Retirement Overconfidence

The Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual retirement confidence survey, released on 4/4/2006, found that about 68% of workers are confident about having adequate funds for a comfortable retirement. (Perhaps because of their findings that almost half-- 46 percent-- are guessing the amount they need to retire.)

At the same time however, more than 50% of all workers say they've saved less than $25,000 toward retirement, according to the Washington, D.C., based research group. Even among workers 55 and older, more than 40% have retirement savings under $25,000.

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Thought on Freedom

Quote I saw on a local business marquee:

"Freedom calls for responsiblity, that's why most men hate it."

There was no source attributed, but I found 2 similar quotes:

"Most people to not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsiblity, and most people are frightened of responsibility."
--Sigmund Freud

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
--George Bernard Shaw

Either way, it's a thought very reminiscent of some of the thoughts of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

"To create something you must be something."

"He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

"Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow."

"Truth is a torch but a tremendous one. That is why we hurry past it, shielding our eyes, indeed, in fear of getting burned."
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Nutrilite Powers Asafa Powell, World's Fastest Man

Powell broke world record for 100-meter sprint in June 2005, three months after adding Nutrilite Double X Multi-Vitamin to his training regimen.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Nutrilite, a leading global nutritional brand, has signed Asafa Powell, the World Record holder in the 100-meter sprint, as a global brand spokesperson. In the U.S. and Canada, Quixtar Independent Business Owners (IBOs) will be excited to learn their exclusive flagship health brand helped power Asafa's record-breaking run in 2005 and will be certain to cheer him on in future events.

In June, 2005, the then 22-year-old Asafa broke the men's 100-meter world record at a meet in Athens, Greece -- just three months after his brother introduced him to Nutrilite® Double X®. Asafa's brother Donovan, who also was a world-class sprinter, was introduced to Nutrilite by his wife's parents, who are Quixtar IBOs. Appreciating the benefits he received from Double X, Donovan supplied the multivitamin to his younger brother when he complained of low energy levels during his training early in 2005.

"Taking Double X was the only change I made to how I had been training," says Asafa. "After I started taking it, I felt I had more energy to train harder and run faster. I am very careful about what I consume so I appreciate the balanced vitamin and mineral content plus the rich, all-natural plant concentrates in Double X."

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The "Apple" Of The Consumer's Eye

Steve Jobs is one smart man.

The New York Post is reporting that the music industry "may be on the verge of waving the white flag" to Jobs on his demand to keep iTunes songs at 99 cents.

The whole article is interesting reading, but here's why I bring it up on Unquixotic:

Mr. Jobs controls an internet portal.
With that internet portal comes a huge subscriber base, the iTunes consumers.
Music execs since Edison's days have wanted to control every facet of their product in their own interests over (and sometimes in spite of) the interest of their paying consumer. Today, they are still fighting for that same control.
But in this case, Jobs holds the cards... Why? Because his internet portal has the subscriber base. Those subscribers are attracted to the price point and delivery method that Jobs offers via iTunes.
Therefore, if the music execs want the business of Jobs' huge subscriber base, they must do things under the consumers' terms.

One high-level music industry executive, who believes the record industry will ultimately abandon its push for variable pricing, blamed the labels for not standing up to Jobs.

"Where in life does the retailer set the price of the content?" said this person.

This quote shows an obvious lack of understanding that life, with the new economy, has changed.
When does the retailer set the price? Uh, let's see... When a "retailer" is an internet portal that pulls as many as 20.7 million monthly visitors to it?
Or in the case of Wal-Mart, when their buying scale allows them to call the shots, to name their price, not the manufacturer. Again, because they have mastered the ability to pull in a subscriber base whose purchasing clout allows them to do so.

Strategic Marketing:
"Through the ups and downs of the past decade, two trends have grown stronger. Both of these trends will significantly impact the future of marketing. First, consumers are becoming increasingly empowered via the choice, control and convenience the Internet offers. Second, most entertainment and communication devices are becoming digital and connected-either hard-wired or wirelessly-to the Internet. . . Both of these trends will make consumers Gods of all they survey. They will have access to a world of information as well as other consumer insights. . . They will control marketing and, to get their attention, marketers will have to be particularly insightful and innovative. In such a world, only by understanding consumers and giving them something of value-literally paying tribute to the new Gods-will marketers succeed. . . the next era will be all about the Empowered and Connected Consumer."

What does all this have to do with Quixtar?

Oh, you mean Quixtar, the internet portal with a subscriber base that brings 3 times the revenue to Circuit City than any other of some 9,000+ affiliate partners? The same Quixtar that attracted Barnes & Nobles to seek out their partnership, only to become the online book store's top affiliate partner out of some hundreds of others? The Quixtar that had the bargaining power to trade up from Office Max to the larger partner Office Depot at twice the PV/BV kickback percentage? You mean the Quixtar that lets mere consumers become prosumers, earning a kickback on purchases of brands, products and stores that they would have made anyway? (How's that for empowered and connected?) That Quixtar?

Uh, yeah. That one.

Paul Zane Pilzer frequently describes the transition that has been seen for methods of wealth acquisition: from "resource millionaires" to "manufacturing millionaires" to the current trend of "distribution millionaires" as we are seeing with mere "retailers" like iTunes, Walmart, Amazon and yes, even Quixtar.

So what's next? Enhancing distribution to the next level: One-to-one Marketing, or what Pilzer calls "intellectual distribution." The pull that iTunes, Walmart, Amazon have on their subscriber base is almost completely reliant upon price and convenience-- with products that they already know they want.
What about the new products they don't know about? That's where direct selling comes in: "educating consumers about products and services that will improve their lives, but that they either don't yet know about or don't yet know are now affordable."

I won't rehash all of Pilzer's concepts, but they're worth reading to understand the way things are changing and will continue to change.

Suffice it to say, today's Quixtar-affiliated IBO has the ability to harness the same kind of emerging negotiating clout as a Steve Jobs and Wal-Mart are seeing, with the ubiquitous reach and convenience of internet shopping, while providing the one-on-one "high touch" connection with consumers that will win them loyal clients and business partners.

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eMarketer: Internet Marketing Up, TV Marketing Down


Talk about kicked while you are down. TV execs are being hit from every direction these days.

The audience size at the major networks has been falling steadily for years. Last month Nielsen Media Research revealed that while online advertising spending in the US rose by 23% in 2005, network TV spending fell by 1.5%.

Now a new report from Nielsen indicates that top network shows may actually lose a large part of their viewers during commercial breaks. In other words, advertisers aren't getting the eyeballs they are paying for.

Or in other words, Harry S. Dent and Frank Feather are looking smarter and smarter.

Is it any wonder that 600+ partner stores have aligned themselves with an online shopping portal that has the power to bring purchasers to them?
Is it any wonder why an advertising-dependent TV network like NBC would put out a hit-piece on a business model that cuts their revenue source completely out of the picture?

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Internet Plays Larger Role In U.S. Life

FutureWire blog has a post on a Pew/Internet study which finds an increase in the use of the internet as a "crucial source of information at major moments and milestones" in the lives of Americans. This included a 45% increase in the number who said the internet played a major role as they made major investment or financial decisions.

I found Brian's comments on FutureWire to be most relevent in that light:
"Longtime observers of the Internet are surely not surprised at these findings,
which underscore how the Net is replacing older, smaller networks such as family
and close friends. To than end, an interesting study might be to what degree the
information/support found online was better or worse than that gathered through
more traditional means. On the one hand, access to online communities is
available regardless of one's family status or physical location. But on the
other, community members rarely have a stake in each other's success; it's no
skin off someone's nose if they provide biased, misinformed or misleading

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Blame The Education System?

Twenty percent of U.S. college students completing 4-year degrees – and 30 percent of students earning 2-year degrees – have only basic quantitative literacy skills, meaning they are unable to estimate if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies, according to a new national survey by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

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Did Your Boss Mention This?

In calendar year 2004, the profit-per-employee at U.S. companies was $68,655, up 55 percent from the year before, according to a survey by human capital measurement firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Saratoga.
. . .
PwC Saratoga also found that for every $100 spent on salary and benefits, the average U.S. company enjoyed $42 in profit, double from the year before.

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70 Percenters

According to Money Magazine, 70 percent of American spouses say they argue about money in their marriages.

According to David Bach, 70 percent of Americans continue to live paycheck to paycheck regardless of increasing incomes.

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Things that make ya go hmmm..

Mo' on the Pro

Looks like a little momentum on the pro-Quixtar blogging front:

Quix Blog (http://quixblog.blogstream.com/)

Blogstar- the Quixtar Blog (http://blogstar-thequixtarblog.blogspot.com/)

(another) Quix Blog (http://quixtar.eponym.com/blog)

Great start, guys and gals! Just stay consistent, positive and accurate-- in your businesses and your blogs!

P.S. Some critic bloggers (who post negative opinions of Quixtar and training/motivation organizations and sprinkle their blogs liberally with keywords that bring attention to searches for those keywords) appear to be a bit disgruntled over an effort of self-driven individual IBO bloggers (who post positive opinions of Quixtar and training/motivation organizations and sprinkle their blogs liberally with keywords that bring attention to searches for those keywords.)

Not surprisingly, these critics consider this activity of their counterparts to be "unethical." Pot, meet kettle. (For the record, I do not consider either of the parties unethical, just opinionated.)

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Product Loyalty

Ford gets it:

Plant manager Rob Webber announced Monday that, starting Feb. 1, the
parking lot may be used only by employees who drive vehicles built by Ford or
one of its subsidiaries.

. . .

Jerry Sullivan, president of United Auto Workers Local 600, which represents about 2,600 workers at the plant, applauded Webber's move.
"Everybody's in this together. (We need) to buy the products we make
and support the company," Sullivan said. "This is a good place to start."

Ford is not alone. In my non-Quixtar income endeavors, I have had exposure to the internal policies of a few major American technology firms. Here are just two examples of similar product loyalty policies from corporations you'd know well if I named them:

Company A manufactures a product that is ubiquitous to the operation of nearly every modern American business. The company has partnerships and other symbiotic relationships with a wide variety of other businesses, organizations and government entities, both local and farflung from the company's headquarters. Company A realizes that many of these partners regularly award contracts for purchases of their competitors' products.

Company A launches an initiative to educate their partners on the value of their own product offerings and request equal consideration in contract bids for purchases going forward.

Several partners rebuff or disregard the initiative. Company A terminates their relationship.

Company B launches a new product line which they market as essential technology for busy, mobile professionals. Company B realizes that none of their customer-facing technology representatives-- who fit their product's target market perfectly-- use their company's own product and therefore are weak in hands-on experience with the product in everyday business activity.
Company B launches an internal program to equip their representatives with the product, which has 2 evident benefits: increased visibility of the devices to their customers, and their personnel's familiarity with the product's capabilities and efficient uses, to better serve customer needs.

Three examples, one common message. Hmm... where have I heard this common-sense business principle before?

"If you owned a Ford Dealership, you wouldn't be seen driving a Chevy..."

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This Changes Everything

Mark April 2006 in your calenders as the beginning of a new era. What I thought was forward-looking just 2 weeks ago looks quaint at best. Any debates that have gone on here are now laughably elementary.

I would attempt to explain what has changed and why, but chances are most readers here won't understand or believe it anyway.

Going forward, posting on topics other than accountability info will be light, as my priorities have shifted dramatically. Based on those, anyone who really cares will start to figure it out eventually.

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New Diamonds

Congratulations to new qualified WWDB Diamonds, Tracey & Kimberly Eaton.

Per the Quixtar wiki, "They achieved Q-12 in 2002, Sapphire in 2003/04, Emerald in 2003/04, and Diamond in 2006. He is downline from Brad Wolgamott."

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March Financials

"Unquixotic Enterprise" March 2006

Personal PV: 83.24
Personal BV: 232.20
Client PV: 48.69
Client BV: 128.51
Total PV: 131.93
Total BV
: 360.71

10 Client Rule compliance (10 clients, 50 PV, or $100 sales)
# of clients: 4
PV: 48.96
Retail Sales: $143.02

IGP: $58.75
+Perf Bonus (3% BV): $10.82
=Gross Rev: $69.57

-Opex: $130.16

=Net profit/loss: (60.59)

Business Pulse:
# of legs: 0
# of Referrals: 14
# of complete STP's width: 1
# of Premier Members: 1
# of SO CDs: 1
# Att last Maj Funct: 1
# Reg next Maj Funct: 2
# total IBOs: 1
# new achievers: 0

Comments: Money, meet Mouth. Heh. Obviously I don't qualify as a performer yet... a wannabe performer at best. But like I said earlier, the more pathetic my business is at the Starting Point, the more dramatic the results will be when I reach my objectives, and the more starkly obvious the correlation between effort and return.
I'll get there... Nowhere to go but up!

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March Accountability

-STP (qty, goal 10): 1
-Personal Use (scale of 1-10): 8
-Clients (qty, goal 10): 4
-Book reading (scale of 1-10): 2
-Tape/CD habit (scale of 1-10): 6
-Function attendance (scale of 1-10): 10
-Teachable (scale of 1-10): 7
-Accountable (scale of 1-10): 7
-CommuniKate (scale of 1-10): 9

Comments: Obviously I'm still only performing at a Prosumer level. Need to work on my reading, and increase my business exposure, so I can raise my clients to at least 10, get my business profitable and start franchising my business out to others.

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Training via Digital Distribution?

A concept frequently espoused by some critics of Quixtar-affiliated training systems is that of digital distribution of training materials, particularly in regards to audio training. The contention is that, in a digital age, there is no legitimate reason to maintain the old CD distribution method, and that the sole reason for IBO training systems to continue doing so is that tool distribution is the profit center for so-called "kingpin" Diamonds. Proposed methods include website or email distribution of MP3 files via the internet.

Let me say first that there is great merit to the concept of digital distribution of training materials, and I whole-heartedly embrace the concept. As time goes by and digital audio technology becomes more ubiquitous and more accessable to a larger section of the population, migration to a mostly digital distribution system just makes sense. It's frankly inevitable.
There are, however, legitimate needs that currently require some physical tools to continue to be professionally produced (and a system in place to distribute them), and will likely continue to be required in some circumstances. The failure to acknowlege those needs represent a shortsighted, self-serving, consumer mentality approach on the part of the critics, where a longterm, others-serving business mentality is required. (Perhaps this is another case where the experience of mismanagement is driving their judgement.)

The main advantages of digital distribution are that it's 1) Less costly to produce, 2) Less costly to distribute, 3) provides easier, more flexible availability to the tech-savvy end-user.

All significant advantages, right? Ready to make the switchover for your entire organization? WOAH there, cowboy-- before you do that, let's take a look at how you will need to run your business under an all-digital distribution model for training:

First, any current IBOs you have registered who do not have a computer with a broadband internet connection, either a CD burner & CD-R/W-compatible CD player or an iPod AND the knowledge to use all of the above-- well, they're out. Too bad about that volume they were running, but otherwise, you just signed yourself up for a full-time job downloading & burning CDs for all your no- or low-tech IBOs, or tutoring them on buying and using all the equipment to do it themselves.

Second, in prospecting, the first question you'll need to ask is not whether they have a need/want/desire in their lives or if they're keeping their options open for opportunity, but whether they already have-- you guessed it, a computer with a broadband internet connection, either a CD burner & CD-R/W-compatible CD player or an iPod AND the knowledge to use all of the above. You'll have to screen prospective business partners based on technology levels first, and on ambition, attitude or desire, second. Otherwise, again, you just signed yourself up for a full-time job producing CDs yourself or tutoring prospects on technology before you can even get to the business plan.

Either way your job is harder: You choose between eliminating a huge percentage of prospects and partners, or compounding the WASTING OF PRODUCTIVE TIME throughout your organization by essentially replacing one existing centralized professional production & distribution system with a compounding number of in-home, unstandardized, amateur CD burning systems. BRILLIANT MOVE!

Third, since most training tools also double as prospecting tools, you will no longer have professionaly produced tools with which to introduce your business model to prospects. After you've SCREENED OUT all the potentially ambitious but unfortunately less tech-savvy prospects, you'll be representing your cutting edge e-commerce business project with... a home-burned, hand-scribbled CD! Woohoo! The only thing that would scream "Professionalism!" louder would to be to wear a checkered faux-suede elbow-patched blazer, striped high-water pants, white tube socks, and taped-up black hornrimmed glasses when you hand them that gem of a CD.

Two questions spring to the prospect's mind-- 1, If they're so cutting edge, why don't they have any professional material? and 2, Do I really want to join a business where I spend all my time burning and scribbling on CD's to hand out to the next guy who's no more impressed than I?

Because, since you will now have to produce those prospecting CDs yourself, you'll still have to spend much of your formerly productive business building time doing exactly that-- downloading, burning and labeling CDs.

Still excited?

I recently showed the plan to a couple who were excited about my business concept but had made a family decision long ago that they would not own a computer or internet connection because of the potential time wasting that would take away from their family time, and because of all the risks the internet presents to families (porn, chatroom liasons, sexual predators, etc.)

I respect that. And since my business model caters to the gamut of technology levels (no-, low-, and high-tech) we can still accomodate them, do one or two sessions to set them up with an e-commerce website to which they can send their clients and prospects, get them printouts of the webtour & training materials, set them up for either automatic product shipments or standard fulfillment, etc., all without them ever owning a computer.

However, under a pure digital distribution model, they can't get the latest training tools. No internet, no email, no computer.
So, in order to accomodate them under that system, *I* would have to spend all my business building time and personal money burning off CD's for them, or worse, take up BOTH my AND their productive time over at my house doing training that can otherwise be done in their car with a CD in their non-productive time. (BTW, compounded ineffeciency...? Not so smart, critics. Don't do me any favors with your next bright idea.)

Also, despite that critic bloggers may be internet and computer savvy themselves, there are still more people in the US who do NOT know how to download and burn MP3 files into an audio CD, than there are people who do. In addition, the digital method, particularly for those on dialup, requires taking productive time that could be spent building a business that is instead spent downloading and burning audio files-- again, no thanks!

Don't get me wrong, I'm flat-out excited about digitally distributed training materials. As I posted earlier, all WWDB IBOs with a my.biz ecommerce website now have a training module within their personal website where downline can access training materials, including printable, downloadable documentation & mp3 audio training, with cross-references to existing CDs for further indepth training.

But I'm also excited that I still have access to those professionaly produced, efficiently distributed, time-saving, economical CDs from WWDB.

I have the best of both worlds.

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You Say You Want A Webolution?

Quixtar-affiliated IBOs using the WWDB system get a jump-start on the e-commerce race this week.

Following their unveiling at World Wide's Spring Leadership seminars, a host of new internet-centric training and prospecting tools have been made available to WWDB IBOs who are subscribed as Premier Members-- enhancing the already substantial value of Premier Membership. The offerings include a web tour for prospects and web training for IBOs. New audio training is available for implimentation of the new tools.

A web tour module will allow IBOs to identify potential business partners, regardless of distance, technology levels or scheduling challenges.

A web training module, complimentary to the web tour, enables IBOs to train their registered business partner IBOs via web & 1-on-1 or conference call phone sessions regardless of distance or technology levels.

Also included in the web training module are "Audio Tools"-- averaging at about 5 minutes each in length, these MP3-format audio training files are by WWDB leaders, related to each topic section of the outline. WWDB CDs are cross-referenced per topic for more in-depth training. (WWDB CDs are priced at as little as $2.50 each, for Premier Member IBOs.)


Sidenote: Best-selling Leadership author, speaker and mentor John C. Maxwell is also speaking live in two sessions of each Spring Leadership function location, making himself available for book signing, hand-shaking and picture-taking before and afterwards. Tickets to Maxwell events are normally in the several hundred to thousands of dollars price range; his appearance at the WWDB Spring Leadership functions are at no extra charge.

(Editors note: Upon further information, this post has been edited in the interests of clarity and brevity.)

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