Why Lawyers Become Bad Leaders

Why Lawyers Become Bad Leaders
Or…Stop putting lawyers into political leadership, Congress, Senate, Presidency!

Lawyers rank low in terms of perception as being honest and ethical, yet make up a majority of US presidents and half of Congress. Does the study of the law result in bad leaders?

There is also a mismatch between the traits associated with leaders and those associated with lawyers. Although what constitutes effective leadership depends on context, certain qualities are rated as important across an array of situations. The best-documented characteristics cluster in five categories: vision, values (integrity, honesty, an ethic of service), personal skills (self-awareness, self-control), interpersonal skills (social awareness, empathy, persuasion), and technical competence (knowledge, preparation, judgment).

Not all of those qualities are characteristic of lawyers. For example, they tend to be above average in their skepticism, competitiveness, autonomy, sense of urgency, and orientation to achievement. Skepticism, the tendency to be argumentative, cynical, and judgmental, can get in the way of what President George H.W. Bush famously dismissed as the ”vision thing.” The need to ”get things done” urgently can lead to impatience, intolerance, and a failure to listen. Competitiveness and desires for autonomy and achievement can make lawyers self-absorbed, controlling, and combative.

Lawyers also rank lower than the general population in interpersonal sensitivity and resilience­—their difficulty in accepting criticism. Lacking ”soft” interpersonal skills, they tend to devalue them and see no reason to acquire them.

Another problem arises from what researchers call the ”paradox of power.” Individuals reach top positions because of a need for personal achievement, so they often don’t focus on helping others achieve. If left unchecked, the ambition, self-confidence, and self-centeredness that often propel lawyers to leadership roles may sabotage their performance once they get there.

If you're a lawyer, you've heard it before: Americans don't much like you!

A recent Gallup poll finds that less than a fifth of Americans rate lawyers highly or very highly

in honesty and ethical standards, above members of Congress and car salesmen. According to a Pew Research Center poll, honesty is the most important leadership trait.

Although honesty is not a characteristic commonly associated with lawyers, Americans place lawyers in leadership roles  in much higher percentages than other countries do. According to one study, only one nation, Colombia, has  a higher share of lawyers in the national legislature. The legal profession has  supplied a majority of U.S. presidents, and in recent decades, almost half of the members of Congress. Although they account for just 0.4 percent of the population, lawyers are well represented as governors, state legislators, judges, prosecutors, and heads of corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations.

What explains that paradox?

The distinctive influence of American lawyers reflects several factors. First, the centrality of law in American culture. The country's longstanding tendency to frame questions of social policy and morality in legal terms has  elevated lawyers to positions of authority. As de Tocqueville famously noted, "In America there are no nobles or literary men, and the people is apt to mistrust the wealthy; lawyers consequently form the highest political class  and the most cultivated circle of society."

Because lawyers functioned, in de Tocqueville's words, as the "American aristocracy," many upwardly mobile individuals who  aspired to public influence chose law as their career. As law became associated with positions of influence, those who  were  interested in leadership increasingly saw it as the occupation of choice. President Woodrow Wilson captured prevailing wisdom when he noted: "The  profession I chose was politics; the profession I entered was the law. I entered one because I thought it would lead  to the other."

Law and politics are what researchers call "convergent professions" because they require similar functions; skills in investigation, drafting, procedure, and oral advocacy work to the advantage of lawyers who  seek public office.

It is ironic, then, that the occupation most responsible for producing America's leaders has focused so little attention on that role.

Rarely have lawyers received training for governance. Although leadership development is now a $60-billion worldwide industry, it is largely  missing in legal education. Even the minority of law schools that include fostering leadership among their objectives rarely offer courses in the subject. Only a fifth of large  law firms have formal leadership-development programs. An Amazon search yields  some 74,000 leadership books, but only a handful focusing on lawyers.

Two reasons the occupation that produces so many of the nation's leaders has  done so little to prepare them may  be that the field  of leadership studies has  only recently emerged, and that its reputation has  been tarnished by pop publications. "Leadership lite" includes classics such as Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun and Toy Box

Leadership: Leadership Lessons From the Toys You Loved  as a Child.

Another obstacle to preparing leaders is the assumption that great ones are born, not made. Yet contemporary research suggests that most leadership skills are acquired. And decades of experience with leadership development indicates that its major capabilities can be learned. In effect, as James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner note in The Truth About Leadership, "the best leaders are the best learners."

There is also a mismatch between the traits associated with leaders and those associated with lawyers. Although what constitutes effective leadership depends on context, certain qualities are rated as important across an array of situations. The best-documented characteristics cluster in five categories: vision, values (integrity, honesty, an ethic of service), personal skills (self- awareness, self-control), interpersonal skills (social awareness, empathy, persuasion), and technical competence (knowledge, preparation, judgment).

Not all of those qualities are characteristic of lawyers. For example, they tend to be above average in their skepticism, competitiveness, autonomy, sense of urgency, and orientation to achievement. Skepticism, the tendency to be argumentative, cynical, and judgmental, can get in the way of what President George H.W. Bush  famously dismissed as the "vision thing." The need to "get things done" urgently can lead  to impatience, intolerance, and a failure to listen. Competitiveness and desires for autonomy and achievement can make lawyers self-absorbed, controlling, and combative.

Lawyers also rank lower  than the general population in interpersonal sensitivity and resilience— their difficulty in accepting criticism. Lacking "soft" interpersonal skills, they tend to devalue them and see no reason to acquire them.

Another problem arises from what researchers call the "paradox of power." Individuals reach top positions because of a need for personal achievement, so they often don't focus on helping others achieve. If left unchecked, the ambition, self-confidence, and self-centeredness that often propel lawyers to leadership roles  may  sabotage their performance once they get there.

A case  study in the limitations of lawyers as leaders involves the role of Ted  Olson and David Boies in bringing the federal case  challenging California's ban on same-sex marriages. The case  arose after California voters narrowly passed Proposition 8, amending the state Constitution to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. Olson and Boies,  two of the nation's most accomplished lawyers, were  hired by a political strategist and a Hollywood producer to challenge Prop 8. Boies  and Olson knew that leaders of gay-rights organizations were  opposed to a federal challenge but did  not consult them before filing suit.

In justifying their decision to proceed, Olson told The New Yorker, "There are millions of people in this country who  would like to be married—in California, in Arkansas, wherever. Some couple is going to go to some lawyer, and that lawyer is going to bring the case. And that case  could be the case  that goes  to the Supreme Court. So, if there's going to be a case, let it be us. Because we will staff it—we've got 15, 20 lawyers working on this case, and we have the resources to do it, and we have the experience in the Supreme Court."

It was hardly a disinterested decision. Olson and Boies  clearly had something to gain from being lead  counsel in a case  of such prominence. Many gay-rights leaders were  furious, and a joint statement by the American Civil Liberties Union and eight prominent gay-rights organizations condemned the lawsuit. The odds of success were  weak because the "Supreme Court typically does not get too far ahead of either public opinion or the law in the majority of states," the statement said. "We lost the right to marry in California at the ballot box. That's where we need to win it back."

The controversy over Boies  and Olson's actions continued once the federal trial judge in the case issued an order specifying topics for the parties to consider. He identified a wide  range of matters in which gay-rights groups had expertise, and three of them attempted to join the lawsuit as interveners. Boies  and Olson blocked those efforts, in order to retain exclusive control over the litigation.

They got lucky.  The sympathetic trial judge issued a factually well-supported ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. Then California's governor and attorney general declined to appeal the ruling, leaving the defense of Prop 8 in the hands of activists who  had put it on the ballot. That paved the way for the Supreme Court to rule  that the

activists lacked standing to challenge the lower  court's ruling. The result was to let the decision overturning Prop 8 stand, and to grant same-sex couples the right to marry in California, while avoiding a decision on the constitutional question.

Although the outcome was a happy one, there is much to dislike about the process by which it was achieved.

Boies  and Olson pursued a high-risk strategy against the advice of groups that had the greatest expertise and stake in the outcome. Most observers believe that a low-risk strategy of challenging Prop 8 at the ballot box would have been successful, as polls  suggested that California voters had changed their views on the ban. Such a strategy would have exposed the gay-rights movement to less risk of an adverse Supreme Court precedent while  accomplishing the same result.

That is not to deny the accomplishments of Boies  and Olson as litigators, the advantages of having a prominent conservative like Olson supporting gay marriage, or the social commitments that underpinned their actions. But it is to underscore the difference between effective lawyers and effective leaders.

A quality of successful leadership is the capacity to work collaboratively. The most-effective leaders are those who  can see past their own ambitions and desire for limelight. In Peter Drucker's phrase, accomplished leaders "think and say 'we.'" Enduring legacies are left by those who  transcend personal needs and consult widely  in pursuit of common values.

 

Deborah L. Rhode is a professor of law at Stanford University and director of its Center on the Legal Profession. Her most recent book, Lawyers as Leaders, was published by Oxford University Press.

How Entrepreneurs and Lawyers Think Differently


Discovering Your Why

10 Ways to Live a More Meaningful Life

It can be easy to run through the maze of life without pausing to think of its meaning.

Does what I’m doing matter?

More importantly, discovering your WHY.

Feeling that what you’re doing has a real purpose and meaning that matters to you can make a huge difference in your life. It makes getting up each day the most exciting thing in the world. You can’t wait to get started. Forget trying to force yourself to work hard, it becomes more important to remind yourself to take breaks to eat!

But how can we cultivate a more meaningful life? The answer is usually complicated. It can depend on many factors. I’ve written down 10 ideas that I believe will help you find meaning in your life every day, so that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what the day will bring.

1. Know What’s Important

Know what’s important for you. Write down your top 5 things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live life. This can include things like “family time,” or “sing every day.” It could also include more complex ideas, like “honesty” and “simplicity.”

2. Pursue Your Passion

I believe everyone should pursue their passion in life. It’s what makes life worth living, and gives our lives true meaning and purpose. Each time you work on something you love, it creates joy inside you like nothing else. Finding a way to use your passions to give back to the world will give your life ultimate meaning.

If you can’t manage (or aren’t ready) to work on your passion for a living, be sure and make time for it every day. By working on your passion and becoming an expert in it, you will eventually have the opportunity to make money from it. Be ready to seize that opportunity!

3. Discover Your Life’s Purpose

If you had to give yourself a reason to live, what would it be? What would you stand for? What principles do you hold highest? Is your life’s purpose to help others? Is it to inspire others with great works of art, or you words? Finding your life’s purpose is a daunting task, and when I first heard the idea, I had no idea where to start. For methods on discovering your life’s purpose, I recommend Steve Pavlina’s blog entries on the subject. I also recommend reading the article What Makes Life Worth Living.

4. Be Self-Aware

Be aware of yourself and your actions. Remain mindful of what you do at all times, and make sure you are living life according to your principles, your life’s purpose, and what you are passionate about. Review your actions each day, taking stock of those that strayed from your path. Work towards correcting any incidents in the future. Meditation is a great tool for accomplishing this task. It helps us increase our self-awareness throughout the day.

5. Focus

Rather than chasing 3 or 4 goals and making very little progress on them, place all of your energy on one thing. Focus. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to juggle so many tasks, you will be much more successful. Try and align your goal with something you are passionate about, so that there will be an intrinsic drive to work hard and do well.

6. People More Than Things

Often, we are faced with wanting to buy material goods. I recommend you consider carefully what you purchase, and think more about spending your money on experiences with friends and family. Not only will this give deeper meaning to your life by focusing on your relationships rather than material wealth, but you will be a happier person as a result.

7. Live With Compassion

Both for yourself, and others. Keep in mind the following quote:

"One must be compassionate to one's self before external compassion" – Dalai Lama

For some, compassion is the purpose of life, what gives it meaning, and what leads to ultimate happiness.

8. Find a Way to Give Back

Do something that both honors your beliefs and passions, while giving something back to the world. By giving something back, we inevitably find purpose in the act. By cultivating more of these activities, you will find your life has more meaning and purpose behind it.

9. Simplify Your Life

By simplifying your life, you’ll have more time to do what fulfills you and gives your life meaning. It can also help reduce stress and make your overall life easier to manage. It can also greatly improve your productivity. If you’ve never tried to simplify things before, it really is a great feeling.

10. Set Daily Goals

In the morning, before you start your day, create a list of 3 goals that you find fulfilling and meaningful. Make sure they adhere to your set of principles and beliefs. Tackle the hardest things first! Don’t make this list too long. By placing too many things on the list, you’ll feel the urge to multi-task, which is not good, or you’ll feel overwhelmed, which isn’t good either. By trying to do less, you’ll end up doing more.

Doing all of these things at once may seem daunting, but you can pick one thing at a time and slowly incorporate the ideas into your life. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Living a life of purpose gives both fulfillment and meaning to your journey.

Markethive membership by invitation only:

http://markethive.com/marketing

Criticism: The fire in the forge of great leadership

Much of my time is spent working with entrepreneurs, and I have discovered that many, if not most, are uncomfortable with the role and responsibility of leadership. The typical entrepreneur is someone who has a desire to be financially self-determined, who has enough confidence to try something on their own, and who is willing to take some risks. Most of them are comfortable with the idea of being someone else’s boss. But they would prefer to be a boss without being a leader.

What is it about being a leader that is so daunting? Part of the problem may be that we’ve taken the concept of leader and attached it to larger-than-life personalities like Jack Welch, making anyone else who aspires to leadership look like a pallid wanna-be.

Part of the problem may be that our national personality is largely influenced by populism, the idea that the rank and file have greater value than their leaders because of, their, um superior realness (read on to discover the glorious contradiction of this idea). This populist tendency leads to a rather toxic practice of boss-bashing and fault finding. Any intelligent person who wishes to pursue a position of leadership must first consider their own ability to deal with constant criticism. One of the first pieces of management advice I ever received, delivered from a mentor I revered, was “the higher you fly the more you get shot at.” I have often encountered talented workers who were unwilling to break ranks with their fellow workers and train for management because they didn’t want to upset the social applecar

The Flawed Man

Another reason some people eschew leadership is because it’s so damned responsible. Myriad scientific and social studies demonstrate that the wildly successful aren’t those who make less mistakes – they are the ones who make more mistakes, because it requires much more action and risk-taking to achieve big wins. Leaders are by their nature flawed. Truly great leaders air all their flaws in public in pursuit of great accomplishments. The responsibility of driving an organization forward is the responsibility of constantly trying to be educated, informed, forward-thinking, and strategic thinking enough to make more decisions than anyone else has to make – frequently at breakneck speed and always at the risk of being wrong. The armchair leadership critique squads get to sit on the sideline and comment on everything from the leader’s personality to their character to their subject knowledge to their style. They are sometimes correct, rarely kind.

Are you the Garden Variety Entrepreneur?

No wonder many entrepreneurs would rather be a garden-variety boss than a leader. It’s safer. You get to keep/make more friends. You get to make the vast majority of your mistakes in private.

The problem for entrepreneurs who do not wish to be leaders is that it doesn’t work. People crave leadership, even as they criticize it, even as they resist it. We all want to know where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, what risks we’re going to face, and what our chances are of making it. If nobody takes a leadership role, the result is the social equivalent of sheep milling around in a barnyard. The contradiction of our social populism is our equally great craving for accomplishment, a sense of purpose.

Be the Leader The Alpha Entrepreneur!

Can a business survive without a leader? Absolutely – I hear about and encounter businesses without leadership every day. Business owners who are described as wishy-washy by their employees, who avoid making difficult decisions, who move the business so incrementally that the evolution is nearly indiscernible (or nonexistent), who push tough decisions off to people like the human resource manager, the operations manager, and the accounting department. They are frequently well-liked, even admired, people. But do their businesses grow and thrive? No, they do not.

When an entrepreneur takes the responsibility for hiring others, they take on a responsibility for other people’s lives. If you’re self-employed and it all falls apart, you’re only damaging yourself and your family. When an employer goes down the drain they take many others with them – employees, vendors, and even customers.

Many entrepreneurs believe that by being very conservative – by not making mistakes – they will preserve their business. But case-study after case-study demonstrates that the typical business failure isn’t made of one bad decision (or even several bad decisions), but of failure to evolve, to chart new territory, to end things that have lost their value (or never had value), to seek new customers in new markets or to invent new ways to create value. Failure is typically the result of stasis.

The practice of leadership is demanding; demanding of skills, knowledge, ability to grow, and ability to maintain self-confidence. Jim Collins asserts that to be a great leader one must first be a great manager. Leadership isn’t about charisma. It’s about having tremendous knowledge about the work (all the work), how to do the work, and what could improve the work. At the same time a leader is looking inside with tremendous insight, understanding, and contribution, they are also looking outside with foresight, a passion for learning, and an eagerness to evolve. The competent leader is assessing all the variables, recognizing that each option presents both pros and cons, and driving in the direction of the greatest pros while working to offset or eliminate the cons.

And great leaders? Jim Collins says that a great leader goes beyond those characteristics to combine a blend of intense personal will with great humility. And there it is. The biggest risk. One does not become a great leader without having first been a not-great leader. Humility is learned on-the-job. The risks of leadership aren’t just technical, strategic, financial. They are personal. Intensely personal. The emerging leader must make peace with a very difficult idea. He (or she) must accept that demands and complaints from the rank and file are part of his growth, because a leader must strive to be more capable, more effective, a better decision-maker than the people they aspire to lead. And he does all this in public, being the flawed human being he is, and holding himself to a higher standard than his critics will ever be held to themselves. More daunting is the fact that this goes on for a long time, because great humility is rarely achieved in one’s 30s or 40s. Great humility is typically pursued over a lifetime, which means someone who aspires to be a great leader is aspiring to decades of humility lessons.

Is it fair? Well, as I often ask my children, “what’s fair anyway?” The more appropriate question is “what do you want to achieve?”  If what you wish to achieve is a thriving business that grows and evolves and is capable of producing the retirement income or legacy you desire, you will need to either accept the role of leadership or fully entrust that role to someone else who will. If you choose to learn to be a leader – then a great leader – the financial, intellectual, and psychic rewards can be great, but as with every great reward, you will pay the price every day. You will have to be a striving, mistake-making, earnest, struggling, imperfect human on a public stage. The ultimate risk. And perhaps the greatest reward of all.

Resume of Thomas Prendergast

Surfing for the most part was my greatest priority, then I got married.

Thats me on a 25 foot peak at Steamers Lane in Santa Cruz around 1976

 

I was born an artist, musician, innovator and entrepreneur. I had my first business before finishing high school and was professionally selling my oil paintings and artwork at the age of 14.

 

Although I attended many colleges, it was always interrupted by innovative new ideas into a business that would begin producing significant profits therefore; college was always a source for research but was never a goal for a degree, if that makes sense.

 

The other major issue that seriously challenged full time employment vs self-employed entrepreneurial innovation was my addiction to surfing. And I went full bore into that pursuit eventually surfing huge waves like at Mavericks and the Wedge. That is a totally other story, but that story played a large part in shaping who and what I am today.

Farming was my first big cash cow back in the 70s in Santa Cruz.

From artist, musician, and craft I eventually evolved into building a design agency then turned it into an ad agency in the 80s and set up shop in the San Francisco Bay area. This was a dynamic time as this was the beginning of the Silicon Valley revolution and I was at the core. Many of our clients back then were Accolade, Apple, Adobe, Epyx, Electronic Arts, Fairchild, Oracle, Silicon Graphics, Worlds of Wonder (WOW) to name a few. I was also involved at Stanford University and was becoming interested and aware of the coming Internet.

 

By 1986 my agency was billing over $2 million per month and I was driving the fast lane (brand new BMWs, Brook Brothers Suits, Rolex Watch, etc.) in San Francisco, hanging with celebrities and major mind benders like Steve Wozniak, Ken Uston, Dwight Clark, Russell Brown, and well a long list of what would eventually become the core of the industry these days.

 

1989 was the year of the great San Francisco earthquake and it seemed to herald trouble ahead as we found ourselves in a series of never ending lawsuits, that eventual caused me to shut down the company, take the best clients and move to Washington state. It was there I actually engaged building networks, BBC systems and figured a hack to access the Internet via a dial up modem from my Mac IIcx into a modem bank owned by a company called Powernet. I was finally on the Internet.

 

I was also one of the first members on AOL with my call name Tom I had tom@aol.com. Since I had connections at Adobe I was able to buy Adobe Illustrator returns and NFRs for $25 per box. I built a “store” on AOL’s classifieds, used Macs QuickKey automation to log into AOL. Navigate; place the ad selling Adobe Illustrator for half the retail price and log out, doing this every hour 24 hours a day.

 

It was my first mega success and I hauled in over $150,000 per month for almost a year when my connection special dried up. Bonanza, I stared seeing the bigger picture from that time on with the reach the Internet offered.

 

I eventually moved back to California, San Diego, got involved with UCSD's Super Computer center and developed a social network called Wavefour, where we tweaked a forum software called the WWWboard, by Matt Wright into a self-replicated members area and front page with a form that wrote to a MS Access database on a server and returned an autoresponder email and a new account.

 

This was the foundation of Wavefour, which was one of the many firsts. First self-replicated website, first self-replicated PDF (a formatted receipt to print out sign and fax or mail in), first read write to a server database, first auto responder email system, first remote broadcasting system I called "The Hammer" and all incorporated into the first Automated Marketing system.

 

This system poured new customers and evolved into a service called Veretekk that ran for almost 20 years, was private labeled to hundreds of companies and built a verifiable database that numbered into the hundreds of millions and produced revenues in excess of 5 million.

 

Because Veretekk began on CGI script, HTML and text databases, it's evolution; as OS and advances into PHP. Java, Ajax, SQL occurred, Veretekk got old and even after relaunching a complete new face and core upgrades in 2010 called V2, it was still old and by 2012 we began shutting it down.

 

In 2013 I was blessed with a new vision of a brand new start from ground up Inbound marketing Social Network. I built the blue prints from the vision, complete with layers of tools, broadcasting platforms, the social network functions and the entire look, feel of the interface I raised about $350,000 in cloud capital, hired a programmer and had the core built and ready to populate with the crowd funding founders and trademarked and incorporated it all as Markethive in mid 2015 and opened the doors to our (not ready for prime time) Alpha launch.

 

Since then we have built an engineering department, a marketing department, and customer support department and are scheduled for a full BETA launch in January 2016. We are currently in the process raising another $200,000 to fund a massive ad campaign by January 2016.

 

My whole life has been about the entrepreneurial pursuit. As an entrepreneur, small and medium size business owner, occasionally engaged in some peripheral mlm opportunities, I have managed to earn over 40 million dollars during my lifetime.

 

Now entering my early 60s, Markethive is my most serious venture built from the focus of serving the entrepreneur, empowering, mentoring and engaging this culture like not found in any other social system.

 

With a lifetime as an entrepreneur, a long history running an advertising and marketing firm in the Silicon Valley during the roaring 80s, being one of the very first on the Internet, building first off tech and running one of the first social networks, and developing a knowledge and intimate friendships with literally 1000s of entrepreneurs, I can claim authority in developing and launching a long time needed, integrated, effective and inspiring entrepreneurial social network.

 

I am currently the CEO, Founder, Creator and architect of Markethive.  We are at that exciting edge right before all of our work, dreams, aspirations, projections, time and investments is about to be launched. It is both a time of great excitement and daunting at the same time. It is exactly where I love being and I am inviting you to become part of it. As a partner, or investor or member, you will want to be here, from the beginning as we are going to be writing history.

 

Markethive, the ecosystem for entrepreneurs, welcome home.

 

Thomas Prendergast
CMO Markethive Inc.

The Top 15 Insects You Can Eat to Survive

The Top 15 Insects You Can Eat to Survive … and HOW
 
Which insects can be eaten? In survival it turns out there are many species of edible insects including 3 "creatures" that are not insects but a food source still the same. It's too bad no one told the Donner Party, American pioneers who turned to cannibalism …when they ran out of food
 
 
On the CBS hit show Survivor, contestants do some pretty disgusting things to make it out of the wilderness — like eat insects.

It's too bad that the Donner Party (early American pioneers making a trek out west who were caught in the mountains of California and turned to cannibalism) had to go through a horrific slow starvation that U.S. history records so famously and then proceed to actually eating their dead loved ones rather than seeking out insects and or the other creatures we mention below.

You Don't Have to "Go Out" Like That

With shows like Survivor in recent years, television has desensitized a lot of us to the idea of eating insects. I mean, for example, let me ask this question: Are you willing to eat insects?

Could you get your family and friends to eat insects in a survival emergency, if it came down to it?

Although Survivor over dramatizes the plot lines, the fact remains that surviving extended periods in harsh conditions requires you to make some tough decisions that may include whether or not to seek after and eat various insect species in order to survive and live another day, week, or even month, if insects were all you were able to get your hands on.

Many people — especially those of us that live in North America — shake our heads in disgust at the thought of eating insects. However, the feeling of disgust dissipates as the hunger pangs grow stronger. We're used to consuming three substantial meals a day, sometimes more than that, with one or more snacks filling in the caloric schedule throughout the day.

Eating Insects in a Survival Emergency

When would you retire your entrenched belief that consuming insects represents one of the most distasteful things that you can do? North Americans despise the notion of consuming edible insects, but the fact remains that nearly 80 percent of the world's population includes insects in their daily diets. In some cultures, edible insects comprise the appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

Yes, consuming edible insects requires the development of an acquired taste. Yet, who said you have to go all in and ingest copious amounts of crickets to prepare for the inevitable prolonged disaster.

In a survival emergency, realize that you can safely eat many types of insects as well as other creatures like snails, maggots, and even slugs. Each of these can also be considered as a food source — though they should be found in the wild, not near any area of possible industrial pollution or agricultural contamination or even near a neighborhood due to the widespread use of chemicals aimed at killing these commonly viewed "pests".

Any snails, slugs, or maggots that you do find in the wild should always be cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria and parasites — more on this below.

The Top 15 North American Edible Insects Are…

In a survival scenario, you can't afford to be picky to sustain your body and mind. Not only does Jimmy John's not deliver Freaky Fast in the wilderness, you might also not have a way to hunt or trap wild game or forage for wild edibles. Just depends on where you are, what season of the year you happen to be in, and whether or not you have any traps or ammo to go after a wild animal. And that brings us to insects, as well as snails, maggots, and slugs — which are not insects, but we mention them here because they are a possible food source often found in the same places as insects and commonly looked at with the same disregard.

But why go hungry in a survival emergency when literally at your feet could be your next meal, and it might not be as bad as you think.

At some point creatures like these may become your only option to survive other than cannibalism and we hope that you and others would never consider that, especially when insects are so readily found.

On top of that you have 15 varieties of insects and those snails, maggots and slugs to choose from that are easy to capture and provide nutrition and calories to help you get through the day and week ahead.

1. Crickets/Grasshoppers

Edible crickets and edible grasshoppers – – Crickets and grasshoppers provide abundant calcium. The easy to catch insect also contains 20.6 grams of protein for every 100 grams of insect that you consume.

Most of the nutritional value of crickets and grasshoppers comes from the torso area. Although the legs and wings do not possess much nutritional value, you might want to consider mixing the parts in with the torso to add a crunch to each bite that you take. The crunch effect makes consuming the insects more palatable, which means you should pull the legs and wings off.

You can consume crickets and grasshoppers either raw or cooked. Crickets live under rocks, boulders, and large logs that sit near meadows and fertile pastures.

The nocturnal insect's cousin the grasshopper prefers more arid and open living environments like meadows and fields, where ever grass is plentiful. Learn specific details about crickets here and learn specific details about grasshoppers here including as edible insects.

2. Locusts

Edible locusts – Similar to crickets and grasshoppers, locusts also contain rich amounts of calcium and protein. The primary difference between locust and their insect cousins involves size and the fact that locusts travel in swarms, which makes it easy to build a large inventory of locusts for surviving prolonged emergencies.

In many parts of the world, locusts comprise a diet and nutritional staple. Residents of Sub-Sahara Africa sweep swarms of locusts into bags. Locusts migrate all over the world, mostly between regions that have fertile soil to grow plants and trees.

3. Ants

Edible ants – The hardest working insect repulses many people for consumption, but ants are easy to find and capture. Some ants, such as fire ants, bite and thus, don't make good food sources.

To catch and round up ants, dig into an anthill and use a large scoop or scoop-like device to push the ants into a container.

Most survival experts recommend boiling ants, but before doing so, you need to shake the container to remove any dirt and mud clinging to any ants. Eating ants raw creates a bitter vinegar taste that boiling in water removes.

Three and a half ounces of red ants produces 14 grams of protein and 5.7 milligrams of iron. The 5.7 milligrams of iron represents about 71 percent of what men require each day.

Women receive more than 33% of their iron needs from a 3.5-ounce serving of red ants.

4. June Bugs

Edible beetles – As a common insect species, June bugs are beetles (Phyllophaga is the technical name for this genus of beetles) and thrive in arid climates, such as climates found in Denver, Santa Fe, and Phoenix, but beetles themselves can be found in many regions. Depending on where you live, you may have come across these for several years, thought they were simply beetles, but now you have a specific name for this species of insect, June bugs.

This slow moving insect requires little effort to catch and the reward is a tasty snack or meal after grilling or slow boiling the insects over a fire. Sometimes June bugs hardly move at all.

You find June bugs on plants during the late evening hours and under plants and along the forest floor during the day. At 13.4 grams of protein per 100 grams of June bug consumption, you receive an ample amount of protein as they are found and consumed.

5. Caterpillars

Edible caterpillars – A hairy insect doesn't seem an epicurean delight, but caterpillars contain high levels of iron, niacin, protein, thiamine, and B vitamins. Some types of caterpillars are not fit for consumption and we discuss the common traits to look for in unhealthy insects at the end of this article. Many survival experts suggest frying caterpillars to harden the crunch. The low moving and easy to catch insect also goes down gullet raw.

In some parts of the world, some types of caterpillars are a rich food source. However, please note, that some caterpillars are toxic to humans, and to rely on caterpillars as a food source in a survival emergency, please seek out more specific instruction for caterpillars in your region.

6. Scorpions

Edible scorpions – Found in the desert regions of the American southwest and open, rugged frontier across states such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of California, scorpions are the quintessential insect to raise and harvest for later consumption.

Search for small holes under rocks, trees, and tree limbs. To avoid the painful scorpion sting, use a glass bottle and push the scorpion into the bottle. Cooking scorpions involves skewering the large insect and holding the skewer over an open fire.

Because of a high concentration of protein, several body building supplement products use scorpion extract to enhance protein content. Since scorpions live in rocky environments, you also benefit from a strong source of minerals, such as iron and magnesium.

7. Termites

Edible termites – Your body needs protein to build and repair skin, bones, muscles, and most important blood oxygen, and termites are rich in protein.

If you can find a termite mound, you may be able to feed several people at just one sitting.

During any prolonged emergency, you can expect your body to undergo considerable duress. Termites come to the rescue, because the oft-maligned insect contains an abundant 14.4 grams of protein for every 100 grams of termites that you consume. Anyone that has been the recipient of termite destruction knows where to look for the body-repairing insect. Termites flourish within downed trees, as well as decaying stumps and logs.

You have to eat a large amount of the tiny insect to enjoy the protein benefits, but termites typically are found in hordes. Termites live in damp climates in regions such as thick forests and coastal areas. Many natives to termite country eat the insects raw to obtain the highest nutritional value.

8. Snails

Edible snails – No, you don't need a slab of butter, cup of white wine and a few shallots to enjoy what the French call escargot.

Snails tend to consume toxic fungi and vegetation, so the best way to consume the easy to catch Gastropod is by steaming the entire shell and then removing the tender body from the shell. Harvesting snails only requires a container that contains the traditional grain feed that snails like. The snail population explodes during the spring, when food sources rapidly multiply.

One hundred grams of snails gets you over 16 grams of protein, which represents a protein number near the top of the insect consumption list. The same amount of snails provides 90 calories and about four milligrams of iron, which equals the iron produced from a six-ounce serving of beef.

9. Centipedes

Edible centipedes – Found throughout North America, centipedes are one of the most abundant forms of insects for consumption — and they're typically easy to find. Especially after a steady rain, turn over a large log or rock and discover several centipedes scampering away. Remember that besides possessing fewer legs than millipedes, centipedes also differ from their leggy cousins by not emitting toxins. Since centipedes use pinchers to bite, the best way to consume the nutritious insects is by boiling or steaming them. A serving of 100 grams produces a healthy 160 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates.

For survivalists that need a sudden burst of energy, centipedes should comprise one of the go to insects for consumption.

10. Cockroaches

Edible cockroaches – Stay away from cockroaches that swarm into dark spaces within your home — we're talking about cockroaches found in the wild.

During an emergency, where you are nowhere near your home and there is no food available, be on the lookout for wilderness cockroaches that feast on highly nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. Cockroaches love damp environments, especially those that bustle under the cover of darkness. The clean and delicious wilderness cockroach taste and feel like greasy chicken say many who have eaten them, but you must boil, fry, or sauté the insect to achieve the greasy chicken taste profile and definitely to kill any bacteria that may be present on a cockroach.

Adult cockroaches produce 23.80 milligrams of vitamin C and 48.16 milligrams of vitamin A. You also benefit from an incredible 65.60 grams of fiber by eating just 100 grams of cockroaches (which you'll get in just a handful).

11. Bees/Wasps

Edible bees and edible wasps – – As an elusive insect to capture, buzzing bees and wasps often zip in and out of view hundreds of yards from where their bustling nests hum, where bees are busy at work serving the hide.

Yet, the effort put into locating the home of bees and wasps is well worth the survival effort. Some survival experts suggest tying a thin, long silk thread to a captured bee or wasp and then follow the bee or wasp to its buzzing home. The way to drive bees and wasps away from the nest is to smoke them out. Once the bees and wasps flee, you have access to delicious and nutritional larvae. Smoking bee or wasp larvae for several hours represents the best way to ensure robust flavor, without diminishing the nutritional content of the edible insects. Bee pollen is replete in protein, folic acid, B-complex vitamins, and free amino acids.

12. Earwigs

Edible earwigs – Many survivalists prepare earwigs the same way that they prepare termites. However, gardeners have found that a capture method makes the prefect food preparation method as well. You fill low-sided cans with about a half-inch of vegetable oil and set the cans on the ground, preferably near vegetation. Earwigs detect the presence of vegetables and move inside the cans, where they drown. The dead earwigs already have a coat of oil for frying or toasting. Stale beer works almost as effectively as vegetable oil. Earwigs offer a substantial source of protein and fiber, something that many survivalists lack by living days or even months outdoors.

13. Maggots

Edible maggots – Revolting as they are, maggots might be one of the few insects that you find during an emergency. Rotting animal corpses produce copious amounts of maggots and the fat content alone helps you survive food deprivation. Many cultures crave the superfood maggot to counter the long-term health detriments of consuming a lean beef diet. Maggots offer the protein and carbohydrates that survivalists need to sustain themselves both physically and mentally during an extended emergency.

14. Slugs

Edible slugs – Slugs possess many of the same nutritional benefits offered by their cousin, the ponderous snail. Rich in minerals that maintain healthy blood flow and oxygen, slugs also deliver the protein required to keep a brisk pace during survivor mode. Abundant during the rainy season in any North American climate, slugs require little effort to acquire. Simply look under damp vegetation and timber to find the slow moving insect.

Never eat slugs raw, as they contain a potentially harmful parasite that can kill you. Cook slugs thoroughly the same way that you prepare snails, except you don't have to remove the body from the shell.

15. Beetles

Edible beetles – Though we discussed June bugs earlier in the article, it's worth going into more detail on beetles as a whole as many are edible and easily found.

A giant water beetle produces around 20 grams of protein on just a 3.5-ounce serving of the crunchy insect. One 3.5-ounce serving of the palm worm beetle generates almost 14 grams of protein. Beetles of all species supply you with more than enough iron, zinc, and calcium to thrive during a prolong stint living in the wild.

You can find beetles in the same places that you find many of the other edible insects on this list: under fallen tree limbs and other timber that sit in damp conditions. To cook beetles properly, skewer the insects on a shaved stick and slowly roast the bugs over an open fire. Many survivalist experts recommend crushing the bodies and sprinkling the insect over other types of food.

The top 15 edible insects represent just the tip of the iceberg. Other lesser-known insects offer many of the same nutritional benefits. For example, many species of spiders provide sustenance during difficult times. Remember that many cultures adhere to diets that include insects or exclusively use insects to provide nourishment.

You don't have to be in desperation mode to enjoy edible insects. Like most acquired tastes, it takes a little time to integrate insects into your outdoor diet.

Toxic Insects and Warning Signs that an Insect is Not Safe to Eat

Although each species of insect present varied edible warning signs, a few general rules apply that should keep you safe during an emergency.

Survival experts state you should avoid insects with bright colors such as red, orange, and yellow. Some insects flash the bright colors to thwart attacks by predators, but to ensure your health, avoid the bright colored insects. If you want to maintain your health, stick with insects that wear green and brown.

Insects that emit a strong odor typically are not safe to eat. You should also avoid insects that live near farms and outlying rural neighborhoods, as pesticides make the insects a terrible option for obtaining calories.

General Insect Preparation Rules

Insects tend to snack on food sources that leave us a bit sick, after consuming the insect raw or cooked. The way to avoid coming down with insect caused nausea involves not only slow cooking edible insects, but also taking steps to harvest the insects for consumption.

Virtually every North American edible insect should spend some time fattening up on grain for a couple of days to clear out the remains of potentially harmful feed in their systems. You can easily build a small cage from twigs and sticks to keep the edible insects from running away. Survivalists don't have the tools used by professional insect harvesters out in the wild, but you'll find enough natural "supplies" in nature to make edible insect harvesting during an emergency easy to accomplish.

Emergencies never knock on the door and tell you when they're coming. The calm, sunny day that you enjoyed today can easily transform into a raging crisis tomorrow. Adept survivalists know how to prepare for the inevitable emergency. However, some emergencies unfold over extended periods that exhaust most, if not all of the food sources collected to prepare for the cataclysmic event. Ensure your long-term survival by knowing which insect to eat that provide the nutritional sustenance you need to live during desperate times.

More Specifics

To learn more specifics about edible insects, consider Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet by Daniella Martin available in hardcover, audio book, and digital format.

Though many insects and other creatures mentioned are edible and can help you survive, as mentioned some are toxic or have dangerous bacteria or parasites present, and to really consider any of these as a viable food source it really is worth reading more on and developing experience with hands on practice.

Yummy
Thomas Prendergast

Psalm 91

As I am posting this, the Lord has said to me, we are in that last calm before a storm of Biblical proportions are gathering to rage across this country. In that revelation, I pray to my Father in Heaven to cover Markethive and all who abide within, in His blood and protection. A mighty fortress is my Lord.

OK: Carry on

Psalm 91

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

FTX: Vemma shut down for running pyramid scheme

Filed earlier this week, the FTC allege that through mandatory autoship, Vemma is nothing more than a $200 million illegal pyramid scheme.

 

Retail sales are believed to be non-existent, with the company’s affiliates instead trained to sign up for autoship themselves and then recruit other affiliates who do the same.

As we wait for a September 3rd hearing to decide the fate of Vemma, now a warning from the FTC to other MLM company’s operating in a similar manner.

Published on August 26th, the FTC’s warning was written by Lesley Flair, a senior attorney with the FTC.

Flair explains the finer points of the Vemma complaint, before going on to issue a direct warning to other MLM companies:

    Count I of the complaint charges that Vemma’s compensation program is based primarily on recruiting new participants, not on the retail sale of the drinks.

    Count II challenges as false the defendants’ claim that participants are likely to make substantial income.

    According to Count III, they failed to disclose – or failed to adequately disclose – that Vemma’s structure pretty much ensures that most people who sign up won’t earn big bucks.

    Count IV focuses on the promotional materials the defendants gave their affiliates to recruit more affiliates. Because they included claims the FTC says are false and misleading, the complaint charges that the defendants provided others with the “means and instrumentalities” to violate the law.

    The case was just filed, but if your clients sell business opportunities, the allegations offer insights into the kind of tactics likely to draw law enforcement attention.

“Clients” in this case I believe are either that of a lawyer’s clients (the MLM companies themselves), or affiliates in those companies (from a company perspective, the FTC are referring to affiliates as “clients”).

Either way, if you’re in an MLM opportunity and your commission check is mostly paid out of recruited affiliates making product orders (on autoship or otherwise), according to the FTC you need to immediately change the focus of your business.

Two prominent examples that are currently heavy on affiliate recruitment and autoship are Total Life Changes and Jeunesse. But they are by no means isolated cases. This problem is currently widespread throughout the MLM industry.

As a long time proponent of retail in MLM, all I can say is the sooner the focus is back on retail customers the better.


I have been an advocate for a real “Customer Centric” modeled MLM hybrid. Now the FTC and SEC are adding the pressure to push this industry that way. This is a good thing! What is a “Customer Centric” MLM going to look like? Good question and I have addressed that with this blog here:

https://markethive.com/marketing/blog/the-customer-centric-model#.VeiX9JdSkd0

Time for some orientation and sharing of thy wisdom?

This week we are going to begin at the beginning to integrate your WordPress blog with the power of Markethive, the rss cocktails, the groups, the ability to track, manage and build a huge SEO presence backed up by a huge social net.
 

Markethive offers the most sophisticated and powerful platform for building huge blog clouds, capture pages, press releases, forums, that all work in concert, complementing the entire portfolio of assets, utilizing chaos structures, that Google and other search engines reward because it is all following their good practices.

And it all begins here, at this first web based conference. These lessons will be recorded and published within the MarketHive and on our YouTube channel too.
 
Picking up where I left off over a year ago, with my Establishing A Credible Hive Part #1. You can watch it here or in the MarketHive.
 

 
 
This week, WordPress is the word, and Markethive is the engine to build the content and drive your campaign.

Check the Calendar below for the appointed times in our conference room.
 

 
Access the conference room via the Blog
 
 
CYA There,
 
Thomas Prendergast
CMO Chief Marketing Officer

The Customer Centric Model

 

The Customer Centric Model

It has been my agenda for nearly 20 years to reform an industry that is for the most part has been built upon a shifting and unreliable foundation that has always been broken and is heading for total annihilation. If you have attempted to build a business in MLM you will relate to what I am addressing.

For over a decade this vision has grown in urgency and definition to help direct a broken industry towards developing a customer based centered direct sales model.  All of this was originally inspired by a maverick move towards customer acquisition by a company called Trivita. In 2001. I was introduced to this new direction in MLM by the simple statement, “just buy your customers”. I had already been engaged in the MLM industry for nearly 10 years at that time. My first exposure to MLM was in 1992 with the first to market consumer (customer) based ISP, nationwide dial up Internet access for $20 per month.

I have been an entrepreneur my whole adult life and a good portion of my teen years as well, with my first business started at the age of 14. Prior to my exposure to MLM, I was and still am a traditional business entrepreneur. Therefore to say, I found the MLM model of exclusive distribution to and consumption by distributors and only motivated to this action by pursuing profit; alien, illogical and disturbing. Let me explain:

My introduction and very successful sojourn to this day with Trivita helped me discover the stark contrast between the artificial economies of a distributor based sales company in contrast to a customer based sales company.  I studied this comparison for many years and it became painfully clear, the reason traditional MLM fails, regardless of the compensation plan, regardless of the motivational speakers, regardless of the training to sell the “Hope and Dreams” as that is the only way to promote when the products and or services are frankly, always overpriced and usually underwhelmingly ineffective. There are very few exceptions.  So the glaring difference I found in Trivita was the fact that for every distributor I recruited, I averaged 100 customers. Then the fact, I did not have to sell Hope and Dreams and instead, the pitch was just buy customers. The reaction from the potential distributor was always extremely positive and the close rate of a distributor was very high. When you factor in that every distributor usually meant 100 customers, the potential success was superior to anything else like it.

 This was just a company that offered co-op acquisition of the leads and customers Trivita acquired via their infomercials and not much else. Even Trivita’s products lacked true demonstrability and the pricing was not very competitive. The only viable benefit regarding being customer centric was the fact you could just buy customers, that for the most part, only about 20% stayed a viable reorder over the years.

Because of this one aspect with Trivita, I have enjoyed a significant income for over 10 years with little attention, a true residual income. Over the years as a vendor to the MLM industry, occasionally getting involved with a few companies because I was promised they were going to offer customer centric solutions (all deception from short sighted pitch men). None of them ever did and in my opinion, the super majority of MLMs are run by handicapped captains, that understand the game and that being the 3 month rule. They build their businesses to inspire, motivate and separate their new distributors from as much money and contacts they can quickly. They know their business model only attracts distributors seeking some semblance of financial success therefore they lay their snares with grand claims of Hopes and Dreams. I consider it borderline criminal. Now we finally arrive to the meat of this article, that being what is a true Customer Centric direct sales company look like. Being that there really isn’t any yet, we have to go to the imagination and vision that to some part is guided by good business principles and look at some of the true customer centric businesses on the scene today.

Amazon could easily be the epitome of customer centric. 

 

Wow. “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”

That is big, it’s bold, and it’s risky for a brand to make the promise to fulfill on that 24/7 every week of the year.

Service recovery design pays off

Of course the shopping and purchasing experience on Amazon has been exceptional for years. But what if a customer has a post-purchase problem? A big part of customer experience design is a focus on “service recovery,” or designing and refining the process when something goes wrong for the customer. Beloved brands like Zipcar know this is a critical opportunity for delivering moments of delight.

READ MORE:
http://delight.us/earths-most-customer-centric-company/

It is all about Customer Satisfaction.

Let me repeat that, “IT IS ALL ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”!

The latest results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals Amazon.com as the reigning and undisputed champ in both Internet retailing and across the entire department in overall customer satisfaction. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos perhaps more than any business leader has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer and ushered it into the digital era. Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.

Pointers from the article 7 Customer Service Lessons from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/06/jeff-bezos-lessons.html

1. Don’t Just Listen to Your Customers, Understand Them
Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.”

2. Serve the Needs of the Customer
“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

3. The Empty Chair: The Most Important Person in the Room
“Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”

4. Never Settle for 99%
“We’re not satisfied until it’s 100%.”

5. Respect Today’s Customer
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”

6. Strive to Create a Customer-Centric Company
“If we can arrange things in such a way that our interests are aligned with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers and it will work out really well for Amazon.”

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize
 “We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.”

Over the past nearly two decades, Amazon has held a steady pace of positive press due to their industry-altering company and great customer service. However back in 2009, the foundations of the online book mogul were shook when they remotely deleted copies of the books “1984” and “Animal Farm” from users’ Kindles. The incident prompted an outcry of Internet users to see the dark, “Big Brother” side of Amazon – one that Bezos had worked hard to steer clear of. Amazon quickly made an apology with the usual dry and inhuman statement from the press team. But what really turned people back towards Amazon, was an informal and heartfelt apology from Jeff Bezos:

From “MLM” (Network Marketing), to a sustainable Coop Customer based Marketing Platform!
Now the vision for a better kinder direct sale company

I have run MLM companies, built them, serviced them as a vendor and engaged with them as a distributor for more than 20 years. I have touched and serviced and influenced over 100 million associates over this period of time. The following is my agenda to change this industry to service the little guy and gal, offering a real solution to build a middle class sustainable income for everyone, not just millions for the elite few, we know as “leaders” in their respective company.

1.       1. A Viable and Competitive Product

First and foremost, the “company” must offer a viable product and or service that does what it says and better than any of their competitors and better yet, have a product or service that has no legitimate competition. I could go into great detail here about the MLM industry and their underwhelming and over priced products with many making spurious claims to eventually be shut down by the FDA, etc. but I won’t.

2.       2. The Virtual Warehouse

This may be putting cart before the horse. “Inspired by Amazon’s virtual warehousing” for their merchants selling in Amazon, it is time the MLM industry moves forward with a similar solution. Storing your monthly product commitment in your spare bedroom, garages or den has been the standard for decades. With today’s technology and database management abilities, there is no excuse to not move toward a virtual solution for distributors. This can be done in house by the company, or, use Amazon’s virtual warehousing that is available on a global scale.

This one upgrade to this industry will make reselling, shipping and distribution automated and easy for every distributor, regardless of location or available storage abilities. Bottom line is a doubling or greater movement of product.

3.       3. Customer and Lead coop acquisition

This is where the company marketing people run ads, campaigns, etc., driving vertically targeted prospects to an 800 number or website, acquiring quality pre enrolled prospects or customers who have purchased or at most have enrolled into an auto ship. The distributor’s contribution enhances the company’s budget and the “partnership” enhances the customer’s retention. The company also makes available to the distributor mailing lists to their “enrolled leads and customers” to assist in the continued purchases etc. It is a win win situation and is a proven technique as proven by Trivita.

4.       4. Becoming an E Retailer (automated back office shipping)

Now that the distributors have their inventory, products and samples (if applicable), online, in an offsite virtual warehouse, the process to send product or samples becomes effective and easy. As simple as logging into the back office of their respective MLM company, designating the product (pulling from existing inventory and/or auto purchasing additional inventory), quantity, and drop ship address, with a simple click, the product or sample is easily on the way, while the distributor is still talking to their prospective client, prospect or distributor on the phone. This seamless process makes the potential growth of the company and distributor 100 times greater than the typical cumbersome processes today.

5.       5. 800 telemarketing service platform

Today’s technologies not only make this proposed service affordable, but extremely effective. Typically, new distributors are assigned an ID# number. The number resides within the servers database to track sales, commissions, etc. of the distributor. Thus the hardest part is already done for an 800 sales number.  [A little explanation of current tech] 800 number technology software interfaces display the originating number, or forwarded number.  IE: If the distributor develops a radio commercial with a phone number (toll free or not) then forwards that number to the company 800 number, all he or she needs to do is register that number (via the back office) or calling it in. This way the telemarking operators receiving the incoming calls, know who originated the call and the orders are taken and assigned appropriately to the distributor.

It can be as simple as the distributor takes a call from an ad, the prospects decides to buy the product. The distributor can easily 3 way into the 800 platform and assist the sale. It can be as easy as an ad running offering a product with the company main toll free number offering free shipping and handling with the special pin number. It can be very easy to build.

Imagine the projected results with the distributors taking the initiative, no more need for mentors, no more lead for upline leadership, no more need for motivational events, because the motivation is found in the system and the results. Imagine!

6.       6. API (Application Programming Interface). Distributor selling on Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, etc.

Basically, the MLM company has an API developed that interfaces with Amazon, Ebay, etc for the distributor. This allows the distributor to develop an online store on Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc, driving and supporting the prospects and customers, but the sale interfaces through the company. Thereby the company controls the pricing, collects the money (connected to the distributor) and ships the product. All the collecting, shipping, tracking and commissions paid out is done by the company.

API: In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. Basically allows the company to remotely control pricing, merchant collection, shipping and communication via the distributors Ebay, Amazon, etc. account

More about Amazon API:
http://support.getdropstream.com/customer/portal/articles/1233046-configuring-amazon-marketplace-for-third-party-order-fulfillment-

More about Ebay API:
https://go.developer.ebay.com/what-ebay-api

7.       7. Retail Sales Only Sites (Widgets and actuals)

Traditional MLM companies give a distributor a self-replicated web site that is upfront and focused on selling the Hopes and Dreams of the opportunity, the money, the comp plan, the hype and flash of it all, designed to recruit more distributors. This is death to a retail customer.  Very few MLM companies even consider a dedicated self-replicated retail sales only site for their various products.  I have yet to even hear of any companies making a simple widget that allows the distributor to have the retail site hosted via the widget on their own domains, much less the ability to add any customization to it. Below is one of the first and recent MLM retail sites I am aware of. It sells the coffee, offering one off sales or a discount and free shipping with an auto ship order.

More about widgets here:
http://alexmarandon.com/articles/web_widget_jquery/

8.       8.Social Marketing Aps and systems

Marketers, merchants, etc. need a portfolio of tools, to get the message out, to build awareness, to build a sphere of influence and to build a customer and distributor centered loyalty program. Very few people, even entrepreneurs have all the skill sets to achieve this. However, automated marketing, email auto responders, social broadcasters, coop advertising, blogging platforms, materials and videos are necessary tools for the entrepreneur. First these tools are expensive and the various costs ad up quickly. When you do not supply these types of tools in a controlled environment, the message being broadcasted may not meet the criteria of the company nor abide by regulations.  There are solutions and Markethive is one of the best options. http://markethive.com  Markethive supplies all of these tools and more, integrated and easily configured and controlled within the communities vertical structures built for DSA companies like yours. It is called the company Directories and within a company portal in Markethive, your distributors will find all they need; Broadcasting platforms, self-replicating personalized PDF documents,  Coop advertising systems, blogging platforms, email auto responders, everything needed for marketing, in one place.

9.       9. Training and videos

I do not mean motivational speakers and cheer leading. I mean, real world training how to build the businesses. Daily classes offered by competent experienced teachers, so the distributors develop a strong understanding, expanding their customer territory and acquisition and operate like a real business.

Summary;

With the accelerated market place awash in innovation and technology, technology that puts the human element right into the center of the equation, you can understand why you see the MLM industry sluggish and many companies dying on the vine and others falling flat on their faces with their much heralded launches. Entrepreneurs (distributors) that once upon a time, a flashy video, a charming pitch man, and a compelling comp plan, worked to explode the next greatest MLM launch.

Not today.
It is only a matter of time a young bold, innovative entrepreneur launches the first true customer centric MLM similar to the framework I have discussed here. And when they do, the world will quake, the swamps will empty and the first multi trillion MLM enterprise will rise to stand head to toe with the great innovations today like Facebook Google, PayPal etc.

Written by:
Thomas Prendergast
CMO: Markethive

 
 

When you have 100 customers per distributor