Forbes Magazine Article – Orrin Woodward
Forbes Magazine has been a respected source for business news for decades. As a widely respected publication, it has produced consistently excellent articles on business, investing, and leadership, and I have been a reader since my college years. However, even the best sometimes get it wrong. For instance, the 2008 article featuring Orrin Woodward and Network Marketing is an inexplicable outlier from the publication’s usual journalistic standards. There is so much wrong with the piece I almost didn’t know where to begin. If you’ve ever had the opportunity of being on the inside of a news story, and felt the befuddlement of comparing your experience to what was actually reported, you’ll know how I feel. The following is my briefest attempt to clean up the startling inconsistencies and omissions.
Orrin Woodward Forbes Facts
- At the time of the article, Orrin Woodward was in a major legal dispute with Amway/Quixtar. Somehow, this important fact was not mentioned.
- At the same time, Amway was funding a major advertising campaign in Forbes (no links online, but see 2008 Forbes Magazine for Amway ads).
- Some of Amway’s principals were supporters of Steve Forbes and his political aspirations. (Click here)
- Forbes figures have been in public support of Amway (Rich Karlsgaad, Forbes Editor in Chief, appears in an Amway promotional video three different times (Click here))
- Newer, small companies such as Orrin’s at the time (approximately $42 million in gross annual revenue) typically do not merit attention from Forbes, which generally reports on the world’s largest and most influential firms.
- At roughly the same time as this article appeared, Newsweek wrote a similarly negative piece on MonaVie founder and President, Dallin Larsen, even though Larsen was a year away from winning the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award (Click here). Orrin Woodward had just partnered with MonaVie, and Amway/Quixtar had promptly launched litigation against MonaVie.
- Amway also had a major advertising campaign in Newsweek. (Click here)
- Neither of these publications ever featured Orrin or Dallin before the legal dispute, nor have there been any after its settlement.
- Although the Forbes journalist admitted she had never heard of John Maxwell (#1 world renowned leadership expert (Click here)), Pastor Bill Hybels (the pastor of the largest church in her city (Click here)), and had no experience with Network Marketing (Click here), she wrote an article on leadership practices, Christian teachings, and Network Marketing.
- Of all the people the journalist interviewed for the article (Orrin gave her complete access to everyone in his organization), the only person she quoted from her many interviews (other than Orrin himself and one guy standing in line to attend a meeting), was the negative husband of a woman in Orrin’s team that had never attended a single event, nor participated in any way. In contrast, not one of the many positive people interviewed were even mentioned.
- When Orrin invited the journalist to his company’s international convention, offering her full back-stage access to everything and everyone, she politely declined because she had purchased tickets to attend a Willie Nelson concert instead.
- The journalist referred to Network Marketing as “pyramid selling schemes,” proceeded to give a very incorrect description of how they supposedly function, and then wrote, “sounds like a chain letter, doesn’t it?”, even though networking companies operate legally in all 50 states every business day. AND Forbes itself has done many positive (or at least professionally balanced) articles on the industry, as recently as last month (Click here).
- The journalist stated that as a result of Orrin Woodward’s split with Amway, his “tools” business sales “plummeted.” This wasn’t the case. She had been given the actual sales data showing that sales increased after Orrin’s departure from Amway/Quixtar.
- The journalist also stated that Orrin’s exit from Amway/Quixtar “left Woodward with motivational tools but no product to motivate people to sell.” This is also false. Orrin’s leadership material was on the NY Times bestseller list (another fact not mentioned in the article (Click here) ). Companies were buying it to train their employees, professional athletes were reading it and talking about it in major publications (Click here), and churches were listing it in their annual suggested reading lists (Click here). Orrin’s informational products did not need to be associated with any networking company’s products in order to be valued in the marketplace. In fact, this is exactly what a Michigan judge concluded when he ruled to allow Orrin’s company to continue to function even though it had severed its association with Amway/Quixtar.
Orrin Woodward Since the Forbes Article
- Since departing from Amway/Quixtar, and after a brief time of partnering with MonaVie, Orrin Woodward and several of his partners launched a company called Life Leadership to provide personal and leadership development materials to individuals and organizations.
- Life Leadership products have consistently won industry awards for design and quality (Click here, and here, and here).
- Life Leadership has attracted customers in widely varying industries and applications that don’t have anything to do with Network Marketing (Click here).
- Orrin Woodward’s works continue to win awards and recognition (Click here, and here and here and here).
- In 2011, Orrin Woodward was awarded the Kettering University Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
- In 2014, Orrin Woodward was named to the Inc. Magazine Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts list (Click here).
- Also in 2014, Orrin Woodward set an official Guinness World Record with the most book signings of his latest best selling new book, And Justice for All: The Quest for Concord. (Click here)