John Peterson was one of Herbalife’s top independent distributors. For years he had channeled millions of dollars into the company’s bank account … and into his own pockets. But John didn’t sell products … he sold dreams. Dreams of happiness, of self-fulfillment and felicity. Dreams that no human being could or should ever venture to vend.
About a week ago, John Peterson was found dead in his car after he apparently committed suicide.
Peterson was found inside a 2008 Ford pickup parked at his residence in Steamboat Springs, Colo., where he “succumbed to a single gunshot wound,” said Ray Birch, undersheriff for Routt County. Birch said the initial investigation indicated the gunshot was self-inflicted.
Even though Peterson had always publicly claimed that thanks to Herbalife he had built the blissful lifestyle of his dreams, one can’t stop from pondering whether it was all just for show … and whether or not Peterson himself had actually achieved the Herbalife nirvana of perpetual euphoria – the dream which he flaunted in order to recruit others into Herbalife.
Or more likely … perhaps this whole MLM culture is so rotten from the base, that distributors have to fake their own happiness (and alleged financial opulence) while the overwhelming lion’s share of them still fail so miserably. A perverse culture and twisted mind set, cultivated out of the deception and feint that’s being sponsored by MLM companies such as Herbalife.
Excerpt of a memo from Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson, following the death of John Peterson:
Dear Team Herbalife,
Today is a very sad day for us all. Founder’s Circle member, John Peterson passed away suddenly today, following a tragic accident at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“Suicide” has such a strong emotionally negative connotation … you know, probably because happy people usually don’t take their own lives. So rather than call it what it was, why not just refer to it as a “tragic accident” and avoid all the petty implications involved in having to justify the seemingly false proclamations made by one of the company’s most prominent earners?
Pathetic … and disgusting.
That’s what we are in Herbalife, storytellers. We tell stories about products and we tell stories about other people’s success and our own success, and that attracts success to us.
The above video was released in January to promote Herbalife in the Brazilian market and features the late John Peterson talking about how he’s rich and happy and realizing his dreams … all thanks to the felicitous opportunity of Herbalife. But there is one very cardinal element missing here …. the actual product.
Unlike real businesses, in the pyramid business it’s all about the recruitment and NOT the product … one’s success is determined by one’s ability to sell the idea of the sell to other recruiters who will then sell the idea of the sell to other recruiters. John Peterson was a great recruiter of other recruiters,
He was disingenuously appealing to the emotions of prospects by exploiting their desire for a better future, rather than legitimately providing them with valid products … a common practice and diversionary tactic widely employed by promoters of pyramid schemes.
At this point in time, although it’s impossible to ascertain the precise reason as to why Peterson took his own life, his close almost-inextricable association with Herbalife raises a couple of interrelated speculations:
- Herbalife’s decision at the beginning of the year to ban the practice of distributors selling internet-based leads to other distributors undoubtedly shrunk Peterson’s profits. Perhaps the drastic income decline spiced with the humiliation of being hurled from the top of the pyramid was just too much for Peterson to endure.
- It is possible that Peterson’s company, Work From Home Inc., was under FTC investigation after attracting a lot of negative attention. It would have been quite embarrassing for him to have been sued for defrauding consumers after branding himself as an apprentice dream-fulfiller.
Despite the fact that Peterson’s cause of suicide still remains unknown, it would be safe to assume one thing – John Peterson was a great seller of dreams … even if those dreams did ultimately prove to be unattainable.