The Game of Franchising: Believe and Succeed

August 31, 2009

AndyKarufmanDid ya hear: Andy’s alive!

Yeah it’s true. Really.

Man on the moon and they still can’t commit to a reasonable expectation for cash flows?

Hey baby, Are we losing touch?

If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Pseudos: from foolish stern to foolish bow.

Man on the Moon, R.E.M.

Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Monopoly, twenty one, checkers, and chess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
See you in heaven if you make the list. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Andy, did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? Hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Moses went walking with the staff of wood. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Newton got beaned by the apple good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Andy, did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? Hey baby, are you having fun?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Here’s a little agit for the never-believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here’s a little ghost for the offering. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here’s a truck stop instead of Saint Peter’s. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister Andy Kaufman’s gone wrestling (wrestling bears). Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Andy, did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? Hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

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lebensunwertes Leben: A Life Unworthy of Life

August 21, 2008

Medical doctors understand the way a human body functions. The Hippocratic Oath compels them to “do no harm” to their patient.

A white lab coat is worn by someone who would help you: Would heal you.

It was always a doctor who did the selection once the train arrived [“left” or “right”, lab coat over their black uniform].

Kanada 1 and 2 were where the valuables were taken more easily and warehoused. The Poles considered Canada the the land of great freedom and promise.

I have seen a recurring pattern with the 100s of franchisees I have met.

  • In a clever “judo throw” of reality, franchisees’ past strengths are used to create their future disaster.

Here is how it works:
1. Most people believe if they work hard, are careful and defer gratification for the future, their family is going to prosper or at least be okay.

2. People believe that life is generally fair (ie. people get what they deserve: both good or ill). They trust. (Which just happens to be the foundation of all of western society progress, btw).

3. A cleverly created but misplaced patina of success (ie. successful for everyone but the investor) that surrounds all franchises is used to numb the potential investor’s critical thinking abilities long enough to get a signature.

4. Franchising is a sophisticated machine which has some unusual design features. Its function is to vacuum life savings for its owners and supporters (sucks but does not blow $, as it were). The individual brands may be owned by franchisors but the modern engineers are the franchise bar.

5. Once the cash is gone, what pretense can be used to explain the ash that falls like snow?

6. Via the skillful use of propaganda (words in the service of self-interest not truth) you are managed (ie. numbed, isolated, shamed, silenced).

That is where The Gospel according to Killer Due Diligence comes in: It not only “blames the victim” but it goes farther: It extend the SS’s (Schutzstaffel) Cult of Hardness.

The Jews were considered lebensunwertes Leben. Physicians became the Volk’s biological soldiers, readily agreeing to remove the dead weight these genetic deficients; this non-people who had a life unworthy of life“.
The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Robert Jay Lifton

In a similar way, franchisees are sometimes considered ballastexistenzen [human ballast]

  • cheap labour and a source of wealth,
  • mentally and/or intellectually defective, subhuman, pathetic,
  • a gangrenous appendix to be cut out, and finally,
  • excrement to be disposed of as cheaply and quickly as possible.

Direct medical killing and the jealously guarded administration of Zyklon-B gas was only developed because of the psychological damage done to the Einsatzgruppen assigned to kill prisoners by firing squad.

Rudolf Höss:

I had heard of Eichmann‘s description of Jews being mown down by the Einsatkommandos armed with machine guns and machine pistols. Many gruesome scenes are said to have taken place, people running away after being shot, the finishing off of the wounded and particularly of the women and children.

Many members of the Einsatzkommandos, unable to endure wading through blood any longer, had committed suicide. Some had even gone mad. Most of the members of these Kommandos had to rely on alcohol when carrying out their horrible work. p. 159

The peak killing rate at Auschwitz-Birkenau was 20,000 within a 24 hour period.

Economic Application: I have heard this same form of argument used in franchising. You say and actually believe that taking someone life savings is a noble act.

REASONING: In this world, some people have life savings that they don’t really don’t deserve. They have inherited it or it’s simply fallen into their lap. The test is if you can take it from them, they are not using it properly. They are inefficient stewards of wealth in a national, cut-throat economic war against [fill in the blank false enemy du jour: huns, commies, Japan, terror, etc.]

  • The liberator/thief sees himself as: a teacher [hard lessons to be learned, yes, but being fraud-proofed is a valuable set of skills]; a public benefactor [economic soldiers, in an inverted Robin Hood scenario] a visionary stormtrooper in an extreme ideology where even the word “liberal” is ridiculed as being the same as being soft, stupid: a loser.
  • Ayn Rand, libertarianism and militant individualism can be interpreted to help asway the professionals’ cognitive dissonance [wading through blood] as did the medicalizing of mass killings relieve the Einsatzgruppen of their psychological trauma of the biologically inferior human ballast in WWII.
  • The modern franchise elite do this by re-allocating wealth form small to large investors. The franchisors take the public vilification while the franchise bar tries not so successfully to wash their hands.
  • They are improving our economy by doing the what the doctors did in Nazi Germany: instead of being biological soldiers in the service of the Third Reich [accelerating the inevitable genetic purification of a bastardization of Darwin’s natural selection theories via eugenics], the liberators/thieves, crusaders in a holy war to liberate capitalism.
  • “Don’t you know that we are in a war and the normal rules do not apply? If we are to grow, we cannot afford the inefficient investment decisions that the losers make,” the disciples of unfettered capitalism shout.
  • “Yes, some people will be harmed in creating the thousand year market empire but it will be worth it. The individual must become hardened and accept their role. Everyone has their role to play their place to bask in the glory of the radiant new empire.”
  • “Trust us…We will take care of you.” See Justified Theft: A Life unworthy of Dignity.

BTW: Dr. Unbloody, “Beppo”, Josef Mengele, 2 PhDs, 1935


Franchising as a dying Totalitarian State

July 22, 2008

Václav Havel is a Czech writer and politician.

I have played many roles within franchising. My overall approach is similar to Havel’s description of a dissident.

Definition: a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution.

The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin — and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.

Franchising treats its opponents in a very harsh manner. I doubt if my notoriously short attention span could have been maintained if it weren’t for the shrill reaction of the industry’s leaders.

As always, those that challenge you are your best motivators and instructors.

You do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.

I believe we are very close to the end of Mom-and-Pop franchising.

The elite were the only ones using the industry’s specialized terms, words and language. Now every amateur observer is taking over the discussion. You can hear the professionals moan about their sudden loss of authority and deference over at Blue MauMau.

The degree of impertinence and questioning of the status quo regarding churning, integration clauses, FDDs, gag orders, FTC, etc. is a sure sign franchising’s Berlin Wall is crumbling.

When the internal crisis of the totalitarian system grows so deep that it becomes clear to everyone, and when more and more people learn to speak their own language and reject the hollow, mendacious language of the powers that be, it means that freedom is remarkably close, if not directly within reach.

The Information Sharing Project translates the mind-numbing, legal mumbo-jumbo “FranchiseSpeak” into common English usage. It speaks in the language of the investor, not the apologist lawyer.

It will, in fact, replace some of the functions of the franchise bar. It is a part of what will become a franchising expert system. This will assist in breaking the current economic monopoly on information and developing a common experience shared by the non-elite.

I collect franchise documents in much the same way as Charles Darwin collected beetles. Once you have them, you look for similarities and differences: you create a taxonomy which is the practice and science of classification.

A franchise industry taxonomy and expert system makes investor risk assessment more accurate.

Stripped of its propaganda and confusion, franchising is very similar to a Soviet Union gulag.


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