It may be those who do most, dream most.

January 21, 2010

I’ve always wondered why franchisees are criticized for believing in themselves and others.

I know I have to learn more discernment.

But please, don’t knock trying to improve things or yourself.

That’s kills dreams and people.

The cartoonist/blogger Hugh MacLeod has an interesting story. He frequently gets emotions, especially isolation.

Humour helps.

Stephen Leacock

What is the Science of arresting intelligence long enough to get money from it?

August 19, 2009


Professor Leacock‘s full quote:

Advertising can best be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Franchising is just like that.

The primary stage of arrested intelligence (entrepreneurial wishful thinking) is call pre-sale due diligence.

Due diligence, DD was created as a concept to serve the sellers, NOT the buyers of franchisors.  Perfect, “110%” awesome research can NOT provide reasonable protection against post-sale franchisor opportunism.

DD cannot stop a totally sweetheart franchisor from turning into the worst predator, unilaterally and selectively after the contract is signed.

DD never could and it never will.

DD was created to give a plausible excuse why 1,000s of hard-working, honest investors have lost their life savings. It is maintains the ” confidence” in the game, cools out the mark and confuses and distracts people. When the siht hits the fan…the victim is blamed and most importantly, their shame (stigma, spoiled identity, self-loathing) silences their potential dissent.

Dr. Donald L. Nathanson (The Name of the Game is Shame) provides a nice treatment of a very powerful affect: shame. His Compass of Shame, I find very interesting. He defines 4 patterns of reaction:

  1. withdrawal,
  2. avoidance,
  3. attack others or
  4. attack self.

Note how certain ones of these strategies are encouraged to be used over at Blue MauMau and People are ridiculed our shouted-down, banned, shouted, censored or made to be felt stupid. Even to the point of lecturing rape victim advocacy groups on their ignorance of asinine legal processes.

Just like they know the distracting qualities of such a lovely image, above.

Confusion, distraction, sleight of hand…not very difficult to disable critical thinking, is it?

Confesssions of a former Cat’s-paw

July 9, 2008

I have played several roles within the franchise industry: McD crew & manager, 2x franchisee, media mouthpiece, national franchisee association founder, 2x lawsuit defendant, consultant, lawsuit investigator, researcher, and writer.

The one that I regret the most is that of a cat’s-paw. In my own defense, I was acting with the best of intentions. In hindsight, I was just fooling myself.

  • The only franchise law that will be passed in Oz is one that is bought and paid for by the highest bidder.


cat’s-paw n. a person used as a mere instrument by another

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2001

There are several interests that benefit from the short-term effective awareness-raising [muck raking] that comes from a public inquiry, media coverage and law creation charade.

Opposition politicians: They require sexy issues to criticize the government with and these David v. Goliath stories are quite compelling. Understanding franchising requires a commitment in time and intellectual horsepower that is rare but of a very narrow interest when compared to, say, health care. Most politicians have a short attention span and will move onto the next issue very quickly.

Governing politicians: Modern democracy is the brokering or refereeing of competing interests. Franchisees face the most powerful combined, committed and forceful, international commercial interests that exist anywhere.

Big Franchising =

  • (petroleum + grocery + auto) product franchisors
  • plus the business of law
  • plus financial institutions
  • plus peak association & hangers-on
  • plus suppliers
  • plus media.
  • Governments retain power by giving the powerful what they want.

    Politicians know that they are there for a very short time and they will have to rely on their private sector friends when their public career ends. It is not wise to go against that aligned interest of billions of dollars of capital without some counterbalancing benefit. The appreciation of a few dozen franchise investors not very much incentive to pee in someone’s pool.

    These class of businesspeople are used to getting their own way and they have a very long memory and very deep pockets to sue dissenters.

    • In 1993 the Canadian president of what used to be the world’s largest automobile manufacturer told an Ontario minister: “If you pass a franchise law [in the midst of 1st serious media attention], we will not invest in the province for 5 years.”

    Franchise bar: Franchisors purchase 95% of the legal services. Private action-based disclosure laws increase the aggregate demand for the franchise bar services. An effective franchisee advocate is a useful in creating a bogeyman to further the superior position of the franchise lawyers.

    Ambitious Crusading Lawyer: A franchisee advocate will attract a White Knight attorney who will offer free lunches and free advice. His job is to charm, encourage, prepare and then betray the individual advocate.

    Franchisors: Most mature operators actually use opportunistic behavior very sparingly. They recognize that franchise systems are mini-societies and that making a HUGE example of a wayward franchisee quite infrequently is more efficient and much less risky than taking everyone to the wall 100% of the time.

    • Every McDonald’s franchisee knows what happened to a former operator who didn’t go along with corporate. The sausage-making happens only every 15 to 20 years. The subtle, verbal and private history lessons are usually enough to keep the Yahoos in place.

    But just just so as not to get too rusty, as the Romans proved long ago…there is nothing like a good old-fashioned franchisee advocate crucifixion to keep all hands on the oars. Hope you enjoyed talking to the media…

    Peak association: Finger puppets will do as they are told by their Board’s Himmler. They will be given 100% access to the bureaucracy and politicians while the franchisees will get 0%. The association will be openly, fully and repeated publicly discredited and it will NOT matter one bit. The are messenger boys.

    Media: They are will only go so far in covering abuses. They are large commercial concerns that rely on corporate advertising dollars. They do not scratch the surface and even look for systemic abuse. They only publish the individual, severed head-in-the-hand type of story.


    All of these interested parties know far more about the abuses in franchising that any Johnny-come-lately franchisee advocate could ever know. They’re the insiders for God’s sake.

    • Increasing the Knowledge of industry experts [or talking publicly about it] will never change any Power Dynamics within franchising. [This is the lesson of all social sciences including political science: a discipline started by Stephen Leacock, a CDN BTW.]

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

    digital nose-tweakers versus Big Franchising’s table scraps?

    Dance Band on the Titanic

    Stephen Leacock, 1869-1944

    April 9, 2008

    I have been given a lot by my teachers. And I mean to repay them someday.

    The only thing that bothered the Duke was borrowing money. This was necessary from time to time when loans or mortgages fell in, but he hated it. It was beneath him. His ancestors had often taken money, but had never borrowed it, and the Duke chafed under the necessity. There was something about the process that went against the grain. To sit down in pleasant converse with a man, perhaps almost a gentleman, and then lead up to the subject and take his money from him, seemed to the Duke’s mind essentially low. He could have understood knocking a man over the head with a fire shovel and taking his money, but not borrowing it.

    Advertising can best be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

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