My 80/20 Worldview Purge

The internet TOTALLY JACKED UP the racket the guys at Amway corporation had been running for years.

It’s hard to imagine this today, but for about 20 years the kingpins of Multi-Level Marketing had managed to hide the fact that product sales were merely a legitimizing front-end for what was really just a big giant book, tape and seminar business.

I was drinking the pink koolaid full strength. But then in 1998 a guy named Sidney made a website called “Amway Untold Story” that exposed what was really going on. It delivered a TON of information that was otherwise unavailable.

But there were a couple of problems with it:

  1. I had enough experience to discern that most of the people telling their stories there hadn’t really done enough to expect results. (I HAD done enough to expect results… but I still didn’t have any.)

  2. People who were in the business and in a position to defend or explain what was going on were not allowed to advertise their businesses online so they were silent.

That’s where I decided to enter the fray. I was very confused about this and I wanted to get to the “bottom of the swamp” and understand if this thing really was a scam or not.

I already had created a website where people bought, sold and traded motivational tapes, including Amway/MLM tapes and it got quite a bit of traffic.

So I added another page called “The Amway Diamond Challenge” where I invited people who were Direct Distributors and above to address the alleged problems. I promised them anonymity.

I put up the page and confidential responses started coming in. I figured that if I collected enough stories, I could get to the bottom of just about anything.

Some patterns began to emerge:

  1. The “in the know” business leaders did NOT have good answers to the questions everyone was raising. They always managed to evade certain kinds of questions.

  2. The situation was actually WORSE than I realized. I encountered two people, for example, who had gotten death threats after they quit the business. “If you tell people about X, bad things will happen.”

Finally at one point, I decided I’d seen enough. I walked away and never looked back.

OK…. so a similar situation popped up about five years later.

But this time it was about faith and God and history and the Big Questions.

My brother was discarding his entire Christian belief system. And since we’re both meticulously trained pastors kids, this was disturbing.

For years I had run a Seeker’s Group at a megachurch in Chicago, so I was quite used to probing questions. I thought I knew a lot.

But you have not had a theological argument until you’ve had it with a guy who knows Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and who has spent four years of his life rummaging through the back alleys of the Old Testament. Bryan had a fire hose of questions and I was drowning.

At one point he did drown and decided he was done with the whole thing.

So he left me holding the bag with all those thorny questions.

Where can I go with MY questions?

I decided to do the same thing with faith that I’d done with Amway:

Put it on the anvil of the internet and let the world pound on it. We’re gonna strap dynamite to this thing and toss in hand grenades. We’re gonna subject this thing to total incineration and see what survives after the smoke clears.

I did this with not only faith, but science too.

Man… was THAT an education. It was my 80/20 worldview purge.

What happened?

I’d like to tell you the WHOLE story. That story is here:

Perry Marshall

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