Eighteen years ago, in December 1993, I wrote a little editorial for Upline magazine to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Apple Macintosh, a device that had transformed my life in ways strikingly similar to the way network marketing had done.
It was exactly ten years ago. They claimed it was going to change how we work, how we play, even how we think. Gone were the Greek-to-me "A>:" prompts, and in their place were a smiling face, little "icons" of familiar objects, and a thing they called a "mouse." All you had to do, they said, was "point and click," and it would let you draw, write, calculate—and create! It was, they said, the computer "for the rest of us."
When I learned about the Mac and what it could do—and more importantly, what it would enable me to do—I was a struggling publisher of a small journal on health and the environment called Solstice. In those days, I printed out my articles in two-inch-wide columns of text, which I then cut up with a utility knife and laid out on paperboard with paper cement. This was 1986, when "cut and paste" and "desktop" were not metaphors but descriptions of what we physically did and where we physically did it.
It took months and a friend to cosign the bank note, but I managed to buy a Mac Plus and introduce myself to the wonders of page layout software.
The Mac enabled me to turn my homespun, locally-based journal into a national magazine. Four years later I produced the first edition of what would become Upline, which begat Network Marketing Lifestyles, which begat Networking Times—all of them produced on ever more sophisticated Macs. The journal you hold in your hand (or view on your screen) represents the legacy of that little homemade environmental journal—and the legacy of Steve Jobs.
None of it would have happened without the Mac.
That same year, 1986, I joined my first network marketing company. At the time I didn't know how to build a multimillion-dollar business any more than I had the graphic skills to produce professional, full-color magazines. Within a few years, I was doing both. As that 1993 editorial put it:
Simply having a Mac doesn't automatically make you productive. Likewise, a good network marketing opportunity doesn't make you a success. Those achievements take what they've always taken: determination, persistence, focus, and hard work. What the Mac and MLM do is make this sort of success accessible. To anyone.
Network marketing: the Macintosh of business models.
P.S. Thank, you Steve. Wherever you are, I have no doubt you're turning the place upside down ... and that we'll all be the better for it.
JOHN DAVID MANN is Consulting Editor of Networking Times.