|Well, this is Rich DeVos in Ada, Michigan, coming forth once again
to chat a little bit with you, and to share a few ideas, and a little information and some
of the things that are going on. The primary purpose to this tape is to communicate to you
some of the things that went on at the Diamond Club in Hawaii, and I guess partly to make
sure we have the least amount of rumors and the most amount of facts running around as to
where we're coming at you from.
I guess another reason to talk to you right now has to
do with what we've seen on "60 Minutes" -- what we're seeing on
other television programs around the country, and some of the challenges that seem to be
coming our way at this time.
At the Diamond Club, I -- referred to them as "warts." Randy
Preston said, "Maybe you ought to call them 'blemishes,'" but I do not think
that's strong enough. Now let's first of all understand that I am not talking to new Distributors
-- this is not a sponsoring meeting -- I am talking to you as Direct
Distributors, as the heads of your organizations, as the ones that this company deals with
and looks to to carry on the leadership role in this organization. Now I recognize there
are other awards, and every award level, by the way, claims that they are the true
leadership, but as I told you when I was on the road with you, this Plan gears around the
simple fact that every Direct Distributor is in charge of their business, they are the
owners of it, they run it and they are the level to which we look to meet the day-to-day
responsibilities in the field organization.
So I'm talking to you as the leaders of the organization. I hope you have all due
respect for all the people below you and all the people above you, and that's just super.
I must emphasize to you, however, that you're the leadership, on a day-to-day
in dealing with your organization. Therefore, it's important you know some of these
things, and so, maybe we can give 'em to you straight and maybe share some of our concerns
Every since "60 Minutes" appeared, we have been inundated by mail. Both pro
and con. I think in all honesty I must tell you that the outside world, the people who are
in business, the people who are in government, the people who watch "60 Minutes"
quite regularly and critically and have a knowledge of media and so forth --
generally feel we came out very, very well.
Paul Harvey called me the other day and said, "You guys did a great job, I'm proud
of ya." And he wanted to call just to congratulate us. The head of a major
university's business school, I talked with him yesterday, and (unintelligible) "Boy,
you guys did as good as anybody's ever done. I was proud of ya. In fact, I had a bunch of
people in just to watch ya, because I knew you'd do well." Well, that's fine, but the
inside report from Distributors goes all the way from frustration to outright anger.
People who say they distorted us, they didn't show anything good about us, they could do
was find a few failures and show the extremes and why did ya pick those people, and why
didn't ya pick somebody else -- and all those rumors you got in your mind,
and some of those frustrations also.
Well, let me give you the background on "60 Minutes," it might help you a
bit. We were first approached a long time ago. We tried to put it off, we told them we
didn't think we were a good subject for the show, but they said they were going to do a
show, with or without us. And we finally took it upon ourselves to say that if they're
going to do it anyway, then we're not going to dodge it -- even if it's a
disaster, we're at least going to stand for what we believe and if they don't put our
thoughts on the tape, well that's up to them. But we're not going to run from it.
We had no control over the people they used. They took tape from all over the country.
They taped people on the West Coast, they taped people on the East Coast and they chose to
run the portion they ran. Now, you may not have liked, or I may not have liked it --
it's unimportant. That was their choice. The fact of the matter, however, is that watch
you saw is what was being presented at an Amway meeting. And I'm not going to knock it and
say it was so bad -- it's just that when you take a little piece out of a big
meeting, it can look not as good as you'd like to have it. You know, if you and I sit in a
meeting for three or four hours and we hear somebody say a few things like that, we'd
applaud. We'd say "Yeah, right on, and soar with the eagles -- why
not?" But when ya suddenly see that little section, one minute long, taken out of
context and flashed on a screen, it doesn't look quite the same. Does it? When a person
stands up and says "I'm going to have a ring for every finger..."
You know, I say sometimes at a Direct Distributor meeting where we're on a talk about
getting ahead in life and having some of the finer things in life, that sounds pretty
good. But when it's on a national television screen, as though it represented all of us,
and that all we think about is greed, or money, or rings, or cars, or buses, or whatever,
then it doesn't look very good.
Now, let's face it -- you and I know that's not the whole story --
they know it's not the whole story -- and those that don't like us come to
their own conclusion. But you see, when you grab thirty seconds or a minute out of a whole
meeting, you get a distorted view. That wasn't the whole meeting - there was
lot more to the meeting, and probably much more balanced in the meeting, but that isn't
what they chose to show, and so it comes off that way.
Now let's, therefore just -- not get excited about it, figure we came out
of it 50-50, 60-40. We wish it had been a 15 minute ad but it
wasn't. It wasn't all bad, it wasn't all good, but it did show a presentation of how we
Now, we also have got -- some of you know -- some problems in
other states with legal authorities, we -- who -- also say we're
not saying it right, we're not presenting the Plan correctly, we're over claiming and
understating what'cha have to do.
We have guys in the -- Legal field -- uh, Attorneys General
-- who don't like our curiosity approach, and -- and, so we've tried to
-- lay before the Diamonds and I'm trying to lay before you and -- and
-- really asking for your help. We've got to find a way to make a better image.
You know, one of the reasons we use the curiosity approach is because people have
preconceived ideas of what Amway is. You and I know what it really is, but they have a
distorted or warped view; and therefore, if they thought they were coming to an Amway
function, they would probably say "No" because of their preconceived ideas.
Therefore, would we do is use the curiosity approach, but when it's used indirectly, all
we do is give a further bad image for the organization. And people begin to say,
"What's the matter, are you ashamed of what you're in? Do you have to be tricky,
deceitful, lie to get me to come to a meeting? Tell me it's a fund-raiser,
tell me it's a -- it's a how to save money on taxes -- it's a
social event" -- whatsa matter with you people, what happened to your
ethics? And I have to tell you, that what we're running in to. And that's why we're asking
for your total help to stamp out the curiosity approach. If you can't use it correct, then
don't use it at all. Then invite them to an Amway meeting, and when they tell you they
know all about that, then ask them some questions, such as, "If you know all about
it, how does the Diamond Bonus work. How does the Emerald bonus work? Do you know how profit-sharing
works." When they say, "No, I don't know that," then you jump right on them
and say "You don't know about Amway, you better come to the meeting.
(Unintelligible) . . . that's how you overcome that, but I'd rather have you have to go
through that little verbal battle rather to deceive a person and tell them it's not an
Amway meeting and then when they get there an hour after they sat down they discover it is
an Amway meeting. You know, that's deception, that infuriates people, and that gives this
company, and you, a bad image. And so we need your help on some of that stuff, we just got
to clean it up.
I get too many letters in here from people who are still being told, "You don't
have to sell products, we're in a marketing group, we're just in a marketing outfit. No
selling is necessary." Now you know, that's a lie. (Unintelligible) . . .
you can't stay in this business and be a liar and expect us to have a decent image, and I
need your help.
Those aren't big things, those are just little things, but you know, we're a big
company and we no longer can afford to do little things wrong, because everybody's
watching what we do, and therefore we got to do even the little things right --
now, I know you're growing up in business and you're -- you're just trying to
get business and you don't know all of the legal ramifications, you don't know all the
complications, you just do things because you think you're -- you're doing
them right, but that's why we insist that you must do them our way, not because you're
dumb or inept or a jerk, we ask you to do 'em our way because this is a complicated
business and this is a complicated world, and there are certain ways that are right and
other ways that are wrong. And I need your help -- when I say, "Do it
our way," that not to take your creativity away, it's just that with a million of us
out there and each got their own little twist or turn or idea, and they think it's cute,
it may be cutely illegal, possibly improper and could be creating a bad image that we were
talking about. Now we addressed all that stuff at Diamond Club and I -- I
told all the Diamonds I need their help, I'm telling you I need you're help on cleaning up
some of these situations.
Now, I got -- as we said -- I got stacks of letters that came
in -- I -- I can't tell you how many of people have written.
Hundreds and thousands -- and here's -- here's --
just one letter from one dear lady from the East -- and I won't give her
name, I didn't do it for that reason, she's talking about "60 Minutes:
"Please don't misunderstand, but a number of people not even in the business
stated to me that you did not come out strong enough against the hype, hoopla, exaggerated
claims and obvious mixing of born-again, fundamentalist revivalism with
business that was shown."
Then she goes on to say:
"I have no idea, of course, why they edited it that way, but, they did."
Now, I can . . . (unintelligible) . . . I can . . . her letter is many pages long, and
she told how -- she finally switched groups because she was so tired of that sort of
treatment. Still in the business, but still got a bad taste in her mouth.
You know, I got another one over here. And this is the stuff I am receiving, and it
comes in the backwash of "60 Minutes." Somebody said:
"I consider myself to be the victim of aggressive Directs and their upline. I got
caught in an ambitious and aggressive group."
If this was an exception letter, you guys and gals, I wouldn't beat it at ya. I got too
many of 'em, and therefore I'm going to share it with you, although I know that it's a
little negative, but I have to get to you, I have to get your attention that we have to do
some things to change our image, and we need to the help of all of you.
(Unintelligible) . . . I consider myself to be an -- ambitious, aggressive
group. Directs, that was (sic) determined to reach their set goal at the expense of the
Distributors, come hell or high water. Their philosophy, "Mortgage your home, cash in
your insurance, get a bank loan and borrow from whosoever will loan you.
We were told in our, and I'll leave the name out because it would identify the
organization, in our so and so meeting, certain things discussed were to remain within the
walls wherein discussed or suggested.
Then the goes on to tell how he was harassed at this job.
Whoever was teaching that, and it was not some little new Direct, was teaching an
illegal, immoral, improper system. I can't tolerate it.
You know, we've been talkin' to you for years that you don't buy a position in Amway,
you earn it, and, here, blatantly, being taught inside a meeting, and then being told
don't tell anybody, are methods that go contrary to everything we've heard.
We've always said you earn your position in Amway and you don't buy it. And here I see
it being done, and I want to tell you, we're -- monitoring new Directs, we're
monitoring anybody who gets a higher award, we have a whole department today that is
monitoring, just because we have some people who got abusive with it.
Now, I just got to lay these things on you, I -- I need your attention,
and I -- some of you guys who are doing it is the one (sic) I am talking to.
I'm not talking to the rest of you. But some of you continue doing things that we are not
going to tolerate, and we are in the process of establishing a whole new policing
department in this company, because we have been unable to voluntarily get you to decide
to do the things that are right and will improve the image that we have.
Here's another person, and that's the last one I'm gonna read to ya, but she --
she chew me out. And, so -- uh, you know, turn-about's fair
play, they say, and I don't doubt that. She said, "I'm painfully aware that I'm very
insignificant cog in the big company wheel." But for what it is worth my opinion is
that our president, Rich DeVos, for whom I have the greatest respect, is now obligated to
bite the bullet and act on his own voiced beliefs. I recall two of the very impressive
statements which punctuates (sic) my point.
The first is a quote from a 1965 recording of the "Four Winds," where he told
the Junior Achievers, "Before you go out to clean up the world, you had better learn
how to clean up your own room." Boy, how's that for having' it thrown back at you?
And how right it is, and how right-on it is, that a person would do that.
She goes on to say -- I had another quote, which I put on a tape right after the
Manifesto came out: "If we are allowed to pick and choose the rules by which we will
abide, and ignore the others, then we have chaos."
Wow, that's a direct quote, from another person. As I told you, they come in by the
stacks. I take 'em home by the pile at night, and just sit there are read through them,
wishing I could answer all of them, but many of them carry this message, that we've got
some things to do.
Well, that's partly what we addressed when we were in Hawaii. By the way, I do have one
more here, I see it on the bottom of my list, and . . . and he's gettin' on
my case, he says, "You gotta do something to change this image of this company."
Well, I wish I could tell you that we're gonna buy Bob Hope, and he's gonna be on
television, he's going to be sponsored by Amway, and that that's gonna change it. Well,
it's not going to change it. It will help, 'cause he's willing to come on the line for
Amway and talk about Amway -- you'll love the ads, by the way, they're great,
and it will get to a lot of people.
There's only one thing we can do the change the image, you've got to do some things
about the way we are conducting ourselves in this business to correct them. Therefore,
what I got down to at the Diamond Club, by the way, and this sort of fell out afterwards,
you know -- one of the things that we announced at the Diamond Club --
and it -- Amway has been working for three years on the matter of how to cope
with the tape business. Should the company get in it, should it stay out of it, how far
should it get in it, should it have -- uh, uh -- dollar amounts
paid to certain levels, pin levels -- should it -- should it
-- have BV -- shouldn't it have -- we have just put it
off all these years.
But you know, we finally concluded, and that's what I announced at Diamond Club, that
we are going to put BV on tapes. By the ways, our tapes in the United States will sell for
$2.50 and in Canada they'll be $2.95, we will pay full BV -- now understand,
no PV -- so you'll get the Business volume. The reason for that is a very
simple one, so that you get the Point Value out of this business by doing your regular
Amway business. However, because of the cost of doing some of the motivational materials
and handling tapes, you can get business volume on it.
In other words, you can't make Direct by selling tapes. You make Direct by selling the
regular line Amway products, but you will get Business Volume on the other. Now, from our
standpoint, that's the kind of a simple things, you know, that's absolutely consistent
with the Plan, it awards everybody fairly in relationship to what they do in it, it
protects the upline, it protects the downline, and it was kind of a simple thing.
Uh -- primary reason was because we got a lot of people in this business who don't have
a tape program and they're saying, "Why don't you put something out; that's legal and
proper," and we finally said fine. We're going to put out legally clear tapes that
give it straight, and that you can rely on, we're going to put them out at a price we
think it right, we'll put a little BV on 'em so that you recover some of the costs, and
-- we have a little hooker in there, by the way -- the BV on
tapes can never exceed twenty percent of your total Business Volume. Now, I haven't
figured out what to do if you go to twenty-one percent, but we will, we may just not pay
you on it -- because when your tape volume becomes so great in relationship
to your regular business, then you are no longer in the Amway business --
you're in the tape business.
Now, the tape business, if it is not used as a support for the Amway business, will
oftentimes be an illegal business -- in fact, it could be called a pyramid
-- because, d -- does not get sold to the consumer. Which means that
all the tape business does is take money out of the organization, and because the final
person can't retail it, it never brings money into the organization. Now, I'm not arguing
about the value of it -- we accept the fact that motivation is vital to this
business. Good, honest motivation is important to the business. But, it must be motivation
that builds the business -- not become a business in itself.
And some of you have made it a business unto itself. And you're making a lot of money
on it, and all I'm saying to you, well, I can't tell you whether you can or you can't, I
can't tell you whether it's legal or illegal, I'm not checking on your business right now.
But we have to provide an alternative to the Direct Distributor in this business in a fair
and legal and honest manner as a support device for the main business. And so we decided
to put BV on tapes.
We really didn't think it was a big deal. I was a little surprised, and I am surprised
today to the reaction of some people to our doing this. (Unintelligible) . . .
"You're cutting into my tape business, you can't do that." Listen, we've been
putting out motivational materials in this company for 23 years. We've been putting out
tapes longer than anybody in the business. The mere fact that we decide to put BV on it is
a corporate decision, we make corporate decisions everyday to make a product a sales aid,
or to put it in BV. We do those things everyday. So our doing this was not a big deal from
the corporate standpoint, and so we're a little surprised. We never really considered it
being confrontational, we considered it as a way to take care of all the good, Direct
Distributors in this business and letting him share in some of the dollars in it, for
motivation, as long as it didn't get out of control and become their main business, and
that's why the controls are placed in it.
I really find it hard for anybody to argue with Amway putting some profit in tape
-- uh -- for the Direct Distributors -- uh -- even though
I've gotten some of that reaction, but that's a whole subject, and -- I just,
we just dropped the tape thing there, and -- and we'll move on to the
-- the bigger picture, you know, the bigger thing -- by the way,
that's effective March 1, and uh, you'll be getting price lists and notifications on it,
and those of you that don't have a good tape program or any tape program it's --
we think we're going to begin to offer you a good program you can offer to your
organization in balance to motivate your people, uh -- I'm not trying to push
them, I'm not trying to jam 'em at ya -- I'm just saying that if you feel
there is a need for more tapes in your group for motivational reasons, we're going to have
some available. Uh, and so -- uh -- we don't call it a program
or a system, we just are adding BV to our tapes and going to expand our tape library to
better serve those of you that have a need for such a thing.
Another upshot of everything else, therefore, at the Diamond Club, and all the
discussion, led me to challenge the Diamonds, and I -- I want to challenge
you with 'em today. I may have sounded a little angry to you. I'm not really angry. I'm just
-- I'm concerned. I -- I am vitally concerned about the image that
this Company is portraying. And I think we've got some bad actors in this business, and
you know we have. And I am imploring all of you to do two things. Number one, clean up
your act. And number two, if you know people who are continuing to do things improperly
after all of this, then I want you to write us a note and just tell us who's doing it. Don't
-- I don't need 419's right now. I just want to know so we can track the improper
ones: And if we find somebody is cross-grouping, and if somebody's coming to
you and asking you to buy their system or their tape program, then you let us know, 'cause
that's cross-grouping. And just put it in a letter.
Say, "so-and-so came in to see me today to try to get me to sell their
stuff." And, you see, then we can put a quick track on anybody who is violating one
of the basic principles of this organization. And we'll begin to spot them; and we'll get
to them. And then we can take our action from there. But we need your help on getting us
some of that information. But, more than that, we need your help in making sure the way
you're doing it is proper in your own group.
These are the ten things I put before the Diamonds, and let me just put 'em before you.
I asked the Diamonds, by the way, that if they agreed with these Ten Points to write me a
letter or to stick it on the note pad that was in front of them in the meeting room. All
they had to say to me was, "Rich, I agree with you. We support those Ten Points, and
we will teach them to our people. And, you know, I received such letters from almost
everybody who was there. Not everybody, but I did receive them from most of the Diamonds.
So I have them in my file, and I know who has pledged their support to uphold these
things. And while we're not in a meeting and I can't ask you exactly the same thing in the
same way, to hand it to me when the meeting's over with, and scribble it on a piece of
paper, if you feel so inclined, you might want to write a note and say, "Rich, I
support your Ten Points, and I'm gonna uphold them in our group, and I'm gonna teach them
to our people and see if we can't clean up our business so we can present a better image
to the world." So, I'm not -- I'm not necessarily going to take a role
call on it, but if you feel that way, sometimes, you know, it helps your own commitment,
and it might make you feel a little better to let us know where you stand. Just say,
"I am with you." Just stick it on a postcard. I don't care. Just say,
"Rich, I stand with you on the Ten Points," and we can go from there.
Now, here they are. They're not very complicated, but they do get down to some of the nitty-gritty,
and I'll explain them to you as I go.
- Number One: I will unplug from any group, up or down, which is not in my
line of sponsorship.
You know, a lot of you, got your fingers dirty. You got your hands a little bit into
somebody else's group, or you're dealing into somebody else's group that's not in your
line of sponsorship, or you're getting stuff from somebody. I'm just asking you to unplug
it. Tend to your own business; stay in your own line; deal only with the people you
sponsor. The other people are not in your group; they are not your business; and if you
are a believer in this Plan, then you'll believe in the principle. If it's okay for you to
intrude somebody else's group, then it's okay for them to intrude yours. If it's okay for
you to intrude somebody else's group; then it's okay for somebody above you to go around
you and intrude your distributors below you. You and I know you can't tolerate that. We
can't stand it, and you've got to agree to stand on it. If you do, send me a note. I know,
there are some old, historical associations. Some of you had 'em goin' back ten years. I'm
not going to come running over and try and police it; but I'm saying you should start to
think in terms of unplugging and gettin' your act cleaned up.
- Number Two: I will only use Amway-produced literature in the presentation
of the Plan and will use only the figures Amway gives.
We have a major lawsuit going right now with an attorney general in one of the states
based on people making what they say are excess claims and telling people they hardly have
to work at all, telling them you can make $50,000.00 a year and you only have to work
twelve hours a week. Now, you and I both know, you know; that -- that just
can't be put up with. And, therefore, I have a very simple statement to you: Don't create
numbers of your own. You use the numbers and the literature we give you, and nobody
else's. You don't have any tapes in your group to teach you how to present the Plan other
than the one Amway has. That's what I mean by following Rule Two.
- Number Three: I will not make my willingness to help a distributor
conditioned on their purchasing my Tape of the Week or anything else I sell, which is
beyond the basic Amway-supplied material.
I tell you why that's in there. I got too many letters from people who have told me that
they were told that if they didn't support their upline and buy his or her tapes, then
they would not give them any help. I can't put up with that. It is a sponsor's
responsibility to train, motivate and supply their people. That's for the privilege of
being the sponsor; not whether they buy some extra things you've decided to sell. If you
have people in your group that you don't want, then let us know and we'll reassign them to
somebody else; because if you're unwilling to take care of them because you are willing to
sponsor them, then let me know. There are no conditions on servicing distributors. All of
your distributors are serviced the best you know how, whether they buy a tape of the Week
from you or not.
- Number Four: If I offer tapes, books and rallies, they will always be
presented on a voluntary basis. No strings, no pressure, and no force.
And by 'force' I mean such as saying to somebody in your group that "You must take
ten tickets. You must take a hundred tickets. Here's your hundred tickets. Pay me for 'em.
You better get rid of 'em. We're going to fill this hall. Or saying, "You must
subscribe to Tape of the Week, or I won't work with you." That's force. You know, you
offer these things, but you do that voluntarily. If you do it that way, fine. It doesn't
diminish your willingness to work with them. Pure, voluntary use of support materials. By
the way, you ought to be very careful, because the moment you do anything more than what I
am saying to you to do, which is voluntarily offer them, you are going to run the risk of
having an employer/employee relationship. That's the last thing you need.
- Number Five: If I teach the curiosity approach, it will be in accordance
with Rule Six, as passed out at the end of the meeting.
Well, I can't pass it out to you today, but Rule Six really says if you're going to use
curiosity, you must tell them they are coming to a business-type opportunity
meeting. You may not tell 'em it's a social event or a coffee or a church event or a fund-raising
event or a how-to-save-money-on-taxes event. All that is deception. You must
tell 'em it's a business opportunity meeting. If they ask you if it's Amway, you say
'yes.' That's what the Rule says. If I were doing it, I would say to people ahead of time,
and I wanted to use curiosity, "I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I want you
to come." If they said to me, "If that's the way it is, I'm not going to
come," I'd say, "Well, fine, then, say home: You spent all your life telling me
that you wanted to get ahead, you weren't happy with your conditions in life, you don't
like your job; and now I ask you if you'll give me two hours to come and hear about
something and you tell me you're not going to come. (inaudible) stay home." See?
Don't beg people. Finally, you get down to challenging them to come or not come.
- Number Six: I will not produce any literature or tapes about the Plan or
I know you present the Plan magnificently, but what you don't always know are the fine
points that we have to cover in all fifty states, plus satisfying the government, to make
sure we say it exactly right. And that's why we cannot permit you to produce any such
- Number Seven: I will not hide behind group names.
We are proud of our group and like our own identity, but we will not use it as a
subterfuge to say we are not in Amway. This really is a hot one, folks. People are saying,
"Oh, we're in X-Y-Z organization. We're not in Amway." If you are
signed on an Amway application form and if you have anyone you sponsor who's linked to
you, then you are in Amway. I don't care what other name you want to run under: By
implication, you are saying you're not in Amway: If you are asked, then you must say,
"I am in Amway." And if you're not willing to say that, then don't send me any
- Number Eight: We will work together to build our own businesses while
creating an organization that truly cares about every distributor in it. We will talk
about the big picture -- no problem -- while making sure we do
not diminish those who choose to do less or make them feel like losers.
I hear that very often. "There's winners and losers. Are you a winner? Are you a
loser?" Almost insulting people who don't sign up. You even got bad terminology.
"We're the winners. Over here are the losers in life." They're not losers. They
may have a richer, fuller life than those of you that got fancy cars and new clothes or
big rings have got. You know, they -- Life is not geared by materialism. You
do not decide who's a winner or a loser. There's too -- Life is too
complicated for that. We must make sure we always speak of everybody being a winner, even
though they may have different goals. My plea here is that when you have a program, you
make sure you have people on there who are making $100.00 and thrilled with it, as well as
those who make more. Present it as a plan so that everybody can realize their goal,
whatever it is.
- Number Nine: While recognizing the importance of financial goals, we will
attempt to use tact, t-a-c-t, and dignity so as not to create an image of
just money, money, money. Together we will create an organization, which loves and cares
for each distributor, regardless of level, and an organization which will be of service in
I don't mind you're making money. I don't mind your enjoying the things that money will
buy. But I do have a problem of presenting an image of an organization that has nothing in
it but greed, that has no concern for the poor or the hungry or for what's going an in
their community. It is time, folks, we changed our image and showed an image of a company
and of individuals who care about other people, no matter where they are economically. And
that while you may want to quietly talk about your new cars or your fancy rings, you also
talk to people about the other values that the Amway business brings, such as the
wonderful idea of being associated with people who are positive, the great and good things
that happen by -- by making an extra $100.00 a month, the fun of --
of being in an organization that is in a positive frame of mind. All the other, little
things we don't talk about: the joy of bringing up our children in an atmosphere of
positive thinking; you know, have our kids hang around people -- the joy of
having our kids see something else other than the back yards of their neighbors' houses
and never get more than fifty miles out of town, to be able to open your children's minds
to music and to the arts. All of that is what we got to talk about, not just whether we're
making some more money.
- And Number Ten: I agree with the principle and will observe the rules
relating to PV/BV transfers. We will do all we can to make sure no PV/BV
is transferred to anyone who did not honestly buy it and who was complying with the
seventy percent rule.
In other Words, I need a pledge that you will not inventory load, that you will not push a
bunch of stuff on somebody to win a pin or to earn a trip; but that they will, indeed,
have not only bought the Amway products, but have, in turn, sold them so that they got
retail and the money came back in. In direct contrast to what I read to you in a letter
earlier, "go out and borrow the money to make it." I could tell you horror
stories about every company I've ever lived with and fought against, who did inventory
loading, asking people to borrow money to make a pin level. We have watched at least a
hundred such companies come, and we have watched all of them go; and they are all broke
and long gone. We cannot tolerate this business. We must stick to the principle that the
people we hang pins on did so because they built a strong, Amway-centered business, built
on what they did conforming with the rules of rewarding people on the basis of
performance, not on the basis of their ability to beg, borrow or steal money.
Well, that's quite a Directly Speaking tape. Heavy? Well, maybe. But, you know, folks,
this is a serious time. What you saw on "60 Minutes" was probably not all to
your liking; it was not to mine. But the beautiful part of it is that Mike Wallace, when
he was here, said, "You know, this is the most phenomenal thing." He was
intrigued with the lives we were touching and the things we were doing. He was intrigued
with the motivation, the lifting up, the spirit of the people. He was convinced; when he
went to shoot those pictures at that meeting in North Carolina, that he would find nothing
but Bible-belt Baptists, all white, only to find blacks and Jews from New York City, all
mixed in. He said, "We couldn't believe it. This was a cross-section of
America, people trying to get ahead, and we were impressed." Well, they may not have
shown that in their programming, but, you see, we know that they could have done a lot
worse for us. And, so, we're grateful to them for showing us our warts and for helping us
to remind ourselves that we got to "clean up our own room," as the one lady
wrote and placed it so well. That if we are really going to go out and impact this world,
we got to do it with clean hands. And right now, some of you have got to ask yourself
these ten questions. Some of you have got to ask yourself whether you're really in the
Amway business or whether you're in the tape business. You got to ask yourself whether
you're really in the rally business or in the Amway business. You must ask yourself if
everything you're doing is to support your Amway business or is it really for a secondary
motive. We are, of course, a little prejudiced. But, you see, it is the Amway Plan that
you run under, and we really cannot tolerate people running under the Amway Plan and then
doing such things that destroy the image of all other Amway distributors.
And, so, we're off and running. We're on to the subject, and I hate to confront you
with it. But I think for most of you, you'll recognize that if we aren't careful with our
image, some day it'll be so bad, you won't be able to sponsor anybody. And then there
won't be any sense in talking about it anymore. But right now, this night, at the meetings
you have today, with the people with whom you talk today, is the time to make sure you
present the Plan as a plan that offers opportunity geared on hard work and that you
approach people honestly and straight-forward and don't try to deceive them, and then you
don't try to push stuff on your nice distributors because you make money on it when it may
or may not be totally necessary for them.
I know some of the tapes are magnificent. I know they're important, and I know rallies
are important, and I know books are important. I know all that's important --
all important within balance. Out of balance, it can destroy us.
And so, we're on the road. Thanking you again for a great year and thanking you ahead
of time for your cooperation because it is my belief that each one of you, when you
realize what's really going on in this business, will say, "Rich, you're right. I'm
with you. We do got to clean up our act. And it isn't just in the other guy's group. I got
some stuff to do with my own group." And if all of us will take that to heart right
now, we will begin to build the new Amway, based on sponsoring people in a very simple,
straight-forward manner, to join the fastest-growing, most magnificent outfit
in the world that offers people at the bottom of the rung a chance to make a beginning.
And we will focus our attention on selling products.
Expo is just hitting the road. It will be in Atlanta next week for its opening thing.
Dick, my son Dick, and Roger just came back from Cleveland where they built it; and
they said it is absolutely magnificent; it is going to stun them when they see this new
traveling show. We have two new semi's that are traveling across the country, carrying
this from city to city. Bring every customer you get. In fact, go get ten of your friends
who think you're nuts for being in Amway. Invite 'em over for dinner and say, "We're
going to go to the Amway Expo." Or tell 'em you're going to take 'em out to show 'em
the Amway Expo and
[page of transcript missing]
So we'll be in touch with you. We'll see you all, and thanks for being great people.
This is Rich in Ada with great gratitude for all of you. Bye-bye.
STATE OF OHIO )
COUNTY OF HAMILTON )
I, KATHLEEN M. McCLELLAN, a Court Reporter and Notary
Public for the State of Ohio, commissioned and qualified, do
hereby certify that the foregoing twenty-nine (29) pages
constitutes a true, correct and complete transcript of Directlv
Speaking, Rich De Vos, Amway Cassette Series VAL-2l50, which was
transcribed by me and/or under my direction.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and
notarial seal at Cincinnati, Ohio, this 29th day of March, 1985.
Directly Speaking, Date Unknown
(probably Feb. or March 1983),
Spoken by Rich DeVos
Amway Cassette Series VA-2160
sounds/directly_speaking_II.zip Directly Speaking II - side A in .mp3 (3.6Megs) Directly Speaking II - side B in .mp3 (2.6Megs)
Well, here we are again in Ada, Michigan, and this is Rich. You might not know it, but
today is my birthday. It's the 4th day of March, and I'm 57; so you won't have to spend a
lot of time discussing it. And since it's the second Directly Speaking tape dealing with
some of the real challenges that this organization faces right now, I thought maybe we
ought to kind of get back to some fundamentals a little bit and then see if we really
can't answer a lot of the questions that have come to me.
My mailbag, since the last Directly Speaking tape, has been very heavy. Many, many of
you have written letters, saying, "It's about time," "Thank goodness,"
"Hallelujah," and a few other joyful expressions. My desk became piled high with
people saying, "I support you in your Ten Points." And if you haven't written
such a letter and you feel that way, I'd still urge you to write it. We are down to a
point of trying to find out who really supports this Amway program; and, if after
listening to the last Directly Speaking tape you felt like you wanted to stand and yell
and say, "We stand with you," and never bothered to write, it's important that
Let me just see if I can't reiterate a few of the important things that I think are
facing us right now, some principles that are involved. And it is, of course, the reason
that I am writing, or, why I'm talking to you, as -- as Direct Distributors.
Someplace along the line, we lost sight of the fact that the Direct Distributor is the
operating head of their organization. All due respect to the upline. I don't care who they
are; I don't care what pin level they are. Many of you have heard me talk over and over
again about the fact that if your sponsor did nothing more than tell you about Amway, they
opened a door of opportunity for you; but only you can walk through it. And those of you
that I'm talking to today are Direct Distributors; you took the challenge; you walked
through that door, and you became a Direct Distributor in the world of Amway. In our book,
that makes you the head, the star the outstanding performer, who, unlike many others who
looked at it and listened and either turned it down or did nothing with it, you did, and
you are to be commended.
I'm disturbed, because I find too many people are putting Directs down and saying, Oh,
what are you? "You don't know enough," a Diamond's where it's at. And you know,
it's true; we have a lot of awards at Diamond. But we decided a long time ago in this
company that Direct Distributor is where it's at. After all, a Diamond is only a person
who has six Direct Distributors, and a double Diamond is one who has twelve; but this
whole Plan revolves around the leadership of the Direct Distributor. And that's, of
course, why we're talking to you.
I'd like to get through some of the kind of negative stuff that's come on my desk,
also. As I told you, I've a lot of positive responses. I also have a lot of horror
stories, stories that must have been swept under the rug or hid behind the curtains, that
should have been brought to our attention a long time ago -- and I know, in some of the
cases, they were brought to our attention, and we did nothing about it; and I apologize to
you for that. Maybe we overlook some things, maybe we are blind and maybe we swept some
things under the rug, too, and thought it would just sort of go away. Only some of these
things did not go away; they just got worse.
And, so let me see, now, if I can just take some of the questions that you've sent to
me, some of them in anger, very mad at us for doing a simple thing, like putting BV on
tapes. None of us here ever realized that we would cause to come out in the open all that
has now come forward; but I must assure you that now that it is out in the open, we have
no alternative but to move forcefully and directly on all the things that are now before
us here. We cannot turn our back. We cannot sweep it under the rug. We must deal with it;
and deal with it, we will. And we are developing the resources inside this company to
attack it on a one-by-one basis.
One of the complaints that we received was, "Why do you always act as though we
are all guilty when it's only some who are guilty? Why don't you praise the rest of
us?" And, you know, I think that's a marvelous idea; and I do try to praise you. I --
I would praise you now for being who you are and where you are. But, you see, it's sort of
like trying to find out where the problem is, only you don't know where the problem is;
and, so, you sort of have to swing wide. And, in the process, yes, indeed, you do
sometimes harm those you really should be loving. But I also found out that in the past,
when we have done work to resolve specific problems and we didn't tell everybody about it,
we got accused of not doing anything.
So, on the one hand, if I talk openly to all of you about some of the challenges, I am
accused of painting everybody with a broad brush and making them feel guilty. On the other
hand, if I don't talk to you openly about all of these problems, great numbers of you
think we are doing nothing. And, therefore, as adults, as leaders of the business, which
is what you are, as the operating heads, as the responsible party, we must share with you
the problems of the business, as well as the challenges and the joys of the business. And,
I guess, I must trust that you are big enough to cope with both of those; so that on the
one hand, you don't get all bent out of shape because there are problems in the business
and lose your excitement for it, and on the other hand, that you don't get carried away
with your own power and greatness if we don't challenge you with some of these issues. So,
I don't want you to get to where it goes to your head; and, by the same token, I -- I
don't want to put you down; but I feel all of you must know what is happening, so that you
can react intelligently to it. If you don't know what the problem is, sometimes you don't
even know when you're being done in; and you should know some of those things that are
happening... And so, we'll kind of lay it on you.
Let me take some of the kind of nasty ones first. They kind of come in groups, by the
way. You can always tell when some person in the business -- perhaps in a leadership
position -- has called together his Directs and given them the word, because a whole bunch
of letters or telegrams come in; and they all say exactly the same thing. And, so, my
first reaction to those kinds -- and I have a little stack of those in front of me is that
obviously these people never thought the problem through. They are mouthing what somebody
else has told them to say, and they run along the line like this: "What happened to
your trust?" I don't know if I can trust you anymore," "You put BV on
tapes," "You cause me great concern." Maybe -- let me read you one.
"Disturbed by Directly Speaking tape. Lacks mutual trust and respect. Need two-way
communication. Consider bonus increase at level price to cover inflated building cost at
distance." Interesting. I don't have one of those; I have several of them. They go in
a slightly different vain; but they're all saying, "You broke your trust when you put
BV on tapes."
Well, let's just talk about trust a little bit. How can we be accused of breaking trust
when all we did was do what they are asking us to do in the next sentence, put some more
money in the Plan? You know, the first sentence says, "You've broken your
trust;" the second sentence, "Put more money in the Plan." You know, you
shouldn't have sent the telegram. We just did; we put more money in the Plan for the
Direct Distributor and everybody who earns BV. Now, how can that break trust? I can see
where, if we had decided to eliminate a bonus, to remove items from BV and ask you to
handle them without anything, that you could accuse us of such a thing. I don't see how I
can possibly be accused of breaking trust when we have, indeed, enriched the Plan and
exactly in the form in which the Plan has always operated, which is a principle I think
those who have written such telegrams have forgotten.
This Plan was geared around the sharing of the opportunity with everybody in the line
of sponsorship. I think what some are saying to me is that we had a nice system that
shared it with only certain, selected people in the Plan; we split the money amongst the
Diamonds and the Emeralds; we didn't give it to anybody else. Trust? Whose trust? Whose
trust was betrayed? All those good sponsors who brought you all those other people who
were walked over, stepped on and bypassed? Do they deserve your trust? And then to
question whether we should be trusted, who have protected the Plan, is really an insult to
I am further fascinated, by the way, with this whole idea of "put more money in
the Plan, but don't raise the prices." I've heard that, you know, for a long time. I
guess, what that says to me, from a person who hasn't thought it through, "Give us
more. Take it out of the company's coffers; but don't charge more to the customer."
Sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds like the same kind of a problem that got the automotive
industry in trouble; like the same kind of a problem that got the steel company in
trouble; like the same kind of problems that have seen businesses go down the drain
forever, which is, "Oh, just raise the prices; give us more money." No way,
folks. There just is no way to continue to pay people more money for doing the same amount
In one of the telegrams, it said, "But we have to travel great distances."
Oh, do you? Who said you have to travel great distances? Who said you have to go from one
side of this country to the other to sponsor someone? You know, Jay and I started in this
business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We built our business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We
lived off the volume we generated in this town. We lived with the people we sponsored; we
lived with the ones who chose not to be sponsored. But we developed a reputation in our
own community of operating an honorable business, and we were able to sponsor people in
this town regularly. And when, finally, others developed in leadership roles in our
Nutralite business, we went fifty miles away to Lansing, Michigan, or we went to Holland,
Michigan, or we went to Detroit, a hundred and fifty miles away. And I remember driving
those nights; I remember coming out of Detroit after a midnight meeting and driving home
because it saved the twenty bucks of a hotel room, and we did it every week, year in and
year out. We didn't talk about suites; we just wondered where there was a cheap hotel to
You know, folks, it's time we got back to the fundamentals of this business. There is
no way to put a lot of money in this Plan, other than a very simple one. I can show you
how to double your income; and that is by doubling your volume. Somebody says, "Put
an extra one percent in at all levels." And those who don't know should know that a
one percent payout in the Plan at least is a four percent increase at the retail level.
And somebody glibly says, "Put some more money in at every level." Do you think
Direct Distributors are going to do flipflops over getting twenty-six percent instead of
twenty-five? I don't think so. But I can show 'em how to get an extra fifty or sixty
percent if they'll get out and sell some merchandise. I guess if I'd been told all these
years you don't have to sell the product, all you have to do is wholesale it to people,
then I guess maybe I wouldn't pay any attention to pricing, either. But that's an illegal
business. And those of you that preach it and foster it and talk about it are operating
illegally. I don't know how often I have to tell you that. I don't know how long I have to
keep insisting that you talk upon people retailing the product and gaining customers and
servicing them faithfully, only to have some of you just throw it up in the air and say,
"That's not our way. We don't teach that method." I got to tell you, you're
running the wrong method. You see, once you'd accept the fact that you must sell the
product at retail to have an honest business, then you suddenly are very concerned about
the pricing of the product. And once you understand that, you don't just glibly say,
"Oh, take it out of the corporate coffers; just raise the price a little bit;"
because those dollars do not exist there.
Somebody says, "You guys make a lot of money." That's right. And when you
have a billion dollar a year business, you'll make a lot of money. But I'll tell you, We
didn't make a lot of money by operating a hundred thousand dollar a year business and
seeing how we could suck it dry. We built a billion dollar a year business. And when you
work towards getting products retailed at that level, I'll tell you, we'll make money in
this business. The problem is, some of you are trying to figure out how to make a lot of
money without gettin' the volume that you need.
Somebody said, "I want to make more money." Let me tell you how. I don't have
an extra one percent for you. I got an extra fifty-five to sixty-five percent for you.
I'll tell you, folks, you can't beat that. But some of you have got a warped viewpoint of
what makes a business operate; and once you get back to the idea that your business will
grow in direct relationship to your ability to retail products, then you'll overcome the
biggest mental handicap you have right now. And, maybe -- Let me tell you something. Maybe
it's time you trusted the old, fifty-seven year old man instead of some people who been in
this business a few years and have never worked it at the fundamental level, and they're
telling you all about it. Well, let me tell you, maybe they don't know all about it. And
I'll make some more comments about that as I go along:
The other question always comes up, you know, and it's -- it's a -- it's a good
question: "Why didn't you bring it to the Board?" And maybe as I develop that
theme for you a little bit you'll catch on to a few other things and maybe there'll be
some applications to your own operations that you better start to think very seriously
Here's one of those letters: "We thought we voted on the Board to represent
us." Well, you voted for people on the Board to do certain things and, indeed, to
represent you and, indeed, to present your viewpoints and, indeed, to bring your opinions
to us on all legal issues. But, whoever told you, and all those of you who say, "It
should have come to the Board," whoever told you that doesn't know the law. Oh,
they're experts. But they're -- You know, it's like a -- like this old, western cowboy
used to say, you know -- He used to say, "All of us are ignorant, only on different
Now, you know, this is a very complex business world we live in, so let me put it to
you real fast and straight. The Board is, indeed, an organization that represents your
viewpoints. It indeed does visit with us on this business. But some of your so-called
experts, who are telling you that it should have gone to the Board, don't know, is that
for this company to discuss with the Board pricing on any product is a federal offense. It
is known as price fixing. And we have a little experience with that and the FTC, by the
way, that maybe your leader didn't tell you about or he forgot about it.
Maybe you've been reading in the papers lately about the president of a major airline,
who casually said to his competitor, "Why don't you raise your prices twenty percent,
and I'll raise mine?" And he has now been charged with a federal crime. Simple little
statement. And, so, whoever told you that you must insist we bring it to the Board doesn't
know what they're talking about.
But, you know, there's problems beyond that one. Let me just bring up another little
side issue for you, and not too incidental. Some of you are screaming at us on the twenty
percent. Some of you self-righteously say, "Oh, we have less than twenty percent in
tapes and books and side issues in our other business." The Amway Corporation does in
excess of a billion. If we only did ten percent -- not just in books and tapes; but let's
talk about rallies and all the other things we tell our people to pay for; put it all
Let's assume we're taking out a hundred million dollars a year. We have placed a
maximum on tapes and books at two hundred million that we would allow. I don't know what
you might allow. But when you get into those kinds of numbers, if you want to hear a
scandal, just read about it in the papers. You present wonderful numbers on the blackboard
about all the money they can make. Maybe you ought to tell them about all you're going to
take from them before they make any. Maybe that would be the rest of the story. But, you
see, those are fantastic numbers. Our legal people tell us, "Boy, if it gets over ten
percent!" Finally, they agreed, that maybe somewhere between ten and twenty is
acceptable. Maybe that would be considered reasonable by governmental authorities. We
assume it will be. We really hope it never gets to those numbers.
We didn't start out with BV on tapes to get to those numbers. We didn't start out with
it to capture the market. We put it in, by the way, to be a competing force and to draw
your attention to the kind of potential abuse that we thought was there, which we now know
is there, with a kind of power and pressure I never believed; and I am not going to take
all afternoon to read you the horror stories of the people who say, "I'm connected
with such and such a system. I have $8,000 worth of their tapes in my basement. They will
not take them back," and the others who were told to mortgage their houses, cash in
their life insurance, told to go to the bank to borrow because this big weekend seminar
was so important. Well, that's extracting money.
Let me talk to you about the legal side, beyond price fixing, that deals with pyramids,
that deals with the illegal operation of a business that does not have an end consumer,
where the product is not retailed. That would include all books and tapes. The sad news,
folks, is that when those things go out that way and they become excessive, beyond my ten
or twenty percent theoretical guideline, hopefully acceptable, to where it's a reasonable
support system, but not beyond the reasonable element, then it becomes an out and out
illegal pyramid. Why BV on tapes? That's why. It was time to bring some reasonableness to
all of this. We also didn't take it to the Board, by the way, because we didn't really
want to put a Board member on the spot. We have Board members who operate pretty big
systems. It would have been a kind of an embarrassment to put him in the crossfire; so we
just decided not to even discuss it at that level. Despite the fact that it would have
been illegal to do so, we just decided it would have been the wrong place to talk about
it, because we had to move to tend to some of the problems that I've just been discussing
Well, let me pause a minute and look through my grab bag of mail a minute and see if I
can't find if what -- a few other good examples for you and then plead with you to do some
very simple things. It's time to get on track. That's all. It's time to do some very
simple things, and they are ail outlined in the Ten Points that I gave you in last month's
tape. And if you haven't listened to it, listen to it again; because there's no sense in
my going all through it now. But, in truth, those Ten Points embody all the elements of
what we want to talk about.
And, now, let me give you some of the other expressions that I've received and --
without trying to be negative on it; just trying to touch the high points here. Here's a
little list. I'll kind of run through some of 'em. "You just want the tape business,
you greedy monster." That's a great question, isn't it? I really don't want the tape
business. As I told you before, if the tape business becomes a big business, I'm going to
have to cut it down to size. I'm going to have to restrict it. I don't want it to be a big
business. I want it to be exactly what it should be; and that is a reasonable, economical,
for the industry better support system to the [selling] and sponsoring in the Amway Plan.
That's all I want.
If the tape business becomes substantial and earns substantial dollars, I have a couple
of choices, one of which is to lower the prices; because we want to keep it at a
reasonable level. Why? Because the goal of Amway has always been one, and that is to give
the average guy on the street, who's scared to death of his mother-in-law, a chance to
make a new beginning. That's the principle. We didn't start this business to see what we
could take from him. We started this business to see what we could help them achieve; and
I'm afraid some of you got the business backwards. I'm not sure some of you are in the
Amway business. You really don't care whether that guy achieves. You like to think you do.
You give me long letters about how -- I got one here, and, you know, it says, "Before
I got in using tapes" my business was so much. Now that I'm using tapes, it's
doubled." Now I'm a Diamond, and I have done so well; and it's all because of the
tapes." I -- I'm -- I'm glad it -- it worked for you, Diamond. I'm proud of you. Why
don't I have a hundred thousand Diamonds if all it takes is the tapes? Why, it's so easy.
Just give 'em the tapes, and they're Diamonds next week. Or does it take four years? Who
you kidding? Who's been telling you that stuff? Do the tapes help? Sure, they help. Do
meetings help? Sure, they help. Are they the answer between winning and losing? No, they
Our achievement numbers haven't changed at all with this tremendous burden of systems.
I and you cannot prove an any higher ratio of achievement than you had before. Are they
better people for it? Possibly. Is it a good way of communication? Absolutely. Does it
help get good ideas through the organization quickly and effectively? You bet your life it
does. And, therefore, it is a helpful device.
Don't get me wrong. Don't say I said tapes were bad. I have never said tapes were bad,
because we sold 'em long before you did. We think they're a super means of communication.
Do I have a problem with big meetings and rallies? Lands no. I was putting on big meetings
and rallies before some of you ever got out of your diapers. I made speeches on that stuff
thirty years ago, before huge meetings. Some of you act like that's all new stuff. That's
not new stuff. It's only a question of how you operate it and where you price it and
whether the people feel it's worth it. And I've got to tell you, you got to review that
carefully. And a little competition will help keep you in line, too.
We11, let's try another one, since I am so greedy. "Why didn't you do it sooner?
Why do it now? It will be devisive." Now, those are good questions. We been lookin'
at it for three or four years. Three years ago we talked about it. Some of you sent
letters, said, "Why don't you put BV on tapes?" I can remember some of you guys
who were in big tape programs begging us to put BV on tapes years ago. We considered it.
We kept thinking the problem would go away. We thought competition between the people and
the field would keep the pricing down. But it didn't work that way.
There was a subtle pressure put into this organization that I never felt would exist. I
watch people being intimidated, threatened, coerced, scared. My mail has got in it letters
from people who didn't sign it. One man started, "This comes from John Doe. If I told
you who I was, I would be threatened; because I have been told never to talk to the
company. My upline is my source of all guidance and information." Hey folks, that's
scary. That is intimidation. If I only had one letter like that, I might have dismissed
it; but I had many more than one. And I have many others who signed their name, but spoke
of the same pressure, fear.
You know, we didn't put BV on tapes to really get into all this; but I'm sure glad we
did, because it brought a lot of things out in the open for us to deal with today that
really need tending to. And you will find that, by the way, as one of my Ten Points, in
not putting on pressure. Why do it now? Because now is the hour. Because if we waited
longer, in our opinion, the problem would have gotten worse.
And, then, the next one: "What will you do next? You act like a dictator" You
know what? I don 't know what I'm going to do next. We haven't discussed our next step,
other than policing the abuses in this business. What will I do next? Whatever it takes to
clean up this business. That may well represent a loss in volume. We may be seeing some of
that right now. But that's okay with us. We accept that.
It is our firm belief that unless we clean up our abuses, we won't have to worry about
what's next; we won't be here to worry about it. At this point in our history, we will
either take charge of this business and operate it correctly, according to the rules and
regulations that the Amway Corporation has given you, or we will not deserve to exist. I
do not wish to control your actions, your day-to-day work; but I don't want anybody else
out in the field controlling them for you either.
You know, when you became a Direct, we offered you a chance to be free and independent;
and then I read your mail, and I find out you've lost your freedom. And all we want to do
is give it back to you, to be as big or as small in Amway as you want to, to make as much
or as little as you like in the Amway Plan by working it, and to go to whichever meetings
you want to, and to feel comfortable to stay home if you don't want to, without being
branded a loser. Winners go to the meetings; losers stay home. Would you help me get rid
of such terminology?
There are no losers in Amway. There are people who choose not to do it; but who are you
to tell some teacher that chooses to spend the rest of his life as a dedicated teacher
that he's a loser? Who are you to tell a truck driver that chooses to spend more of his
time doing things other than Amway, and maybe just drivin' his truck, that he's a loser?
Whoever gave you a license to brand people? This business was designed to make everybody a
winner, to do as much or as little as they wanted to; and if they chose to do nothing, to
make them feel better for having had the experience. We only have winners in this
business; and then we have some other winners who choose not to do the business. They just
might be bigger winners in life than some of you that have branded them losers. I stand in
awe of all people, and I hope you do, too.
Well, then, some more comes. "Most of us don't make money on tapes or
rallies." Maybe that's true. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe only a few do. But the
Amway business was designed so that everybody shared in the profits of the business.
That's why we have a Plan that has balance to it. That's why there's three percent when
you sponsor a Direct, because the Direct does the bulk of the work, and they get the bulk
of the money. We do pay our bonuses forever, you know.
Somebody says, "Tapes can confuse us with different ideas." Yep. That's
possible, I guess. Maybe if we all preached and taught the one Amway Plan, we wouldn't
have any confusion. Maybe if we took it straight from the top, like it's supposed to be
said, we would be busy motivating, not treating or dealing with cute technique that varies
from the truth or the fundamentals. You know, one of the Ten Points deals with the
curiosity approach. I've listened to a lot of you defend the curiosity approach for a long
time because you said it worked -- just like that's the only criteria, huh? "If it
works, use it! If it feels good, do it" That's the slogan of the day. Not good
enough, folks. Because it works does not justify it unless it's honest; and we have gross
indications of dishonesty in that presentation. I need your help, folks. We must clean it
up; and we must come back to you in all of the things I've talked to you about.
I guess I'm overwhelmed at the reaction to a simple action; but apparently we hit a hot
button. What I hear some of you saying is that, "our other business is more important
than our Amway business, and you better not touch it." Well, maybe you ought to get
out in your other business; get out from under the cover of Amway and see how well you do.
Sell motivation; get on the road; see who shows up. Virtually every company that tried it
has gone broke, or at least disappeared. But I got to tell you, we got to get back to the
fundamentals in the Amway business.
The thing I want most for you is to increase your income; but I don't know any way to
do that, other than by increasing your volume. And I don't know any way to do that, other
than by sponsoring some new people who get some customers and retail products on a regular
basis. But I watched you skirt the issues. First you got afraid of selling; told people
they didn't have to. Then some of you came along, and you didn't dare own up to the fact
you were in the Amway business; so you had some cutesy names you contrived and kind of
flew the Amway flag upside down, hidden under the basket someplace, snuck it in about an
hour later, after the meeting began.
You know what I need to do? You know what we need to do? We need to get up front. We
need to come up (to) people and ask them if they'd like to get in the Amway business. And
if they say they know all about it, you and I know they don't know all about it, and we
ought to get 'em down and give the Plan exactly the way Amway's givin' it to you to
present. It's worked for twenty-three years; it'll work today; but it's got to be done in
a new, honest and straightforward method.
I've not tried to say to you, you can't sell tapes or books or motivational aids to
your people; but I am telling you that if your secondary business is other than a support
mechanism in a reasonable volume level in relationship to your Amway business, it may very
well be an illegal business. And that tells you one thing. If you believe in Amway, as we
do, and all the work that's gone into it for all these years, then it's time to get back
to protecting it.
And before I get too negative with all the people who've written me on the bad stuff,
let me just thank all of those of you who said, "Hooray," "Hip Hip,"
and "Cheers." We need your help to preserve one of the greatest things that's
ever happened in the last twenty-five years -- that is the development of a business that
gave an opportunity for a guy or a gal who never felt they had a chance.
There are fundamentals that work in this business. It will not hurt your people to hear
somebody else's way of doing it. Maybe you're afraid they'll hear a little different story
than you been saying; because maybe what you been saying hasn't been right. It reminds me
of the people who come and say, "Well, our people come home from the DD seminar all
confused." And I kind of laugh, and I say, "Maybe you sent them confused, and we
sent them home with the straight stuff." And I got to tell you, that's true.
I don't want all of you to feel guilty, but I hope those of you that are following the
Ten Points feel good about knowing that Amway is on to it. We are dealing with it one by
one. We are in contact, on a personal basis, with every person who's operating a system.
We are pointing out to them their liabilities and their responsibilities and the legal
implications of what they're doing, and asking them to correct it and change it
immediately. We are finding some encouraging signs. I will wait and see, before I really
am comfortable that the changes are being taken place.
When I wrote the Ten Points early one morning, sitting in Hawaii
before a Diamond club, I wasn't quite sure whether I touched all the bases. It is now six
weeks later; and whatever caused me to write those Ten Points convinces me today that we
just about got 'em all. One guy says, "You need an eleventh point." He says the
eleventh point is to separate business and religion. He said that would complete the list.
Well, maybe that is a good eleventh point, because it did all get mixed up; and we need
your help straightening it out.
And, so, before I sign off, let me just read through my pack a minute and see what I'm
missing; and then we'll turn you loose so you can go back tending to your Amway business,
which involves sponsoring people and selling the products.
Let's just see if I can't pick up on a few of the items we may have missed and -- and
not belabor all of this, other than to convey to you the urgency of this matter. The
twenty percent BV on tapes, by the way, is in relationship to the total amount of your
Amway business volume; and the maximum that you can have in audio, visual or support
material will be twenty percent -- at least in the items that have BV on them and are
designed for sale in your system. That is so we do not get unreasonable in the volume we
have on that -- not that we think twenty percent is good. We have some nervousness about
that; but, nevertheless, that's the way we're doing it right now.
We had talked a little bit, you know, about pricing and why we didn't go to the Board
with it, and I explained that to you, I think, legally. But, you know, this company has
always done the pricing and the placing of BV. It has never, in all of its history, been a
Board decision, and certainly, under today's climate, could not be so.
I do read some letters, here, that talk about 'us' making money on all of these things.
We really have designed and priced a great many of our materials to where we cover our
costs, and that's about it. All of our sales kits are sold exactly at what it costs us.
Then I receive a letter here from some Distributor, who operates with one of you, told he
cannot get an Amway kit until he buys their starter pack. Let me just read it to you.
He says, "My concern lies in two areas. The most recent event occurred last
evening. Our sponsors told us that (and it's and an 'Emerald' under 'so-and-so') -- said
that, "My wife and I were considered inactive and could no longer receive BV from our
legs." Wow. "Therefore, our BV check for January was $2.69, based on the BV of
the products we use personally." Who said you have the right to cut anybody out
because they don't follow you? Unbelievable abuse of power, arbitrarily deciding who's
active and who's inactive and who is entitled. We will be following up on that one
Here's another one that says, "I am also stating certain procedures that occurred
in the (so-and-so group). Only Crown tapes were available at the center. You could not
purchase starter kit until you purchased starter pack one on product, product pack two and
product pack three. You could not purchase a starter kit until you had someone to sponsor.
You could not purchase a starter kit until you purchased the Crown's flip chart." Who
says so? Sombody's writin' the rule book to force merchandise under what they think is a
very good system, I'm sure. It's not the Amway Plan. The Amway Plan says you, as a new
person, have a right to do whatever you like.
Somebody else, in a letter here, said, "I love your tapes... However, because I
expressed a desire to use only Amway-produced tapes, combined with a select few
Distributor Y's Organization tapes, I have been forbidden to acquire Amway materials by my
Direct Distributor. The claim is made the Distributor Y's Organization tape (sic) are
better than Amway-produced material and that the sponsorship line from Distributor Y and
Distributor X do not recommend using Amway tapes. But, if you do, we'll disown you.
Something's gone wrong; and I need your help, as a Direct Distributor, to agree to come
back on those simple fundamentals. Help me do these things, will you? Let's get rid of all
the illegal literature that misrepresents this Plan; burn it; throw it away; hide it. I
don't care what you do with it. Get rid of it. All the things that you have that tell how
to present the Plan, whether tapes or books or pamphlets or -- or manuals are to be
burned. There's only one way to present this Plan. It's the Amway Plan. It's presented and
delivered as this company delivers in our 214 and our other literature. That is the
presentation, and no other is authorized; and that is the way it is to be given.
Unplug. I get a lot of questions, now, about unplugging. "Well, I'm hooked up with
so and so." You just deal with your upline. But as a Direct Distributor, take charge
of your business. That's what you're supposed to do. You run your business as you think is
right. And if you want to have some joint meetings with other Directs, have them. They'll
be very helpful to you. Don't let anybody brow-beat you and tell you what you have to do.
Do not force books or tapes or tickets on anybody. Offer them, and if they want them,
fine. Encourage them; do not force them. Be careful of high entry fees that you deliver on
people when they join this business. Make sure you don't overstate or overclaim when you
present this Plan. And don't tamper with BV.
Well, I would just encourage you to look back at the whole list and the Ten Points. But
I did want to give you this special tape to bring you up to date. The Amway business is
probably at a critical point. In our opinion, we will go through that new adjustment
period, deciding whether we really want to be in the Amway business or whether our other
things are more important to us. And each of you will have to make that decision.
The Amway organization has been here for twenty-three years. Our history goes back ten
years beyond that. There is no way a company can arrive at a billion-dollar level of
business, and do that year after year, unless it's doing something right. And, right now,
we need to ask you to get back to tending to your Amway business and focus in on the tools
and the methods that we have given you. And I am sure there's a lot of good leadership in
the field; but, you know, remember who the real leader is, and that's you. And we are
counting on you for your support to present this Plan according to the Ten Points and with
all due respect for your upline and your line of sponsorship; but we look to you as a
leader and as the head of your organization. And you have to do the things that are best
for you and your Distributors.
And if there's anything we can do to help you, let us know. We're going to be on the
road. We're going to be holding a lot more functions in the field. And we'll be trying to
help you do the greatest job you can in presenting this Plan, honestly and with a great
deal of integrity to everybody, everywhere.
We're going to look forward to seeing you at the meetings in the years ahead. And,
someday, we'll all sit down and say, "Remember in 1983 when we had everybody going
off in different directions, and nobody knew where they were going, and everybody was
cross-grouping and seeing who they could sell a system to? And remember when you guys got
tough then and told people they ought to get back to the Amway business and the principles
and the fundamentals?" And we'll all have a good cup of coffee over it, and we will
know that we will have passed a critical point and that we decided to get back at it. It's
time. We need your help. I'm counting on each of you to do that.
Don't get mixed up in inter -- And I've seen rivalry between your group and other
groups or with your upline or your downline. Just quietly go about getting your
Distributors to service their customers well and get new ones and quietly share this Plan
with everybody you meet, so that they, too, can avail themselves of the opportunity. If
you do that, your business will grow. It will grow legally and properly. And if you use
tools in balance, you won't have any troubles. But we need you to stand tall right now and
get back to work.
I'm counting on you. We're lookin' forward to continued growth for you. And I'll be
lookin' forward to seeing you on the circuit .
This is Rich, finishing off another version of Directly Speaking. Bye-bye.
STATE OF OHIO )
COUNTY OF HAMILTON )
I, KATHLEEN M. McCLELLAN, a Court Reporter and Notary
Public for the State of Ohio, commissioned and qualified, do
hereby certify that the foregoing fifteen pages constitutes a
true, correct and complete transcript of Directly Speaking, Rick
De Vos, Amway Cassette Series VA-2160, which was recorded in
stenotypy and transcribed by me.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and
notarial seal at Cincinnati, Ohio, this 15, day of November,