Not expecting sympathy — I made a mistake, and I own it.
But, in case it wasn’t clear in the post, I had invested a fair amount of time into the company before that last contact, and my expectation in May was that I’d reduce but not eliminate that time investment. I’m hardly a celebrity, and I’d like to believe that that people value me more for my knowledge (especially in a space like job-matching) than for my name and credibility.
Also, there was never any cash involved, and I never exercised any options.
But yes, I did make my bed. No argument there.