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H.P. Lovecraft wisely observed that “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” And, today, the unknowns abound as the impact of Coronavirus continues to shape the headlines of news outlets around the world. And while many news outlets understandably trumpet slogans like “facts, not fears,” the facts are fearful. We are understandably fearful for our health, the health of our loved ones, the health of strangers, whether in or outside of our local communities. We are also understandably fearful for our financial well-being as jobs are being lost in untold numbers, and portfolios are shrinking as economies suffer historic downturns with, as yet, an uncertain bottom.

But within each of us, our fears can help shine a light on our path towards a better life: to be a better person, to be a better friend, and, yes, to be a better employee, entrepreneur or investor for “what [we] are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing [we] need to do.”[1]

At Varia Ventures, we are committed to doing the following:

First, we are committed to helping our community. Our personal and professional experience, along with our growing network of support from private companies, industry experts, and investors from all generations, has positioned us to help a select group of early-stage companies: companies that have the promise to help make our world safer, healthier, greener, better connected, and more efficient. These companies create vast job opportunities along with companies that have the potential to create significant returns for the investors that support them.


Second, we are equally committed to helping our community’s well-being. We have long been students of history, philosophy, religion, and science. We have explored in our books, articles, and professional practice how insights from these various domains can help our individual and collective well-being – while helping drive our economic prosperity and success. Indeed, researchers have confirmed that happy workers are more energized, more accurate on tasks, more creative, and more engaged than their unhappy counterparts. As a result, workplaces with positive cultures are more likely to be profitable than those with negative cultures and dissatisfied employees.[2]

We look forward to connecting with you here at Varia Ventures on a regular basis as we share our insights on topics such as the start-up economy, venture capital, positive, entrepreneurship, leadership, governance, succession, culture, and well-being. Together, we can – and will – make our world better than ever!

By Scott E. Friedman and Andrea H. Vossler


[1] Ralph Waldo Emerson

[2] For example, see The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor or Harvard Business Review’s January-February 2012 cover story: The Value of Happiness: How Employee Well-Being Drives Profits.