The DeVos family is Dutch, thoroughly so. All four of Richard DeVos’ grandparents emigrated from the Netherlands, and today, the family continues to observe the tenets of the Christian Reformed Church, a Calvinist denomination. Calvinism believes in predestination—that God has decided whether our souls are saved before we are born—and emphasizes an “inner worldly asceticism” in its practitioners. Historically, in avoiding ostentatious displays of wealth, Calvinist Protestants have instead turned their economic gains into savings and investments. One of the bedrock texts of sociology, Max Weber’s 1905 Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, is expressly about the links between Calvinism and economic success. (“In the place of the humble sinners to whom Luther promises grace if they trust themselves to God in penitent faith,” Weber wrote, “are bred those self-confident saints whom we can rediscover in the hard Puritan merchants of the heroic age of capitalism.”)
You make great points. I enjoy the products and the rebates the companies pays me to have people I know and meet to shop through its online portal. If this process isn’t for you or other people that’s ok with you. Everyone has choices and I choose this avenue. But to say that many of the people involved aren’t very well educated and the like is kinda insulting; those on my team have advanced degrees and about 45 percent are working professionals with terminal degrees. Just my thoughts.
The Coaches Poll has come under criticism for being inaccurate, with some of the charges being that coaches are biased towards their own teams and conferences, that coaches don't actually complete their own ballots, and that coaches are unfamiliar with even the basics, such as whether a team is undefeated or not, about teams they are voting on. In 2012, USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin resigned as a voter after just one vote amidst controversy over his preseason selection of his school as No. 1. Kiffin told reporters, "I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that much." However, USA Today, citing the need to "protect the poll's integrity", revealed that Kiffin had voted his team for the top spot. Kiffin apologized and explained that his comments were from the perspective of an opposing coach voting for USC.
If it’s not your family who brings you in, it’s probably a friend. For my dad, it was a manager at one of the car dealerships for which he handled advertising. The man’s business comprised almost half of my dad’s income. Over time, they’d developed a friendship. You’d think my dad would be immune to Amway, given his familiarity with advertising’s insidious ways. But how does the saying go? A good salesman can sell you your own grandmother.
Occasionally, though, it can be useful to mention poverty in a certain context. Inspired by the personal and business philosophies of DeVos and Van Andel, Cross spent the ten years after writing Commitment to Excellence researching the two men, culminating in his 1995 self-help book Choices with Clout: How to Make Things Happen – by Making the Right Decisions Every Day of Your Life. Much of the book is compiled from interviews with the Amway founders and top-level distributors. In a passage about excellence, Van Andel outlines the proper way for an Amway distributor to rationalize the issue of poverty:
Brad spoke in parables: There was Brad’s father-in-law, who, upon being given a brand-new souped-up truck, sat down and wept. After a few years, the “newness wore off,” so Brad again bought him the latest model. And again his father-in-law sat down and wept. (Brad’s own fluid dynamics were more spectacular: When he first saw the jazzed-up truck, he admitted, “urine streamed down” his pant legs.)
You WILL be cornered and they WILL try to convince you. Their biggest obstacle is people who have heard a bit about it and don't want to join and their biggest desire is that you join under them. They spend a lot of time practicing this and anyone remotely successful at it will be very difficult to get away from. They'll have all their arguments sorted out, answers to any reason you give, defences to your accusations and will try to flip it around and put you on the defensive, making you have to explain in detail why you won't join shooting each reason down as you try. But it's all BS.
He tells us the club no longer has an initiation fee – they were forced to waive it six years ago in response to the economic downturn. ‘You have the top two or three clubs in the area – Bayou Club, Belleair Country Club, and probably Feather Sound – with no initiation fees to join,’ he says. ‘It makes it very easy to be part of a club these days.’
My uplines’ despair made me reluctant to add to their failure. But I had stayed in too long already. Having run out of other things to buy, I had resorted to subjecting my cat to Amway pet food. And I began to sense that when Josh and Sherri looked at me, they—in their last-ditch hopes—saw Diamonds. Before I disappeared from their lives, however, I accompanied them to one last Rally.
As Parloff notes in his article, “The Siege of Herbalife,” there is no law defining a pyramid scheme, nor are there even any regulations on the books. The simple common-sense definition is that a pyramid scheme is a business in which recruits make a payment for the right to recruit others into the network, and whose revenues are more dependent on recruitment than on selling a product.
Whether there is more emphasis on referrals or sale of products is very debatable. It pretty much depends on the individual IBO involved. In the Amway gathering I went to, the IBO making the presentation stressed the prospect of saving through the “discounted” prices on the hub rather than trying to sell us the idea of making a lot of money. Some IBOs might try to sell you the idea of making a fortune right away. Some are pushy, some are nice people.
Today, the DeVoses’ charitable giving and local boosterism mean that people in West Michigan have a different view of them than Michiganders elsewhere in the state. “The political narrative that has grown around [the family] is unfair,” says Whitney, whose Hauenstein Center has received grant funding from the DeVos Family Foundation. “They have made life better for a lot of people, and I can’t say that loudly enough.”
There is no one-size-fits-all way to make a living, and never has been. The result is a need and corresponding demand among today’s workforce for diverse options. Direct selling organizations like Amway offer a low-cost, low-risk option for individuals to supplement their income. Amway Independent Business Owners use and sell high-quality nutrition, beauty and home products to consumers.
Indeed, the F.T.C.’s move against Vemma has caused both sides in the Herbalife battle to claim vindication. Although the F.T.C. has been investigating Herbalife for some 17 months, Timothy S. Ramey, a stock analyst and Herbalife bull, raised his price target for the company, saying Vemma’s business model was clearly different from Herbalife’s. Meanwhile, Ackman prepared a 29-slide deck with side-by-side comparisons of all the ways, in his view at least, Herbalife’s business model was exactly like Vemma’s.
In Dreambuilders’ version of The Plan one could glimpse an escape from the coming economic dead-end through empowered consumption. We’d have all the twenty-first-century cred of working (and shopping) from home, engaging in cutting-edge marketing, being part of a decentralized network, and nurturing our inner entrepreneur. And all the human capital we needed was the ability to shop and be effusive about it, which were practically American birthrights.
Directly across the state from my family, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is the Windsor country club. Home architecture here is strictly regulated. Residents drive around on golf carts, on and off the eighteen-hole course. There’s an equestrian center, tennis courts, a concierge, and a gun club. Occasionally Prince Charles pays a visit. This is where you go when you bypass Palm Beach on your way to vacation – there’s no kitsch in Windsor, only the highly refined. Among its residents are retail billionaire W. Galen Weston, the Swarovski clan – and the DeVoses, who own three houses here and spend eight weeks a year or more on the waterfront.
As soon as they mention Amway, First Look speakers always hurry to dispel “myths” about The Business: that it’s a rinky-dink soap company, that it requires door-to-door sales, that it’s a pyramid scheme (if you do an organizational chart of a typical corporation, guess what, that looks like a pyramid too!), that you have to be a Christian to join (there’s nobody The Business wouldn’t accept), that it’s a crazy cult (Amway provides an opportunity to everybody, meaning that it inevitably lets in some bad apples who damage its reputation).
"We were warned never to use the name Amway on the phone; even while showing the business plan, the name would be one of the very last things mentioned. The explanation from our 'sponsors' was that people in the past have misused the name 'Amway,' and people should get a chance to know the 'new Amway' without being prejudiced from things they might have heard."
Amway has phenomenal products, with a low startup cost. You make excellent margins on products 20-40%. You get excellent business training and sales/product training with the Britt System. The atmosphere is always positive, negativity is not allowed. You build great relationships and friendships. It becomes a franchise environment with support from an entire team and business system. You can purchase products at a heavily discounted price. You can expand your business in over 80+ countries world wide.
The centerpiece of any Rally is the life-story told by the guest of honor, emphasizing the depths of his pre-Amway rut and his resurrection through The Business. That evening’s featured guest, Executive Diamond Bill Hawkins, however, was too arrogant even to feign the requisite humility in his testimonial. He had been great all his life: a talented musician in one of Minneapolis’s best bands, a brilliant school teacher, a voracious reader, a charming companion with hundreds of loyal friends, and an unbelievably prodigious drinker of beer (about which he was now “ashamed”). When he saw The Plan and realized that he was much smarter than the guy showing it, he knew that his ship had finally come in: Here, at last, was something that would adequately reward his greatness.
Scott confidently reprised decades’ worth of conservative alarmism, invoking inflation and national debt and other flat-earth bugbears in a doomsday routine as charmingly archaic as it was fatuous. An accurate narrative of the last few decades—growing productivity, GDP, and per-capita income, accompanied by a massive upward redistribution of wealth—would hardly have packed the millennial portent Scott was looking for. The Second Wave, like Communism, like all the works of man, was destined to decay and collapse, making way for the coming entrepreneurial kingdom—which, for those who lacked faith or zeal, would bring a day of reckoning. Were we ready? To prove he “wasn’t making this crazy stuff up,” he littered the floor with copies of Fortune, Money, and Forbes, citing the relevant disaster stories. I felt like I was back at ENTERPRISE 2020.