Partnership and Community

By John Milton Fogg

I’ve been in a variety of industries throughout my career, from advertising, to photography, to natural foods, to writing, to carpentry. Every one has offered the opportunity to gather together with my peers, share experiences and resources, learn from and contribute to each other as professionals facing the same opportunities, challenges and concerns….

… Every one except network marketing.

Yes, we have the Direct Selling Association (DSA)— but that’s for networking companies, supplier/vendors and their executives. There is no place where the men and women “in the field”—without whom there would be no business—can come together. Partnership is missing. Because of that, community—which is simply partnership squared—is missing. The hole these two vital elements leave by their absence is huge!

When I was in advertising, at least twice a year I’d hop on the Eastern Shuttle (remember that?) to New York, to the Waldorf Astoria for days of workshops, seminars, talks, presentations and breakfast, lunch and dinner in the ballroom. I was nobody in the industry; a small, struggling Boston “boutique” agency, but I’d sit across the table from Madison Avenue mucky-mucks, legends of the business, my heroes. I had lunch with Jack Trout, who wrote Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind and Marketing Warfare. I heard the great John Caples speak (the father of direct-response copy writing). I met the most exceptional, wonderful, fascinating men and women. I became a voracious knowledge-eating machine—I learned so much, in such a short time, it was like drinking water from a fire hose!

You cannot do that in network marketing. We do not come together as an industry. There is no opportunity for the kind of partnership and community that slashes learning curves to the minimum, leverages relationships, shares and learns from the experience of others, pools resources and—dare I say it—networks. It is a great loss for us, individually and as an industry.

Partnership and community. That these two powerful and empowering distinctions are missing in this, the greatest people-to-people business in the world, is absurd.

Bringing network marketers together in partnership and community is a mission of mine. Yours too?

John Milton Fogg
is Editor in Chief of Networking Times.