Capitalism can be the problem or the solution. To change the game, we have to financially reward the behaviors we want. SunCrew is a new economic model to create a world powered by light.
Our Team is every amazing Member in our Cooperative. Each of us brings unique perspectives, talents and gifts. Together we can accomplish anything.
"To create a shift, share your gift."
Robert Styler: As the founder of SunCrew, some of you might be interested in how this journey began (hint: there has been a lot of trial and error). Churchill wrote, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” By that definition, I have been incredibly successful.
For decades, I have been inspired to create a better economic model. MLK wrote,
I love how capitalism inspires our spirit of achievement, but at times, it can neglect our soulful need for connection and contribution. SunCrew is a hybrid: a Capitalist Cooperative. The Kahuna healer I will introduce below wrote me, “True power is found in the synergy of opposites.”
For the past 28 years, I have been involved in network marketing. I love the potential of the industry, but I am disappointed by the reality of most companies. Every company event I have been to celebrated “conspicuous consumption” and huge incomes. They have people on stage with pictures of their massive homes, their mega yachts, etc. Having financial security is empowering, but every study on happiness shows that once you reach a certain level of income, more money does not equal more happiness. What creates more happiness is contribution, adding value, and helping other people or a cause you are passionate about.
At SunCrew, we celebrate contribution rather than consumption. Every human being has a deep need for significance – to contribute to something bigger than themselves, to be part of a movement. We think contribution is a deeper driver than consumption, so our Patronage Points are paid in tiers. The higher tiers you achieve, the more money you make and the more you contribute back to your crew. It is a sustainable cycle, like nature. Linear systems don’t last. Imagine if the clouds said, “I am not going to release any rain. I am just keeping all this evaporation for myself. It is only fair. I am above you. You are below me…”
Since we “share the wealth,” some people think, “Sounds like socialism.” It is not. It is a “capitalist cooperative.” You earn directly from your results and once you have abundance, you share some of that abundance back to the community and your crew. This concept evolved over the last thirty years.
After serving in the Peace Corps for two years in Guatemala, I returned to the U.S. and joined a small, environmental company in 1990. That little company ended up becoming “the fastest growing privately held corporation in America,” according to INC Magazine. We did $200M our 3rd year, opened up 400 offices, and I became one of its “top producers.”
Unfortunately, as I reached the top, it was like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. I originally thought I was part of a holy crusade to save the planet, but after years of dedication, I realized I was part of a capitalist cult. I had 10’s of thousands of people in my sales team and only three of us made money consistently every month. On a mountaintop in Chile, I knew that I no longer believed in the company.
In ’97 I left and then wrote a book about my experience. The book ended up inspiring a federal investigation. In 2000, I became a lead witness for the FTC. It is a long story, but the company was shut down and fined $40M for consumer fraud.
I learned how powerful a movement could be, but also how easily it could be corrupted by greed. After another experience with an unscrupulous owner, I bought an off-the-grid, solar powered cabin and was done with business as usual. I spent years walking through the woods alone…trying to understand how I could add value and not lead people down a false path (again). Eventually I decided that being a hermit was not the answer so I flew to Hawaii to get some perspective.
In Hawaii I was introduced to a Kahuna Healer who drew my “life’s mission” and told me,
“You are destined to create a new economic ecosystem for humanity that is based on cooperation instead of competition. All of these golden circles are the companies that will work together to make it happen. But it will take you at least a decade before you have the personal power to co-create this vision. I don’t know what this huge sun is, but it is central to your mission. And before your heart is open enough to serve, you must meet your twin-flame and the dove peace must dive down into your soul.”
Please understand, I grew up in California and my mom could see auras. This might be a bit “woo woo” for some, but every part of the image is symbolic and every thing she said has come true.
In reference to the big sun in the background…about a month after she drew the image I became the president of the first solar lease model in the U.S. in 2005. I thought it was the answer to the “prophecy,” but it ended up being another “learning lesson.” Our network sales division signed up 38,000 customer contracts, but in 2005, there were not enough solar installers to handle that size of deal flow and the company closed down a few years later. Our sales delivered, but the system could not keep up with our growth. We did inspire a new “$0 down model” that changed the solar industry (SolarCity and SunRun launched a year after us), but we were a bit too early, we were under-funded and we made the critical error of trying to create a national model before perfecting it locally.
I bought a 23-acre organic farm in Oregon and decided to live a simple life. A few years later, the Kahuna healer flew to Ashland Oregon to find me and tell me that it was time to meet my “twin flame,” but I needed to spend a year softening and opening my heart. A year later, exactly when she said I would…I met my amazing wife and things really started to happen quickly.
Though all of these adventures, I realized that capitalism could be the problem or the solution. Many of the issues I saw were created by the concentration of wealth and power. Nature is decentralized, diversified and powered by sunlight. What if we could build a business that is modeled on nature…
I decided that tweaking the compensation plan was not enough. We had to create a completely new model. We could build a large sales force again, but rather than having a few people own the company (and just a few people at the top make money), it would be a Member-Owned Cooperative: so the people who build it are the people who own it. That company is SunCrew.
If you are a member, we own SunCrew together. Let’s create the company and the world we all know in our hearts is possible.