This week "Comedy Central" started running the old "PeeWee's Playhouse" show, which was a wildly inventive and fun children's program that was on CBS Saturday mornings during the 1980s. Not only was it the first network gig for Phil Hartman, Lawrence Fishbourne, and other actors who went on to greater things, it also featured a series of running gags and bits.
Like, “I know you are but what am I?” This is the same playground retort your Mom suggested you use when you were called a name, but on PeeWee's playhouse, it took on a different context — it was a way to acknowledge and reciprocate a compliment. For example, if the King of Cartoons was complimented on his ensemble by Cowboy Carl with a comment like, "You're really a snappy dresser," the King might respond "I know you are, but what am I?"
For most of us, “I know you are but what am I?” was a way to either blunt a slam or deflect a label.
Quixtar, and before Quixtar launched in 1999, Amway, has at times used a similar tactic – different terms to describe its business model.
When the image of multilevel marketing began to get tarnished in the 1990s, new terms for the industry started popping up. Network marketing. Interactive marketing. Person-to-person marketing. Someone recently suggested we start using word-of-mouth marketing, because that’s a really cool and buzzy term.
I used to start new jobs and ventures by trying to get others to use my given name – Elizabeth – rather than Beth. I thought Elizabeth sounded coolly professional, and it would be a way to separate my work and personal lives. But try as I might, I couldn’t get people to call me Elizabeth, as people would inevitably shorten my name to Beth, Liz, or the particularly bothersome Libby. A Beth is what I was destined to be, since it appears to be what I truly am.
When Quixtar launched it called its business model Tri-Digital Commerce (it never caught on because no one could figure out what it meant) and later I-Commerce (the convergence of the individual, the Internet, the infrastructure of Quixtar, and the IBO Compensation Plan.) I-Commerce was a little catchier and the alliteration of the Is made it a bit easier to absorb and understand. Still, it had modest acceptance.
The reality is and always has been that Quixtar offers a business opportunity that is based on a multilevel compensation plan. So what are we? We’re a business opportunity company that offers a way for people to earn income through the Quixtar Independent Business Ownership Plan, a multilevel plan. It’s that plan that means an IBO starting their Quixtar business today can be more successful than any other IBO before him or her. It’s a plan that offers lots of flexibility to earn as little or as much as you want. And that’s only possible through the multilevel structure of the plan.
It is what it is, and what that is, is an MLM compensation plan.