Gaming a traditional Game A approach
I didn’t set out to start a Game B experiment in network marketing, but I wasn’t really all that surprised when I landed here a couple of weeks ago. After several years of working around Bonnitta Roy, my mind still echoes with her consciousness-piercing phrases like “release complexity”, “lower thresholds of action” and “energy for free.”¹
Working with an early stage network marketing company for the last 18 months and tinkering with how I might put Bonnitta’s OPO² and sensemaking ideas into action, it recently dawned on me that I might have stumbled upon a feasible Game B structure.
I am arrogant enough to think I might be onto something, humble enough to know this is probably, at best, a “Transition B” idea, crazy enough to stick my neck out by writing something about Game B, and open enough to welcome others curious enough to explore this with me.
I am going to ask for couple of indulgences.
- Suspend what you think you know about network marketing, and
- Take for granted that the network marketing company with which I have been working has best-in-class disruptive products based on breakthrough science and has not yet “Crossed the Chasm”³.
This piece is the first piece of what might be a series — I don’t want to try to do too much in one piece. We will see where this one goes before taking another step. This is just a starting position (in OPO language).
Why Game B Network Marketing?
Omni-Win — There is a simple formula that can “lower the threshold for action” and “release the complexity” of network marketing. Three simple protocols that are “hidden in plain sight” can generate the conditions for everyone in the network to flourish (financially).
Time Freedom — Traditional (Game A) network marketing is time “consuming.” The potential of time freedom is entangled with the promise of residual income. In other words, if you join the right company with the right products, start at the right time and invest your time (and a little money), you might eventually create just the right conditions for your network to scale exponentially. The potential financial pay-off is real if the timing is right, but the challenges of scaling a network of human beings can be a blackhole for your time.
The “time-suck” of network marketing may be the biggest drawback of an otherwise ingenious business model. If not for the time required, network marketing is a wonderfully open and flexible business model ideal for introducing innovative products that have the potential to disrupt the overwhelming market power of Big Pharma, Big Ag and Big Food.
So what if… there was simple ‘time” hack? When you are no longer making a big time bet to play the “game”, network marketing becomes a game just about anyone can play and win (Omni-Win — at least until a market is fully saturated, so probably Transition B, but more on that in a future piece).
I think there is and it is hidden in plain sight, but it may take a little work reorient your mind to see it.
Proposing to “game” a Game A structure with a Game B formula does carry risk, as Jordan Hall suggests — “Game B is notoriously difficult to think and talk about for the very good reason that if you were using the conceptual structures that came out of Game A to do so, you may very well be poisoning the well.”⁵
I may be heading down a Game A blind alley but it has been fun playing with this idea of Game B network marketing and the insights generated by struggling with this piece. The struggle has been a joy for someone like me who likes to tinker with these ideas and see how they might play out in the lives of ordinary people (like me). As Bonnitta Roy might say, “energy for free”!
Next in this series: A New Math for Network Marketing
¹,²,⁴ I want to acknowledge Bonnitta Roy’s work on Open Participatory Organizations and Sensemaking among many other topics that contribute to my understanding of Game B.
³ I refer to Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore to indicate that timing is a key factor in playing this game.