Ya Gotta Believe!
by Mike Banks Valentine
Gamblers are a breed apart, they just KNOW they're gonna hit
the big one someday. Some will even bet their life on that
"sure thing" that is gonna make 'em rich when they
jackpot. They'll bet the house, the car, or their future on
a lucky feeling, a tingle in their hands as they roll the
or maybe Lady Luck will whisper in their ear telling them
bet it all and spin the roulette wheel "Just One More
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
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
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 Priceline.com 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
reputation on the huge success of the internet equivalent
a "sure thing", a web company that would let you
own price on travel purchased through their powerful
shopping portal. Unfortunately, Priceline.com has crashed
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
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
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
a "piece of the company" in exchange for my efforts
great idea. It went nowhere while I was there, and last I
checked, they were still operating with "volunteers".
a step up and took on more responsibility with a web company
that promised they'd be profitable "soon" and I'd
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
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
own career to work in this industry. The potential is great
and I know it will all pay off. It's one that I believe in,
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
your good-luck mantra. Then click your heels together three
times and whisper, "There's no place like the Home Page".
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