Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Woman's positivity and passion fail to impress sharks

So I finally got around to watching an episode of the new ABC reality TV series, Shark Tank. This is the show where budding entrepreneurs do a show-and-tell before a panel of five highly successful venture capitalists, hoping to get a big booster shot of cash in return for giving the investor(s) an interest in the company. I rarely watch reality shows, for in my opinion most of them are worse than useless, but Shark Tank fascinates me. One segment on last night's episode (Episode 4) really caught my attention.

The second presenter on Episode 4 was a Texas woman named Gina Cotroneo, whose mission is to spread happiness through the world via her company, Soul's Calling. Soul's Calling offers products such as brightly colored umbrellas with positive sayings, positively-messaged bracelets with interlocking parts (to symbolize our interconnectedness, of course), and flip-flops that have positive words embossed on their soles so they leave uplifting messages in the sand. (Would that be "Sole's Calling?") Gina handed a bracelet to each of the sharks, and they oohed and ah'd. She offered a demo of the positive flip-flops as well; an assistant donned a pair, stepped into a little sand box, meowed, and then peed and tried to bury it... Oh, not really. The assistant stepped out of the box, leaving, of course, an inspiring message in the sand.

I actually thought that was pretty cool, and in fact I think Gina should also make footwear for pets and livestock. Perhaps she could team up with Joe Vitale's assistant Suzanne, owner of Intentional Treasures, and offer a line of pet footwear with the four magic Ho'opononpononononononononononononono phrases on their soles. This wouldn't work so well in litter boxes, of course, due to the way cats shuffle the sand around and fling much of it out of the box, but it would certainly be a viable product for, say, people who take their dogs to the beach. There could even be an equine version for folks who like to go horseback riding on the beach, though the words would have to be short, or the point size of the font small, given the limited real estate on a horse's hoof as compared to a human foot. Same thing goes with our porcine pals, who could don little Soul's Calling boots and fill their muddy pens with words of encouragement, causing the positivity vibes to radiate out into the Universe. The possibilities are endless, and I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

In fact, I think the Universe is really telling Gina to get into the companion-animal/livestock market. Just look at this eye-opening scientifical information on her web site:

Positive Energy Transfer (PET) is a very important component to the Soul’s Calling brand.

I send conscious positive energy into all the products by means of prayer and meditation, with the intent that they carry joy wherever they go. Requests for awareness and conscious creation are also made to the manufacturers as a way of helping to ensure that each product contains the highest “vibe” possible in addition to its more obvious positive message.

P-E-T. Could it really be any clearer? (Gina, I do expect royalties for the quadruped product line.)

Gina didn't really go into the Positive Energy Transfer aspect of her products as she stood before the sharks, but she was full of passion nevertheless, her eyes brimming with emotion as she spoke of how we are all connected and how her products will have a positive effect on the world. The world needs her stuff, she explained. She told the sharks about how hard she'd been trying to get her business going, and how much money she'd already put into her enterprise, and how people invariably fell in love with her products. Yet sales were lackluster. She added that she had promised herself that if she didn't make a profit at a recent New-Wage trade show she attended, she would take that as a sign that she needed to try something else.

As it turned out, she apparently didn't meet her goals for the trade show, but decided to go on pursuing her dream nevertheless. All she needed was a little capital.

As I watched her, I studied her eyes and facial expressions, and I couldn't help thinking, "This person looks and sounds like someone with some troubling personal issues." Turns out I was right, as I later found out when doing my usual cursory research; she was apparently the victim of a violent assault back in the 1990s. (But be careful when you do your own Googling; although her own site seems safe enough, some sites linking to info about Gina apparently carry active viruses and Trojan horses and the like, making your computer vulnerable to a violent assault as well. So much for Positive Energy Transfer.)

I was pretty sure the sharks wouldn't be all that impressed by Gina's passion and sense of purpose. And, indeed, they unanimously rejected her proposal, which involved a 25% stake in her company in exchange for $150,000. "Your numbers just aren't that impressive," they told her. No doubt the real problem is that they are all too full of negative energy.

But y'know, I'm kind of rooting for Gina anyway. I think she should take the rejection by the sharks and run with it, or swim with it, as the case may be (perhaps a "Let's prove the sharks wrong!" campaign and product line would get the ball rolling). There's a whole hungry market out there. Naturally, there's a whole passel of hungry marketeers as well, peddling the same sort of stuff. But Gina at least made it to Shark Tank, putting her a couple of positively-imprinted steps ahead of the thousands of other woo-product pushers.

What she really needs to do now is to try to grab on to the coattails of one of the New-Wage gurus who have scads and scads of money. After all, they're always jawing about how they like to help deserving people. Well, gurus, consider Gina. But Gina, keep your eyes wide open, because some of the most successful New-Wage types – and I refer to those who speak in the loftiest and most flowery terms about making a positive difference in the world – are just sharks masquerading as dolphins.

So on second thought, maybe Gina would just be better off continuing on her own, and trying to get all the free publicity she can from the gurus and their followers. After all, she's got that shark-rejection thing going for her now. That surely ought to count for something.

PS ~ For an inspiring tale of another woman who had a mission and vision and turned it into lots and lots of colorful products, it's hard to beat the tale of Catherina Rodrigues (formerly of Australia, now infesting Oprahland and other U.S. hotspots) and her colorful "Think Love" line. Here's the flowery, inspiring version of her story. Not that I'm in any way advising Gina C. to follow her lead, mind you, but it seems that Catherina has her own unique way of getting venture capital, as Steve Salerno wrote about a couple of years ago on SHAMblog (be sure to read all three parts of the story). On the blog promoting her current U.S. RV tour, which she says was made possible by the kindness of many folks stateside, Catherina writes of her benefactors:

These guys are angels… what causes people to offer up thier [sic] home… thier [sic] RV … thier [sic] time..money…energy…what makes someone drop everything fly halfway across America then drive a big RV to NY to pick up people he met once and drive into the unknown… Wow…it must be love…I am speechless…humbled…basking in gratitude…thank you isn’t enough…you have touched me in the deepest way…I know together we can do amazing things…When love is at the helm all things are possible…
Yeah, I just bet it is. Appropriately enough, Catherina calls her group the "Love Bandits." The guy in the Mickey Mouse gloves is the SNAGgy little mandroid whom she snatched away from his wife and kid after he inherited lots of money her soul mate.



Anonymous mojo said...

I was a wee bit worried by your title that some misguided person decided that real sharks--meaning da fishies--were her friends and Spirit Guides and Totem Animals or whatnot and she decided to swim with them and pet them. And while yes, wild sharks do tend to leave people alone and there are adventure tours that let you "swim with the sharks" they ARE wild animals and should of course be respected as such.

And while wild animals are fun to watch and interesting to learn about, THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS no matter what cosmic connection you may feel. Should you attempt to pet them they may occasionally feel the need to teach you to keep your hands to yourself.

And while maybe their Spirit Guide Totemic teachings are deeply profound, when a wild animal decides to teach you something in the Physical Realm they are limited by their own physical abilities, and so often must resort to what they possess ... usually in the way of teeth and claws.

Which is indeed painful if we are talking about Mister Fluffykins the kitty cat, so I cannot imagine how much worse it would be with a larger critter, such as an annoyed shark who does not wish to be pet, even if the attention is through a cosmic connection and instigated by a True Soul Sister. Or whatever a New Age shark aficionado might call herself.

But now I see it's another breed of (comparatively) domesticated sharks that failed to respond positively to her positivity. She can go ahead and bother them as much as she likes.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 1:17:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Incidentally, I first read "woo-product pushers" as "woo-product pitchers" and it struck me that "pitching woo" used to have a completely different meaning that what it does now. And then I thought, well, gosh, is pitching woo really all that different from begging venture capitalists for seed money on television? How is this different than, say, "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?"

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 1:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I thought Pitching Wu was a Chinese baseball player, yuk-yuk.

The main difference between Shark Tank and Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire is that the millionaire or million-heiress can only marry one gal or guy. But if more than one of the sharks is attracted to a proposal, they are free to team up with each other for the venture -- resulting in a three-way or more-way, if you will. ("More-way" is not to be confused with "Moray," which is an eel. [Per Wikipedia: "Moray eels are huge cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae." *Cosmopolitan* eels? Well, lah-de-dah. Talk about eelitism.])

And that was good advice, in your previous comment, re Spirit Guides and Totem Animals.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow! Connie, I think you MUST have violated some core principle on the number of puns that can be included in one comment.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

That just shows what you know, Mr. Smarty-Pants. I am on a lifetime Unlimited Pun Plan. Much to Ron's dismay...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 6:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I just read all about Catherina Rodriguez and Gerry O'Gorman on their website and the Shamblog. They seem to be hiding behind something that should be good, but you can see that all they care about is selling things. It doesn't seem like there is any legitimate business going on at all. Consumer beware. I couldn't support their business by buying anything. I wonder if they will con others before they are found out? Their website is http://thinklove.com and it looks like they are even going to the UN to spread their message...if you can believe anything they are saying.

Friday, December 25, 2009 3:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Anon. It looks as if the "thinklove" web site has changed since the time I wrote my blog post in August 2009 (it's December 2009 as I write this). It did not have the link to the info about the insufferably SNAG-gy wedding ceremony.

What *hasn't* changed is the credibility, or complete lack thereof, of Catherina and her mandroid. Yep, I'd say "buyer beware" is pretty good advice, all things considered.

Friday, December 25, 2009 7:36:00 AM  

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