Multi Level Marketing Guy

Multi Level Marketing Guy

So, you know (or at least you should…) that we have a very strict “No MLM” policy when it comes to our events.  No matter what they call themselves.  No pyramids.  No “Multi Level Marketing”.  No “network marketing systems”.  It doesn’t matter what they want to call themselves, we don’t want them there.  There are plenty of “open” groups out there that they can hang out in, they don’t need to come to our events.

Some people have asked why we’re so adamant about this.

So, it’s time to lay it all out there.

Seriously. We mean it.

Let’s start with the easy hits:

  1. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…have nothing to do with the IT industry.
  2. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…are not jobs.
  3. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…rely on you hawking stuff to your friends and family and generally being That Guy.

Let’s just focus on the first two for now – you’re not in IT, and you can’t offer anyone at our events a job in the IT industry.  So we’ve already established that you have no reason to be at our events…because our events are for professionals in the IT industry that are looking to either expand their network with other professionals in the IT industry, or they’re looking to hire someone or be hired for a job in the IT industry.

But wait, there’s more!

We’ve always said that ITintheD.com was established because we couldn’t find any other groups that were what we wanted.  And, more than anything else, what we want is to not get annoyed.  And there’s nothing that we find more annoying than someone trying to push whatever miracle juice they have that will make us lose all the weight we want during a single weekend.  And no, we don’t want to buy soap from you.  And no, we’re not going to come to a backyard barbecue so you can try and get us to buy some overpriced meat from…okay, actually, you might get us to show up at this one because you have to give us free beer, burgers and brats…but you’re going to lose a lot of money if we show up, I assure you.  And we’ll probably mock you.  A lot.  Maybe not until after we get the free beer at least…but you get the point.

The products aren’t the most annoying thing, though.  I mean, honestly, we all buy soap.  We love beer, burgers and brats.  We even occasionally drink juice.

What we can’t stand are pushy salespeople.  Or dumb people.  Especially dumb, pushy salespeople.  And, well, that’s what MLM tends to attract.  Maybe it’s because they’re frustrated salespeople that couldn’t latch on with a real company.  Maybe they’re just really, really desperate and turning to any possible hope of having an income stream.  Maybe they’re just gullible.  Maybe they don’t really have any marketable skills and this is all they can do.  Maybe they’ve been brainwashed.  Maybe it’s some combination or all of those things…but that doesn’t make them any more tolerable.  See, the worst part of it all is that no matter how hard they push, no matter how happy and pleasant they seem…there’s always an undercurrent of anger that’s always seething just under the surface waiting to pop out.  Because they know what they are.

This is not Tom. Just sayin’.

Like Tom.  Tom knows who and what he is…even though he tries to hide it in public…but wow, the dark side really comes out once you start talking with him away from open view.

See, Tom’s a multi level marketing guy.  I didn’t know this at first, but I recently dove in to a conversation thread that was going on, started by someone looking to start up a new networking group here in metro Detroit…and like many such conversations, I wanted to hop in so that I could see what it was about, who was doing it, what their focus might be, and if I could offer any tips or pointers to help out.  Unfortunately, it very rapidly became clear that this group was going to be just another LBN-like group that was shaping up to be yet another time waster.  Another coffee-shop, another back room of a Chinese restaurant, another mall food court…and another bunch of bottom-feeding windbags throwing around phrases like “collaborate”, “synergy”, “communicate with movers and shakers”, “entrepreneurial” and “use your creative energy”.  I know this, because that was all contained in a single response from the person wanting to start this group.

Yeah, I know.  I threw up in my mouth a little bit, too.  And silly, stupid me…I tried to chime in and point out that those buzzwords and platitudes didn’t really answer the question that was asked, which was basically “So what is this group going to be about, and what is it going to do?”   Yeah, I know.  I really have to learn how to stop trying to save people from themselves.  Everybody tells me that.  But it pisses me off when I see yet another group that promises little more than being a huge waste of time for people looking for genuine networking opportunities.

But back to Tom.

See, I mentioned MLM in my message.  That apparently lit Tom’s fuse.  Unfortunately for him, it seems that Tom’s fuse is pretty short, because he rapidly escalated to a full-blown, stage five poo-flinging howler monkey inside of about ten minutes.

Actual photo of the moment I read “MLMs are not pyramids”

I’m paraphrasing for the sake of brevity:

Tom, public post: “By the way Dave, not all MLMs are pyramid schemes & to lump them all in this category is together is not very professional!

Me, public post: “And yes, by their very definition, MLMs (-M-ulti -L-evel -M-arketing) are pyramid schemes. What do you think the “multi-level” means?

Random bystander then points out that perhaps a group thread isn’t the place for this conversation.

Me, public post: “Duly noted, and you’re right. My apologies to everyone for the screen clutter. 😉

I really thought that was going to be the end of it.  I wandered off, people started posting about other stuff.  I mean, keep in mind – this whole thing started because I had simply pointed out that someone had asked for clarification on what this new group was going to be about and they hadn’t really gotten an answer, and made a casual mention of MLMs being at “open” events, which is why I usually don’t attend them.  And then…

Tom, public post: “Sorry, I can not let this go! To David one last time & in defense of your comment on MLM! In MLM everyone has the same chance to get to the top! To lump all MLMs as the same is totally ridiculous! Show me why you think Melaleuca is a pyramid scheme! Better do some real thinking on this one before you put your foot in your mouth! I simply hate when people do not know what they are talking about & simply lump all MLMs in one category! I rest my case!

Now I’m torn.  I really, really want to fillet this guy like the dead fish that he’s made himself out to be…for the constant use of exclamation points if nothing else…but I’ve already apologized for the screen clutter and made my graceful exit from the conversation.  So I took the high road.

And, of course, by “took the high road“, I mean “I used the ‘reply privately’ feature to send Captain Pyramid Scheme the link to the google results when you search on melaleuca scam.

Artist’s rendering of Tom (and friends) reading my message

Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t go over very well.  Tom started emailing me.

#1: “Were you born a jackass or become one later?

#2: “Do me a favor, IT nitwit GEEK. Don’t email me again!!!

Of course I replied.  I replied to let him know that throwing “geek” at me thinking it’s an insult is like trying to use “thug” to taunt 50 Cent.  Besides, he had asked me to point out where his precious MLM was a pyramid scheme…which is all I’d done.  And, of course, he replied…

#3: “There is only 1 truth, you are an illiterate anal person who has nothing better to do than trash people & programs you know nothing about. You simply lump all programs as pyramids using no brains at all! I am surprised you have any friends with your idiotic attitude! Melaleuca saves people money replacing store bought products with theirs that are void of chemicals and they work better! So, how is this a pyramid scheme? Since you never looked & ASSUMED, shame on the lack of intelligence you LACK!

#4: “Like I said before, STOP emailing me a$$hole! (note: I edited that…he did not…)

I was full blown laughing out loud at this point.  Really, I was.  I mean, come on…”the lack of intelligence you LACK!“?  I know people throw “LOL” around when they’re really not laughing out loud, but not this time.  Possibly the best thing that happened to me last week was this email conversation, because it completely lightened my mood.  The chatter, sadly enough, ended rather abruptly with my reply though (which, for the record, was apparently between #3 and #4, since #4 was waiting for me after I hit “send”):

What makes me laugh the most is how hyper-sensitive you are. The slightest bit of criticism, and you flew off the handle frothing at the mouth calling me names and personally insulting me. How…mature…of you. Really.

Friends? I have plenty. And you know WHY I have plenty of friends? It’s because I don’t try to sell them crap from whatever “network marketing system” I’ve bought into that month. 🙂

“[x] saves people money replacing store bought products with theirs that are void of chemicals and they work better! So, how is this a pyramid scheme? ”

I replaced “Melaleuca” with “[x]”, because that’s the same exact thing that Zrii, Amway, Noni juice, and every other two-bit “shill this crap to your friends” pyramid says.

Exactly.

Verbatim.

Please…PLEASE keep writing back to me. You’re just giving me more material to make sure I get this next Don’t Be That Guy entry *just* right 🙂

For some reason, he stopped replying at that point.  Go figure.

The sad reality is that this isn’t the first run-in we’ve had with MLM Guy.  Not Tom specifically, but MLM Guy shows up in our inbox at least once every three months or so, usually when a Pink Slip Party is coming up, demanding to be allowed to come.  We’ve had threats of legal action, vows to show up and ruin our events by making a scene, even promises of starting another group that will, and I quote, “completely destroy” us.  Well, we’re still here, we haven’t had to bring an attorney into anything, and the ones that have shown up have been quickly and quietly escorted out…though, for the record, they’ve all been random and not any of the ones that threatened to show up after emailing us.

Let’s recap, shall we?

  1. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…have nothing to do with the IT industry.
  2. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…are not jobs.
  3. Multi Level Marketing systems, pyramid scams, network marketing schemes, or whatever they want to call themselves today…rely on you hawking stuff to your friends and family and generally being That Guy.

So, really, that’s the icing on the cake.  Every interaction we’ve had with MLM Guy has started off casual enough and mellow, but then they always get all bent out of shape just because we’re honest and so they turn into raging jackasses.  And since we neither need nor want any added headaches in our lives, even if we didn’t have those first couple of reasons solidly in our corner…we would absolutely cling to the third like a drowning man to a life preserver and keep saying “no”.  Besides, like we’ve said over and over again, ITintheD.com is what it is – a group focused solely on professionals in and around the IT industry.  It’s not a group for everyone, and that’s okay – there are tons of other groups out there…and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, go start your own and do whatever you want with it.

That’s what we did.

…and that’s all for this time.  Check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries, and we look forward to seeing you at future events.  Well, not you Tom (or any other MLM, Pyramid, or “network marketing” people…none of you)…but “you”, the folks that are reading this and laughing, because you’re the reason why we do this.  We’ve long since lost the ability to use this as an excuse to go grab a beer once a month, but we’re still sticking to our guns on this one:

Please respect that the members of ITintheD.com do not want MLM companies or representatives pitching to the guests. Our members are looking for professional networking opportunities or perhaps a new job. Do not attend if you represent the following companies: Amway, World Ventures, YTB, Mary Kay, NuSkin, World Financial Group, PrePaid Legal or others on this list. ITintheD.com events are not the forum for MLMs. Sign up with this group.

We’re not kidding.  Seriously.

David Phillips is the geek that’s been pushed into management roles over the span of his career. He’s been a helpdesk jockey, a team lead, a systems architect and even a Vice President over the course of his more than 20 years in information technology for a variety of industries. He’s been profiled by CNN’s Money Magazine for his work with the group, as well as being a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s “Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives”. The views and opinions expressed here are solely in his own, and relate to IT in the D only.