Are You A Pro-Sumer? Let Bill Quain, PhD, Show You How!

Amway! There, we just saved you the trouble of reading Pro-Sumer Power!, Bill Quain’s riveting get-rich-quick book from 2000, which Alan Scherstuhl found in a thrift store recently and recaps for your amusement over at the Village Voice. You see, producers make money. Consumers spend money. And Pro-sumers make money while they spend. Still not clear? You’re a banana when you should be some sort of banana-gorilla hybrid.

You remain confused? Let this handy chart from the book blow your mind:

Although Bill Quain, PhD, doesn’t use the word Quixtar in his end-of-book sales pitch, Scherstuhl points out that his other book is called The Quixtar Price Is Right. (Quixtar is Amway’s new name.)

Even if you already know better than to fall for the stupidity that is Bill Quain’s book, you’ll probably find Scherstuhl’s review of it entertaining:

In all of Pro-Sumer Power!, the first book I’ve ever wanted to punch in the crotch, there is but one flicker of genuine inspiration, and that’s right there in the title. Apparently, we’re now free to swap prefixes and root-words as we please. After pro-suming, who’s up for a ride on a circum-cycle with an para-hobo?

“Inspirational Business Writing Hits A New Low with Studies in Crap and Pro-Sumer Power!” [Village Voice]

Bill Quain, PhD


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bryan Fernandez says:

    I’d like to go a year without dealing with neologisms, calques and portmanteaus.

    • februarymakeup says:

      @Bryan Fernandez: In that case, I would recommend taking up speaking a dead language, chum. Because there simply isn’t a living language, spoken natively by actual humans, where those things don’t exist.

      And why would you want a language without new words (or new lexical utterances, Mr. Fancydude)?

  2. bonzombiekitty says:

    I’ve heard the word “prosumer” only used when it comes to things like cameras – really high quality point & shoots and entry level SLRs.

    • YardanCabaret says:

      @bonzombiekitty: Course there it’s a mashup of professional and consumer since that’s where the cameras fit in the spectrum. Not Consumer grade and definitely not Professional grade.

      • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:



        An example of a “Prosumer” camera is the Canon xxD series (40D, 50D etc) which is much more advanced than the entry level consumer DSLR (The Digital Rebel, cost around 500-700 with kit lens) and the “Professional” 1D series ($6000 or more without the lens)

        But there are MANY professionals who use the 40D/50D (or even the 5D series, which is also a “Prosumer” class) becuase they don’t work for large agencies that can afford to shell out $20000 for two bodies and a series of lenses….

        So, the phrase “definitely not professional grade” is a misnomer. Maybe without the emphasis on “definitely” I wouldn’t have bothered with a reply….

        Just pointing out that “prosumer” can easily be used by pros. And it’s the pros that will get the professional results.

        • Drew5764 says:

          @Dooley: No camera can turn a poorly composed shot into a masterpiece. Great photographers would be great even with a cell phone point and shoot (ok, and a bit of Photoshop too).

        • YardanCabaret says:

          @Dooley: Whoa there turbo. What I said is absolutely true in the form it was said. What you are taking offense to is the definition of professional. In my case I’m talking professional as in big studio with lots of money to get the best shot, which is coincidentally the camera companies definition, not someone who gets paid a living to shoot with the camera. Those big studio cameras cost $40,000+. While yes some “professionals” do use prosumer cameras they are not what the industry refers to as professional. Thus the fact they get the Prosumer range of products. Which are better than sub $1500 cameras(Consumer cameras) but not as good as the $40,000+ cameras (professional cameras). So there is my point again, not consumer grade and DEFINITELY not professional grade. It’s about the grading system, just because those words (consumer/ professional) can mean other things doesn’t mean I’m wrong for using them in the grading system created by the camera companies to distinguish their products. So please though you may know some stuff about video and video cameras don’t attack someone for correctly using terminology that you obviously don’t understand yourself.

  3. CreativeLinks says:

    I have decided to create “Dietsumption”

    People on a diet lose weight.
    People eating gain weight.

    But with Dietsumption, you can diet while you eat!

    If only I had a really nifty graph it would be easier to explain.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:


      Allow me:

                      |                                                             Dietsumption!
                  ‚Üë   |
      Satisfaction |

    • mac-phisto says:

      @CreativeLinks: nutrisystem just called. they would like to give you a thousand dollars for your word. well, more like a thousand dollar credit toward a 10 year subscription to their food system, which they will now tout as nutrisystem: dietsumption for the mind, body & soul.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    In a world in which bananas and gorillas hunt each other and wage war…sun-colored, mashy war…one banana and one gorilla will find it possible to combine and create…NANAGOR! He will be a product of science, will find himself struggling between the two worlds which gave him life, locked in an epic battle of such ferocity as not seen before in history.

    This summer, it’s PEEL OR BE PEELED.

    /end movie trailer voice.

  5. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    “Prosumer” already has a definition, and that ain’t it Bill.

    I’m amazed that an alleged Ph.D. would put that chart in a book. That’s just sad.

    • Garfunkle says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: from his website:

      Dr. Bill Quain…

      Has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a B.S. & M.S. in Hotel Administration
      Is the author of 10+ books and 21 Journal articles
      Is the author and presenter of 30 different keynotes and breakout sessions
      Owned his own hotel and restaurant
      Hosted his own TV show: “Cooking Without Looking”
      Appeared as a guest chef on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover

      He also appears to be an excellent hotel administration instructor.

      So, not someone I would necessarily seekout financial advice from. (not diminishing his Ph.D. or teaching experience, he knows his stuff… It is just not clear that this is is stuff.)

  6. RobinIrene says:

    Quixtar is actually changing their name back to Amway, not that it matters.

  7. ClutchDude says:

    Hmmm…I can see this. Maybe even work it as a Shakespeare re-imagined…yeah…I like this.

  8. Skeetz says:

    soooo nothin goin on since 2003? i’ll stick with busking..

  9. downwithmonstercable says:

    Man I remember when I graduated college and I was in Barnes and Noble browsing various resume guides, I was approached three separate times by quixtar/amway people. They are like leeches, they don’t let you just say no thank you.

    • plutonyum says:

      @downwithmonstercable: “Hey, nice book you’re examining there! I enjoy books as well. Did you attend Local University? Wow, I did, too! We have so much in common. Go Mascots! Say, have you ever considered being your own boss?”

  10. Skankingmike says:

    I have never really understood what Amway does or is. I’ve never been approached or solicited by them.

    I assume pyramid scheme right?

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @Skankingmike: Sort of. You sell products to people through Amway. You get a commission. Whoever signed you up gets a commission, and whoever signed them up gets a commission. So the goal is to sign a ton of people up under you and make them maintain their sales goals so you rake in commissions. Amway itself isn’t a pyramid scheme, but they’ve been accused of unscurpulous (sp?) business practices, and pyramid-like activities.

      • SexCpotatoes says:

        @downwithmonstercable: Uh, recruiting people makes you more money than just selling the “products.” Epitome of the pyramid scheme.

        You apologist.

        • Skankingmike says:

          @SexCpotatoes: I was thinking that.

          I never could wrap my head around those things.

          In college my roommate almost got suckered into one of these things.

          I kept asking “so what do you sell?” and he’s like well you sign people up to sell and they sign people up to sell and you make money off their sales.

          He could never tell me what the product was he was selling but how this guys needs 100 bucks. I said to give me the 100 bucks and I’ll make better use of it.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @SexCpotatoes: yes. the sad part is that some of their product lines were actually pretty decent. their skin care products are right alongside other high-end brands like clinique & estee lauder. i remember my mom using them b/c they had less/no perfumes in their lotions (she has sensitive skin).

          but you’re right. her distributer often complained that he didn’t make any money off his sales.

    • Parapraxis says:


      I’d recommend watching the documentary about Amway, called “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka”

  11. Sheogorath says:

    I, for one, am fully in favor of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.

  12. theblackdog says:

    @Skeetz: B-A-N-A-N-A-S

    *shows self out the door*

  13. cmdrsass says:

    I his doctorate is in “Educational Administration”. I should have guessed.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @cmdrsass: what’s that supposed to mean? my father held an EdD – he was a very intelligent man & went thru a very rigorous program. considering they give PhDs in recreation these days, i don’t think a doctorate in educational administration is necessarily something to scoff at.

  14. guroth says:

    i thought prosumer was the new catch phrase for a quality grade of product that exceeds the average consumers needs but isn’t quite what would be used in a professional setting.

    As previously mentioned, cheap DSLRs like Canon’s Rebel XT is above and beyond a standard point and shoot but not quite enterprise professional equipment; it is just perfect for an amateur photographer enthusiast

    • mac-phisto says:

      @guroth: it’s interesting b/c until i read this post, i never heard the term. i always thought your concept of prosumer was where the “professional grade” or more simply “pro-series” tags came to be.

      regardless, pro-sumer as bill quain decides to use it is a misnomer. salespeople are not producers; they are middlemen. a better example of this usage would be hobbyists selling their wares on sites like [] .

  15. mm16424 says:

    what exactly is a para-hobo?