Pyramids versus trapezoids

Published April 13, 2007

Reading time: 3 minutes.

It seems a certain multilevel marketing company has managed to infiltrate the small town where I grew up. I’ve received solicitations from a few of my high-school classmates to join up.

I guess it would be nice to have them call me and want to know what’s new, or tell me about what’s going on in their lives, or say “Hey, why don’t we meet for coffee or a drink and catch up?”

People who haven’t spoken with me in years are now all of a sudden interested in having me become a part of an enterprise that has every telltale sign of a pyramid.

I know one person who is involved in this company quite well… we occasionally exchange emails and keep eachother up to date. She probably reads this blog and knows who she is. When she proposed the idea to me, it didn’t really bother me. If it’s working great for her, then awesome… all the luck in the work to her and her husband. I hope they become millionaires. It’s just not for me. I’ve got enough irons in the fire and feel as though I am doing quite well on my own.

Tonight, I received a call from a person who I’ve spoken with only a few times in the last 10 years, and that was because she was singing in a wedding and I was playing piano. Rather than chat me up and make some small talk, she started right in to the sales pitch, playing a recorded message.

Another person from long ago whom I never got along with wanted to get me involved in this as well… I never replied to his email.

Why are people after me? Is it because I have a network? I have a small readership on this blog, I have some really good coworkers and friends. I’m writing a couple of books. I have acheived a moderate amount of success. Does that mean I am a good target for these people?

I don’t think that’s it at all.

I’m not famous…. in fact I am pretty far from it. I think it’s just that they are all trying to build up a team under them, and they need as manny referrals as they can get.

I spend a good part of my job selling things, whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea. This method of selling is not how you sell to people. You don’t call up someone you haven’t seen in several years and say things like “we’re doing well… look at all our stuff we bought… you could have this too if you give it a try!” That’s just evil, and I find it slightly unethical. In business, there are no guarantees, and if being successful means I have to dig out my address book and cold-call family, friends, clergymen, coworkers, some guy I met at the bus stop, Satan, and Papa Smurf in order to build a lucrative stockpile of kickbacks, I’m not interested.

I love Papa Smurf too much to do that to him. I’d at least ask him to coffee first.

To everyone back home pursuing this endeavor… please, leave me off your list. I wish you nothing but goodwill and good fortune, but I respectfully decline.

I’m gonna leave the comments open on this one so you all can rock some feedback.


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