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Dogma Inhibits Business Opportunity

This anecdote concerns a professional meeting I attended in pursuit of investment capital for a lab start-up. In the past, I advised a potential investor to look at certain science as a means to improve his own product-lines. When we didn't pitch this science as part of a lab's business model, the investor asked for clarification.

This science in question represents cheap, easy methodologies for creating powerful nutrients with well-documented biological impact. Despite application across a number of industries by forward-thinking and forward-acting companies, institutional thought still holds the science and these nutrients in contempt. And therein lay my problem.

The topic arose because my client was intrigued. The current start-up pitch encompassed a different sort of lab effort altogether and the investor did not appreciate the relevance of lab specialization. He expected one lab would tackle everything and offered funds if we applied the science in question to our own product development.

The start-up team turned him down.

Granted, I was the only one in the start-up group experienced with the topic and the investor's request blindsided me. Bad form on my part, I know, as I didn't anticipate this and prepare the team ahead of time. I reassured however, "we have this covered," and offered to manage related tasks without significant burden to the proposed lab operation.

The team still turned the investor's offer down. The team rejected the offer as a no confidence vote in the science itself, if not in me for supporting it. After ineffectually reviewing the topic online, they judged the science disreputable.

Well, I couldn't argue with them. The science is disreputable. Doesn't mean it's wrong or bad, or that the resultant nutrients don't deliver as advertised. I've used them successfully for various applications for two decades. But that's another story.

We meandered around the issue and I showed the start-up team where the science was being applied on an industrial scale. I identified various researchers developing related technologies... chemists, physicists, physicians... all manner of degreed and non-degreed professionals working hard on this "thing that doesn't exist." The team's disposition remained unchanged.

They all earned higher degrees of some variety. If the science deserved merit as I claimed, they insisted they would have already heard of it. Furthermore, respected sources, trusted institutional experts and mainstream knowledge purveyors, each characterized the topic as pseudoscience. They dismissed me, my sources, and my experiences and in doing so, they dismissed the investor's interests.

The team told the investor "no."

OK. Fine. They called a shot based on their experts' opinions. What was I going to do about it?

Missed business opportunity aside, I still had a problem. Teammates lost confidence in me. I prepared and forwarded links intended to inform, hoping pointed education would soften perspectives. Sources included Princeton, Stanford, and peer-reviewed journals like JAMA. But no one followed up on this information.

No surprise that this effort disintegrated soon after. We parted with nothing to show for a lot of combined effort. I gained experience; a renewed understanding for how "educated" professionals react when asked to investigate revolutionary changes in scientific thought. Innovation and application never stops for scientific edict. And eventually, results win.

Soon after, I started Ascengen as means to work with "orphaned" scientific development.