Sunday, June 9, 2013

Five Ways to Spot a Ponzi Scheme!

So this past week, I came across the familiar conversation regarding pyramid schemes, otherwise formally known as, "Ponzi Schemes." In my far younger years, I actually attended one of those introductory pep-sessions for ponzi companies; it was truly an enlightening experience - not to mention a highly entertaining one. So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy a more light-hearted, weekend entry here at Blog @DrBenFung.

Five Ways to Spot a Ponzi Scheme!
  1. Most of the team members in the recruitment-pep-rally session seem far too young to be so well dressed - most of whom give you the impression that they wouldn't be caught dead even in a collar shirt, not to mention suit and tie.
  2. There is an intro speaker (who is usually a "vice president" of some sort), followed by a key note speaker (who is typically identified as a "chief of sales") and is inexplicably regarded as some sort of deity by the attendees around you. In fact, people seem so jazzed, you figured YOU are the crazy one for not clapping and whistling at everything this guy/gal says!
  3. The intro session is held at a late hour at a nice hotel ballroom or some mansion of a house (which happens to be a "friend" of the session leader - oh, did they forget to tell you that the host is also a "team member?") Oh, that's right! I forgot to tell you: your first 235,189 units of sales will indeed help pay for this very house's payments!
  4. The company, product, technology, etc. tends to be something that you've NEVER heard of before. However, it has inexplicably made its way into the stock market and all sorts of major retail and dealer locations around the nation... all, of course, except for this region of the state. THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY! Wait: I forgot to say, "Insert bad joke here:..."
  5. The entire company seems to be the sales department - AND - the ridiculously long chain of command looks something like:
    • Division Chief 
    • Team Captain
    • Senior Team Leaders
    • Team Leaders
    • Impact Member (or whatever fancy euphemism for "sucker"), Level III
    • Impact Member, Level II
    • Impact Member, Level I
    • Associate Member
    • Apprentice Sucker... oh I mean, "Member"

Runner Ups!

  • They DRAW OUT FOR YOU the shape of a pyramid for their sales, command structure, and compensation structure.

  • When you ask about the evidence, literature, active ingredients, or specific technological schematics - they only answer the recruiters can offer is that "well, research has shown..." or "the science says..." or even "... see here; we've never been sued!"
  • The top level "team members" all seem to be driving really nice cars. Everyone else? Not so much.

Ponzi schemes have always cracked me up - just the very nature and presentation, to be honest, is quite thrilling! If we're truly honest with ourselves, it's easy to be caught of guard - the first time. After which, it's plain entertaining... or perhaps, it's just not worth your time.

In any case, I thought to share this for those of you who have been through it - or - may be suspicious of some opportunity that has crossed your path. In healthcare, especially with retail & "certification" opportunities, these schemes are terribly common. Since I've started as a director, I've received no shortage of such business ventures through spam fax and the like. What I keep wondering to myself is... "Have they really gotten so desperate for suckers that they are now recruiting through FAX MACHINES!?"  -- HA!

I hope the weekend has gone well with you all!

Until next time,
-Dr. Ben Fung.

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