Deception-Success Connection Dilemma: #SHINE Wrap-up Part 1

This wrap up has many facets. As such, I wanted to make separate posts for each of them. A lot of good came from this event. A LOT. And I will give ample room on this blog for that. But I’m a “bad news first” kind of girl, so here’s where it gets a little – as my friend ElizabethPW would say – snarky.

So I didn’t plan on going to the Ali event for content. In fact, after hearing Ali herself profess to watering down her content at previous event, I really wasn’t expecting much. I looked at this as an investment in meeting new people, forging some great new business conacts, firming up some online friendships in real life, and possibly getting some content along the way.

In fact, the content was frosting. I was hoping for some face time with the speakers, but it was made clear early on that we probably wouldn’t get that. So I expected a big pitch for her Platinum/Diamond program along with a sprinkling of ideas from Think and Grow Rich and some business math – since she told us to bring our calculator.

I pretty much got what I expected, which is all at once disappointing and promising at the same time. Day one was by far the most content packed day of the event – but mostly it was the inner game of business. As I had recently come from a mastermind goup meeting of my own, I had already done the values activity, and made light work of that task. For the investment, Day one was really where the hard work of the event happened.

A lot of people took a lot out of the values exercise. People talked about it all of the three days we were in session – and it was a great way to start the event. In fact, if it weren’t for one glaring issue on day one, I would have said it was the best day of the entire event.

And no, I’m not talking about the fire alarm. That was incredibly hysterical.

The problem I had was that after the values exercise, Ali openly revealed that “truth” was one of her top 5 values. I’m all for truth, and I think it’s great. I also know that we all lie, so there’s a very fine line you have to walk as a public persona that values truth so highly.

So imagine my shock and awe when both of Ali’s speakers for day one openly admitted to lying in order to achieve success. Julie Clark, founder of Baby Einstein lied to a buyer, telling her that the previous buyer “loved her video and was planning to put it on the shelves in the stores”, when in fact, she hadn’t even heard back form the buyer in the first place. Anne McKevitt lied about her age after running away from home to score a job with celeb hair stylist John Frieda.

Some people I talked to said “Hey, you do whatever it takes.” or “Act as if, right?” Everyone has their own ethics barometer, and I’m not here to debate that. What bothered me was that Ali said she valued truth, and then put two very successful women on her stage that openly admitted to lying.

That REALLY bugged me. She didn’t call them out on it or anything. If truth is such a highly valued commodity in Ali’s world, why was it so lacking in two of her featured speakers? The message I walked away with is “the truth is okay, but you have to lie if you want to be successful.” I tweeted about it several times because it really got to me.

These women were incredibly inspiring – from an “over come any obstacle” standpoint. I’ll talk more about that on my next post.

Then there was a short message from one of the three event sponsors. And by short I mean incredibly long and unintelligible to an audience that doesn’t do much in the way of day trading. And why did only one sponsor get to speak from the stage? Did the other two not pay enough? That seemed goofy to me. I know that they sponsored the VIP party, but MichelePW sponsored the sponsored the elegant morning breakfast on all three days, which was far more valuable to the entire group. She could have given a USEFUL presentation that would have captured the hearts of all in the room. She’s a COPYWRITER after all!

The last bummer of the day was Anne’s lambasting of branding. She began with a graphic depicting the top of a soda bottle, a coffee cup, a tennis shoe, and a hamburger – all unidentified. She then asked us to write down the first brand that came to mind.

Her point was to convey the power of branding. But her point got lost in translation as she proceeded to tear apart nearly every woman in the room by telling us we’re wasting time on social media, that we shouldn’t put our twitter id or picture on our biz cards, and that glossy stock screams cheesy “realtor” or something to that effect.

She further went on to say that we needed a business name that tells people exactly what we’re about, and that if our tagline could do it, then we were “okay”, but that we really needed a name that was clear to identify.

Ironically, the four brand names that were most popular in the above mentioned quiz? Coke, Starbucks, Nike, McDonald’s – NONE of which tell you a damn thing about their product.

Anne tried to construct a corporate advertising brand on a personal/personality-based branding frame. In several of the inpromptu moments when Anne was “cornered” between sessions, she was found analysing and collecting business cards, telling people what was “wrong” with them. At least three times I heard her tell people that if they couldn’t afford to spend the few hundred/couple thousand dollars to have a quality business card designed and printed, that they shouldn’t be in business.

Them’s hard words to swallow in a room of people where many spent their last penny (and then some) just to get to the event, let alone order business cards.

And yes, my card totally violated the Anne McKevitt rules of engagement. It was a temp I made on glossy stock just for the event with my pic, twitter id and a blurb on the back that said we met at Shine.

They’re collectors items now. hee hee.

But as an Idea Coach, I had three people approach me to help them come up with a new name for their business based on Anne’s suggestions – and they were able to find me again in that sea of people because my picture was on my card! How sad is that?

Day two began by trying to play catchup on content that we couldn’t finish thanks to the fire alarm. Unfortunately, what I was HOPING would be implementation and strategy to help us make use of the business models she provided, ended up being overview. I can already read the diagrams, thanks. Overview wasn’t particularly value added to me.

Ali was clever in that she was able to sprinkle in more testimonials about how her current clients were successful with the business models – and nearly all of them ended with some kind of “you’re the best!” testimonial for Ali’s MPC program.

Knowing Ali’s live event format, I expected testimonials, but I expected them to come during the panel in the evening (and I wasn’t disappointed). I also expected them to be subtantive – especially in light of the new FTC rules taking effect Dec 1 (A question Ali wouldn’t field during her Q&A session). I even expected a session with James Roche to set the positive frame of his role in the MPC program, and his session on the entrepreneur’s path wasn’t too bad.

Barbara Corcoran was a pip – and I enjoyed her stories immensely. I didn’t enjoy the recurring theme of having to BS her way to billions, which again seemed to be the antithesis of what Ali said she held as a core value (truth).

The highlight of Day two was Adam Haroun’s makeover during the late night hot seats. He was able to immediately see the value of his offerings, and make some powerful connections to grow his business – something I think we were all hoping would happen for us on day two.

Day three was incredibly rushed. In fact, the peer-to-peer reviews were what I was waiting for all weekend – and they never materialized. Ali didn’t even have time to complete a portion of the event and promised to continue it on a teleclass at a later date. I’m wondering how the return policy will be affected by this turn of events.

The business plan was an interesting cross between vision board and action plan, but seemed to lack substance. There were a lot of A-ha’s being shared, and Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED video about the left and right hemispheres of the brain drew quite a response. Highlight number one of Day three.

When it came down to “studying” Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, I chuckled at Ali’s gaffe, when she said she wished there were “Cliff Notes” for the book. Apparently she didn’t know it was taken from a much larger work of Hill’s -so in essence it WAS the Cliff Notes. Hee hee. Ultimately, though, Ali let the audience lead this session with their own a-ha’s, and shared relatively little insight of her own.

And no, we didn’t need a calculator. Ever.

We did need a few tissues either from laughing too hard or crying a bit at the AMAZING Marlee Matlin. I was disheartened to hear that of all our successful speakers, it was the most honest, hard working, no b.s’ing of the bunch that didn’t have a multi-million dollar company under her belt.

But perhaps, that’s because her definition of success is a more holistic one.
Marlee was definitely Highlight number ONE of the entire event.

And yes, we did contact Ali’s team about the content that wasn’t delivered. They indicated they’re “checking into” it to see what Ali plans to do.

I can’t help but wonder as a handful of folks are actually speaking out about the daashed expectations and disappointments at Shine, how many other people are watching the empress and not telling her she’s unclothed?

So there’s the ugly, the bad, and some of the good.
More good to follow. Promise.


  1. Ivette

    WOW Lisa, what a great post! It is so refreshing to hear you, @ElizabethPW and @leesabarnes honestly talk about your experience at Ali Brown's Shine event. For so long, I have heard others say their events were "wonderful", and they got a lot out of it. I think they said that to justify the amount of money they spent.

    I am glad that so many are giving your honest feedback. It's about time that event organizers are held accountable to their customer and their expectations, provide them value and react positively when things don't go well. Maybe this truth movement will inspire better events in the future.

    I ws just as appalled as you were when you mentioned that some of the successful people had lied to get the success they have to day. We had a mini-conversation on Twitter and that really struck me hard. My hubby and I have always said that we are too honest to be millionaires. But, at least we'll sleep well at night and can teach our children valuable lessons about hard work, honesty and dedication.

    I personally have enjoyed most of the direct sales conventions I've attended. I think in that venue, it's a little easier to please since you are promoting and learning about the product you are selling. However, they should be just as challenged to provide the valuable content their consultants, demonstrators, and distributors, need to be successful. All of that should be included in the price of admission, and not as a hook with products available for purchase in the back of the room by the presenters.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your posts on the event!

  2. the coolest girl on the planet - HA!

    I don't think you're too honest to be a millionaire. I think we all need to be more honest, accountable and hard working in our business.

    Charles Stewart Mott was an incredibly wealthy, honest and upright man. You don't have to comprmise integrity to be successful. It just takes a little more work. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    Just thought you might want to know that I spoke to Ali personally a couple of days ago and she said they have not had a single refund request.

    Perhaps when people say the event is wonderful they actually mean it. Or do you think everyone is a liar??

  4. the coolest girl on the planet - HA!

    I don't think everyone's a liar. I also know that not everyone got what they wanted out of that experience.

    And for me, there were several reasons I didn't request a refund. First, we were supposed to do it at the event – and since she held out some of the content for a post event wrap up call it wasn't clear how refunds would be handled.

    I DID email the team to get calrity on that and as of this date I STILL have no response on how the refunds will be handled.

    So no, I don't think people lied. I also don't think everyone got what they were hoping for. In fact, I know they didn't. Dozens of blog posts can't be wrong – not to mention the real people I talked with while I was there.

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