than do average people. Hazards are usually the same for individuals; risks have multiple dimensions, not just number of people but their collective loses as well … society's perceived loss due to greatness or the role that is lost.

    The little word “risk” is very big and complex. I continue to learn.

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