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Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Conical marketing – the next wave

A new marketing paradigm is here, from the oldest science of all – mathematics. It is “Conical Marketing” and it is based on conic sections. These are the shapes formed when a cone is cut in different directions. The shapes are the circle, ellipse, parabola, hyperbola and the triangle. I want to share this vision of the future with you, so we can all achieve our dreams.

There have been other attempts to base marketing and distribution on geometric shapes. One was “pyramid selling”, where people were led to believe that unlimited wealth could be achieved if enough people could be brought into a network. You didn’t have to be a salesperson, because the scheme would work if everyone in the network just bought for their own consumption. Pyramid selling is illegal in Australia so nobody does it any more. Some people appear to be doing it, but they must be doing something else.

Conic sections

The Circle

When you look at something from above, the shape you see is called “the plan”. The plan section of a cone is a circle. A major part of conical marketing is the process of “showing the plan”. Also, the circle is used to draw diagrams on a whiteboard or butcher’s paper showing how the plan has made many people rich (some will even be cruising The Bahamas right now).

The Parabola

This shape, with its single focus point, tells us how we must concentrate on the most important goal in life – getting rich so we can achieve our dreams. It is the shape of a headlight reflector, to remind us that the future belongs only to those who can see what’s ahead. If you roll a parabola along a line, its focus follows a curve called a “catenary”. This comes from the Greek for “chain”, a reminder of another geometric sales pitch – rectangular marketing, sometimes called a chain letter. The catenary is the curve across a yacht sail, another reminder of how those up the chain are cruising The Bahamas even as we speak.

The Hyperbola

A feature of a hyperbola is that the curve approaches but never quite touches a pair of lines. This is to remind us that when presenting the plan there are matters which must never be revealed, no matter how closely we are questioned. The name also reminds us of the word “hyperbole”, which is a gentle and harmless stretching of the truth whenever necessary.

The Ellipse

The two focus points of the ellipse represent the dream and the vehicle for achieving that dream. Only if both are placed correctly and our lives structured correctly can the path between them be optimised. To speak elliptically is to talk around the point, a technique essential for showing the plan. Those three dots (…) called an “ellipsis” remind us that something can, and often should, be left out of even the best story. The other name for an ellipse is an oval, from the Latin for egg. This reminds us of the nest egg which will give us the lifestyle we deserve.

The Triangle

The arrowhead shape reminds us that goals and riches are only achieved by those with direction. The triangle illustrates how wealth flows up to those few who work hard to build a broad foundation. Also we are reminded of the Bermuda Triangle, a place where things disappear (like friends, family, self-respect, dreams), and Bermuda is near The Bahamas, scene of much sailing by successful personal business owners.

So what are you doing Thursday night? Nothing? Great, I’ve got a business idea you just have to look at. It’s something else. 8 o’clock, OK? I can’t promise you anything, but it’s a way to make a lot of money. You need to see the whole thing, and your wife needs to be there too. It’s too important for her to miss. See you Thursday. Gotta go.

[This article appeared in The Sydney Business Review on 15 August, 1995. A representative of one of the motivational organisations managing the recruitment and manipulation of participants in a very well-known scheme was quite annoyed at me and at the paper for publishing it. They were particularly concerned about the final paragraph which was an exact quote from the instruction manual for new recruits to the scheme they were running. It was the script for contacting friends to invite them to a sales presentation. They complained to the paper but didn’t bother talking to me about it even though we both attended the same business functions, but I would expect nothing more from a crook whose business was building up people’s dreams only to steal them away.]

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