Another Troubling Story About Online Identity Problems

This story is not intended to reflect or resemble any real persons either living or deceased. Any similarities to actual people is strictly coincidental. Fictitious characters are used for the purpose of storytelling.

Mitch and Steve had worked for years on fertilizers. What they had discovered was, what made one kind of fertilizer better than another, wasn’t what most people in the agriculture industry were believing. They had good data around how powerful, less polluting, and inexpensive using their kind of fertilizer would be compared to using the competition. After so much investment and disappointment they were finally sure they had something they’d be proud to share with the public. Steve wanted to sell the formula to a giant agro-business while Mitch wanted to keep the formula proprietary and get investment to start their own company to manufacture it. They’d debated which direction was better for both of them to the point where neither were sure exactly which direction was best.

One day Mitch met some potential investors and they really liked the concept of starting a factory. He got Steve really excited when he explained how much money they’d be willing to put towards a pilot plant, and Steve was quickly warming more and more to the idea of manufacturing the fertilizer themselves, in their own company.

About a week later Mitch came to him with some bad news: the investors were instead going another direction with their money this year and won’t be speculating on the fertilizer industry in the short term with them. Where it seemed like a pretty clear thumbs up initially, now it was clear that they’d gotten the thumbs down.

Both Mitch and Steve became a little disheartened. They’d gotten so close, had someone inspect their concept really close, yet in the end it wasn’t perceived as viable enough, as profitable enough. As the years went on they felt less confident in it, and its value in their minds wasn’t what it once was. They became disappointed in themselves, disappointed in each other, and disappointed that all the time they’d spent fooling each other into believing they were doing something valuable turned out to be anything but. Sure there were good things about what they’d done, but not enough good things for it to count.

So they believed…..

The truth of it was that their idea was phenomenal. It would have had a dramatic impact on the world, fed more people for less costs, resulted in far less pollution, cleaner oceans, made mankind’s struggles less and mankind happier overall. The investors who they had presented that idea to so many years ago really were willing, on the basis of the idea alone, to give it a go and fund it. The risk versus reward ratio was balanced enough where they felt comfortable investing the funds with Mitch and Steve. Everything was great, from high level view of the top decision makers, the people whose money was at stake.

But then, during the course of due-diligence, a junior financial analyst was performing routine research required to compile an investment brief for records and for final review by the stakeholders. During the course of this research this analyst searched on the Internet for both Mitch and Steve’s credentials. Something stuck out like a sore thumb: although both had the right credentials, what was appearing at the top of the search engines for Steve wasn’t flattering. It was stupid, a disagreement over a car service bill for faulty work that Steve ultimately had refunded.  While in the end Steve was “right” he refrained from using decorum as argued back and forth on the repair shop site. 

It was the kind of issue and and degree visibility that obligated the analyst to include it in the report, albeit qualifying it as “of minor concern”.. Despite the excellence of the idea, of Mitch and Steve’s credentials, that one thing made the difference between a “clean” brief and one that included some concerns. That pushed the risk/reward ratio away from the confidence required to commit. The investors backed out, focusing instead on funding a YouTube influencer whose ability to overhype mediocre things dispelled concerns will but later led the investors into barely breaking even.  

I told you this wasn’t going to be a happy story. But it is what it is. Stories like this one happen a lot today, now more than ever. What went wrong?

Simple: these fine people didn’t control their own identities online. They let others define who they were instead. They could have avoided this by creating strong bio pages using a strong tool made specifically for the purpose of optimizing bio pages for search: Art Gallery Plugin – the premiere product for defining Persons and their Creative Works. It’s not just for art galleries, artists or people who’ve got creative works to display. It’s for everyone who values controlling their priceless identities online.

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