Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm a registered Democrat again, Yay!

A few months ago I changed my life long registration as a Democrat to Republican. It was a pretty big deal for me but I changed it because I like choices. I figured I'd be ok with the Democratic candidate for President regardless of who it was (ok, I wouldn't have been too keen on John Edwards but I wouldn't have been repulsed). I knew I would have problems with some of the Republican candidates though. I despised the idea of Mr. 9/11 (Rudy Giuliani) being our next fear mongering President. I didn't think much of Mitt Romney either and despite liking Mike Huckabee a lot as a person and a candidate, we don't need 4 more years of the religious right making our country look like loons.

Now back to why I switched parties. I switched so I could help expand my choice in the general election. I knew if my choice was between a Democrat and Giuliani, Romney or Huckabee then it didn't matter who the Democrat was. They would get my vote.

If the Republican was McCain or Ron Paul, then I could actually listen to the candidates arguments, watch the debates and make a real decision. I was actually planning on voting for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. Now, I am not as sure I would have really liked Ron Paul as President but I do like his libertarian views. Free Markets, Free People.

Since McCain is definitely now the Republican candidate, my vote for Ron Paul would have been purely symbolic (more so than it likely would have been if the race was closer at least). I switched my registration back to Democrat because of choice. I would much prefer to choose the Democratic candidate if I don't have a choice in the Republican candidate.

And I choose Barack Obama.

I am ready for a fresh face and Bush - Clinton - Bush - Clinton would not be a fresh face. More so, Hillary Clinton is a very entrenched career politician. That does not appeal to me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who falls for multi level marketing schemes?

A month or so ago I met a guy at the NCHSAA swimming championship. He introduced himself and we just shot the shit for a while. We talked about work and the like. He lives near where I grew up. He ended up saying he worked for this company that might need some development work (when I hear development work I think writing software, he obviously didn't and wanted to use development in the loosest sense) and asked for my card. Sure. I am always open to doing work on the side if I have the time, it is worth my while and there aren't any conflicts of interest with my current employers.

Last week he called me and asked me if I was still interested. If so, could I meet with him for 15 minutes or so on Saturday at 2pm. He lives about an hour and a half away and was making the trip my way to meet with some other people too. I initially said I was busy despite having no plans because I didn't really want to schedule something in the middle of a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I eventually did agree to meet him in the food court at the mall just a few minutes from where I live. I was curious.

By now I am already thinking this is going to be a waste of my time but I wanted to go to the mall and check out new cell phones and look at the new, very sexy MacBook Air anyway so why not. I called him up about an hour before we were to meet to try and get more details from him. He was very vague and essentially just said meet with me and I'll tell you. He did tell me the name of the company he worked for though. I am glad I found that out because it made the meeting so much more fun!

He said he worked for LTD at first but eventually I got the full name from him: Leadership Team Development. Oh Google how thou art my friend. Thanks to whois I found out the site was owned by one 42 year old business man named John Dumproff of Raleigh, NC who apparently has a sweet NCSU themed room that is a little better now that Daryl's is out of business. The best part was all the info on the actual site though. You get to learn about i-Commerce conglomerates (whatever that is), cutting out the middle man, multiplying your time and all the big company names they could drop on 1 page. That was all on this secret part of the site. I say secret because the only way to get to it from the home page is using a login. Google doesn't need no stinkin' login though! Oh the security!

Anyway, I was glad to be armed with this information going into the meeting. I wasn't sure this was the same thing but since both the site and this guy were heavy on the marketing speak and lite on the anything meaningful speak, I suspected I was looking at the same thing. And boy was it the same thing! After exchanging pleasantries the guy whipped out a brochure with the same exact information (graphics included) as the website. I knew I was in for a good inner laugh then.

The guy (his name was Justin) just started going over the brochure. He showed me how the middle man got his cut and how I could get rid of the middle man and help get products directly to consumers (I thought to myself, hey, wouldn't that make me the new middle man?).

He also talked about how I could be making 30k - 60k in the first 6 - 18 months and after 2 - 5 years I could be making 150k a year. It would only take 15 hours a week. He also said earlier that he had been working for the company for about 4 years. So why is some guy that is obviously pulling in 150k a year by now having to recruit people like me at swim meets? Just another of those great observations I kept to myself. I think throwing out those numbers is how they do get people to fall for their spiel.

Another of my favorite parts was the explanation of the four different ways to bring in income. The first 2 are active. You can be an employee (check for me) or you can be a business owner (also check, but I imagine if he had known that he would know I had enough sense to not fall for his presentation, then again I did get suckered in to meeting him in the first place). Next came the passive income. You have your investments (check) and your business system. WTF is a business system? It is what they wanted to sell me on obviously but I wasn't buying. The next step of course was to go to a seminar but I had already wasted enough time on this and it wasn't that funny or entertaining for me.

I asked for more details before I told him NO to try and figure out really what they do to make these awesome sums of money but didn't get a satisfactory answer. I did get another funny comment though. I was asked if I had ever heard of I don't even want to get into how funny that question is to me but the answer is yes I have heard of Amazon. He also said they were in the middle of an expansion. That is such an empty marketing term. They wanted to get their 1 billion dollar a year business to 10 billion with this expansion! You know who else had about a billion in revenue last year? Netflix. That's right, this company I have never heard of but should have is brining in a billion a year. They aren't like Enron.

I also liked the "training" slant. Justin didn't get into many details beyond these few selling points but something about training was mentioned. The company does have team development in the name after all.

And one more note. The owner of the site also owns which looks like a site to help all those new "business system" starters to run their "system" for a mere $325/yr plus.

I also found a few others who have encountered people from the same company: