A Lesson From Route 66
Route 66 is a fascinating route. Once upon a time, it was traveled by multitudes. Today it is obscure and difficult to find. You will find engaging sights, if you’re willing to take a scenic tour. Yet there’s much confusion along the way.
This happened to me – only instead of route 66, I traveled an Internet Marketing cooperative, project route. Let’s call the project “Looney Tunes Internet Marketing”. Initially I was approached for this project, via a Linkedin group I run. Did I see the first red flag? Actually I did and I proceeded with caution. The person who invited me was ousted a few days later. In a couple more weeks, somebody else was ousted. The reasons:
- The first person was controlling the technical infrastructure – taking too long to finish things. In order words, they wanted it yesterday. Sound familiar? If you have been in IT, it’s a common demand. Yet I never liked how this was handled. Thus I never trusted the ringleader from day one.
- The second person was offering company resources to help. Yet there’s no company money to pay the staff. Shortly we see number two man ousted.
- Then I came along. I’m just a simple freelancer providing free expertise in return for a future percentage of profits – which will probably never materialize.
The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candle Stick Maker
The problem is that the “core team” consists of a man and wife team, along with a “close friend” of many years. In order to establish a fictitious identify, let’s name the husband and wife the “butcher” and “baker”. Next let’s call the “good buddy” the “candle stick maker”. See anything wrong with this picture? Sure! It’s a close-knit group of “good buddies”. Even if you could “walk on water” … if you don’t belong to the Looney Tune‘s inner circle… it’s curtains.
Like most westerners – whether British or American – they believe in “short term insight.” And their ideas are crazy! Have you ever heard of writing a bunch of articles, then having software automatically and randomly mix up the beginning, middle, and end parts – thus producing a variety of articles? Sounds like the typical American car companies. Rather than following the Japanese business model – looking at the long term picture – the butcher, baker, and candle stick maker followed the “are we there yet – I wanted it yesterday” western model. And the Butcher calls all the shots. Perhaps if they weren’t looking for the quick fix, I could eventually hook them up – perhaps Internet marketing experts with thousands of followers. They never inquired whom I know…who I am afflicted with…via social media. Pity! Perhaps I might have also shared the project management and Six Sigma skills I have.
But I learned something
One problem was that none of the three core members were religious. Here it’s Easter weekend and Good Friday. I was taking time off – they wanted to work. There’s a big problem here with potential ethical values. If a person follows a religious system and/or an ethical philosophical system, then I can expect “fair play”. But it’s extremely difficult to work with a group “where no one’s religious”.
Will this group succeed? Perhaps! If the butcher weren’t in charge. Actually I LIKE the candlestick maker. I would STILL be working with them if he were in charge. Remember this old saying? If you take a room full of monkeys, along with a room full of typewriters – give them an infinite amount of time – they will produce all the works of Shakespeare. The question is how many will come and go, while the core team remains?
I did see the end coming and saw a “ringleader setup” in the works. I’m not sure if it’s because I subconsciously profile people (given my background in psychology), if it’s due to some “gut level feeling” or “intuition”, or just plain luck. So I thought to myself: “Let me play this card to my advantage.” I asked all kinds of questions to the candlestick maker, regarding a document the butcher created. He just didn’t get it. Then the butcher insulted me… changed the rules … I left.
I did spend about two months with Looney Tunes and learned a few tricks. But I taught them much in return. If I ask questions – I get insulted. People come and go – yet only the core three remain. If you do find Looney Tunes, make sure you get everything in writing – have a valid, legal contract. The best recommendation they made was to join the free, thirty-day challenge. The 30-day challenge is found at http://tinyurl.com/cotnjy. A good summary is found at webventurer.com/blog/t…, under “Thirty Day Challenge Training”.
Want to know something interesting? I went through the 30-day challenge twice. And they have a far better way!
A Better Way
Want to know a better way? It was suggested on day 31 of the 30-day challenge – meet up and share expertise. There’s a topic section on the 30-day challenge forum for this. There’s also a service at http://www.meetup.com/, where you can arrange meetings and host them. So I am planning on hosting Chicago area meetings, for graduates of the 30-day challenge programs. Another idea is just to host virtual meetings.
The Key Difference
What’s the difference between the the Looney Tunes vs. the 30-Day Challenge direction? Google research on Wiki articles sheds some light . The first is referred to in Business as “joint ventures” (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki…) while the 30-day challenge suggestion is referred to as “strategic alliances.” For the former, I recommend getting an agreement in writing first. Insure that it’s a valid, legal contract.