Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ya Just Gotta Believe!

Gamblers are a breed apart, they just KNOW they’re gonna hit the big one someday. Some will even bet their life on that one “sure thing” that is gonna make ’em rich when they strike the jackpot. They’ll bet the house, the car, or their future on a lucky feeling, a tingle in their hands as they roll the dice, or maybe Lady Luck will whisper in their ear telling them to bet it all and spin the roulette wheel “Just One More Time!”

I’m not a gambler, never have been. I’m a pessimist when it comes to slot machines, poker or the craps table. I just know it’s all rigged and there’s not a chance I’m going to get a thing except that terrible sinking feeling when I lose my paycheck to crooks who run the joint. The dealers are VERY good at winning, after all, they’re professionals. Those slot machines are fixed to pay out little or nothing. Keno is for losers and the odds of coming out a winner in any casino are absolutely ZILCH!

Now let’s have a look at a new kind of gambling that has taken down not just hopeless optimists, but corporate CEO’s, sports legends and even Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise — Betting on the success of a promising new internet start-up!

Do you think that William Shatner expected to crash and burn when they offered him that giant stock option to appear in their television commercials? The former “Captain Kirk” took the chance and gambled his name and staked his reputation on the huge success of the internet equivalent of a “sure thing”, a web company that would let you name your own price on merchandise purchased through their powerful shopping portal. Unfortunately, has crashed and burned and all Shatner has to show for his efforts on their behalf are a few silly TV commercials for his credentials.

But former television stars are not the only casualty of the web. Well known journalists have given up stellar careers to head up new e-publishing ventures. Sports legends have sunken millions into hawking balls, bats and exercise equipment online through their own web-based stores and struck out in their first at-bat. Corporate CEO’s have left successful careers at Fortune 500 companies to lead the next jackpot-promising .com and gone down in flames without hope of recovering.

A few of us regular guys have done it too. I started my web career “volunteering” for a start-up operation that promised a “piece of the company” in exchange for my efforts toward a great idea. It went nowhere while I was there, and last I checked, they were still operating with “volunteers”. I took a step up and took on more responsibility with a web company that promised they’d be profitable “soon” and I’d start being paid when their investors “showed up”. Needless to say, it never did happen and I visited their site this week when I decided to write this piece and found them . . . missing.

Not all of those web gambles have been losers for me though. I earned a substantial sales commission on a major sale for a web development firm and if, I said, IF that client does well in a climate where few others have, I MIGHT see the rest of my money, maybe. It did pay off some sizable bills for me and I truly do wish that client luck with their venture. I’d even invest my own money in this one if I had any to spare.

So with all of that behind me, why would I make another bet on a new start-up, work for little or nothing and risk more disappointment with another sure-thing? Because I gave up my own career to work in this industry. The potential is great and I know it will all pay off. I’m applying for another start-up. One that I believe in. One I think has the potential of great success if the stars are in alignment and gods smile down upon it. 😉

Do I hear Lady Luck whispering? Kiss the dice and repeat that good-luck mantra. Then click your heels together three times and whisper, “There’s no place like the Home Page”.

Sir, have you reviewed my resume yet?

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.

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