“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” — Benjamin Franklin
Alice sends me a message about a new company that’s offering her a job. She’s really excited because the representative, Michelle, talked about the company’s values which aligns so well with Alice’s, and how Alice would be a great fit.
Excited for her, I ask her what industry the company’s in, what she’d be doing, and so on.
Alice explains the concept and the product, but isn’t exactly clear about how the company was structured.
I mention that I know a guy called Jordan who’s in the same field, that it sounds like a solid product, and probe further. I Google the brand name and it turns out to be owned by a multi-level marketing company, let’s call it “Cosimo”.
My alarm bells go off. This is not good.
It’s a long story so I ask Alice to give me a call when she’s got a moment so I can explain.
A couple of years back I met Jordan. He came to the company I worked at and while we were talking about his products he told me how he’d been screwed by a manufacturer, let’s call them “Triple O”. Upon further inspection it turned out Jordan wasn’t the only one.
Triple O had broken their exclusive distribution agreement, so Jordan and the distributors got together and sued the company. Jordan’s friend, who was on the board of Triple O, got fired, and one of the companies went bankrupt before the trial ultimately decided in Jordan & company’s favor.
Unfortunately, Triple O had by that time already drained the company assets and filed for bankruptcy.
The really shitty thing is that Triple O didn’t stop there. They resurrected the company under another name and sold it for a hefty sum to a MLM company.
I like Jordan. He’s a good guy, and I felt bad that he had to go through that crap. Especially since he’d built a good reputation that was now tarnished by his involvement with Triple O. I do not want this to happen to Alice.
Alice is deflated. It seemed like such a great fit, and Michelle seems like a great person.
I tell Alice that if she wants to warn Michelle she should, and if Michelle needs any further info to give me a call.
I meet Alice the following day to talk about what she wants to do next. In the middle of our talk Michelle calls. Alice doesn’t want to take the call, but I urge her to so I can listen in.
Right away Michelle starts steamrolling over Alice with information about the fact that she’s aware of what’s happened in the past, that the guy behind Triple O regrets having done what he did, how everybody deserves a second chance, and how he just wants to move forward.
Shit. Michelle’s either been convinced by the bullshit or she’s a really skillful con man.
Alice uh-huh’s and politely asks Michelle to send some links and further information so she can just get off the call.
I just shake my head and Alice says that she never wants to speak with Michelle again. Alice will just send Michelle a message later on that says she’s not interested anymore.
There’s enough written about MLM out there, so I won’t pile on too much.
It’s just so sad to see good people work hard for a product or service they believe in only to have the few on the top make off with the money. Also, it’s so annoying that assholes get away with this shit.
Now, it’s easy for me to preach about it, but the truth is that I don’t have the balls to call them by their real names in a public space.
What I can do is to share my experiences, and hopefully it’ll get some of you reading this to do your due diligence.
Granted, had it not been for the serendipity of me meeting Jordan all those years ago, I might not have been able to warn Alice. But Alice could’ve still done her own due diligence.
Google, ask questions, make some calls to people in the industry, verify information, and so on.
There are people ready to manipulate you and abuse your trust. We need to be careful about who we put our faith in.
There are also good people out there.
People earn their reputation, and by associating yourself with them you can gain or lose credibility yourself.
Should you ever lose it, understand that it doesn’t come back easily.
You have to earn it. Not by talk, but with your actions.
Every single day.
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!