On The Road With Dave

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Now Appearing in an Extended Engagement! Join Dave Robison as he takes you into his world and his daily life of reviving a stand-up comedy career. Prepare for side trips exploring Public Relations, marketing and business ethics. Enjoy some frequent detours describing his observations on life. Read the exploits of this self-proclaimed Renaissance-man and blooming blogger as you go On The Road With Dave.

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Name: Dave Robison
Location: Mobile, Alabama, United States

From Mobile, Alabama comes Dave Robison, a confessed Internet-aholic, middle-aged-married-man, who's generally a nice guy--he just has one or two issues. Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Robison is available for corporate events, college campuses, and nightclubs.

 

 

On The Road with Dave


Monday, April 6, 2009

Tex and Dave: Not The Same

This is a special edition of "On The Road With Dave" with a Multi-level Marketing focus. It's been a while since I've written anything regarding Amway and Quixtar; but it seems I have been pulled into a conspiracy theory at Doug Wead, The Blog

Doug Wead is a presidential historian, motivational speaker, author, and former Amway distributor. He recently wrote a few articles regarding MLM and Amway. As is the norm; on an Amway topic, "Tex", of Tex's Amway Global Blog, visited the blog and made some comments. Tex is currently commenting to a "David Black" at Doug Wead's blog and the comments are heated.

David Black has assumed wrongly that Tex and I are one in the same, and he has "exposed" me on the blog. Those regular readers to "On The Road With Dave" might find that ridiculous, but I'm giving Mr Black the benefit of the doubt that he just did not read far enough in his research that "exposed" me.

Mr Black wrote me an email, that said he had "fixed my ass" at the Wead Blog. I didn't know Doug Wead had a blog and had to do a search to find out what he was talking about. Mr. Black, let me assure you that I take the statement that I am a "Internet performance artist" that has created the personae of "Tex" as some kinda joke--as a compliment to my sheer genius; it is in no way the truth.

Here's my email response to Mr Black:


It took me a few minutes to figure out what you were talking about.

But I'm afraid you are wrong.

I did start the Tex's Amway Global Blog. Tex is a real person. Others have met him, including folks at Amway.

Tex spent many months commenting at a variety of Amway blogs and forums and was banned by many if not all.

I started the Tex blog to get his comments out on the web for judgement, approval or disapproval. It was announced at many blogs and their authors were and still are well aware of that we are two separate people.

Your theory that we are one in the same, would greatly disappoint Tex's wife and kids as well as my wife and kids.

I'm sorry, but there is no joke. You judge Tex by his own words. You judge mine separately.

Dave


I think the real joke is that the Internet can spawn such controversy.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Memories Of Prague 2008

A year ago this week, I had the opportunity to fly to Prague, Czech Republic to
attend a conference for Alticor/Amway Corporation.

It's trip that will live in my memory for a long, long time. And despite being sick on the trip, I managed to remember a lot of details and wrote about them when I got back home.

The Chronicles Of Prague ran for several days here at On The Road With Dave, if you are new here, or just wanna go back down memory road with me once again, I encourage you to take a look.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big News From Tex's Amway Global Blog

As most readers of Tex's Amway Global Blog already know, the blog was started and written by yours truly, Dave Robison. I take comments made by "Tex" at other blogs related to Amway Global and Quixtar and add them as individual blog entries at "his" blog.

"Tex" then responds in the comments section and adds his points. In the beginning, I called it, "surrogate blogging".

Today, "Tex" has posted his very first official blog entry. He is now a full-fledged contributor to his own blog. While I will still be the blog administrator and will still make blog entries(and edit them); Tex now has the power to write an entry under his own moniker and publish it to his blog.

Congratulations, Tex, and welcome to blogging from the inside.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Farewell Alticor Media Blog

I just received word from Dino Baskovic, blog administrator for the Alticor Media Blog that the last blog entry for the Alticor Media Blog has been posted.

Under Deconstruction:

"In 2006, our public persona was divided among four companies – Alticor, Amway, Quixtar and Access. Going forward, however, we will do most of our communicating to public audiences under the Amway and Amway Global flags; continuing an "Alticor" blog seems out of place. So we'll lock up the place, flip out the lights, and pack the old threads and recipe cards in archives."


The Amway Media Blog will continue.

I always liked the Alticor Media Blog, even though in its early days, it was used to discuss Michigan politics and Amway's President, Dick DeVos' bid for the Gubernatorial seat in Michigan.

Later on, the blog pulled no punches with its commentary regarding terminated Quixtar-affiliated business owners. I recall many Independent Business Owners miffed over the tone of the blog entries. I, personally, read those entries with a smile on my face. I was thinking, "Finally, they are cleaning house".

I had the chance to meet Dino Baskovic while attending an Alticor conference in Prague. He's a cool guy, that I think has brought a lot of good to Alticor during his time with the company. Dino understands PR, Business, and the culture of being a MLM business owner. Since, the Amway Media Blog will continue, I can only hope that Dino will still have a hand in its direction.

And according to the last entry of the Alticor Media Blog:

"We expect it to remain a place for breaking news, public statements and straight talk. And the OZone blogs are of course alive and well. We hope you visit them early and often.

And away we go."


Okay, I'm sure somebody will say, "Just GO". But it won't be me.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Still Writing About Quixtar And Amway Global

Recently, I announced I did not re-new my Quixtar-affiliated Independent Business. I've received "well-wishes", comments, questions, and I've been the subject of a few other blog posts.

I thought I would address a few concerns from readers and maybe ease the minds of current Quixtar-affiliated Independent Business Owners about what all this really means for myself and my blog, "On The Road With Dave".

First and foremost,

"Dave, if you ever want to sign back up, call me."

The idea and possibility of me signing back up is not that far-fetched. Over the past 25 years I was a card-carrying distributor for Amway twice and then, Quixtar. But, if I were to sign back up sometime in the distant future, I would initially contact my original sponsor for the opportunity to take me back. It's only fair for my former Line of Sponsorship because they invested their time with me, first.

I have no complaints with the people I was involved with. I still think that their "approach" to Quixtar was the most original and ethical concept I had seen in my MLM experience.

Second,

"Dave, you were a major advocate of the changes taking place with Quixtar and Amway Global, why weren't these changes enough to make you renew?

I'm still pleased with the roll-out of changes taking place with Quixtar and Amway Global. As I stated in my last entry; ultimately, procrastination led to my non-renewal. But, there is a bit more to the story.

At this time, my interests are taking me in a new direction and running a Quixtar business takes time. Say what you want about "it only takes 8-10 hours a week in your spare time"; I thoroughly disagree. Quixtar, Amway, Mary Kay, Monavie...all take more time than usually is presented by the businesses. Yes, you can make significant progress working consistently 10 hours a week, but achieving the "dream" requires much more. I can not make that time commitment in my life now. Maybe later.

The new changes taking place at Amway Global, including television advertising, increased transparency(but, not total, yet) and new accreditation practices are all a step in the right direction. If you've been a long time reader of mine, then you know it was always my desire to achieve a certain level of success with Quixtar, so that I could effect some change in policy at Amway from the "inside". Maybe, on some small level, my writings and opinions were a part of that change. I'm content to watch the rest of the transformation from the "outside", for now.

"So Dave, then why did you go to Prague on Amway's dime, if you weren't going to renew?"

Alticor and Amway invited me to attend a conference in regards to my blogging efforts about Amway and Quixtar. The fact that I was an IBO, was a plus, but not the total reason. I offered my opinions and experience about the online perceptions about Amway at the conference and how I dealt with them at my blog. My decision not to renew had nothing to do with that trip.

"Dave, we are here for you as you go through CD withdrawal and you heal from the brainwashing inflicted upon you by the motivational organizations. You are free from the cult."

Ummm...you obviously haven't been reading my blog for very long. I haven't listen to a motivational CD or book or been to a "meeting" in years. Quixtar and Amway are just a business that requires persistence and hard work with a balance of sales and recruiting and teaching some basic business and financial principles.

"Dave, now that you have quit Quixtar, can we expect you to become the newest critic of Amway? Will you be a "broke,loser, quitter?"


What does that pay?

The answer is simply, No.

"What happens to 'On The Road With Dave'?"

I'll still be here. I'll still be an advocate of multi-level marketing and even, Quixtar and Amway. Provided, they are done correctly and as a business, not a pep rally and a shill for motivational organizations.

I will continue to blog at "On The Road" and will still write about Amway stuff and offer up my opinions on MLM from time to time. It seems that the topic is in my blood now, and is expected from some people. Besides the topic "Amway" is always good for website traffic.

Oh yeah...simply because I'm no longer "Amway-heavy" in my blog content is no reason for all you Quixtar bloggers out there to take me off your blog roll. Even some of my "Prague Blogger's Five" aren't linking to me anymore. If you liked me as an MLMer and "Quixtarite" or "Ambot" then keep stopping by and reading. Occasionally, I'll try to make my other "adventures" controversial, so that you'll want to comment on it.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Quixtar Quit Dave Robison

It's Official.

I can no longer log in to Quixtar.com

As you might recall I wrote a series of articles about quitting Quixtar back a few years ago. I set some goals; did not meet the goals, and eventually decided I really didn't want to quit Quixtar, but scaled back my activities in Multi-level Marketing and Quixtar. However, I did go on to travel to the Czech Republic last year at Quixtar's behest to speak at a Quixtar conference.

Since my initial writings about quitting Quixtar, many things have happened at Alticor Corporation and in the World of Quixtar and Amway. New policies about corporate transparency, a national advertising campaign, and the corporate decision to revert back to the "Amway" name on a global scale.

Another thing that also happened was my decision not to renew at the beginning of 2008.

I held off renewing with the knowledge that, basically I had until August 31 of this year to renew without leaving my current Line of Sponsorship and I was watching and observing "at a distance" the changes taking place within the corporation. I realized that my status as an "IBO" (Independent Business Owner)affiliated with Quixtar would be placed as "Inactive" on the corporate rolls until the end of August.

I never re-newed.

It's official. I can no longer log in to Quixtar.com and if I want to become an IBO again, I will have to register again with Amway Global. I procrastinated about quitting Quixtar, I procrastinated about renewing with Quixtar...so Quixtar made the decision for me.

Quixtar has Quit Dave Robison.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Personal For Fred Johnston

Many of my readers will remember when I was super-active in Multi-level Marketing; I was(and still am) a big proponent of "community building on the web"...an early form of social networking and also of blogging.

Eric Jannsen of Quixtar Blog introduced me to blogging, and for that I'll always be grateful. But, Fred Johnston taught me how to start talking to people on a personal basis online, and making friends via the Internet. Fred also was my immediate upline in a MLM company that incorporated in 1999 called Quixtar. Quixtar was to be the online version of Amway by Amway. (Yeah, that ain't exactly how it was presented, but it's close enough.)

My blog is about a lot of things. Sometimes, it's been about Quixtar and Amway; sometimes it's been about my stand-up comedy; sometimes, it's about politics, or something interesting on the Internet. And sometimes, it's strictly something personal about me or a personal opinion.

Tonight, it is personal.

I've lost contact with Fred Johnston over the past year. I know his home state suffered some flooding many months back. The email address I had for Fred has given me no response. I've lost his phone number. When I "google" his name and his old screen name that he used on many Internet forums, the "searches" just take me to entries that are several years old or sites that list his invalid email address.

So, I'm putting out an All Points Bulletin here at "On The Road With Dave" for someone that reads here might also be a mutual friend of Fred Johnston.

Maybe, Fred might even decide to "google" his own name someday and my site comes up in the search and he might decide to drop by.

"Hey Fred! I'm looking for you."

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Friday, September 5, 2008

First Black Amway Triple Diamond Dies


Back in the early 1980s when I was listening to several Amway cassette tapes a week, it was not uncommon that one of the tapes would have George and Ruth Halsey speaking to a crowd of excited Amway distributors about becoming Amway's first Triple Diamond Distributor. (Triple Diamond was a designation of a high level of achievement in building an Amway business)

From North Carolina, the Halseys had a "folksy", homespun, charming aire about themselves and they spoke like parents to the throngs of listeners. George often referred to his wife as "Momma".

As the first African-Americans to rise to notable ranks through Amway, they seemed to speak in a manner, that if they could do it, so could the listener.

I learned yesterday via "Tex's Amway Global/Quixtar Blog" that George Halsey had passed away.

Tex seemed to think that with George's passing, Amway Global and their critics would have one less "lying, cowardly kingpin" to deal with. And yes, I suppose over the past 25 years since I have heard a "George Halsey and Momma" motivational tape, that maybe George succumbed to the greed and avarice of promoting a motivational system beyond the intended purpose of helping other Amway distributors accomplish what he had done--but, I'd kinda like to have my one lasting memory of George stay the same.

My memory is George loved his wife. When he talked about her, he seemed to get nervous.

"Momma and me," (and then he would cough) "Momma and me," (maybe it was a stifled laugh) "we wanted it bad,"( maybe he was just clearing his throat)

It always seemed like George was going to say something "off-color" or slightly risque' and was trying to catch himself. I was never sure if the coughing and clearing his throat was a nervous speech pattern or something quite different. And then to cap it off--after finally finishing whatever innocuous story he was telling about "Momma and Me"; he would sorta giggle. Like, he wanted us to "catch the drift" he was trying to convey. That's my memory of George Halsey.

FROM GEORGE HALSEY'S OBITUARY:

GREENSBORO — George Thomas Halsey, Jr., 72, went home to be with Jesus on Tuesday, September 2, 2008, at Moses Cone Hospital after a lengthy illness surrounded by his family and friends.

Funeral services will be held 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 6, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1301 Alamance Church Road, Greensboro, NC 27406, with the Rev. George W. Brooks officiating. Burial will follow in Guilford Memorial Park.

Mr. Halsey was born on April 2, 1936, in Wilmington, N.C., to the late George T. Halsey, Sr. and the late Inez Halsey.

He was a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, music major where he became a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. After graduating, Mr. Halsey had a full and exciting life. He was a Greensboro Police Officer then a claims adjuster for Nationwide Insurance Company. In 1975, he was introduced to the Amway Business. George and his wife, Ruth quickly became the first black couple in the history of the company to achieve the level of Triple Diamond. That achievement allowed him to travel all over the world, for pleasure and to motivate thousands. He was known for his big smile, bright eyes, loving and kind nature. He and his family were featured in the Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine, Black Enterprise and several well known books spotlighting their achievements.

George deeply loved his family....

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PR Guy Re-Run / The Amway Idol

Last year, when Alticor and Quixtar announced they were reverting back to the Amway name for all their global operations, I was inspired to write another installment of my "D. Robison, PR Guy" series.

A few days ago, Bridgett at "The World According To Bridgett wrote an entry entitled, "An Ode To Soap", where she is reminded of the importance of the Home Care line of products produced by Amway.

This got me to thinking about the entry I wrote last year.

Occasionally it's nice to remind readers of past articles, so if you've never read a "PR guy" episode, here's your chance.

"THE AMWAY IDOL!" I yelled. You have GOT to be kidding me! There's no such thing as an Amway Idol.

Doug rose from his chair. "Yes there is! It is real. It is powerful." said Doug. "We shall leave it with you and trust that you will hide it away so that it's magic will continue to work for not only our company, but for every loyal Quixtar...I mean, Amway distributor in the world."

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Monday, June 30, 2008

The World According To Bridgett

If you read any of the Quixtar Opportunity Zone blogs, or Chuck Lia's "Speaking Of Amway" blog or even "On The Road With Dave"--you might have read comments from a lady named "Bridgett".

Bridgett is a Quixtar-affiliated Independent Business Owner and her comments can be funny, thoughtful, and to some; infuriating. Her comments even led to her being invited, along with me and others, to Prague last March for a meeting with Alticor's Communications team.

At the meeting, I suggested numerous times to Bridgett that she should start her own blog--even if it wasn't Quixtar/Amway related. Bridgett had some issues with the idea that mostly revolved around maintaining a certain amount af anonymity.

I received an email from her over the weekend announcing she had decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere. Normally, I wouldn't link to a new blog until the author has posted several weeks of blog entries; but since this could be some breaking news for other bloggers writing about the Quixtar/Amway business; I felt that since she let me know, I should go ahead and let my readers know.

Although, she will still probably maintain some anonymity, I think her new blog will be an interesting stop in your daily Internet surfing.

Welcome her and her new blog, "The World According To Bridgett".

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'd Like To Thank The Academy

I'm a winner.

Back in May, Beth Dornan at Inside Quixtar announced a contest to rename her blog based on the eventual name change of Quixtar North America back to Amway. Inside Quixtar would be an obsolete name. Prizes for the contest winners would include an Artistry or Nutrilite sales kit to the best suggestion and Artistry Essentials skin care or Simply Nutrilite samplers to the four runnersup.

Many suggestions were submitted and in the end the winners were announced.

The Winners Are:

1st Place: Dave Robison, Samanta S., and Tex for the best variations on Inside Amway (couldn't pick just one!)

Runnersup:

Chuck Lia: Amway Global Insider

Utah: Corporate Insider

My suggestion is reprinted here.

First and foremost, The name has to include Amway Global or Amway...you need it for Google searches. "Inside" is a given. "Inside" is YOU. So unless someone else in one of the Global markets already has a Inside Amway blog, then you should take it.

Even though you'll be blogging about "Inside Amway" as it relates to the gang at Grand Rapids; you'll still be speaking about Global related topics as well.

If you give the blog another name, then you have to include a sub-title heading with Amway in the line, so the blog can be searchable easily by title.

Example: On The Inside: Views From Amway USA

From The Inside Out: Amway Global From North America

The Insider Blog: Amway Global

Just thinking off the top of my head.

Dave

PS: Stay away from "On The Road With Beth" although Bob, Bob, Bobbling Along With Beth has a catchy sound to it.


I'll await the variation Beth actually will choose, along with the rest of you.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank the Academy and my fellow nominees, I'll take the Nutrilite Sales Kit, please...engraving is not necessary.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Truth About Amway

I've been reading IBOFIghtback's Blog and Forum, The Truth About Amway, almost since he started the site.

Recently, I got the chance to meet the author and while he was controversial on sites like The Quixtar Blog Forum and earned the name "Spinsider"--when it comes to his Line Of Sponsorship, Network 21--I found him to be a pretty cool guy.

No, I don't agree with all of his opinions, but then again, not everybody agrees with my opinions, either.

His site provides feeds to breaking press releases from the world of Amway and Quixtar and I think he must have a hundred "Google Alerts" going through his Inbox to keep up. I personally like his slant of covering Amway/Quixtar business in the European and Asian markets.

He's been sending his readers to my blog over the past couple of weeks to catch up with my exploits in Prague and his readers have caused a little spike in my traffic.

By The Way, Welcome to all the visitors from "Truth".

I can't really return the favor in numbers, but I can surely return the favor by adding "The Truth About Amway" to my "Links That I Like" in my sidebar.

Welcome "IBOFightback" to "On The Road With Dave".

Better Late Than Never.

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Chronicles Of Prague / Links

Hey, you wanna read all about my trip to Prague, but don't want to wade through the archives?

Here's ALL the links to ALL the stories I saw fit to print.

ON MY WAY

MEETING TEX

ARRIVING IN PRAGUE

THE BLOGGERS 5

MORNING OF PANEL DISCUSSION

THE QUESTIONS AT PRAGUE

PHOTOS, PHOTO, PHOTOS!

THE LAST NIGHT

GOING HOME WITH A DETOUR


It's great when you read it...in order; without commercial interruption.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 9

GOING HOME WITH A DETOUR

I slept terribly, Wednesday night. The codeine cough syrup I had been using to quiet my cough had began to make me itch. It was a side effect I had experienced before. Usually I can live with it, but at the same time my bronchitis was worsening and the codeine wasn't even helping the cough. At about 3AM, I got up out of bed and decided that since I couldn't sleep, I might as well pack my bags.

By 4AM, I was tired and miserable--but if I went to sleep--would I wake up in time to check out and make it to the airport? I chanced it, and slept until around 5:30AM.

I was to meet "TEX" downstairs in the lobby for breakfast at 6AM. I carried my bags down, checked out, and received my deposit back. (I had to put up a $100 dollars deposit, because I didn't have a credit card to secure purchases from the mini bar or if I had decided to watch some hotel satellite porn) For the record I got back all my money, except the price of a Pepsi.





"Tex" and I had a nice breakfast and caught the shuttle to the airport. I have been telling the story, since I returned from Prague, that I saw Air Force Two( maybe One) at the Amsterdam Airport and now, as I write this, it might have been at the Prague Airport. I was told after I returned from my trip that Condoleezza Rice had been making a trip to the area.


Again a nice flight to Amsterdam. At the Amsterdam Airport, I said good-bye to Tex and began the long security check. I was randomly selected for a more extensive security check. No Rubber Gloves were involved but they did open my carry-on bag and wave a metal detector wand over me and pat me down. I passed the test.

Then it was 10 hours on board a way crowded flight to Memphis, TN. I'm sure that my fellow passengers were happy to land in Memphis, after listening to me cough the entire trip. I think I might have started a trend before the flight was over. I heard many others cough right along with me. Maybe, we were all suffering from the "Prague Blah"

But, me and my fellow flight mates were not just going to land in Memphis. We had the opportunity to land somewhere else first.

As our flight trajectory brought us near the USA and home, a passenger began experiencing a medical emergency. The pilot made that familiar announcement that you hear in the movies. "If there is a qualified medical professional on board we ask that you report to a flight attendant." or something to that effect.

About thirty minutes later, another announcement.

"We have a passenger experiencing signs of a heart attack, we are making an unscheduled stop in Toronto, Canada to assist the passenger. Please remain in your seats as medical personnel board the plane."

We land. We stay on the runway. Fire trucks, ambulances, and other official airport vehicles surround the plane and Paramedics board the plane. We sit. I cough.

Thirty minutes later, they wheel an elderly gentleman from the plane under oxygen and his "vacation" in Canada begins. The trucks leave. We are informed that our flight connections will be informed of the delay and that most of us should make our next leg of the trip in plenty of time.

And I do. I arrive in Memphis with about 45 minutes to spare. Just time enough to pass through Customs, receive my SECOND stamp in my Passport, and board my plane to "Sweet Home Alabama"

My lovely wife greeted me at the Mobile Airport with a hug and a kiss and a container filled with some cold Milo's Tea. (nectar of the Gods)

Unfortunately, my luggage had taken a side trip to Shreveport thanks to the Customs official in Memphis who I handed it to on my way to my flight.

"Mobile, right?" he said.

"Right." I said.

Undoubtedly, "Right" means send it somewhere else. So I didn't get my bags until the next day, but I was home. Who cares?


But, it bummed me out a bit, because I couldn't show off my handmade marionette to the family that night. He's a Scot, I bought him because I have some Scot in me and I think I may look a little like him after a few shots of Tequila.

Well folks, there you have it. The entire Prague, Czech Republic experience. Thanks for taking the trip again with me.

Thanks again to David Steadson, Bridgett, "Tex" and "Big Apple" for being a part of the Bloggers 5. Thank you, Rob Zeiger and Alticor Corporation for thinking I had something intelligent to say to your Staff. Thank you, Robin Luymes and Dino Baskovic for putting up with us, hosting us, and doing all that walking in the city with us.

It was a trip of a lifetime, and I'm glad I was "On The Road" to do it.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 8

THE LAST NIGHT

After our walking tour of the city of Prague, we arrived back at the hotel cold, tired and hungry. I went and grabbed a quick shower and put my new Czech Republic marionette in my room.

Dinner was planned at a local pub/restaurant with all of the Bloggers 5, along with Dino Baskovic, Robin Luymes and Kate Makled. I spoke with Kate for a little while on the way to the restaurant. I found out her job consisted of "crisis management" public relations. A job description that I remarked probably kept her busy. Kate is directly under Rob Zeiger, the Director of Communications for Alticor. So she's a "big dog", and I felt honored that she decided to join us for dinner. And can I say? Dare I say?...yeah why not...she's a babe.

Dino had received a map of the restaurant's location and at the appropriate time, we began our trek to the restaurant. Bridgett and Kate opted for sensible shoes instead of "heels" to make the walk along the cobblestone streets. It was a smart decision. The streets are pretty and historic, but uneven and a bit treacherous in the dark.

I walked with Dino for a while since he had the map, but early on in the trip, Big Apple took over the job of leading us to the restaurant. Big Apple had been by the restaurant earlier in his tours of the city and was sure he could get us there. It was funny that the group divided up in different smaller groups as conversations changed throughout the walk. Someone would speed up to a group of three to get in on a chat; or slow down to a group of two to join in on a different conversation. It seemed to take a while of walking and a few twists and turns, but we arrived at the pub ready to eat.

I had seen on several menus at different places, a Czech favorite called, Pork Knee. Okay, maybe I'm not a world traveler, but I sorta thought that since the Czech Republic was "old country"; that a dish called Pork Knee was akin to a Southern favorite, "Ham Hocks", the lower portion of the pig leg. Ham Hocks are a tasty addition to soups and beans, not much meat but delicious "soul food".

I couldn't have been further from the truth. I had a mini roasted leg of pig that started right below where a "cut" of ham would begin. Smoked and roasted to perfection, served with a mustard and bread. I opted for some "French Fries" as well. The waitress looked annoyed at THAT selection of "side", but hell, it was on the menu and I like fries with my Pork Knee.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP: I didn't drink a lot of alcohol on this trip because I was on medication so I have to tell you about Coke and Pepsi in the Czech Republic. Cokes and Pepsis DO NOT taste the same as they do in Alabama. I read that it has to do with the water supply. In many countries Coke and Pepsi, while still maintaining a "coke" taste--still taste a bit "off". In my case, they had a "diet" aftertaste; a sweet, almost saccharine flavor. Not unpleasant enough to forgo ordering, but not quite the same as the USA.

I sat with Dino and Robin, and David Steadson closet to me. Dino and David talked "computers" for a while. Dino and I talked about stand up comedy and my experiences in comedy clubs. Robin was a great conversationalist with a wide variety of interests.

After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel. (It seemed faster this time) and we all hung out in the lobby.

I knew that Tex and I had an early flight out the next morning, but the conversations seemed to never come to an end. I took a quick picture with Robin, Dino and Kate. I remarked that I wanted a photo of me and the "corporate geeks". I think Bridgett thought I insulted them, but Dino had mentioned being a "geek" at dinner AND I use "corporate geeks" with affection.



ROBIN LUYMES, DAVE, KATE MAKLED, DINO BASKOVIC


After the corporate ge--ummm...folks left; the Bloggers 5 continued talking until late. We exchanged email addresses, took a few more photos and I eventually said good night.

My last night in Prague, Czech Republic couldn't have been better.






Pork Knee photo was taken from "Paul's Travel Pics"

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 6

THE QUESTIONS AT PRAGUE


Here's the blog entry that you've all been waiting for.

WHAT WAS DISCUSSED AT THE ALTICOR GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE?

Or at least, what did they want to know from all the bloggers invited.

Shortly after I returned from Prague, I wrote Rob Zeiger, Director of Communications with Alticor and Dino Baskovic, Alticor consultant and moderator of our panel discussion, and asked for a copy of the questions asked of the Bloggers 5.

Let me say, that at no time during the conference were we told NOT to blog about the conference. It was pretty much expected that we would. But, although I took a few notes, I was more intent on answering the questions as they were ask. So I was happy that Dino sent me a copy of the questions when I requested them. This conference really convinced me that Alticor/Amway/Quixtar really wants to be transparent in its Internet presence.

The conference session opened with Dino giving a short Powerpoint presentation on what Blogging is, What blogs can do, and how Quixtar, Amway, and Alticor are using blogs. The ease of setting up a blog was mention and different Blog platforms like WordPress and Blogger were mentioned.

The Alticor Media Blog and the Amway Media Blog were began to address questions from, who else, but the Media. At the time, Dick DeVos, son of Amway Founder Rich DeVos was running for Governor of Michigan and his connection with Amway was an issue during the campaign.

After the campaign(and DeVos' loss) the two media blogs began to address Alticor lawsuits and troubles with terminated Independent Business Owners affiliated with Alticor.

Dino then introduced the invited bloggers and briefly explained their blogging efforts.

Again, the panel consisted of Dave Robison, yours truly; "IBOFightback" (David Steadson); Bridgett, "Tex", "Big Apple". and Quixtar's own, Robin Luymes.

Although, the conference organizers knew all the attendees' real names, each blogger was introduced as their Internet personae. Their anonymity was important to the organizers.

Our audience consisted of Public Relations and Communications staff from Quixtar; Alticor Global; and Amway in Europe, including China. The China delegation had their own interpreter. (My personal nightmare was how the Interpreter might handle my Southern colloquialisms)

I will answer the questions here at "On The Road With Dave", but it's my hope that the rest of the bloggers invited will answer them as well in the comments AND ANY OTHER Quixtar/Amway blogger(critics, too) can give their answers.

I'm sure Dino and Rob Zeiger will read your answers.

1. When did you first start blogging about Amway, and why?

I began commenting at the Original Quixtar Blog back in 1983 2003. I was a frequent contributor to the blog's forum, as well. I even guest blogged at the site. I was then challenged by Eric Janssen, the site author; to start my own blog as an IBO with a positive, but objective view of the Amway/Quixtar world.


2. Many blogs have their own ground rules, and certainly the blogosphere has many rules of the road. What rules—if any—do you govern yourself by when you blog, and for what reasons?

I don't have any set rules other than I do not actively recruit potential IBOs or sell Quixtar products at my blog. I do not accept advertising at my blog, although like any blogger, I "link exchange" with other blogs I like.

As for my readers, they are welcome to leave their comments. Moderation is minimal, only to delete SPAM and illegal or libelous material. Opposing views are always welcomed, but ultimately my blog is my "show".

3. In your opinion, what do you think of our company’s approach to blogging? If you could, what would you change about the way we blog?

At first, only a few blogs like Beth Dornan's had a real "voice. A blog must have a personal voice, even if it is a corporate blog. That problem seems to be on the mend. Also, at first there seemed to be more "PR" than "blog".

Currently, the Alticor/Quixtar/Amway blogs remain "static" too long. Updates can be sporadic. If a particular blog entry elicits numerous responses from readers, then the corporate bloggers need to update with another entry addressing those responses in detail. The conversation among commenters goes on without much more response from the corporate blogger.

4. How has blogging helped you as an individual, as an advocate for the company, and as an "online citizen"? (In my notes, this question was "Has Blogging made you a better person?)

I'm not sure blogging has made me a "better" person; but it has made me a better writer and a better thinker. As an "online citizen" it has afforded me the opportunity to meet good people with diverse opinions and I have online friends and new "offline" friends that I have met as a direct result from blogging and "social networks" online.


5. Do you participate in other online venues, such as with sites like MySpace or Facebook, or do any podcasting? Do you feel that our involvement in these venues makes sense given the nature of our business? Please explain your answer.

I started my Internet life in the early 90s with AOL. I was in chatrooms, message boards, forums. When I discovered the Internet, it was like I injected the modem line directly in my vein. I am hooked.

I participate in blogging, commenting at other blogs, I have a MySpace page, A Facebook page, a Comedian's Community, I'm also LinkedIN. I have a big ego; I want people to know who I am. (This response got laughs, The Chinese people smiled)

As far as Alticor getting involved in "social networking" sites, I would say that employees or IBOs should feel free to join, if they have the inclination and time. I am already friends on Facebook with Dino, Beth Dornan, and Robin Luymes. The Corporation, itself, doesn't really need a site like MySpace.

6. Our bloggging presence – the way we blog, how we blog and what we say – is evolving over time. We are still in the learning stages. Many of the audience members here are professional communicators from our Amway affiliates all over the world. What advice can you give our audience members as they continue to embrace blogging as a tool of communication?

Be authentic. Use your name. Write what is on your mind. Be Personal. A blog reader wants to "know" the author. Don't rely on the company name "tagged" in all your posts to build your readership. If you have diverse content in your blog, readers will find you doing many different type "searches". They may find you because you did a post on "little league soccer" and then stick around to read other things you have written; including things about the company.

There was a follow-up question to this regarding other Quixtar and Amway IBOs starting a blog and if Alticor should encourage this. I stated that while many IBOs may have passion to write positive things about the company in a blog...not everybody can write a blog or even "string" three coherent sentences together. I'm a blog snob, not everybody can do it, even though anybody can start a blog in as little as 5 minutes.

7. Do You Make Any Money Blogging?

Not directly. I have gained comedy gigs from blogging and of course, a major global Direct Sales company paid me to discuss blogging. (I think the Chinese people smiled again)

8. Many of the people in this audience primarily deal with reporters and are just now beginning to deal with bloggers. There has been much debate in recent years whether bloggers carry the same rights and privileges, as do traditional journalists. Do you feel bloggers and journalists are one in the same, and should we treat bloggers with the same level of professional courtesy as we do with reporters?

This question didn't get answered at the conference by me in detail, another panelist answered it. (I forget who). But Dino, my answer would have been--Bloggers and Journalists are the same when the Blogger is covering an issue that is newsworthy. Bloggers are "influencers" if their readership is influenced by them and in turn make a decision about a company. But, a company such as Alticor should treat ANYONE online with respect and professional courtesy, simply because you don't know what the ripple effect they may have on the online community.

I am trained as a journalist; so you can treat me like one. And needless to say, I did hear a couple of "This is off the record" statements.

9. As a global company, we must cooperate with different governments and respect their laws and customs as a rule of doing business. That said, how has blogging impacted the global marketplace?

Blogging as well as the Internet itself, has made the global marketplace more open. A person in another country that might not have access to certain information about a company in a country other than their own, need only perform a "Google search" to find information, market data, profit and loss, and litigation results. Plus, word-of-mouth advertising and personal testimonies via blogs hold weight across international borders.

10. Do you think that blogging has changed the direct selling industry as a whole? Why or why not?

Yes. Information travels faster via blogs and Internet forums, than knocking on doors and doing cold calls. Therefore, a direct seller and Direct Sales companies have to alter their methods of presentation in an online society.


FINALLY, Dino said that over the past year or so; Alticor was trying to transform itself and its companies and its online reputation. In a one-word, "Yes or No" answer; Do you believe the company is already being transformed?

We all answered, YES.

And I do believe it. Not Overnight. Small Steps. But the transformation is happening.


That's it. There was "give and take" and debate among the panelists during the answers and the audience attendees submitted other questions as well. Some personal.

Dino did asked me what kind of material I did in my comedy act...and I hesitated and then told him, he needed to come see me perform; and I left the audience with my blog URL and the address to my MYSPACE page and told them I would gladly accept them as a friend. YEAH, I got an ego!

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 5

MORNING OF PANEL DISCUSSION

First, let me say, I slept late. After I got back to the hotel the night before, I took the plunge and grabbed a Pepsi(Damn, no Dr. Pepper) from the Mini-Bar( I know, I splurged, but I was in Prague; cut me some slack) and I took two Nyquil PLUS my prescribed cough medicine with the miracle cough suppressant codeine and I slept.

Wednesday morning, I availed myself to the complimentary breakfast buffet and then went to the shops next door to the hotel and bought a pack of cigarettes. The lady at the newsstand helped me with my Czech koruna or crowns currency. I had some coins and was trying to use a larger bill and she needed coins. She was nice and no, she didn't try to overcharge the "redneck" from Alabama.

A light snow was falling outside and I stood outside smoking and watching the morning pedestrian traffic.

I can't recall if I saw any of my fellow Bloggers Five that morning, but it was scheduled that we were having lunch together along with Robin Luymes and Dino Baskovic, the Panel Discussion moderator.

I decided to go take a shower and put on my suit.

Now, I have to tell you, the conference was "business casual"; which meant that a suit wasn't necessary. But, I NEEDED a new suit and this trip was a perfect excuse to go buy a new one. I remember while my wife and I were shopping for it, I kept joking with her that I wanted an "Amway suit"--blue suit, white shirt, red tie; the unofficial, or maybe even official, uniform of the "Amway Motivational Organizations". She, of course, threaten me with bodily harm at the suggestion.

Instead, I bought a dark, chocolate suit(modern cut, for you fashionistas)with a thin almost indistinguishable pin stripe. I wasn't happy with the cuffs. The tailor made them shorter than I was used to. (Something about "that" being the style) I'm used to a cuff that hits you past the wrists near the palm. That's probably very "eighties" of me. Anyway, I looked good. Trust me.


Anyway, I went back downstairs, wearing my new suit and my "David Robinson" name tag and saw the other bloggers talking. Somebody mentioned that "I clean up good". (Told ya that I looked good) I think I confused them when I asked them if they were "talking about Amway in Prague". I mentioned that Prague was the "Porn Capital" Of Europe; did anybody want to discuss that. Nobody seemed to want to change the subject, oh well, I guess I won't give you the actual link to Big Sister Dot Net.

Dino Baskovic and Robin Luymes joined us a bit later. I remember "Bridgett" asking Dino if he was tired or stressed. He seemed a bit harried.

Dino wanted to eat lunch with us and give us a little pre-panel discussion preparation.

Two things stuck out to me on the "prep".

Dino said that the conference attendees "get it" when it comes to the Internet; but the blogging phenomena and how Alticor was embracing it was new to them.

And we were told that the conference attendees REALLY wanted to hear our opinions.

This was not to be a "PR gimmick". Blogging, and what we had to say about it was important to these people.

Oh, and I guess one other thing stuck out. Dino was very worried about us eating lunch on time. The conference sessions had started on schedule for the entire conference; Dino didn't want to break the streak.

Robin Luymes told Dino to relax. Yes, the sessions had been starting on time, so if this one didn't, it'd be okay. Robin said, "We'll tell'em the bloggers had to eat!"

I thought, "Yeah, the bloggers have to eat. 'We be blogging', we be eatin'".

I still ended up leaving half my club sandwich(yeah, I opted for "American cuisine") on my plate.

NEXT UP! THE PANEL DISCUSSION!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 4

The Bloggers 5

Tuesday afternoon I met ALL of the panelists that would make up the Bloggers 5 as Robin Luymes affectionately has coined us.

I knew that IBOFightback, Tex, myself, and someone named Big Apple would be present. Once in Prague, I learned a fifth blogger had been invited and had not received word of the invitation until late the week before. In fact, she acquired her passport only on the Friday before the conference. Her name was Bridgett and she is a frequent commenter on Inside Quixtar, The Real Quixtar Blog, and other blogs in the Opportunity Zone. All the invitees were Independent Business Owners affiliated with Quixtar or Amway.

We met in the hotel lobby, grabbed a couch, and a couple of chairs and began talking, comparing notes, debating the merits of Quixtar/Amway Tool Systems and getting involved in a few healthy arguments.



Rob Zeiger, Director of Amway Corporate Communications, stopped by our group to say "Hello" and to welcome us to Prague. Rob is responsible for the Alticor Media Blog as well as other corporate blogs. Rob is also the man responsible with inviting these bloggers to Prague.



Once he introduced himself, Bridgett's first words were, WERE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BLOG ENTRY?! (I forget which one, but it was at Alticor Media Blog)

Rob took the question in stride, and I suggested to him after a few minutes and a barrage of questions, that he should probably "Step Away From The Bloggers!"

But, he was brave and stayed to talk with us for quite some time. We invited him to go to dinner with us but he was to attend another dinner with conference attendees. We had to keep reminding ourselves that there were a hundred or so Amway Corporate Communication staff attending this conference.

We also met Robin Luymes in the lobby, but we were destined to spend the evening with each other. And spend it, we did.

At the suggestion of "Big Apple", we went to a restaurant/pub around the corner from the hotel for dinner and more conversation.

"Big Apple" is a successful IBO with a strong retailing business and had arrived a day early in Prague. He appeared to me to be a seasoned traveler and had checked out the city the day before.

The restaurant, Celnici, was loud, boisterous, and perfectly Czech. I ordered the Goulash, a thick dark stew served with bread. It was delicious--once it was served.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP--Restaurant service may seem slow in the Czech Republic; but it is not meant to be rude. In fact, I learned it is considered highly hospitable. It seems that if don't order an appetizer, and your other table mates do. Then they are served first, and nothing else is brought out until that course is over. Each course is completely finished. No waiter will come after your plate in mid-bite or rush you to finish. It's not TGI Fridays.

Big Apple and IBOfightback ordered wine with dinner. Which brings me to a small rant.

All of the panelists invited were smart, entertaining, and interesting people. But I can't call them by name, except IBOFightback who was outed at another website and his identity revealed.

The reason I can't call them by name, is I was asked as a Blogger, not to report their true identities.

That's the reason their faces have black bars over them. That makes me mad. And they know it. The panelists were invited by Amway and Quixtar because of the authentic, truthful, and personal opinions that they give about Amway and Quixtar on the Internet. Their opinions were respected enough to be invited to speak to the global staff of a multi-billion dollar company. So why not, reveal their identities?

For Bridgett, it was due to professional reasons related to her "day-job". For "Big Apple", it was due to friction with his Line Of Sponsorship. For Tex, it was personal reasons.

Bridgett's "day-job" is highly interesting. Can't tell you about it.

Big Apple's name...can't tell you...But, there's a funny story about it, involving him ordering wine that directly relates to his personality.

Let's say he has a proper name, "Jonathan". We asked him if we could call him "Johnny" or "John". He said anything would be fine. But, at dinner, "Johnny" ordered wine with IBOFightback(David Steadson). After the wine arrived, "John" asked for a carafe, so the wine could breathe. As he related to David Steadson on the properties of the wine; Bridgett and I suddenly realized, he was, no doubt, "Jonathan".

But, all our personalities meshed. We talked, we ate, they ordered dessert, we talked some more. Dinner lasted at least 4 hours. I was tired. It was 12:30 and I was still sick and taking medication for a cough that would not stop.

I bid farewell to my dinner companions and walked back to the hotel. I hear that they stayed much longer after that.

Prague at night is beautiful. I stopped and looked out over the square where the restaurant was located. People walking, Trams passing by, the architecture of the old buildings illuminated by street lights; I knew I was 5000 miles away from Alabama, but I felt comfortable. It was a good first day.

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Chronicles of Prague / Part 3

ARRIVING IN PRAGUE

The only countries I have ever had a real interest in traveling to were Australia and Scotland. I supposed that I would enjoy other places but I really never had that passion to see exotic ports of call.

But, I did have two travel fantasies that I wanted to fulfill at some point in my life; and they both came true at the Prague Ruzyne International Airport.


In case you didn't know; Passports, these days, have an electronic strip on the front page and airport personnel can scan them. This bothered me. I went through a lot to get my Passport at the last minute, and by golly, if I was going to be a foreign country, I sure as heck wanted somebody to physically get out their little "country stamper" and stamp my passport page with a country name. This finally happened at the Prague Airport.


My second travel fantasy involved a "driver". Being a performer, comedian, I had always imagined that at some point I would arrive in New York City or Hollywood and a car and a driver would be waiting for me. The driver would be holding a placard with my name, Mr. Dave Robison, on it. I would see the driver, identify myself and he would shake my hand, grab my luggage and whisked to the waiting automobile.

Thanks to some pre-arrangement, I had an English speaking driver that would accept US currency to meet Tex and myself to drive us to our hotel.

Both travel fantasies fulfilled inside of 30 minutes of each other. I could die a happy man. (It's the little things that please me)

A couple of things I did not pre-arrange--

I did not prearrange the snow that began to fall as Tex and I landed.

I did not prearrange having small US dollar bills to pay the driver. All I had was $100 dollar bills. I had spent my small bills on airport concessions. But, I gave Tex my remaining small bills and he made up the difference. (I still owe Tex, $27 dollars)

I did not prearrange taking a Valium before riding in a car driven by a young man named Petre, that thought he may be the Czech Republic's answer to Helio Castroneves.

But, Tex and I got a nice tour of Prague on the way to the hotel and did arrive safely despite Petre's attempts to mate his car's front bumper with several rear bumpers of other Czech drivers. And, I was finally allowed to smoke a cigarette in the car--a much needed cigarette, even though I had been wearing a nicotine patch for my flights.

The hotel, Marriott Prague, was worth the wait. We checked in and Tex went to explore.

I was pleasantly surprised to be handed a note at check-in from IBOFightBack welcoming me to Prague, (He had arrived about an hour earlier) and inviting me for a chance to meet and a drink in the hotel lobby after I had settled in.

I headed to my room to unpack my shirts and suit(Wife's orders) and to take a quick shower.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP: Electricity in the Prague Marriott is controlled by your key card. You have lights as long as your card is in the slot. Remove the card, and you have 20seconds before lights go out. This saves energy and prevents guests from leaving their room lights on when they exit.

I called IBOFightback's room and met him downstairs. We enjoyed some "Amway" conversation; but mainly non-business chat. One thing to note about IBOFightback--He has a "Thick" Australian accent. Don't let him tell ya otherwise. He's under the impression that since he hasn't lived in Australia in several years that it has dissipated. But if he doesn't have a "Aussie" accent then I don't have a "Southern" accent; and Ya'll know that ain't true!

I drank a slightly cool draft Czech beer. A little bitter for my taste, but not bad.
Mainly, IBOFightback filled me in on the roster of panelists showing up for the conference that I had not heard of.

After our conversation, I went upstairs to the meeting hall area and milled around and talked to a few Amway/Quixtar corporate people manning the "Welcome" table outside the conference room. I met a very nice lady, whose name has escaped me who gave me my "needed" name tag and she apologized profusely for adding that damn unnecessary "N" in my last name, but offered to make another name tag before the next day and my panel appearance. I told he not to worry about it; as long as it was correct on my check.

IBOfightback and I had arranged to meet in an hour or so back downstairs with the other bloggers; so I wandered around the hotel exploring and made my way outside on the street in front of the hotel and visited a couple of shops in the area.

It was going to be a long first day in Prague.

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Chronicles Of Prague / Part 2

BLOGGER'S NOTE: I was suffering from bronchitis prior to my trip, and upon returning it was worse. That's a blog entry in itself, but I'm feeling somewhat better and will now continue the Prague series.

MEETING TEX

Tuesday Morning I arrived in Amsterdam with a layover that was to last several hours. Amsterdam is a huge airport that seems to be constantly under construction.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP: The descent into Amsterdam is a slow steady descent in stages. (probably due to air traffic) The entire descent takes about 30 minutes and if you suffer from any sinus condition, the wait can be painful and your hearing may become non-existent. Depending on your condition, things will not return to normal for some time after being on the ground.

The airport shopping areas are huge and diverse. Food, Merchandise, and Currency Exchangers are plentiful. In the market for a Cartier watch or diamond ring? Then this is the place to shop while you wait for your connection.

I wasn't interested in shopping, I was excited that I would be meeting frequent blog commenter and fellow panelist, Tex. We would be flying on the same flight from Amsterdam to Prague.

As I wandered around my Gate area, I passed Tex several times. Being at a disadvantage at not knowing what Tex looked like, I still couldn't help noticing this tall--tall guy also walking around. Objectively...he was a young looking, attractive guy with a a carry on bag. Luckily, I have no shame and have my photos plastered all over the Internet and Tex finally recognized me, even after my overnight flight disheveled look.

He caught my eye and asked, "Dave?"

Tex?

We shook hands and exchanged the usual "How was your flight?" pleasantries and began talking like new friends.

Any assumptions that readers of Tex may have of what he might be like in person; let me just put them to rest. HE'S A NICE GUY.

A family man, a guy with a good job, and a man with a life outside of his message about Quixtar and Amway tool systems. Also, he's pretty damn funny with some good stories about his life. The time at the airport passed quickly.

We finally got our boarding call and went through a Passport check and I thought we were boarding the plane. Instead we boarded a bus and began a drive to our airplane. Remember when I told you about the construction at Amsterdam Airport? Well, we got to see it all, as the bus maneuvered through a maze of barricades, netting, and equipment towards the KLM tarmac.

Tex remarked, "Maybe they're just driving us to Prague?"

We disembarked the bus, and headed over to our plane and up the steps. I found my seat and settled in for the hour flight to Prague and a little rest before all the activity of the conference was to begin.

Then I heard Tex's voice a few seats behind me talking to another passenger.

"Would you mind trading seats with my friend up there, so we could sit together?. He has an aisle seat, too."

Then an attractive woman says to me, "Would you like to switch seats?"

Now, I had no problem sitting with Tex; but I had already settled into the cramped seat and I didn't want to cause an inconvenience to the lady and I suppose I hesitated just a tick, before answering. Then I hear Tex(along with everyone around me) say,

"Well, I guess I should have said, MY REAL GOOD friend"

Everyone laughs, and I make a big deal by saying, "Oh wow, if he's gonna say REAL GOOD friend, I guess I should sit with him.

The lady and I make the switch and Tex and I settle in for more pleasant conversation about Quixtar, motivational tools and the upcoming conference.

Needless to say, the trip passed by quickly.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

"Jsem z USA" (I Am From The USA)

Odkud jste?

If you click the link above; you'll hear a very nice lady from the Czech Republic ask you, "Where Are You From?"

On March 18th through March 20th, I look forward to replying, "Jsem z USA" (pronounced poorly by me as something like "Semz USA"--or "I Am From The USA"

Four years ago, I began blogging at "On The Road With Dave" with the hopes of gaining a small readership of people interested in Quixtar, Multi-level Marketing, and my attempts at getting back into comedy.

For about 3 years, my blog content was directed more at my personal life, network marketing, blogs, and at interests that fulfilled my self-described status as a Renaissance man. In the past year, more things comic-related fill my entries.

Consistency in writing has proven to be the biggest benefit of blogging. I think I have grown as a writer on a wide variety of topics. This consistency has been noticed by a wide range of people.

Case in point: On March 17th, I'll be winging my way overseas to appear on a panel of bloggers for Alticor Corporation in Prague, Czech Republic. Their communications and PR staff will be picking my brain and other bloggers for ideas on increasing their "personal" factor on the "Internets" via blogging. (At least, that's my focus)

Alticor tells me, "With your experience and strong opinions about what works and what doesn't in messaging to and with bloggers, the discussion...should be lively and informative."

"Lively" may be an understatement, as I have learned the cast of panelists involved.

Consultant Dino Baskovic will introduce the discussion with short presentation on the topic of blogging. Dino is a consultant for Alticor. His firm, 36Hours is the designer for the Alticor Media Blog.

Dino also teaches at Lawrence Technological University and owns Vincena.

Leading the panel in discussion will be Quixtar's own, Robin Luymes. Robin is Manager for Quixtar Public Relations and author of the Real Quixtar Blog.

Though not directly comedy-related; I'd like to think that my "uniqueness" as a comedian had something to do with my selection by the corporation to appear among the other bloggers.

I'll be appearing with a cast of bloggers known to some "OTRD" readers and their intensity of focus may need a little levity.

First on the list is the author of The Truth About Amway and Quixtar. Known for years, by the pseudonym "Insider" Or "IBOFightBack"

"Insider" was a long-time commenter at Quixtar Blog and Quixtar Blog Forum and at other Amway and Quixtar-related Blogs. Recently he was "outed" by Quixtar-critic, Scott Larsen. "Insider" now confirms his identity as David Steadson. I must say, I'm glad.

Second on the list is known to me only as a Pseudonym, BIG APPLE. BA is a commenter on the Alticor Media Blog. I don't know much about BA, except his comments seem intelligent and helpful. I have no other links for him/her, but hope to have more after the conference.

The third panelist is known by all Quixtar and Amway related bloggers as simply, TEX. Thanks to me, Tex even has his "own" blog, "Tex's Quixtar Blog". Tex is passionate and prolific in the comments section of all the Alticor corporate blogs as well as Quixtar-critic blogs. His position is decidely "pro" for Alticor and passionately negative towards Lines of Sponsorship leaders known as "kingpins"

Finally; little ole "Dave Blogwriter", rounds out the panel. I'll be doing the same thing I've been doing the past 4 years here at "On The Road With Dave--offering my opinion, finding common ground, suggesting solutions, and listening to feedback. I think that's the ultimate importance in blogging.

My goal is to blog from Prague(that rhymes) after the conference. If that's not possible, I'll be taking notes and offering several days of review of the conference after I return home. One interesting thing comes to mind already. After this conference...more identities will be revealed. This has to mean that the panelists see this conference as so important that it negates their desire to remain anonymous. I think that says a lot about their passion.

I'm only fretting over the long plane ride without the comfort of my Marlboros and I'm a little anxious about getting ripped off by currency exchangers and cabbies; but these fears are subsided when I look at my accommodations at the Marriott Prague and the fact that the corporation as already requested my "services rendered" invoice and W-9 so they can send me my check.

And who knows, I may tell a few jokes while I'm there.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Amway Warns Of Bogus Internet Charity Scam

FROM THE BILOXI, MS SUN-HERALD

"ADA, Mich., Feb. 7 --Amway Corporation (Quixtar in the U.S. and Canada) has discovered an internet scam that uses a bogus Amway charity as a lure. Amway cautions individuals to be on the lookout for e-mails from a group calling itself the "Amway Children Charity Foundation".

Please be advised that this is not an Amway-sanctioned program and the name, program and people indicated in the e-mails are not related to Amway in any way and do not have Amway's authority or support.

The goal of the scam is to trick people into sending money to the fraudulent charity. The bogus group sends an e-mail informing the recipient that he/she has been selected as a recipient of a grant to help establish a children's help center to assist poor children in the area. A nomination code number may be given, and banking information is requested. If the recipient responds, an indemnity bond of several hundred euros is demanded. The e-mails may be signed from "Dr. Kevin Brown" or someone else claiming to be a grant processing officer.....

.....This "Amway Children Charity Foundation" scam has been circulated by e- mail in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Recipients are advised to not respond or reply in any way. Amway is currently investigating the origin of the scam and authorities have been notified. If you have information or questions about this scam, please contact Amway through its Corporate Communications Department at (616) 787-7565."

SOURCE Amway Corporation

READ ENTIRE STORY

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Surrogate Blogging

I've started A NEW blog. But, hopefully it won't be mine for very long.

I'm looking at it as a "surrogate blog". I'm just "carrying it" until the mother or in this case; the father, takes over.

If you aren't interested in Multi-level Marketing and more specifically, Amway and Quixtar; then this entry won't make much sense to you...if that's the case, let me suggest you try out the Presidential Calculator.

Now, on to my new blog.

In the realm of Amway and Quixtar-related blogs, there are a regular cast of bloggers representing opinions both pro and con. These blogs are frequented and commented upon by the other bloggers and a semi-regular cast of commenters.

At some of the blogs, the commenters are as well known as the authors of said blogs. Such is the case with "Tex".

Tex is a Quixtar-affiliated Independent Business Owner(IBO) with a propensity to stay focused on one issue regarding the operation of a Quixtar Independent Business.

Tex hates the "tool systems" used by top level Amway and Quixtar distributor leaders to motivate, educate (and yes, profit from) their downline groups of distributors. For that issue, I am in total agreement with Tex.

Aside from that issue, Tex also enjoys a healthy debate with critics of the legitimate businesses operated by other Quixtar Independent Business Owners. Again, I can be in total agreement with Tex on this issue.

I know, I know, you sense a "BUT" coming on...and you'd be correct.

The problem is most recently, that Tex has been banned from nearly all the Quixtar and Amway-related blogs and discussion groups. This includes pro-blogs, con-blogs, and even some Quixtar-company sponsored blogs. If he hasn't been banned; he's being heavily-moderated.

I can speculate on three reasons why this has happened.

1. Tex is prolific in his comments. He writes often. He writes long detailed entries in the "Comments" section. He quotes other commenters in their entirety and then responds point by point. He repeats this process.

This can be a blog author's dream or a nightmare. The dream is the traffic and lively discussion. The nightmare is the constant moderation and possible association with the negative comments volleyed back and forth between Tex and the other commenters.

2. The constant "on point" comments by Tex voicing his "position".

This would be okay, except if the blog author or "thread" author in the discussion group wrote about something entirely different from the subject Tex wants to discuss.

If the author writes about "Tool Abuse"; Tex is there to denigrate the "lying cowardly kingpins" that profit from other IBOs.

If the author writes about a new Quixtar product; Tex is there to denigrate the "lying cowardly kingpins" that profit from other IBOs

If the author writes about taking a vacation; Tex is there to to denigrate the "lying cowardly kingpins" that profit from other IBOs.

3. Tex uses "personal attacks" towards other commenters and blog authors when the topic debate continues on. Although personal attacks are not the best debate tactic, they can be effective; but Tex fails to realize or fails to care that he is commenting in a "closed forum". The blog author or Discussion Group owner is not obligated to let participants insult other commenters or the blog author.

The expression of "Free Speech" only applies to the author. Yes, some authors may allow dissent...but it is not a "right" of the commenter. Tex has the proclivity to tax his "right" on other's forums.

And so, Tex has worn the patience of many a blog author and forum owner quite thin. It has been suggested to Tex on many, many occasions to "start your own blog". Tex has been hesitant to take this advice for fear that a blog of his own would not receive the traffic that the other blogs receive and thus his message would not be heard.

I disagree with Tex.

And so, I started "Tex's Quixtar Blog".

I have set it up. I have posted two entries from other blog authors on why Tex was banned and their opinion of Tex. I have now begun to post "comments" made by Tex at some of these blogs.

I am more than willing to give Tex access to HIS blog and let him begin to spread his message about Quixtar, about Amway, about Motivational Organizations and their tools that they sell; and about WHATEVER Tex wants to write.

"On The Road" readers, I urge you to visit Tex's New Blog...let him see that you are willing to read what he writes, that you are willing to comment at HIS blog, and that he can exercise his Free Speech rights under his OWN banner.

Tex? Howboutit? Your own blog.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Amway IBO Disappointed In Dave

A few days ago I wrote about an ongoing feud between a Quixtar critic and an "anonymous" reader of the critic's blog. In the "Comments" section of the entry,
"Drama On A Quixtar-related Blog", An Independent Business Owner affiliated with Amway wrote:

IBOFightback - Fighting the Amway Myths said...

Dave,

I'm extremely disappointed. I had some respect for your blog and postings, but no more. To anyone who cares to do the slightest research, JoeCool is blatantly lying about this whole episode and folk on both sides of the Quixtar divide have fallen for it hook line and sinker.

Imran(another blogger and Quixtar forum participant...Ed.) has finally taken the leap and gone and read what JoeCool wrote on this other site. If you're not going to make the same effort to actually research what your posting about, then I suggest you talk to him.

Perhaps after that you will understand why I am absolutely FURIOUS that people are defending him.

Right now I'm assuming your simply posting from a position of ignorance. If you continue to defend him AFTER learning the truth, well then you deserve no respect at all


IBOFightback(also known as "Insider" in other forums and blogs:

I appreciate your previous respect for my blog.

I'm not defending Joe Cool's participation at a website that covers information, tips, and experiences from its members about frequenting massage parlors and brothels and/or discussing sexual encounters with prostitutes.(See, I'm not ignorant)

Some have said I was making light of Joe's presence at that website with my "nekkid chicks" reference in my previous entry; likening a visit to a brothel or soliciting streetwalkers with the casual reading or viewing of adult-oriented material or "porn".

If some view JoeCool's participation in this activity as obscene, perverted, or "whoring around" as one commenter put it; then so be it.

The issue with me--and the reason I seemed flippant in my coverage of the episode--is, "What does any of this have to do with Quixtar/Amway?"

Let me explain.

Remember Idaho Senator Larry Craig?

Senator Craig was arrested and charged for allegedly soliciting an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom stall for an homosexual encounter.

Not a smart move on any Senator's part, but for Mr. Craig, it was different. Sen. Craig is a vocal decrier of the homosexual lifestyle. So, even worse for him.

Now, let's bring this into the realm of multilevel marketing and the subject of Quixtar and Amway.

One of the most vocal critics of Amway and Quixtar is a guy named Scott Larsen. Scott writes a website called AMQuix.Info.

If the anonymous person who tracked down JoeCool's participation at a sex site had instead, found out that Scott Larsen was actually the chief stockholder for Avon, Inc. and wrote and published material about Amway and Quixtar, so that he could disgrace the companies and increase the bottom line of Avon...then we'd have a true expose' on our hands.(However, Scott IS NOT TO MY KNOWLEDGE INVOLVED WITH AVON...merely a hypothetical)

But in that scenario, the truth about Scott would be relevant to the conversation.

With the issue of a Quixtar critic/blogger like JoeCool; expose' in not relevant to the conversation.

Okay, let's say that JoeCool is indeed a "perv" or addicted to internet sex, or a prostitute's "john"...does that negate his arguments against Amway or Quixtar?

Go further--if he visited NAMBLA; he'd be a sick twisted sonofbitch...but could he still say Quixtar and Amway are scams? Sure, he could. And what's more; his debating you on the topic of "Quixtar is a scam" would STILL have nothing to do with pedophilia.

Respectfully IBOFightback...the true discourse between JoeCool and yourself is personal. I've read exchanges between the two of you way before this incident that I wrote about on Tuesday. You don't like him. He doesn't like you.

If he found something this juicy about you, he'd love it and probably publish it. And whoever found out this stuff about him...well, you have to admit, you loved it, too.

BUT, it has nothing to do with Quixtar and Amway. Go ahead and bee disgusted with him. His accusations that you were the author of the emails is still unsubstantiated, as far as I know. Cry foul on those accusations. Attack his logic on his denouncement of Amway. But, stoking the fire in the matter of "Does he cheat on his wife, with hookers?" does little good for your position in being a proponent for the Amway and Quixtar Business Opportunities. It does little good for any IBO, including the anonymous that sent the original emails to JoeCool threatening him with exposure.

My advice; even if it loses me your respect, is the same as it was on Tuesday:

...get over it! Sell some products. Present the Quixtar business opportunity to potential associates. Don't read the damn blog!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Drama on Quixtar-related Blog

"Nekkid chicks"

I just wanted to get your attention before I wrote about this new drama on a blog critical of Quixtar and Amway.

But in a roundabout way, it's relevant.

Quixtar--The Dream or The Scheme is a blog written by a guy calling himself, Joe Cool. Joe is critical of the Quixtar business opportunity. Some of Joe's readers are critical, as well.

But, like all the Quixtar-related blogs, some other readers hold a different opinion about Quixtar. In this case, the other readers LIKE Quixtar, have Quixtar-affiliated businesses and think Quixtar is the best thing since butter on sliced bread.

Let's just say, that when Joe writes an entry at his blog...he gets a few comments.

Okay, that being said; you've probably guessed that Joe Cool is a pseudonym. And there are a few of "Joe's" readers that would love to know who he is.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Quixtar-type bloggers and their readers are a bit on the obsessive side. You can count me in this group to some extent. We write about Quixtar, read about it, we discuss it, and we get to know who writes what, how each other feels about it, AND we learn each other's "Hot buttons" and Internet-text "tics". So much so, that if you read a particular entry by one of us, you can pretty much guess who wrote it, without looking at the byline.

But, for one of "Joe Cool's" readers, this wasn't enough. He or she wanted to know more. This reader wanted to know exactly who "Joe" was and expose "Joe" to the world.

With some fancy "googling", Mr. Obsessive-to-the-Extreme found out that not only did Joe like writing about Quixtar, but also Joe liked writing about his interest in...how shall we say it...adult-oriented recreation.

See, where the "nekkid chicks" comes in?

To "Joe's" credit, he pretty much let the whole drama play out on his blog through the blog comments' section, including a "confession" of sorts, of his "miss-deeds". (I use a lot of quotation marks in this entry)

Want my opinion on this whole drama?

I like "nekkid" chicks, too.

That may be oversimplifying it.

Howabout?

Mr. Obsessive...get over it! Sell some products. Present the Quixtar business opportunity to potential associates. Don't read the damn blog!

Maybe, you want something more profound? I'll defer to Beth Dornan, Director of Communications for Quixtar Inc.

FROM INSIDE QUIXTAR:

Civil discourse means we agree to disagree, but not to be disagreeable. In other words, I accept your right to have an opinion that differs from my own and ask that you do the same. In a word, it means respect. Bullies aren't allowed.

I was disturbed to read that someone who has been critical of this business has been harassed and disparaging information about him posted by a cyber bully. While I can't enforce civil discourse in any forum but the Opportunity Zone, I can ask that those who are engaged with this business carefully consider the impact that disparaging those with opposing views has on perceptions of the Quixtar and Amway businesses. As a business, we're about building people up, not tearing them down. Just because someone doesn't support our business doesn't mean they should be criticized for those views or have inappropriate information posted about them. As a former boss of mine used to say, our reputation is built on everything every one of us does and says every day. I'd prefer that our reputation be built on respect for all people of all views...

...Like in life, in debate those who resort to trying to insult or disparage their opponents lose points. But a high school [debate] meet isn't at stake here. What's at risk is the reputation of this business and every one affiliated with it.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

D. Robison, PR Guy / The Amway Idol

It was a week ago. A Thursday.

I was in my office going over some plans for a new addition. The weather outside was rainy; I could hear the droplets of water hitting my window pane; the sound of thunder off in the distant. Outside, the sound of wet wheels on wet pavement would pass by my window every few minutes. I was glad I was on the inside...dry.

Of course, "dry" was a relative term; as I picked up the highball glass of liquid and took a long sip.

The monicker is Robison, I'm a PR guy.

I heard a knock at my door and it opened quickly. Two men entered my office. They were in trench coats, soaking wet from the rain, and they wore hats that dripped more water onto my worn office carpet. One of them carried a small satchel or backpack in his left hand.

As they removed their hats and raised their heads, I immediately recognized their faces. They were smiling. Almost laughing. Their eyes were bright and shining. They were Bob and Doug, from Quixtar.

I had helped these two fellows in the past,; but back then they were two sad-sacks with dark suits, sunglasses, and not a smile between them.

What could have brought them back to my office with such a transformation?

"Mr. Robison, it is great to see you again," said Doug.

"Well boys," I said, "What brings you back to Alabama and my office?"

Bob began, "Well sir, we just wanted to talk to you a few minutes about Alticor's decision to drop the Quixtar name and go back to using Amway as our global brand."

"What's to talk about? I thought it was a done deal. Why do you need to talk to me?" I asked.

The two men looked quizzically at each other. I had seen the look before. It was the "how much should we tell him" glance that they had shared on several occasions while standing in my office previously.

Doug shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and grimaced at Bob.

Doug said to Bob. "We have to tell him...he's helped before. We have to be open and transparent."

I interrupted. "Boys, have a seat...relax...would either of you like a drink?"

Bob said, "We'll sit...nothing to drink for me."

The men sat down in the chairs in front of my desk; laying their coats across the chair backs and placing their hats in their laps. Bob placed the backpack on the floor beside his chair.

Doug said, "If it's not too much trouble, I'll take a drink." And he smiled again. I have to admit that their smiles were beginning to creep me out.

I rose to serve Doug. "What'll it be gents? Whiskey? Tequila? Beer?"

Doug laughed embarrassingly. "Do you still have any XS Energy drink?"

I smiled this time, "Yep, Doug, I manage to keep a case or two handy." And I opened the office fridge to grab him a can. I popped the top and handed it to Doug. He took a sip and I paced about my office. "So? You boys gonna tell me what's going on or do I have to guess?"

Bob seemed to relax and began. "Well Mr. Robison, as you know in the past few months, Quixtar has opened up its corporate closets, as it were, and we have instituted a total transparent conversation with our IBO, clients, and critics. WE want to change our image and we are doing it quite well...I think.

Now, we have decided that the "Amway" name is a name to be proud of, and we are going to proclaim it loudly across the globe. We WANT people to say, "Is it Amway? and we want to proudly say YES!"

"That's great, Bob," I said, "I think I have told you guys that very thing in the past." I crossed over to my desk and sat on the edge, facing Bob and Doug.

"Yes you have," said Doug, "Which is why we want to show you something...actually we want you to protect something for us."

"Protect something?" I asked.

"Yes," said Bob, "This is one of our prized possessions at Quix...I mean, Alti-...Dang it, it takes some getting used to...this is one of our prized possessions at AMWAY."

"What is?" I asked.

Bob reached down beside his chair and picked up the backpack. He began explaining, "You see, Mr. Robison, no one but a few people at Amway know this...but there is a reason why, that in over 48 years, Amway has managed to grow, thrive, and survive in the hostile business world."

"I assumed it was good business sense, leadership and perseverance," I said.

Doug reacted, "Of Course those are SOME of the reasons, and there are many, many more valid reasons. But, there is something more...something magical about our survival. And THAT is why we are here."

"Something magical? C'mon guys! It's me, you're talking to. Don't be blowing smoke up my--"

Doug quickly interrupted me. "No, no, no, Dave, we aren't lying. We are serious. This...thing, is one of the main reasons we are reverting back to our Amway name and OUR roots."

Bob added, "You might say, Mr. Robison, that this object compelled us to change. Ummmm...demanded that we change."

"Demanded?" I was incredulous. "You mean, like it spoke to you or something?"

In a sense, yes, it spoke to the sons of DeVos and VanAndel. It reminded them of their responsibility to the object. Their duty to serve and protect it." Bob said.

Then Doug spoke, "But with all the changes we are making. WE aren't sure some of the IBO leaders will like it. They may try to mutiny."

Bob added, "And...and..let me say we are prepared for the fallout. What we are NOT prepared for is that these renegades may, just may, try and take the "power" that IS Amway; and disparage it or worse even, attempt to steal or purchase the "power".

We have to; we MUST protect the 'power'"

"Okay, what do you want from me?" I asked again.

Doug lowered his voice to a whisper and looked about my office, "We cannot afford to keep the 'power' in Ada, Michigan at our headquarters. It's far too known, and accessible. WE need to hide it away. To place it somewhere, where it will not be found. We are trusting you to hide it for us.

"Trusting me? I hope you also mean PAYING me!" I wanted to emphasize the "paying" part. "And it won't be cheap."

They both spoke in unison. Which STILL annoys me, "We understand!"

Bob then said, "We are prepared to pay you whatever you ask."

I rose from my desk and paced back and forth a few minutes. The gentlemen waited patiently. I stopped.

"Is this object...this thing...dangerous?"

"No, not at all," said Doug, "as long as it does not fall in the wrong hands. In fact, you may find great comfort while you possess it. It is after all, the Amway Idol."

"THE AMWAY IDOL!" I yelled. You have GOT to be kidding me! There's no such thing as an Amway Idol.

Doug rose from his chair. "Yes there is! It is real. It is powerful." said Doug. "We shall leave it with you and trust that you will hide it away so that it's magic will continue to work for not only our company, but for every loyal Quixtar...I mean, Amway distributor in the world."

Bob placed a check on my desk for my inspection. I looked at it and then choked down a drink from my glass.

"Okay, you have my trust."

"Do you want to see it?" Bob eagerly asked. He stood up and unzipped the backpack, and gently opened the folds to reveal the object inside. A flash of lightning and the sound of thunder boomed outside, as if on cue.

I peered into the bag, and a smile came to my face. It was probably a smile just as annoying as the grins on Bob's and Doug's face. I took the bag from Bob's hands and zipped it back up.

I placed the bag gently on my desk. Bob and Doug were both standing now, and they put their trench coats on and placed their hats back atop their heads.

"We'll be leaving now," said Bob.

And they removed the familiar sunglasses from their shirt pockets.

"We were never here." said Doug.

"Right." I agreed.

"Good day, Mr. Robison," said Bob.

And they both walked out my door.

I sat down behind my desk and grabbed the backpack. I held it tightly to my chest for a moment, and then unzipped the bag. I gazed back down into the backpack staring at what the boys had called the "Amway Idol". I touched the object.

I grabbed it, and removed it from the bag.

At that exact moment, my partner Skyler entered the room.

Startled, I clutched the object close to my chest, covering it momentarily with the empty backpack.

Skyler laughed at my scare, "Whatcha got there, Dave? New porn?"

"No, Skyler, not porn. Something much more valuable"

I placed the object on my desk. It was white. With blue and white lettering. A date was etched into it. 1961, it read. And the lettering was simple, elegant...and yes powerful. I found myself smiling...again. The "idol" said simply...

L. O. C.--Liquid Organic Cleaner, Manufactured by Amway Corporation.

Skyler said, "So, what the hell is it?"

I picked the bottle up. Turned it in my hands; reading the words on the container.

"Well, Skyler...it's...it's...it's the stuff dreams are made of".

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