A few weeks ago I learned that Robin Luymes had moved on from his employment at Amway Global as Manager – PR & Editorial. I don’t know the circumstances of his leaving Amway, but I do get the impression the move wasn’t in Robin’s plans, and like so many others around the world these past few years, Robin unexpectedly found himself without a job. Not being an American IBO I really don’t know much about Robin’s role within Amway and Quixtar, but I have followed his work on the internet for some years, and last year I had the pleasure of meeting Robin in Prague. Now Robin has taken the decision to do what new IBOs and other entrepreneurs around the world decide to do everyday – have the courage to go into business for themselves . This week Robin launched luymes.com, a blog, and his new business Luymes Public Relations, LLC. For those that don’t know much about Robin’s contributions to Amway on the internet, I thought I’d give a little background. David Robison over on On the Road with Dave has done something similar, with what I think is a great tribute to Robin.
In Amway and the Internet – A History Part I I outlined some of the background behind Amway’s reputation problems on the internet. That post ended with the launch of Quixtar in 1999, and so far I haven’t gotten around to telling the Quixtar and the Internet story in Part II, and may never, but an important part of that story is Robin Luymes. I believe Robin was one of the first people at Amway (then Quixtar), indeed one of the first professional PR people anywhere, to really “get” that the internet was really important and that corporations needed to have open transparent, and honest discussions with both their fans and their foes on the internet.
Robin began posting as “Kia” at quixtarblog.blogharbor.com back in July 2004 and in August launched The Real Quixtar Blog. In an early “real quixtar blog” post it was said that “kia” (know-it-all) represented 900 staff at Quixtar but was mostly written by one person, and before long the personal nature of many of the posts revealed the truth of that. In mid-2005 a quixtar critics blog revealed that person was Robin Luymes, and Robin confirmed this in a post in January 2006. When Quixtar became Amway, and Amway launched The Opportunity Zone blogs, the Real Quixtar Blog became simply SuperDu, apparently in reference to the famous pose in the picture above.
Unlike a poorly conceived “internet reputation” effort apparently conceived by a number of Diamonds using automated “cookie cutter” type websites, the Real Quixtar/SuperDu blogs gave Quixtar, and later Amway, an authentic human voice on the internet – and before long both Amway critics and supporters alike dove in to the conversation. I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of comments Robin had to deal with over the years, but it was a lot – and he was always unflailing polite and professional, even in the face of some less than professional commentators. There were times I’d swear I could almost hear him gritting his teeth in frustration as he tried his best to answer questions and address concerns.
Sites like Robin’s blog helped change the conversation about Amway on the internet, and I for one think Amway business owners around the world owe him a debt of gratitude. I wish Robin and his family all the best in the future and hope his new venture is a great success. With the knowledge, experience, and talent he’s shown on behalf of Amway, I have little doubt it will be.
Thank you, Robin. You made a difference.