I originally wrote this in late 2013, expecting it to be printed posthumously. Fortunately for all of us, I survived the Christmas shopping season.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are an emerging entrepreneur. Having questions about getting your startup off the ground – and being tech-savvy as you are – you head on over to BrightJourney.com – a community, made possible by Stack Exchange, of exceptionally talented entrepreneurs working together to share startup knowledge – to tap into the crowd-wisdom of other peoples experience.
A Mock Q&A Experience
You eagerly post your first question – probably the one you’ve been stuck on the longest – and maybe it looks something like this:
Question: There are companies that are able to ship large products with only a nominal shipping fee. There are many, like Amazon, that are able to offer free shipping. Logic tells me that you achieve this by negotiating with the carriers, in this case FedEx. I have been looking on their website and it is not easy for me to understand how to achieve these rates. Does anyone know the answer to this puzzle?
A reasonable question for someone who has a product that needs to be shipped. And in no time at all, you start to get responses!
To your surprise, the highest voted response from the community looks like this:
Answer: You should join Amway! They have already negotiated shipping for you, and they will drop ship anywhere in the world! Check it out here. I’ve been doing Amway since before tie-dye was a thing instead of a laundry faux pas. When you want to sign up, let me know, I can get you in on the ground floor. As in, “the bottom of the food chain”. Tee hee!
Well, now, that would be downright aggravating, wouldn’t it? This didn’t answer your question at all. You are still no closer to figuring out your shipping strategy.
It’s a good thing this wasn’t the only question you posted, right? Maybe you had better luck elsewhere. Let’s take a look at a few other questions you posted, and the answers they received.
Question: What are some good ways to structure compensation for your sales people? We have a SaaS product and here is the structure I’ve currently defined for sales people we’ll hire:
- $30K base salary
- 10% of all sales of paid plans
Is that good? How would you change it?
Answer: Coming up with a solid compensation plan can be challenging. Luckily, Amway has already done it for you! Forget trying to figure this out on your own and just sign up already! You’ll be an Independent business owner (IBO), and Amway takes care of handling how much everyone gets paid. Done! Sign up under me, and I’ll help you build a strong, manly down-line with chest hair and mucho luchadores!
Wait, what’s going on here? Are you being punked? Is this a Q&A board for entrepreneurs or an Amway recruitment site?
Question: I want to start a drop shipping online shop. The products can be anything that could be profitable. I’m thinking about stuff like latex clothing, toys for children, or Japanese electronics (like rice cookers).
My question: Any general advice on drop shipping? Is there a list of reliable drop shippers? What if, for example, the product doesn’t arrive or the customer claims to have not received it?
Answer: Why would you do that when you can just use Amway? More than 3 million people worldwide are already forging their own path to success. We offer opportunities, the support of a corporation that is family owned, that is financially stable and has been in business for over 50 years. Amway is a global community, operating in more than 100 countries and territories, ready to offer support and a compensation plan that paid out more bonuses in 2010 than any other direct selling company.
Don’t reinvent the wheel!
By this point, you’re doing one of two things:
- Rage quitting this Q&A board and hating Amway and the morons who are wasting your time by suggesting something you didn’t ask for and don’t want, or
- Signing up to be an IBO (hopefully with the luchadores; because – let’s face it – they’re clearly the coolest, and your chest hair could use more manliness).
In either case, none of the responses from the ever-so-eager-and-helpful masses have helped you become a better entrepreneur or helped solve your problems in any way.
The Analogy (This Part Might Hurt)
Maybe you’re thinking “okay, maybe jQuery evangelist are like Amway recruiters, but that’s it!” Maybe that is easier for some to digest. A softer blow, per se. But hear me out, because I’m about to back up my analogy.
Six Reasons jQuery Is Like Amway
I really want a drum roll here, but I was told I needed a top-ten list to get that. Sadface.
1. Not Everyone Can Be An Amway Distributor
That seems pretty obvious, right? After all, if everybody were Amway distributors, who would make the products? Who would deliver the products? Who would package the products? Who would repair the trucks and planes that delivered the products?
Ya’ know what? Let’s bring this a bit closer to home. What if all the doctors stopped being doctors and instead became Amway distributors? What happens when you, your spouse, your child or any other loved one became sick? Who would provide much needed medical care to people in need?
2. Amway Only Makes You An Expert In Amway
Success with Amway doesn’t make you a business expert any more than buying Ginsu knives makes you an expert chef.
3. Your Success Is Outside Your Control
Last time I checked (who am I kidding, I never checked, someone told me this), Amway distributors received a 3% rebate on all products they purchase. Purchase $100 worth of product, and you make $3. This is not success.
If you want to be successful at Amway (or any MLM for that matter), you have to build your down-line, because you make a percentage of what they purchase, as well! If you have 9 people below you who each spend $100, you’ll make $30 (including your$3). Or something like that.
The point is that your success is not something within your control. You depend on others for that.
If you depend on any 3rd party library – jQuery or not – without understanding what it does and how it is built, then you have outsourced your success. If that library fails, and you don’t know how it works, you fail.
4. Amway Isn’t The Only MLM
Not by a long shot. There’s Mary Kay, Avon, NuSkin, MonaVie, doTerra, Primerica… The list goes on and on! No, I’m not about to link to any of them here. That’d be like voluntarily putting myself on a Montgomery Ward mailing list!
Don’t misunderstand; current research on Internet trends indicates that jQuery is being used on roughly half of all websites worldwide, so it’s a clear leader. But the internet is a fickle thing, and that could all change in the blink of an eye.
5. Business Problems Have Business Solutions
If Amway solved the shipping and compensation problems, then the solutions to those problems exist. In fact, thousands of companies worldwide have solved these problems without Amway.
6. Amway Is A Lifestyle
If you have a product and you need to ship it, you can’t just “add Amway” to your business and have it solve your shipping problems. Nor can you fire all your employee and have them sign up as Amway IBOs to overcome your compensation model shortcomings.
Amway is a lifestyle, and it’s all-or-nothing.
For all it’s hype to the contrary, jQuery also feels like an all-or-nothing kind of commitment. If all I need on a page is something simple like Pickaday, having to include jQuery just seems like overkill.
When Amway Is The Right Answer
I will concede, there are times when Amway is the right answer. Not surprisingly, they are the exact same times as when jQuery is the right answer to questions on StackOverflow.
- When the OP tags the question with jQuery
- When the OP mentions jQuery in the question or specifically asks for a jQuery answer
- When the OP specifically asks for a 3rd party library solutions