Sunday, December 20, 2009

The New Wage Lottery Ticket

Compared to last week, this week has been pretty quiet. Pat O'Bryan locked down his twitter account and seemingly calmed down, though he apparently has turned everything over to his legal team. I'm excitedly awaiting subpoena notification.

I guess what riled Pat up last week, at least from the timing of his @criticwatch rampage, was my statement that according to Google maps, it doesn't look like Mr. Fire's house is an "estate" the way he markets it to be. Pat asked to see MY house, but I reminded him that I don't use my house to sell people miracles, awakened millionaire programs, or any other overpriced deceptive crap. Joe Vitale DOES. And that is the problem.

I was talking with someone about the definition of estate, and showed them the Google maps overview. And we wondered if it really was Joe Vitale's house or not. We didn't really believe that he'd actually put his HOME address on his web site and marketing, and my friend wondered if perhaps the local assessor had a web site. Hey good idea.

We figured out that Wimberley is in Hays County, Texas, so we searched for the Hays County Assessor. Found it.

I feel weird posting the actual link to Joe Vitale's property details on the assessor's site. But you can go look.

It says the property at that address is indeed Joe Vitale's. And it's worth $317,000.

Meanwhile, he says on his web site:
Today I live with my love, Nerissa, in a multi-million dollar estate and I recently added a $375,000 Rolls Royce Phantom to my growing exotic car collection.
Something weird happened when I saw that assessor web site. I realized that my property is worth a bit more than his. And then I started to feel something.

Yes, even critics have hearts slightly larger than the Grinch.

I started to feel really sorry for Joe Vitale. Sorry for him that he apparently feels a need to puff himself up on his web sites to make it sound like he has more than he has. I then had to wonder if maybe he doesn't own a Rolls Royce, he just rents one whenever he needs to do one of his ever popular Rolls Royce Masterminds. Who knows? The incongruency in his marketing makes me have to question everything he says.

Why don't you just tell the truth, Joe? I'm sure you've been very successful in your business. And I know a lot of businesses that have very successful copywriters teaching how to do that. Why does it have to puff up into a business that is telling people they can have "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" ... just like you ... but like you ... Well, you're not.

So, I feel pity for him. And I feel pity for the people who get suckered in by the deception. The whole thing is just incredibly sad.

And it's just not right.

To me, this is worse than the lottery. At least the lottery, by law, has to give odds.  It's like people are buying a "new wage" lottery ticket. Except they think, because of the marketing, that it's a sure thing. They think that Joe Vitale and his sigloid merry marketers really do care whether or not they make a 100 millionaires (do they? your guess is as good as mine), they think that because Joe is SO GENEROUS (look at how he gave $100 to the movers! Operation YES! ... better known as Operation PROBABLY NOT) he absolutely MUST care about them, too. Right?


If he truly cared, he'd tell you the truth from the start. He wouldn't dangle a phony reality in front of your face and say "if I can have this, you can too." Well, maybe that is the truth. He apparently doesn't have it. And you probably won't either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let them use debt!

Since no one has answered my Awakened Millionaire Challenge, and Joe Vitale and Craig Perrine are silent on the topic of providing details on the effectiveness of their Awakened Millionaire incubation program, I decided to go hunting for writings about the events and program online. Well, I asked my good friend Google to go hunting, and it brought back a little gem.

Here is a blog post from a guy named Suhail from Bahrain who looks like a nice enough guy. There's  not a lot of information about the program, it's results or efficacy, or even what was taught in the post. There does seem to be a lot of talk about how the attendees were wonderful people, though.

It was a fairly uneventful read without much information about what transpired at the event until I got to this part:
The whole group was really interesting. There was one Argentinean/Japanese lady. When I asked her what she did for a living, she told me in her accented English “I’m a cleaner.”
I thought I heard her wrong, “excuse me? What do you do?” I asked. “I’m a cleaner,” she said again. I was impressed! I asked her how she could afford this course, because it was really, (REALLY) pricey.
“A miracle!” she exclaimed! She told me how she managed to spread the cost over several credit cards. She had planned to buy a car but instead spent part of the money to come to the event. I told her I admired what she did. When we spoke some more she told me she wanted to break away from cleaning, and that she had started selling Herbal Life products! Whoa! What a coincidence! Another Herbal Life person!
I bet you can imagine how much I would love to hear from either Suhail or this woman about their experience at Joe Vitale's event. It has been about a year since, and I'd like to know how attending it impacted their lives, if at all.

But that little snippet bothers me. Does it bother you? Or do you feel all tingly and miraculous that someone went into debt to attend a seminar, let alone a Awakened Millionaire event. She planned to buy a car, but instead decided to go spend 3 days with -- as Suhail calls him -- the "guru."

She decided that attending his event was more important than transportation for herself. That going into debt was a "miracle."

Now, I wasn't there. I have no idea if attending this event is worth going into debt. It sure raises a lot of questions, questions I think we all deserve answers to. What was promised in the marketing? Was it anything like the Awakened Millionaire Incubator program web site that promised total body, mind, and spirit transformation? Did those things happen for her? For Suhail?

My greatest fear for her is that she's still cleaning houses and paying off the debt of attending the seminar and she still doesn't have her own transportation. And I wonder if she is being belittled by anyone because she went into debt to attend a $10k seminar and doesn't have anything to show for it. I hope she isn't, but as others have pointed out, this is what happens.

I'd write Suhail but his contact page suggests I fax him. I didn't know we were still faxing things.

So, I twittered that I could think of 100 things people should do before they go into debt to attend a program. A twitter friend suggested that would make a good blog post. Well, I've got deadlines today, so I am not sure I will get to 100, but here's the start.

  • Look for the information in books, preferably at a library
  • Look for the information online
  • Not sure what you're looking for? Ask questions on message boards online.
  • Tell people about your goals. Ask them for their thoughts.
  • Pray and/or meditate for guidance.
  • Follow your intuition and gut feelings. 
  • If it sounds to good to be true, IT PROBABLY IS.

The internet may have created a wild west where people are selling anything and everything including total life transformation. But the internet is more importantly a great place to share ideas, knowledge, encouragement, inspiration, and friendship. Most of the places where you get that are free. There are some places where you can get a shortcut of information for a price. But weigh that price against the possible outcome and information.

My advice? NEVER EVER EVER GO INTO DEBT FOR A SEMINAR. EVER. Never go into debt for a program. Never go into debt unless you have a business plan in place, a team of people who can review your plan, and you have a greater than 50% chance of recouping your investment. But if you're going into debt to hear pearls of wisdom from a "guru," please be aware that part of the reason you think that he's got information that isn't readily available elsewhere is because you believe he's a guru.

Because we weren't given any testimonials, data, or other information about how the participants at last year's event performed after attending, we can only guess.

I hope the woman was able to recoup her investment, pay off the credit card debt, and buy a car with what she learned. If not, Joe Vitale's got some 'splainin' to do.

Maybe he'll do that 'splainin to ABC News from the back of his Rolls Royce during a mastermind? You know, talk about how he's driving around a $400k car and has a collection of cars while people are spreading the cost of his seminar out on multiple credit cards while that person forgoes a car herself.

There's such an interesting balance there, don't you think?

Me, I don't know how he does it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Criticism of the Critics from on High

First, I'd like to offer my heartfelt wishes for Joe Vitale's father to have a speedy recovery. Joe tweeted at approximately 12:00 Wimberley time that his father had a stroke.

An hour later, he posted the blog post entitled "Kill off P.T. Barnum." Something must have empowered him to criticize the criticism that has been spiraling around the Wimberley Mafia lately.

He writes:
Too many people are criticizing others who are achieving success. Instead of focusing on their own goals, they spend their time and energy writing negative posts and reviews. They don’t seem to see that (a) their work isn’t stopping anyone and (2) their work is a distraction from their own calling.
Wait, what? Did the man who doesn't like criticism criticize the critics?

Should I let Roger Ebert know that his entire career was a waste? Maybe I should make a mailing list of art, restaurant, movie, and literary critics and let them know that Joe Vitale feels their work is a waste of time and that they should really get some psychological help in order to find their own calling.

There is nothing wrong with criticism. Please see my previous post. Criticism is actually helpful, except to those who cannot handle it or those who have something to hide. I'm not going to stop criticizing ridiculous assertions just because Joe thinks it's a distraction from my own calling. He has no idea what my calling is. My inspiration now is to be a critic and satirist, and I am following that inspiration.

Are you not grateful for this? I'm following my inspiration, just like you've taught! Do you have no gratitude for what you have in your experience now? I'm grateful, especially for how easy you've made it for me to follow my satirical inspirations.

And here's some questions... so any criticism or discernment isn't helpful?

What if I buy a car, and the engine doesn't work. Should I resist that compulsion to criticize it?

Where would the U.S. be if nobody had criticized "the Divine Right of Kings?"

How about this, let's say I buy, oh, I don't know, an Awakening Course from "Dr." Joe Vitale, but it's just the same information in a previous book recycled. Oh, right, now we're getting somewhere, aren't we. I shouldn't say anything, I should be grateful that I paid $67 for something I already knew, because if I say anything else about it, I am just distracting myself from my calling.

I suppose if my calling is to pay money to people for nothing whatsoever, then perhaps you're right. I respectfully disagree.

There is an industry here, self help, where certain individuals feel their words are more important than others' words. Joe Vitale feels that his criticism of the critics is completely valid, while the critics are just wallowing in their inability to find their own path. It's like a put down wrapped up in a cloak of superiority.

Some criticism is hypocrisy. That blog post of yours, Joe, is teeming with it.

Just like Pat did with his little "experiment" gone wrong this weekend, Joe tries to turn criticism of his products and tactics around and attacks the lives of people who have the NERVE to look critically at him. And he does it with a trademark superiority complex. Anyone who takes umbrage with his factual inaccuracies and ethical considerations in his marketing and products must have something wrong with them.

Because apparently, in Joe's world, Joe is always right.

Sorry, Joe, not going for it. There's a whole other world out here where people actually think critically and would rather not be hypnotized into buying something they don't need just so you can experience abundance.

I'm sorry your dad had a stroke, and I hope he heals rapidly. But that doesn't give you free reign to criticize the critics from on high.

EDIT: Here's what RevRon has to say about Joe's dismissive missive.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recap week of December 7

Where do I even start? It's like a freaking shitstorm of activity in Wimberley lately. I don't know what they're putting in the water down there, but it must be doing something. Or maybe Hoshun is doing it all. After all, he does do magic, according to Pat and Joe. Maybe Hoshun is so pissed at his likeness being sold for $40 that he's causing everyone to do some wild and crazy things.

First, our friend Pat O'Bryan completely lost his mind. He started a new twitter account and phony blog, apparently so as to not tarnish his respected name with his actions. Now, I'm all for anonymity if keeping your personality out of the argument will keep the discussion on facts (instead of personal attacks that have made the Wimberley Mafia infamous). But then Pat O'Breakdown actually puts his respected name on the account. According to this twit, his anger is at me, my writing, this very blog.

I don't know if I should be honored or sad. I mean, I've tried to be nice to the guy while still pointing out that his marketing of a stupid wish doll is, well, STUPID. This blog isn't titled "Pat O'Bryan's Pyre." But he keeps throwing himself under the bus in order to defend his buddy, Fireboy, aka, Mr. Fire, aka, Joe Vitale.

On his blog, he spent an entire day attacking Cosmic Connie and her exceptionally smart and funny dude, Ron. He blamed THEM for me.  His blog post comments are just a steaming cup of psychotic delusion.

Listen, Pat, and I know you're listening, the reason I started this blog is the obviousness of the ethical problems of products and services and their marketing coming out of Wimberley. It has nothing to do with Connie, it has nothing to do with my work, it has everything to do with the outrage I feel every time you sell someone a MAGIC picture for $40. You want to somehow have a penis-size competition match and look at my life as a distraction.

He called me a McDonald's fry cook, which doesn't really help his argument much... because if I am a McDonald's fry cook, then even the most rudimentary non-professional understands that a Secret Russian Wish Maker Scammy Dolly Picture is a scammy dolly picture.

After a while, an observation hit me that Pat O'Bryan may actually have some serious mental issues and that criticism might actually put him over the edge and cause him to implode. He was losing it right there in front of us, immolating himself, going after one of the sweetest ladies on twitter. I mean, on her sign-off, she wished everyone a happy Saturday, even to Pat O.

So. I direct-messaged (DM) Pat O'Breakdown at CriticWatch: "I don't think ur well. I'm going to leave u alone as long as you don't wish-doll again, STOP DEFENDING JV, be ethical & I'll leave u alone"

He answered "no deal" and continued on. I had Christmas stuff to do, so I had to leave him wallowing in his cesspool. He continued on his rampage attacking anyone he came across, until he met up with the Salty Droid. I almost jumped in on that conversation, but I thought better of it and just let Pat play with the loaded gun. I think he finally realized that it was loaded. And it was a really big gun that had lots of experience taking care of business.

But Pat losing his mind isn't the only activity down in Wimber-lie. Joe has been extremely quiet these days, though he did say that Pat's post was "wise" and "hard-hitting" in one of his twits. I'd agree with the hard hitting; perhaps something had fallen in Pat's office and hit him too hard on the head, thus starting the need for his reckless rampage.

In other news, a suicide squirrel tried to take out Joe's power, but it didn't work for very long. I would warn Joe to stay away from squirrels, though. Apparently Joe saw them taking notes while he was telling a friend his secrets of the universe. There might actually be a squirrel conspiracy going on to prevent such secrets such as "this is where they keep the nuts: inside Joe Vitale's head," and there could be more kamikaze squirrels headed to his "estate."

Which really isn't an estate, by the way, though he sure likes to tell people it is in his marketing. Gotta keep up appearances.

But apparently all that activity isn't enough.

It appears beyond any reasonable doubt that Mark Ryan has stopped drinking the Joe Vitale kool-aid. He's written SIX posts all of which point to some recent events he's attempting to make sense of. Here are the links to those posts:

If there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that Mark Ryan was Joe Vitale's "self-sabotaging" friend, I think those doubts can be laid to rest.

The content in those posts is very eye opening. Just the discussion of the types of teachers makes me wonder if Joe Vitale is what Ryan calls teacher type #1. There's that fun little disclaimer on the bottom of that post saying that some people had thought it was all about them, so Mark is putting the whole series up instead of doing it day by day. That happened about the same time that Pat O'Bryan outed Mark Ryan on his twitter account as The Seduction King. Did those posts cause Pat O'Bryan to lose his mind?

On Vitale's self-sabotaging friend post in which he tells his self-sabotaging friend that he's losing out on financial opportunity by cutting of ties with him, isn't that some kind of threat? Isn't that like dangling a carrot in front of the guy and telling him to come back into the fold and be a good little boy and master Joe will give you opportunities? Otherwise, go back to the land of poverty... well, it must be poverty if Joe isn't in it.

Sorry Joe, but money is energy and is going to go where DIVINE SPIRIT wants it to go, not because you're exploiting people with promises of "total life transformation" for thousands of dollars and bullying your former friends with threats. 

Apparently, whatever precipitated Ryan's decision to leave the fold had a greater weight than that little carrot. Judging on his blog posts, apparently he grew a conscience. Or balls. Or something. I, for one, hope that he goes forward and makes a name for himself post-Vitale brown-nosing as a lesson to the rest of the sycophants. As Cosmic Connie put most eloquently not too long ago, Joe can't have his empire of dirt without sycophants to support it.

Anyway, something has definitely changed. I guess it doesn't matter what. Ryan seems to be interested in telling his story, and I'm sure listening.

There's one thing for certain: Ryan's tone in these posts is of a man who has recently reclaimed his self worth. He's making some assertions that he came up with the idea for the Rolls Royce Mastermind, which is counter to the story Joe tells.

At this point, I believe Mark Ryan. What does he have to lose or gain by telling these stories? Nothing, really. Joe has everything to gain by you believing him. Maybe Ryan is so mad at Joe Vitale he's trying to discredit him with lies. But take a look at those videos of Joe and Mark in the car. He then talks about how he coached Vitale to become a better public speaker, and there is video evidence that's what he did. In a car, no less. On video. Evidence enough for me.

The information on the next post about ho'oponopono is even more eye opening. Maybe Ryan cut ties with Vitale because he didn't get paid for Zero Limits? And is it true that Pat O'Bryan said that Joe was going give Ryan a $90K car but then went back on it? Maybe that's why Ryan cut ties with Fireboy? And I'm also interested that there's versions of ho'oponopono... you mean it's not all Joe'oponopono?

Do tell more, Mark Ryan. We're all listening.

Through all of this, the other members of the "Wimberley mafia" have been incredibly quiet. Even Vitale isn't doing much more than moving into his new office.

I try to imagine what life is like for Joe Vitale right now. His former VP of Marketing is having conversations with Cosmic Connie, a known snarker of all things Fireboy, and she's got a blog post in the works about their conversations. His former friend Mark Ryan has cut ties with him and is now coming out and telling his side of the story. He has an active group of online critics who watch his every move. His friend and Operation YES supporter James Ray is possibly facing murder charges for a deathlodge. His current friend and pet sycophant is running around the internet playing threatening people and writing completely asinine blog posts taunting the critics and defending James Ray. I'm not sure what I would do if I was trying to sell people the image of the perfect life but I was standing in the middle of a shit storm.

Just a note: you know what just occurred to me ... all you people who write to me and tell your stories of how Joe Vitale did you wrong, or you're disappointed by someone or something down with that group. If ALL of you would just grow a pair and tell your story, there would be NO NEED for my to write a thing. I'm your conscience. But I can't tell your stories for you.

Edit 12/14/09: Pat took down his @criticwatch twitter account, sanitized the discussion on his blog, and locked his own @patobryan twitter account. I'm sure he'll be back, his business relies upon new customers and marketing online, but until then, I'm keeping my copies of the downloaded discussions, screenshots, and other material in the event this post is ever challenged for accuracy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You are what you hate

Well, our buddy Pat O'Bryan wrote a little missive yesterday about self-help, the greatness that is his buddy Joe Vitale, and how petty and horrible critics are.

It was then that I realized why he is always hating on Fox News: it's because he is just like them.

The largest criticism of Fox News is that they've been Roger Ailes' mouthpiece for the Republican party since its creation. They twist facts, hide the truth, and go nuts on any opposition to their viewpoint. Wow, that sounds entirely familiar. Kind of like what Pat O'Bryan does for Joe Vitale.

So, really, we could say that Pat O'Bryan is to Joe Vitale as Fox News is to George W. Bush.

See, just like George W. Bush was, Fireboy doesn't like it when he's criticized. He can't stand it. You can see evidence of it in his whining and crying when his former friends wrote a book criticizing The Secret, he whined that there were "hecklers" in the audience in Russia. Because these were apparently people that paid for his event, I suspect that people asked him to become congruent in his statements or challenged him to defend a position. He couldn't take it and labeled them "hecklers."

He lobs passive aggressive responses to any opposition he receives on his blog, if he even posts the comment at all. Fireboy can't handle any criticism at all.  You're not allowed to say anything even remotely critical. Even constructive criticism is attacked in trademark Joe Vitale style.

And if he can't do it himself, he'll send one of his Fox-news-esque minions to do it for him just like Pat did with this post.

Knowing this from blatant statements of his, we can only assume that those closest to Joe are not of the critical type. They are the quintessential "yes men" who tell the emperor that his outfit is splendid even though the emperor is wearing no clothes.

What happens in these type of situations where opposition is quashed and obsequious behavior is rewarded? You get crap. You get invasions of foreign countries on spurious data (Iraq, Bay of Pigs), you get the destruction of free speech and the fourth estate, and you get fucking wish dolls. You get toxic groupthink, and the results of being surrounded by "yes men" can be disastrous.

As far as fireboy and company, sometimes the disastrous loss someone's $40 on a goofy wish-doll or a $197 loss on a program that is the same regurgitated crap as his previous book. But sometimes it could be worse. Sometimes it could be someone's last thousands in savings paid to a miracles coaching program that does jack shit for them, maybe it is someone going into debt because they've been hypnotized by amazing copy.

Look, the media has served the place of the governmental watch dog since Johannes Gutenberg got his groove on. Our founding fathers felt that freedom of the press to say whatever they want without governmental controls was so important, they made it amendment #1.

Now we're living in the age of the internet where anyone with a keyboard can say whatever they want. In some cases, we have Fireboy, his sycophants, wish dolls and awakened millionaires. They have as much voice in the world as the government would have pre-desktop publishing. Do these people get to say whatever they want without criticism?

Sorry Fireboy, sorry Pat O'Sycophant, you don't get to do whatever you want without criticism. Just because you've banned dissent from your blogs, your cigar bar, and your discourse because you're too afraid to actually handle constructive criticism just like George W. Bush couldn't handle it, it doesn't mean you can go around sucking others into that vortex without critical examination of what you're doing.

I have my reasons, as does Connie, the Salty Droid, and many others that are critical of the things Fireboy and his compatriots do. Connie has a much more interesting take on Fireboy because she knew him when he was just getting started.

Of course, I am of the opinion that most of your online ventures do not provide the value you proclaim they do. It does not make any logical sense that paying $10k over the course of a year for a promise of total life transformation is realistic. I also don't think your conspicuous charity, Operation YES, has done anything of value either. I don't think you should be allowed to go around talking about how generous you are unless you have some evidence of that generosity.

Basically, all I am asking is for you to substantiate your claims. You say an AWFUL lot without much evidence to back that up, and testimonials from sycophants and the sycophantic-wannabes don't count for much.

As for Fireboy's friend, Operation YES supporter, and deathlodge leader, James Ray, I'll leave that rebuttal to those more interested in James Ray. I will say that Ray is most definitely a hot potato I wouldn't want to be defending right now. O'Bryan says that he's participated in sweatlodges and never had a problem and that "Several people popped out of the sweat lodge at Ray’s event feeling great."

Pat, you're being Fox News in your accuracy again. You need to go read the first-hand accounts, watch the nightline interview with someone who was there, and get your facts straight. No one is saying that sweat lodges are the problem anyway. Lots of people are saying that paying $10k for a sweat lodge is a problem, lots of people are saying that if you pay someone to manage a sweat lodge for you, it better be done right and not kill people. That's why people are claiming negligence and looking at homicide charges.

It's about negligence, Pat. Do you know anything about that? Because on a smaller scale (as you and Fireboy are), I think that many things you and Joe sell do harm people financially and don't help them at all. That's my opinion, of course, and I would love to be proved wrong.

But thus far, neither you nor Joe Vitale have taken any steps towards proving your critics wrong. You simply put up walls and blinders and stomp your feet and whine that people have the audacity to criticize you and Joe for selling things without any proof that they work.

"What if it works" is not valid proof of efficacy. "What if it works" is a question you hide behind so you can't get called on making spurious claims by the FTC.

Criticism is the thing that HELPS you. The day that I stop criticizing your ill-founded marketing schemes and products is the day we will really feel sorry for you...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good news...

Yes, you read that right. Good news. And you'll be surprised. I sure was, pleasantly so.

I'm happy to report that this site is now the #1 search result for "he'd sell a rat's asshole to a blind man for a wedding ring." I cannot think of a better phrase to be tied to the Pyre in google searching.

In other good news, did you see the wonderful disclaimer on Pat O'Bryan's new internet marketing coaching page he just launched yesterday? Really. I am not being sarcastic. I think it's a wonderful disclaimer. And I think the marketing for his program is rather honest (from my limited viewpoint as I've never participated in his coaching program). It doesn't seem outrageous. It seems like he's promising some things that could actually be delivered.

Contrast it with the outrageous promises and no disclaimer on the Awakened Millionaire page, I think Pat is showing signs of doing the right thing.

Maybe he could have a conversation about how doing the right thing doesn't hurt so bad the next time he's sucking Rocky Patel with Mr. Fire. (Yes, I know that sounds horrible. But really, I've got to do something to entertain my "audience of one.")

If I see a prominently placed disclaimer on other sites, say for example, the Hoshun site, I might have to stop pestering them about their business practices. Like maybe you could do a disclaimer saying that Hoshun is for entertainment purposes only, that when you buy the wish dolly picture your results are up to you and that getting whatever you want is up to you, too and that Hoshun isn't going to make it happen, but he might remind you that you've got a plan for making it happen.

Then we'd be getting somewhere.

See, I'm not a "hater," Pat. I have a sense of humor. And when I see people talking about recyclable laxatives and wish dollys sold for $40 a pop, I'm going to take a shot... or 40. Sometimes it's going to be funny. Sometimes it's going to be indignant. Sometimes it's going to be harsh.

But when I see responsible marketing, I can acknowledge that, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Awakened Millionaire Challenge

Ooooh! Look! Did you see? I think Christmas just came a little early! It's....

a SPECIAL INVITATION! From none other than Fireboy and his Norwegian caveman, Craig Perrine. They invite us to join with them in their quest to create 100 millionaires in 2010. Wait, no, not only millionaires, but AWAKENED millionaires.

What would the planet do with that many more awakened greedy fucks running around selling one-eyed wish doll pictures, convincing young Polish girls to throw away their artistic talents on propagating an outdated and offensive ethnic stereotype, or buying more Rolls Royces. I don't know, mother earth, what WILL you do?

I'm certain that one of the things that these bright eyed nascent awakeners will learn is how to design their very own year-long membership program to train even more people how to sell wish doll pictures and clearing tools.

Let's take a critical look at this incredibly enticing offer and determine its value.

Why call it Awakened Millionaire? Why not Awakened Entrepreneur? Just by calling it Awakened Millionaire, they assert that a participant will become not only awakened (which has its own connotation) but also a millionaire. It's deceptive on two different levels.

I would love to see data to back up the assertion that Craig and Joe surveyed over 10,000 entrepreneurs. Did they do this as a part of developing the program? Out of curiosity? Or is this a generalization that they've probably talked to that many people over the last X years, so it fits? Perhaps it's simply a nod to Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert? I am of the opinion that they NEVER DID THIS, that this is a false assertion. Though I would love to be proved wrong. The burden of proof is on them to prove they actually did this legwork because they asserted it in their marketing.

Another blatant missing issue is that this sales letter, while promising to create millionaires, is missing something critically important... something that you would expect someone with a doctorate in any type of business discipline to understand and know: a nascent entrepreneur has to have a valuable product or service. Additionally, they have to understand the market, do market research, product development or service definition, pricing, channel research, customer service, accounting, billing, legal filings and develop a meaningful business plan. That's a hell of a lot that isn't marketing. While I will agree that mindset is incredibly important, it is a small part of running a successful business.

But they can't talk about the actual mechanics of developing an online enterprise. Nope. No one gets excited about hard work. They don't even offer a disclaimer that their goal of creating 100 millionaires in a year is a incredibly LOFTY goal.  They can't even add a responsible disclaimer noting that most research points to a 5 year mark before new businesses become successful.

A responsible marketer would say that this program is for existing businesses that have an established product or service that only needs help marketing online, but Joe and Craig don't do that either. In fact, they say that this program is so "simple for ANYONE to get started," and that it "breaks everything down into simple steps anyone could follow." Simple!! These statements alone mislead people into thinking that a blog, a twitter account, and listening to some of Joe's ego maniacal stories are going to make people into millionaires.

All of the "exclusive" information they promise to provide is freely available on the web. There are A TON of people who have web sites dedicated to teaching about how to communicate online. With all of that information freely available on the web, why aren't there more millionaire stories from bloggers and twits?

The fact is, STARTING and RUNNING an online business is much much more than that.

The statements on the Awakened Millionaire web site are not realistic. The data says its not. Even Malcolm Gladwell, who likely gags on his own vomit every time Joe quotes him, has research saying that it takes 10 years, 10,000 hours, of practice before someone gets good at something. This is not just about sports, painting, or pulling Hoshuns out of your ass, it applies to starting and running a successful business, too.

Joe Vitale and Craig Perrine sell their "awakened millionaire" crap as if it is the end-all be-all, and they're charging people fees that make their unwitting prospects think that this is all they have to do to become internet millionaires in one year.

And then there's the torture...
I page down and learn that for $10,000 over a year, I'm going to have to sit around and listen to Joe tell the same goddamn stories he tells in his books about how HE made money. How does that help anyone? It does nothing but satisfy his own ego. Joe's case is not typical, and I don't think hearing how "miracles" happened for someone else are going to make miracles happen for me.

I'd rather hear about how hard he's worked (I bet he has, even despite his spurious claims that he sits around reading, smoking cigars and drinking scotch all day while the money just rolls in), the strategic partnerships that have made a difference, the mistakes he's made (isn't it true that we learn more from mistakes than miracles), and how he's managed the difficulties of cash flow in a fledgling business. Now THAT would make a difference, wouldn't it?

Oh, but we get the privilege of asking them questions if we apply! Oh, wow. How kind. Someone pays anywhere from $1200-$10,000 and they get to ask Joe questions. Wow, what a privilege. Will he end his responses with the trademark "blessings" when someone pisses him off? (Yes, Joe, it's that apparent. Just go re-read that escape from Russia comment thread.)

But... but... we're SPRITUAL!
But the thing that REALLY gets me is how Joe and Craig bring spirituality into this muck. They promise "total mind, body and spirit transformation." First, how does ANYONE measure this? And second, how the hell does this have ANYTHING to do with running a business? If someone is going to learn how to transform mind, body and spirit, they should learn from someone who has actually done it, not someone whose expertise is talking about himself all the time or someone else whose expertise seems to be setting up blogs and mailing lists.

Next, they promise: "The Awakened Millionaire Incubator program is all about transforming your finances and every other area of your life. It's about making you a true... Aakened (sic) Millionaire!"

Well, see here's something. Joe Vitale and Craig Perrine are promising that they're going transform every other area of my life, huh? Now we're talking value! My dog keeps crapping on the carpet. Can you transform that area of my life? Because I'd surely welcome Joe and/or Craig coming to my house and cleaning that shit up every day, and if they want to teach the dog to stop dumping on the carpet, then I think the program is a tremendous value.

But if they're going to tell me to ask Hoshun to stop making the dog shit on the floor, then we have a problem.  I don't think Hoshun is going to clean up dog shit. He's apparently much too smart for that. I don't think Hoshun is going to transform every area of my life. I want Joe and Craig to do that.

Any business school, hell an undergraduate ethics class, would teach that people can't make promises like this without some kind of evidence to back it up. It's unethical at best and downright disgusting. I think it is a rip off.

Oh wait, but Joe's pretend degree is in "the study of the unknown," as he explained on Fox and Friends a few weeks back. I guess he has figured out how to promise unknown wealth to people, too.

The Awakened Millionaire Challenge
So, anyway, here's a challenge. Let's be just like Fireboy and brand it. I'll call it "The Awakened Millionaire Challenge." I want to hear data from someone - anyone - who was at the Awakened Millionaire event that Joe and Craig are selling. I want to know if they were average people who followed Joe and Craig's "simple steps" and are now millionaires simply because of what they learned at the event. I want them to stand up and provide proof that these "proven marketing and promotional techniques that have produced millions of dollars in sales" have actually done so.

That weekend was last year sometime. Well, that's about the same timeframe as what they're selling right  now. So all those people who attended that event got the same kind of treatment, right? Why isn't there one actual testimonial from a person who attended that event last year on their site? I want to know how many awakened millionaires they've created already! Surely at these exorbitant rates, they've got a decent track record, right? They say these methods are PROVEN.

Let's make them stand behind their assertions with some actual data, actual testimonials, and proof that what they say is true.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Friends of the Fire

So, I've been doing some research, and through the things I've found, I think I have a fairly educated guess as to who Mr. Fire's self-sabotaging friend must be.

I think it's Mark Ryan. Here's why.

In Mr. Fire's blog post about his friend, he notes the following.

  • It's a close friend. This, to me means that it is one of the Siglos. 
  • He's known the guy for 5 years. 
  • It's also a business relationship. 
  • He planned on doing additional products with the guy.
  • It happened before he went to Poland.
Okay, let's see what people he has CLOSE to him, for 5 years, that he does business and products with? I don't know either of them well enough to know if I am right or not, so I have to use what information I can find online.

In terms of CLOSE friends, we've got your standard issue Siglos: Pat O'Bryan, Mark Ryan, Bill Hibbler, and Craig Perrine. It is definitely not Pat, because every other twit or blog post either of them do shows that Pat's nose is still firmly planted up Joe Vitale's ass. I assume Vitale takes his daily dump by first moving Pat's face out of the way.

Bill Hibbler went to the book signing last Friday. If it was him, he'd likely not go to that. So, he seems to be quietly still in the fold. For a while, I thought it might have been Bill because Bill hasn't done any projects with Joe, and he's still pushing his book "Meet and Grow Rich" that he wrote with Joe four years ago, as we can see from his twitter background.

Craig Perrine has been characteristically silent lately, but he is still doing stuff with Pat (assuming that he's the "craig" running his membership coaching site) and he recently did Joe Vitale's blog redesign. We know that this event happened BEFORE he went to Poland or he wouldn't have had conversations with Andrzej about it. But Craig did his blog redesign just before he went to Poland, and Joe promoted Craig's lovely work there AFTER he wrote the post about his self-sabotaging friend.

So, we can be fairly certain that it's not Pat, Bill, and likely not Craig.

Which leaves Mark Ryan, the Seduction King himself. (Though, looking at his seduction stuff, and then listening to some of his last podcasts, it seems he's gotten out of the seduction business because he has a wife and kid now. I do wonder how she deals with knowing about her husband's past as a womanizing seduction guy, who just two weeks ago was posting on YouTube how he is going to use hypnotic videos to collect a harem, but this crowd is full of crazy rationalizations to excuse their behavior and choices.)

So, let's look at Mr. Ryan's recent activity. On a recent blog post about the Sweat Lodge deaths at James Ray's event, he wrote:
I’ve been thinking about this all week. It dovetails with some other recent events in my life, including certain aspects of my visit to Russia where I had to trust other people with my safety and well-being. I had to trust that those people who invited me on this trip had my well-being in mind during all aspectsof the trip. (As many of you know, this didn’t exactly happen. More later on this.)
Well, more never came. At least it hasn't come yet. And the only thing he's written about his trip to Russia was positive which of course contrasts with Joe Vitale's now-sanitized blog post where he blamed his bad trip on everything from his Vice President (Peter Wink) to "Russian wolves" to his, and of course Mark's, beliefs about Russia being a bad place.

That post kind of threw me, though, because in it Joe talks about Mark saving his life and how he'd have been buried in Russia today if it wasn't for Mark. There is an awful lot of gratitude in that post of October 9. But the Ryan post that seems to show some stirring of discontent was October 17.

But there's nothing in Ryan's blog posts that say anything about him having a falling out with Joe. And given his typical method of revealing everything publicly, even some rather unsavory details on his podcasts, it is uncharacteristic of him to not go public with dirty laundry if it really is him.

But there's more evidence that makes me suspect.

It started with his twitter saying that he's reading The Sociopath Next Door and another link about what sociopaths are like. Now, this could be about anybody at all, and might not be about our friend Joe, and I can't figure out the timing from anything either has written online. I am probably reading something into this.

But we do know that Joe does products with Mark, and he intends/intended on doing more projects with him (see the escape Russia post). They have done seminars together, they have done free teleseminars, and they have the Subliminal Manifestation DVDS that they do together. The last one was the Zero Limits DVD. So he fits the bill as close friend and business partner who he wanted to do projects with.

Five years ago, according to these videos, Mark Ryan helped Joe Vitale at his booth at a convention. Sidenotes: it's hilarious to see a hairless Tellman Knudson in the video, and also hilarious to see Joe Vitale give mad props to Kevin Hogan. The feeling here is that Joe and Mark are recent friends, recent enough for Joe to give Mark a pile of his products. There does seem to be a camaraderie between the two of them.

With Ryan's relative silence, it's hard to tell whether or not it is him. But by the process of elimination and these other points, I think it's him.

That post of Joe's saying his close friend is self-sabotaging has been disturbing me since he wrote it. The arrogance that anyone who might not want a close relationship with Joe Vitale is self-sabotaging turns my stomach.

There is a long line of people who were once friends with Joe who now find him distasteful. I could name names, but most people know who they are. There are the friends who wrote the book discounting The Secret to hurt him; this he has spoken publicly about. And there are others... not too hard to find them.

So. That's my best guess.

I emailed Mark Ryan about my suspicions. He didn't email me back. But someone else supposedly close to him did respond to my inquiry, and I'm in the process of vetting them to see if they're telling me the truth.