At first, I thought Ethan was joking. But what harm could come? After all, it was a "free meal" and the chance to prove wrong the naysayers, as well as the sayers of "there no such thing as a free lunch" was too tempting.
The 90 minutes was part of this company's Community Outreach; to get others to join their brotherhood of online referral websites that help people reap benefits and quit jobs. The deal is this: start a website that sells something. Take a customer's payment, pass on the order and the money (minus your cut) to the manufacturer, who then packages and post the product. Simple, no? You'd think so, but this kind of theory needs to be *sold* to an audience.
The first guy to speak was named Richard. His function was to introduce our new Best Friend: Doug. Doug made a lot of promises. The first of which was the 11 experts flown in for the special "training" required to become a financial success."Much like the The Colonel's 11 secret herbs & spices" mused Konrad Benedict - a man who knows his chicken like he knows his law. "This is all well and good... but the graphs mean nothing. How does the internet "make money"? and who cares if $100,000,000 would be a stack of singles tall enough to reach the moon three times. What he's not telling us is if they're old or new bills. This kind of statement is irrelevant!".
Doug promised that through clever marketing, we could all be famous internet success stories, even though the results he spoke may vary depending on the price, product, and the promotion of said product.
Doug spoke in terribly optimistic terms about people's willingness to pay for information. I had my doubts. As did Ethan and Konrad. To prove us all wrong, as though he was reading all our thoughts, people eagerly parted with 50 of their dollars to attend a future full day seminar to become overnight internet successes.
The meal (ham & salad roll) was free. As was the gift of a personal organiser distributed at the end along with big smiles and warm handshakes.
Doug also used the phrase "almost like mathematics".
Nice work, Doug.
Reviewed on Tuesday, 10 May 2005