15 July 2012

A New Era Dawns

Tell-tale Signs Show Networking is the Wave of the Future: The NETWORK MARKETING Era.

The history of the world is sometimes better told in terms of the significant phases that it has gone through, rather than months, years and centuries. Ancient historians measure time in "Ages" like the Stone Age, Industrial Age and Information Age; Asian civilizations refer to dynasties; Europeans talk of periods like the Dark Ages, the medieval period, and the Renaissance. While this practice may not be extremely accurate in pinpointing the timeline of world events, it focuses on what is more important-the groundbreaking changes in man's knowledge and consciousness, which made it possible for all humanity to progress. And if those who study the evolution of business were to follow the same line of thinking, pretty soon we could be discussing the history of commerce using such terms as "the Barter Period", "the Arts and Crafts Revolution", "the Corporate Age", and the period that is now upon us: "the Network Marketing Era." Certainly, if we are to pay attention to the signs that are present all over the entire civilised world, it would be safe to say that the 21st century is in fact the age when Network Marketing becomes the undisputed dominant force driving the global economy.

The history of Network Marketing is riddled with strange contradictions. The concept has been successfully practiced for nearly 70 years now, and yet many still consider it an "underground" enterprise. It has been duplicated countless times and brought financial fortunes to tens of millions of people around the world, and yet there are still plenty who doubt the legitimacy and effectiveness of the business model. These are just some of the ironies that plague the business of Network Marketing. But consider the following statistics:

* as of last count by the Direct Selling Association, over 66 million people around the world are doing some kind of Network Marketing business;

* last year, total sales in the worldwide Network Marketing industry amounted to a staggering $1 billion-plus;

* Network Marketing is a now thriving business in over 100 countries;

* in the past 10 years alone, the global Network Marketing industry has grown by 90%-better than any single industry in the world.

Such mind-boggling numbers are not only enough to confirm beyond any doubt that Network Marketing is a serious business, they are also enough to make THE INDUSTRY a contender for the number one spot in the list of the world's biggest industries. But be that as it may, the question now is: after 70 years, has the business gone as far as it can go? With the multitudes of people involved in the business, has Network Marketing reached its saturation point? Is there much room left for the newcomers?

Forget the fact that 56 million Network Marketers is a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the world population of 6.7 billion-which means there are still plenty of people to sign up and train into the business. The truly convincing proof that Network Marketing is only warming up lies in at least three irreversible trends in the way the citizens of the world are thinking and behaving. These trends are cross-cultural-present in every corner of the world, transcending racial, educational and economic divides. Furthermore, these trends have shown steady growth over many years, and have therefore outlasted any possibility of being fleeting fads. But most importantly, these trends irrefutably show that the world is growing increasingly ready to embrace Network Marketing for all that it is.


Former US President Bill Clinton could not have emphasised it more when he said, "When I took office, only high-energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web... Now even my cat has its own page." Indeed, it has taken less than 20 years for the Internet to go from being an experimental technology to being the universal medium of communication. According to statistics provided by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Computer Industry Almanac, Nua Ltd., and Internet World Stats, in 1995 less than 1% of the world population used the Internet. By the turn of the millennium, this figure had reached close to 5%. Today, almost a quarter of the citizens of the world-almost 1.6 billion people in total-are heavy Internet users.

But beyond just the popularity of the Internet, the more notable thing is the range of practical uses that the worldwide web offers. To today's users, the worldwide web is everything from a means of keeping in touch with loved ones to a research tool, a productivity enhancer, an entertainment medium, a social setting, a venue for self expression, a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions, an advertising channel, and a platform for running one's own business. What's more, by some stroke of serendipity, all of these Internet functionalities happen to be directly related to the day-to-day activities of a professional Networker. Through a self-run virtual office on the web, a Network Marketer can tap potential recruits, broadcast training tools and motivational messages to his downlines, provide one-to-one advice to his Independent Representatives (IRs), and advertise the Networking Marketing opportunity to the world, among other things. In short, the phenomenal growth of Internet usage worldwide is quickly creating the ideal environment for turning the earth into a planet of Network Marketers.

And there is still plenty of room left for this trend to continue. Asia, for example, which leads all other regions in number of current Internet users, reflects a penetration rate of only 17.4%-meaning that 4 out of 5 Asians have yet to discover the benefits of the Internet. In Europe, the almost 400 million Internet users do not even account for half of the population. The rest of the world's regions, perhaps with the exception of North America (with its 74% Internet penetration), are even more promising in terms of would-be Internet users.

In all, the history of Internet usage over the past two decades shows that the worldwide web is here to stay. In fact, it's even poised to become more and more deeply ingrained in the fibre of daily life for all of civilized man. And the best part is that the very nature of the Internet lends itself perfectly to Network Marketing. After all, the "net" in "Internet" is short for Network!


Whether it is one of the causes or one of the effects of Internet proliferation is a question that may never be fully resolved. But either way, the concept of Mass Collaboration has steadily gained credibility among people from all walks of life as probably the best way to hurdle the most intimidating challenges. By definition, Mass Collaboration is a form of collective action involving extremely large numbers of people, each working independently but all contributing to the advancement of a common project. In short, Mass Collaboration is large-scale synergy. There are many popular examples of this, such as the online interactive encyclopaedia, Wikipedia; and the massively popular social networking sites like Facebook and Multiply. But the most noteworthy ones are those that show Mass Collaboration in a business environment.

One of the most famous cases of this is the development of the Linux computer operating system. In the second half of the 1980s, as computers were beginning to find their way into the mainstream of modern life, programmer and freedom activist Richard Stallman was busy creating the building blocks of a "free software"-based operating system. His goal was to enable people to use computers without having to spend hefty amounts of money on the software needed to run them. By 1990, his project was nearing completion, although there were still a few components that needed to be designed. But it wasn't until 1991, with the help of Linus Torvalds-who was himself a programmer working independently-that Stallman realised his dream of having a free computer operating system. Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds, who had been complete strangers, had given birth not just to the Linux operating system, but also to the concept of Mass Collaboration.

Seeing the value of the concept, Stallman and Torvalds made the source codes of the Linux system publicly accessible through the Internet. In the years that followed, countless independent programmers from all over the world experimented with these codes, made their own modifications to suit their particular needs, and posted their inventions back on the Internet, for the rest of the software community to use or improve on. With so many programmers developing the system, Linux soon became the most reliable and bug-free computer operating system, which enabled it to dominate the market of large-scale data servers. Today, Linux is slowly but surely invading the area of personal computers and giving Microsoft Windows a serious run for its money.

A lesser known but more dramatic example of how Mass Collaboration is changing the world's business landscape is the case of a Canadian mining company named Goldcorp. Beset with labour issues, mounting production costs and a lack of reliable data on new places to mine, Goldcorp in 2000 decided to violate one of the mining industry's cardinal rules-it published all of its top-secret geological data on the Internet, and challenged the world to come up with the best proposal for where and how Goldcorp can conduct its next mining project. Intrigued by the radical move and attracted to the $575,000 prize, graduate students, management consultants, scientists, military officers and geologists from 50 countries flooded Goldcorp with priceless data on gold deposits and state-of-the-art mining-related technologies.

Since then, Goldcorp has found more than $3 billion worth of gold deposits in its Red Lake property in Ontario, Canada. The company itself, which was worth $100 million in 2000 (a dismal performance by mining standards), is now a mega-corporation worth $9 billion.

These are just two instances that demonstrate why Mass Collaboration is the wave of the future for the world's businesses. Hundreds more can be found in several books and academic papers that discuss the concept inside-out. All of these publications are unanimous in concluding that no single company, however huge and powerful, can match the performance of several independent bodies working in collaboration with each other. The isolationist mindset that governs traditional corporate business structures-where the aim is to eliminate all competition and be the only one left standing-is going the way of the dinosaurs. In this day and age, businessmen need to resist getting greedy, and instead treat everyone as a colleague with whom opportunities are to be shared, so that in the end everyone stands to gain more. This is the essence of Mass Collaboration. And it is the only key to survival.

And here's the good news, Network Marketers: if you haven't already realised it, you've had a huge head start, because Network Marketing is in fact a tried-and-tested, successful, 70-year-old Mass Collaboration!


While most people perceive it to be a relatively new business concept, entrepreneurship is actually a practice that has existed for many decades now. The term, "entrepreneur", found its way into business jargon as early as the 1950s, when maverick businessmen spurred the development of post-war economies with their radical and innovative ideas. The fact that, in spite of its long history, entrepreneurship is only now becoming widely understood is already evidence that it is a global trend whose time has come.

In a study conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2003, entrepreneurial activity was found to be significant in as many as 31 countries, with a fairly even distribution of third-world, developing and first-world economies in the list. Another report, published on the New England Journal of Higher Education, estimates that as of 2008, start-up businesses alone (excluding more established companies of 3 years or older) number approximately 70 million around the world. Other statistics are even more staggering:

* in 2005, about 460,000 small private businesses were created every single month, according to the Kauffman Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership;  

* the CIA World Factbook reports that there were more businesses created than children born per month in 2005;
* 60-80% of all new jobs in the United States are generated by small enterprises, according to the US Census.

But exactly what is this thing called entrepreneurship? Why are so many people getting into it these days? Whether the definition comes from a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or a business management textbook, three characteristics are common: (1) entrepreneurial activity usually happens in response to an obscure opportunity or an unanswered need; (2) it usually involves one person, or a very small group at most; and (3) it is done with considerable initiative and great risk on the part of the entrepreneur. Keeping these three characteristics in mind, it's tempting to simply conclude that the current global economic recession is the root of the rise in entrepreneurship activity over the past 10 years, and that when the recession subsides, the world will return to traditional business structures. This may be partially true. But upon closer study, the permanence of the trend towards entrepreneurship becomes clear.

First, whether or not the world is in economic recession, inflation is unstoppable. The simple reason for this is that our natural resources, from which almost every known commodity is made, are limited-and they are getting scarcer by the day. Thus, the costs of producing everyday commodities have no way to go but up. To traditional corporate business, this means a perpetual (and inevitably losing) battle to cut costs and keep profit margins up. It goes without saying that the ultimate victims of this battle are the corporate employees. U.S. statistics show that the job security and perks that employees used to enjoy are now all but gone from the world's big corporations-and even top executives are not exempt from this. And so, in a bid to secure better futures for themselves and their families, more and more people are deciding to get on the driver's seat and run their own businesses.

Second, perhaps as a result of the Internet revolution and the rise of Mass Collaboration, the "average Joe" of today is a lot more knowledgeable about the affairs of the world than his counterpart of 20 years ago. People today are much more keen to the possibilities that lie ahead in their lives-the opportunities that exist around them, and the unanswered needs of their fellowmen around the world. What's more, their membership in global communities (made possible by the Internet) emboldens them to accept the risks that go with embarking on an independent business venture, knowing that the resources and support systems they need are just a mouse click away.

Third, the computerisation of the world has set mankind free, while simultaneously enslaving us. Psychologists have argued that while computers were designed to take over certain tasks and afford us more time to live our lives, the opposite has happened-we have simply demanded more of ourselves, leaving us with even less personal time than before. And as human nature goes, it was when we lost all that personal time that we realised its value. The good thing is that the clamour for flexibility of time has never been stronger, and people are seeing more and more that entrepreneurship is the answer.


Aside from having life-changing influences on the modern human psyche, these trends are also closely intertwined. Each one serves to fuel the development of the other two, making them all the more unstoppable. Suffice it to say that within a very short time from now, the typical inhabitant of Planet Earth will be an Internet-savvy, self-empowered, enterprising individual who understands the immeasurable value of cultivating productive relationships with his fellowmen. Uncannily, this happens to be exactly the kind of person for whom the QNet opportunity was made.

At the end of the day, it doesn't take a genius to realise that we are at the dawn of the Network Marketing Era. Who can say how long it will last? The Industrial Age lasted for nearly 100 years; the Renaissance spanned at least three centuries. By all indications, Network Marketing is destined to rule the world's economy indefinitely. For now, the only certainty is that Network Marketing professionals have every reason to be utterly optimistic about their future; and that anyone who has yet to join the business has a crucial decision to make: ride the wave of the future, or stubbornly stick to the old, extinction-bound ways.


Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canadian National Report 2003

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