Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#87-ACN: A Cult Experience - Part 2

Trump with an ACN video phone
I paid to have my own turn-key business with the company ACN after being convinced by a few visits with "Dynasty International's" head man, Max Knowles.  ACN was referred to me by a young lady who I worked with.  She told me about some company that Donald Trump was promoting on his show "The Apprentice".

I only became interested in the "opportunity" after my break up with a former girlfriend.  I knew that I was being a bit emotional and I tried to guard against making rash decisions.  I also wanted to be more aggressive about the way I was pursuing my dream of financial freedom.

The meeting at the hotel featured a lot of people who were chasing similar dreams.  I remember feeling the desperation and the desire for hope from the crowd.  It was interesting to see these people.  It was disturbing to be among the desperate, but here I was.

In retrospect, this was during the time of the recession caused by the housing crisis.  People everywhere were reeling from the economy.  We were lured in by the promise of "residual income".
I was forced to buy and promote this phone.  Now it is obsolete because of free apps on your cell phone.

Soon I recruited one of my best friends Joel to be my business partner.  We held these "parties" at his house to show the opportunity to other people.  I was alternately nervous and confident in the program but I did notice somethings that bothered me.

I remember my trainer telling me to turn up the music at the end of doing a presentation in order to drown out questions of naysayers.  People who were openly skeptical were treated like negative trolls who just want to get in the way of your happiness.  This bothered me and struck me as immoral.

In June of 2009, Joel and I found ourselves in Charlotte, North Carolina for a convention with ACN. I remember this month because it was at the hotel that I found out that Michael Jackson had died (June 25, 2009).

There were a long line of illustrious speakers there.  The big star of the show however was none other than Donald J. Trump himself.  He sold himself as the smartest business man on Earth.  He was a bombast and cocky as ever urging us to stay on with this company who was on the cusp of something big.  I also got to see the 4 co-founders of ACN.  They seemed like "down-to-earth" guys but I secretly loathed and admired them for their evil genius.  I also remember a segment from the convention where one of the speakers spoke about how ethical the company was.  This was important to me because I was determined to make money without compromising my morals.
Donald Trump and an ACN event.

This trip was a good experience.  I was young and relatively care-free.  But the strains of trying to get people to join caught up with me.  I was desperate to get people to join under me.  I remember looking into the eyes of some other friends that I tried to get to join and saw the same look of concern that I had in their eyes.

Eventually the desire to continue died.  I joined ACN with the understanding that I could always sell the business to someone else.  When I called their headquarters to see about selling my $500 investment I was told I could not do that.  I felt deceived and I also felt like I conned so friends into this mess as well.  This was a very frustrating time for me.


I had to go through this experience to grow.  ACN gave me an "us versus the world" feeling.  It was euphoric.  We had to go to meetings to learn tips from the leaders of my local organization.  The people were driven and mostly kind.  Even when my sense of skepticism was giving me butterflies in my stomach I was able to turn off my feelings because I wanted this to work sooooo bad.

I think this experience gives me a bit of insight into how some cults work.
The four original co-founders of ACN: Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Mike Cupiz and Tony Cupiz.

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