December 1999

First Word

Happy Birthday - John Milton Fogg

John Milton Fogg

Or is it, "Happy Anniversary!"?

Either one. Upline is 10 years old this issue! That's 70 in dog years. I don't know what it is in magazine years-- probably a couple hundred. To celebrate, we've filled this issue front to back with some of our favorite articles from over the years. We'd thought about doing a "best of" issue, but that proved impossible without tripling the number of pages. Nonetheless, there's a lot to read here-- smart, insightful, what-Upline-is-all-about stuff from some of the best in the industry-- so take a block of well-deserved uninterrupted time to sit back and enjoy it.

Anniversaries are marvelous moments to reflect on the past, present and future, and since Uma asked me to, I'll do that. Did you know that Upline began as a scam? It's true.

A dear friend of mine-- name withheld; my choice; charming rogue; danced on the edge of nefariousness without ever really going over to the dark side-- had, he said, the idea for the perfect MLM company. 

What, he asked, does every Network Marketing company do?

Sell products. Have a comp plan.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What else does every company do?

Ah, I dunno. What?

They have meetings.

Yes, they do. (Remember, this was 70 dog years ago.) So?

What if we made the meeting the product?

I won't bore you with the details-- besides, the devil is in them, so best I steer clear. Technically, there was nothing wrong with this deal, and I knew it was a scam. It was all and only about making money and the "product," the meeting, was just an afterthought after "Hey, how can we get a whole bunch of people to give us their money-- we gotta give 'em something?" But some thing kept me involved.

As the idea evolved, it became clear one problem was the speakers and the other was hotels. Both were expensive and required lots of logistic leg work and legs working. What if, I mused, we trashed the hotel bit and put the speakers on paper? A newsletter.


The moment I had that thought, I called dearest (even then) old friend and writer-publisher-editor-Network Marketer, John David Mann. "Cool," said he. "I'm in." It's like we brothers-- and we were.

That was ten years ago. Scam-began Upline was called MLM Success back then. Started out as an MLM, too, complete with $150 price tag and a comp plan down five levels. People told me not to do that. Said it wouldn't work. Leaders both corporate and distributor won't support your thing if it fights with their thing; i.e., don't distract their people with a competing money-making opportunity.

Yeah, well, what did they know? Nobody was going to tell me I couldn't produce the very best publication in Network Marketing and NOT Network Market it! Fine, they could tell me, but I wasn't listening. I was bound (sadly, not gagged) and determined to do it my way, anyway.

I came to my senses in May of our first year. We had 82 subscribers. "For things to change, you've got to change." I did. We dropped the comp plan, cut the price to $75 and ended our first year with 685 subscribers.

Yes. Okay. They were right and I wasn't.

We've made more than our fair share of mistakes over the last ten years. Much loved, dear people have departed, some under duress, and some less-liked folks were disappeared like the soldier in Yossarin's tent. Enjoyed lots of successes, too. Turned the Networking world onto Paul Zane Pilzer and Faith Popcorn and Michael Gerber, and turned the world onto Network Marketing. Masters Weekends, Lifer Retreats, Extension Specials, Special Reports, books like Living With Passion, Fire Up!, MLM Nuts and Bolts, Get A Life, Business Is Booming, Money Money Money Money Money, and Been There Done That, and the audios People's Franchise, Conversations with the Masters, The Woman's Tapes and WMLM. Impressive list. Partial list, too. Great stuff!

People have said, and undoubtedly will continue to say, Upline is and was my vision. Yeah. That's right. Shared vision-- just ask John David, Uma or Pres. Actually, the journal and all its doings now are far, far more Uma and Pres than me. I have other visions gentle on my mind. (Which is why I keep my sleeping bag rolled-up behind your couch.)

Vision. Now, there's a subject-and-a-half.

You know the importance of vision-- yes?

"Where there is no vision the people perish..." So it is written in the Bible (Proverbs 29:18). I believe that's a mistake. Yes, I know, I know-- thin ice. Sorry if I offend, but I gotta tell ya, God's editors got that one wrong. There is always vision-- always!

The simple and for some painful truth is that we, you and me, always have a vision. "In the beginning was the Word ..." wrote John in his Gospel-- and that's a mistake, too, because (now this is "I say") before that first word was the vision of the Word. Vision is always there and always there first.

Want to know what your vision is? Look at your life. (I said there'd be a painful part.) Really. Look at your life. That's your vision.

"Oh, no, really?"

Yes. Really.

That's the part about vision people don't seem to get-- and with vision, it's (always, again) what you see is what you get. They don't call it vision for nothing. Vision is visual. And what you see yourself doing, having, being is what you got-- right now.

Don't like it? Don't want it? Change your vision.

Upline has had many visions in its ten (70, hundreds ...) year history. So have I. So have you. The game is-- the Inner Game is-- for you (and me, and Upline) to take control of our minds and put the vision you want in place. Focus on it. Muster the discipline to keep that vision, that visual imaging of what you-- if you were hard-wired into the power of Creation-- want to bring into being. (And by the way, you are so wired simply by virtue of being human.)

You're doing it anyway. Right now. This minute.

Not what you really want? Change it. That's how. The only how.

You take control of your life (and work and Networking) with your vision-- first!

Then reality magically, mysteriously, and magnificently falls right into place. You get what you expect. Expect a miracle and miraculous "meetings and material assistance than no man (or woman) would have dreamt would come his (her) way."

Commitment isn't where the rubber meets the road. Vision is. Vision creates commitment. I mean, what else is there to be committed to?

It starts in your mind with vision-- the picture you see in your imagination.

So, ten years out, halfway to 20 (or 70 or hundreds) ... what's your vision for Upline? After all, it's your journal/newsletter/magazine-- whatever. What do you envision Upline having, doing, being for you?

We will, you know. If you let us know.

One of the great truths of power visioning is: Make it public. If you tell five and they tell five (or two and two and two for you binary types), soon the world will know. When that happens, vision becomes reality-- fast!

May the next ten (or 70 or hundreds of) years be better than the first.

Or ... may all our children have wealthy parents.

My toast (and thanks) to you.

Thanks for a dynamite decade.

Hold your vision. Share it. Many hands make (the) light work.

-- JMF

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, First Word - December 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,


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