The Opportunity of a Lifetime.
Several weeks ago, I was approached in the grocery store by someone who said I “look familiar.” At the time, I was skeptical but allowed the impromptu meeting to progress. This guy I had never met in my life, Pat, gently steered the conversation from where I went to school to what I do for a living. He then asked for my business card.
I belatedly realized his purpose. The chance encounter wasn’t as unscripted as it appeared. He was looking to engage people. The business card he then handed me confirmed my suspicion: PVH International. You know what PVH International is? Nothing. It doesn’t stand for anything. It’s a generic name for a generic company that does generic things — if it does anything at all.
After eventually escaping the icky clutches of the “business consultant,”1 I trashed his card and thought I had escaped mostly unscathed.
Until I received a call today. From Pat.
Pat wanted to talk to me about a business opportunity. Had he caught me at a bad time, he asked as I sighed deeply? Was I familiar with eBay and Amazon?
I need to pause the narrative right here. Mr. Business Consultant had just gone from wasting my time at a grocery store to calling me at home hoping to envelop me in an ill-conceived, barely disguised PYRAMID SCHEME. I, as you might imagine, was furious. This was not my first go-around with wholesale, percentage-based, recruit-your-friends scams.2 While my first experience with this disgusting industry had been unbearably awkward (thanks to the semblance of a previous friendship I had hoped to maintain), I walked into this conversation with not only my eyes wide open but both guns blazing.
“Oh? And how is this not a pyramid scheme, Pat? When you confronted me at the grocery store, you didn’t think you knew me, did you? You were looking for an excuse to pitch me.”3 Silence. The conversation ended pretty quickly after that. Pat wished me luck with my business and hung up the phone. I’m not sure he realized what he was even involved in. He seemed nice when I first met him. It’s entirely possible he believes that he is helping people, that he deserves to get rich, and that he will get rich. It’s a sad story and I’m only repeating it because I want you to see this scam coming long before you waste even the paltry 30 minutes I did talking to the next guy. I wasn’t around when Amway was big, and I had never heard of Quixtar or LTD.4 Those who cannot remember the past, n’at.
Full Stop Interactive has no sympathy for people that are in business just to make money. We refuse to work with people who are unprincipled. We hate compromise. We are committed to saying this as loudly and as frequently as necessary. We have, what some call, a “point of view.”
We require sincerity, openness, and a healthy dose of criticism. In short, we care about doing good work with good people. We structure our rates, our size, our design and programming decisions, our entire company around this idea: good work with good people. Period.5
If you are a big agency or a one man show and are willing to play ball with anyone, have fun. You will be burned over and over and over again. If you are a company that believes you can get the same caliber of work by hiring a cheap freelancer who will check off every box on your list or a bloated agency that is happy to tickle your ears and tell you how ingenious your idea to have a countdown on the home page is, good luck. If you are content to stand for nothing and hope your marketing fools someone into trusting you, we won’t miss you.
To those who are left, if what I’ve said resonates with you, let us know in the comments. If you own a company or if you run a school or a non-profit and you truly care about having a great website that makes a statement about who you are, contact us on our home page or email me. We’re eager to make your acquaintance. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, if you know what I mean.
- The “social media expert” of the 1990s for those keeping score at home. [↩]
- Read this expose by NBC News. Google some of the companies named when you’re finished. [↩]
- I paraphrase. [↩]
- Pat’s Amway subsidiary of choice: BWW. Please watch the video. You can’t make this up. [↩]
- “Full stop” if you’re British. [↩]