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Week 3 – Festivus in March?

Hope all is going well.  March typically tends to drag a little here in the northeastern part of the country due to winter winding down and no holidays to give us a day off.  It is like spring is taunting us and like all good things, waiting can be a challenge.  It is like the old Carly Simon song “Anticipation” says “it’s making me wait.”  However, this was not a typical March.  There was no snow to be found.  The temperature was slightly warmer than usual.  Business has also started to pick up a little, although it is never as fast as I would like.  Hopefully, someday that will be the case.  The end of the month has been particularly busier due to members of our team attending the Society of Toxicology Conference in the middle of March.  Many of our frequent blog readers also follow our social medias and could see all the events taking place.  This was the first time that BioSurfaces had a booth at a large venue (several thousand in attendance) to display our IVRT products.  We also presented data from our research studies.  The team did a great job preparing for the meeting as shown by the traction we’ve been getting.  The group has been following up on many leads and new opportunities have begun to spring up.  This is addition to the ongoing research programs related to the grants we have as well as to existing product development that our team is working on with outside partners.  We can’t say enough about how our small team does big things.

Many of you know from past blogs that I am a big Seinfeld fan.  For those of you who are also fans of the show, the title of this week’s blog might be confusing.  Festivus is a fictious holiday near Christmas made up by Frank Costanza that has a few rules.  One of these rules focuses on the airing of grievances.  As Frank says in the show, “I got a lot of problems with you people.”  I, like Frank, would like to air some grievances (and none of them are with our readers I promise).  I think one area that I have been frustrated with lately (and maybe it is my old age) is the lack of follow-up from companies or people that we have had some initial interaction with.  I can completely understand if we are reaching out as a cold call/email that there has been no real contact established.  There shouldn’t be anything expected if there is no connection.  Even with this expectation, I will typically try to respond to a cold outreach (unless it is the Prince of Nigeria), even if it is to tell them we are not interested.  I wonder where good old-fashioned courtesy has disappeared to.  I understand that the world is busy, but so is everyone.

If you are to look at my calendar on any given week, you would see quite a few reminders of people that I need to follow up with.  There are people/companies that we had an initial meeting with (some of them even have initiated the initial meeting), the vibe of the meeting was positive and we talk about when our next conversation could take place.  I allow some time and then reach out to follow up.  No response.  Four months later following up once a week and still nothing.  I have added into the email that if you are not interested, please just let me know so I will not reach out again.  Even with this out, still no response.  I even had one person who has been ghosting me connect with me on LinkedIn during the ghosting period.  Just doesn’t make sense.

I am not sure if people are too sensitive today and do not want to tell someone that they are not interested, even when given the opportunity to opt out.  It could hurt their feelings.  My feeling is that I would rather hear that there is no interest than to have to keep chasing someone, which may still end up in the same place.  Taking someone off my long list is doing me a favor.  I think people use the large company excuse as well but that should only be part of the reason.  I would like to suggest that this become part of the business etiquette.  Telling someone no is okay.  It is a part of doing business.  It can also drive people to work harder so the yes feels that much sweeter.    

Another Festivus grievance is people and companies that like to break bad news on Friday at 5pm.  I cannot tell you how many times over the last several years that we have received bad news on a Friday.  Most of the time, they have had all week to reach out to let us know that there is no interest.  I think putting out this type of news at this time allows them to get it off their plate and allows for no follow-up.  I would suggest that this type of news can really screw up someone’s weekend, especially a small business owner that is constantly thinking about their business.  I know when we select interns, we do not let anyone know that they did not get the position on a Friday.  Why ruin their weekend?  This is the opposite extreme of not telling someone anything.  How about letting us enjoy our weekend before having to deal with this?

I want to end this blog by being thankful for the people that are not part of these trends.  For the person that calls or emails back quickly.  For the considerate people that let you know even though it not going to work.  For the people that allow you to enjoy your weekend without overthinking about the bad news. Thanks to the people that always believe in us and our mission.  Festivus for the rest of us!


Next month marks our 21st anniversary.  This time has flown by.  More posts will be coming your way soon.  Thank you for your continued support!




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