One Tree Hill was a landmark that fascinated me when I was small…
I could see it from my childhood home.
Our house was 30 years old when we moved in. It was made from Rimu tree, and was transferred from another city in the middle of the night on the back of an enormous truck.
When it arrived on our very sloped land at dawn, it was mounted upon thick wooden posts and made to stand level with the slope’s highest point.
Ours was the tallest house in the neighbourhood. And from its strange double-glazed living-room window, I could see across to the other side of the city. There, in the distance stood a single tree waving alongside a dark tower on a “hill”. One Tree Hill.
It was a long time before I finally visited.
The road we drove on wound around what seemed more like a mountain. And as i leaped out of the car, excited, with the wind whipping my hair against my face, I saw my beloved tree and tower in all their glory.
As I came closer to inspect, I noticed two tree stumps in the ground.
“Daddy, this is THREE Tree Hill! Look, two trees next to this were cut. See?”
My father shrugged at where I pointed. No one ever talked about those two tree stumps. I always wondered why.
One day, my teacher assigned us a project to write our own Maori-style myth.
Maori myths had certain distinguishing features: There were man-like-gods for everything. And they were amazing.
There was Maui who caught, beat, and tamed the sun, fished the North Island out of the sea, and tried to conquer death. Then there was my favourite, Tane. He was one of the strongest gods and reigned over the forest. Also, there was Aroha the goddess of love. And earth mother Papa and sky father Rangi who were pushed apart by their children when they grew restless in the darkness between them.
Maori myths were told to children and served as explanations for things their parents didn’t know the answers to back then.
I didn’t know why One Tree Hill had two stumps. So I told this story…
There were two young gods–Tane and Rangi.
They made the forest before Tane created man. Rangi fell in love with another goddess named Aroha and wanted to build her a wooden hut in Tane’s forest. Tane was horrified that Rangi should cut up the trees they had worked hard to create. In a fit of rage, he turned Rangi and Aroha into small seeds. He threw them far away at the top of the highest mountain.
As years past, Rangi and Aroha grew into strong trees and had a small child of their own. Tane was not a forgiving god…and when he found out, he chopped Aroha and her child. But not Rangi. Though he tried, he was unsuccessful because Rangi was one of the original immortal gods.
To an 11 year old, this simplistic story gave an entertaining explanation for the tree stumps. It was a myth for children.
Later, when I grew up I learned that One Tree Hill was at the center of a protest for Maori rights…an angry protestor tried to chop the tree in the middle of the night. Luckily, he was stopped in time.
We’ll come back to the tree a little later. For now, I want to talk about another myth believed by adults…
When the Internet went mainstream, many fortunes were made online. We hear about these lucky people’s stories in the news. Boys were paid 1.6 billion for a little video sharing website called YouTube. A PhD project turned into one of the most recognised names on the internet…Google. College-drop-out turned down a billion dollars for his year-book-like social network…Facebook.
I grew up dreaming of making my fortune online like them. These amazing, intelligent, legends of the Internet were my heroes.
I wasn’t the only dreamer. This stuff became the stuff of myth. Told and spread between adults. There came a time when you didn’t even need to convince anyone that they could get rich quick on the internet. All they had to do was hire a web designer and start an online store-front and woow over-night riches.
Although it’s never been THAT easy to make a lot of money online, until very recently, it was relatively simple. I mean, not so long ago, you could make $15 for 15 minutes of work just by filling out surveys (not any more).
Or you could go to clickbank, commission junction, or amazon and pick the first ready-made product you see with a decent pay-out. You take their sales page and throw together a video or Google ad and drive people directly to the sale.
It’s not like that today.
As more and more people flocked to these internet marketing systems, funded proposals, affiliate programs, and adsense content generators…the internet became saturated with duplicate content. Not long after, a searcher would be faced with millions of results made up of testimonials and reviews that all went to the same sale page, for the same product.
In effect, what is happening now, is that the myth has spread:
“Much money can be made for relatively no effort on the internet!”
And it’s being sold and believed over and over by every opportunist.
While thousands of new people flock to start businesses online using these “simple systems”, what is in effect happening is that thousands of clone businesses are being opened in the very same marketplace.
Their clone businesses sell the same products, to the same prospects, using the same offers, and the same sales pitch. They are in a stale-mate…brutally fighting for the same chunk of market with exactly the same weapons.
The result? Customers are divided and spread very thin between them all. Only a little money (if any) can be made in each clone-business.
One of the winners, in this situation, is the system owner.
Think about it…
All of the myth-inspired “business” owners are spending and risking their own effort, money, and time in the hope of earning commissions. The response they see is minimal–say 1 sale a week. While on the other hand, the system owner is making money on the 1 sale/week over 10,000 affiliates (or system users). That’s 10,000 sales a week with zero extra effort on their part.
Yet, the system owners aren’t the demons in this myth.
They’re just making it easy for people to start. Because they know that most promoters are myth-buyers and they will not stay around to duplicate more than one time. So they make it easy for them to duplicate that once.
On the other hand, the people who DO make the big bucks don’t rely on the system on its own. They’re out there creating a unique experience for customers. They’re making it a point to stand out from the clones. Because they know the myth for what it is–a piece of fiction for children.
They’re out there building a real business on sound, scientific principles. They’re sharpening stronger, better weapons by developing their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). They understand supply and demand. They’re learning marketing skills to beat the clones with.
These are the people who outsource landing page creation, list building, autoresponders, and copy.
As the stories travel and spread, more late-comers will come hoping for a slice of pie. But it’s going to keep thinning and getting harder until the myth is shattered and makes sense no more.
“Make easy money online” will be DEAD!
Just like the tree on One Tree Hill. Sacrificed in a political demonstration for rights. The news was broken a few years ago that after the attack on “Rangi”, my favourite tree was too weak to continue to stand on its own. It became an accident risk. And the decision was made to chop it down.
So much for my myth’s immortal god.
Now the hill has three stumps and a tower. No Tree Hill.