Let’s face reality!!! - Posted by John Behle
Posted by John Behle on April 11, 2002 at 20:14:18:
Many so-called Gurus do sell courses for the money - period. No question about it. Someone like Sheets can make millions off his informercial while sitting by his pool.
Now, that doesn’t invalidate his or anyone else’s information. It’s just that a good marketing plan can make millions with much less hard work than pounding the pavement for deals.
The validity of a course, seminar, service or technique doesn’t necessarily depend on how extensively it is marketed. There are good courses that have been widely marketed for millions to the author. There are BAD courses that have been widely marketed for millions in profit.
There are authors who have great background and experience that have written courses. Some have been widely marketed and others can be hard to find. There are also so-called authors who just plain out re-gurgitate someone else’s material without a whole lot of experience, expertise, morals or anything else. McCorkle seems to be a classic example. My reading of the expose’s on him indicates he never had any serious experience and copied Tom Vu’s course to market - including even generating similar and almost identical phoney testimonials (McCorkle’s).
But? What if Vu’s course was great? I’m not sure, I haven’t seen it - but what if it was? And what if McCorkle did a good job of stealing good material? It could be that you could end up with a valuable course from a total fraud. I don’t know, I haven’t seen Vu’s course. BUT - I did buy McCorkle’s course on eBay a couple years ago - for ten bucks. I haven’t checked it out yet, I was just curious what all the noise was about and wanted to review it someday. I’m not so closed minded or egotistical to think I might not learn an idea or two or see something in a different way.
The sad news, really is over the valuable courses that aren’t written or marketed as much as the courses that are.
The even sadder news is the good and valuable information that is overlooked, faulted or invalidated because the author actually has some character flaws or made some bad business or personal decisions.
Some widely marketed courses have had authors that actually weren’t perfect. I know that is a shock, since everything we’ve ever learned from anything so far in this life came from perfect people, but bear with me.
Contrary to the Archie Bunkers of the industry, it is possible to learn from someone who has actually made mistakes. Based on the criteria some propose, McCorkle’s might be the only course you could consider buying, since if he had never done the business, then he might not have made any mistakes. Except, he probably mentioned the word profit in there and might have had too much white space anyway.
I guess I’m just a little naive. I have an unpopular viewpoint that doesn’t make sense to many people. I believe in learning all I can from all I can. I’m not into checking the resume’s, credit or psychological profile of anyone who tries to teach me something.
Amazingly, I actually attended college classes with professors that earned less per year than I did per month. They rode their bikes to work to save money and cowered in their offices and classrooms safe from the risks - and rewards - of the real world. And, amazingly, I actually learned a little from them.
Basically, I could probably invalidate almost anyone who ever wrote a course in this field and give the “pessimists of profit” fodder for much larger websites. Boy, it would be nice if they were all perfect - EXCEPT for the fact that it isn’t a perfect world. I want to learn from the person coming back on a stretcher from the front lines as much or more than the analyst that hasn’t even seen the front lines for decades. Real estate can be dangerous as heck. I want to know where the mines are not just some textbook strategy from someone too scared, timid, egotistical or downright whimpy to join the battle. Of course, the easiest way to not make a mistake is to lock yourself in a padded room.
It reminds me of a psychologist that wrote a popular book on raising children - locked away in his office - while his wife stayed home and abused his children. I guess he didn’t make many mistakes, given that he didn’t participate. I guess he hasn’t read the studies about the children of workaholics being damaged worse than the children of alcoholics. It’s actually supposed to be an excellent book, but it would turn my stomach to read it.
Anyway, back to “Gurus”. For an extreme example, one excellent course that I would recommend to anyone is hard to find nowadays. The author, going through a divorce, killed himself and his wife. That’s sad. It’s shocking. To me, it’s heartbreaking because I knew and liked them. Probably a big enough character flaw to invalidate everything he ever taught - if that made any sense. It would be a nice sensational item to stuff in a website to help get listed in search engines. Someone could feel soooooooooooo… morally superior.
Ok, back to why Gurus write courses.
1 - Sure, some write them for profits or at least later market them that way. SO what? If the course is any good, economies of scale can help to make it affordable. I don’t care if they sit around in their underware and play poker all day long.
2 - Some write courses because they really do feel they have a contribution to make. Sometimes it is a way of giving back some of what they received. For some, it is a way to help clarify their own knowledge, plan and goals. Some get some ego strokes out of it. Some like to be or be called a guru.
3 - As was mentioned, some do it to help avoid answering questions continually. That can be nice at first, but eventually it grows old. The same question over and over and over can drive you nuts. People can pester you about writing a book or teaching a seminar until you do it. Some educators love to teach and it can clarify your own thinking. Personally, I have learned a great deal from students, formed life long relationships and learned new ideas or ways of looking at things while on my feet while answering questions or solving problems.
4 - Business relationships. Many of the people I work with on a day to day basis are those who attended a seminar or did a home study course. Teaching courses can be a great source of resources and synergy.
I guess that can be good or bad. Many of the courses out there - especially the infomercials - are geared for the purpose of the “up sale”. It may be priced cheaply and be a “loss leader” or low profit.
THEN! The telemarketer gets you on the phone or presenter hooks you at a seminar. A one or two hundred dollar course becomes a fertile ground to sell the multi thousand dollar program that the people “really need to succeed”. Usually that’s where their big profit is. It’s also where gullible students are burned by those that are truly hucksters. In some cases, a good product from a good author is “used” by one of these marketing companies. Even the author gets burned when the company doesn’t perform the consulting or other service as everyone was promised.
When it comes to education, something like this newsgroup and website is extremely valuable. You hear pretty quickly about courses, authors, ideas or hucksters that are dangerous, expensive or impractical. That is the best way to protect yourself and use your education dollar wisely. A huckster can come and go quickly - with their students money. Yet, the value here to the owners and participants is longevity. The participation and interests of everyone helps to insure that there is high value, practicality and protection. Outide that, the beginning student tends to be drawn towards expensive services that promise success, safety and stability. Most don’t deliver.