Friday, May 8, 2015

Where did Thrive Learning Go?

Thrive Learning is Still Around - Just Disguised?
(Photo: Seth Thomas Rasmussen)

Thrive Learning is Still Around - Just Disguised?

Welcome to Guidance Interactive. Same exact address. Same business (apparently) per their LinkedIn page:

At Guidance, you’ll have an experienced instructor who’s already done what you want to do, tailoring your experience and walking you down your chosen path, step by step. The trouble with experience is that by the time you have it, it’s usually too late. But things are different at Guidance. From day one you’ll benefit from your instructor’s years of experience.
Specialties: eCommerce, Financial, Small Business, Real Estate

Sound familiar?

Here's Thrive's old header (courtesy of WayBack Machine on archive.org)

Thrive Learning Institute - scamming at Real Estate, Wealth, Internet business

"Real Estate, Wealth, Internet"

Thrive defined their Internet section as:
"Internet Education: Whether a company wants to extend an existing business to the Internet or launch the next big idea, Thrive is there to help each step of the way. Thrive helps you build your website using simple, functional and powerful tools. The Lightwave Builder allows you to build, manage and market a feature-rich, highly professional website. Our professional instructors are experts with internet marketing and online brand development. Our online education and personal training gives our students the attention they need to complete their goals. Our instructors have experience in their respective fields and know what knowledge and tools are required for success. "

Read Guidance' current page for their ecommerce offerings and decide for yourself.

Go ahead, try to contact Guidance Int.

Funny enough, there is no contact data on the Guidance Int. pages. None. They don't want you calling them, apparently.

Now, if you call up Thrive's old toll-free number, you'll get a non-branded recording which doesn't identify the business at all. Pressing "0" gives you "Support" - but again, no company, no person.

However, first on their list of options has (you guessed it) Real Estate and Internet

One of the problems Thrive had was it's long-in-the-tooth Lightwave Builder (that they got from the old Bright Builder as part of the deal for taking over BB's customers)

On that phone call you'll get a reference to "Ignite Builder". Look that up on Google and you'll get an "Ignite Website Builder" on a site called SparkHD Trial. If you go down that page, you'll see at the bottom a list of other programs: Lister Labs, Product Niche Organizer, TeraPeak Research Tool, Drop Shipping Warehouses."

That list is interesting as this is exactly what Thrive started out with, as it picked up from Bright Builder - Ebay businesses. Make your money by dropshipping, scoping out hot areas and buy wholesale and sell above cost using someone else to ship to your customer for a small fee. (Unfortunately, this area has tiny margins, and requires daily work. In other words - it's just another job, not a leveragable business. Believe me, that's the line I got scammed on.)

We have a lot of data here what walks and talks like ducks - even though they are called something else.

Is the new Guidance Interactive legitimate?

Guidance is properly registered with the state of Utah. You'll also see that their principals are not disclosed, something Thrive did in their later years.

We do have to note there that there are no complaint reports on file with the BBB. Google notes nothing on the various scam forums for them. Even the nefarious RipOffReport.com has nothing on them. Clean as a whistle - as far as the Internet concerned.

How about Zach Bradshaw? Where did he wind up?

You may recall Zach from his stint at Thrive - like the BBB still does:
Zach Bradshaw - Customer Relations and Principal for Thrive Learning Institute
(Oddly enough, searching Google for entries of BBB for Guidance Interactive brought this up...)

Zach is now the owner of SoJo CrossFit. (On Facebook.) Good for him. An honest business with a non-scammy business plan. (Or a nice front.)

How do we know that this Zach Bradshaw is the one who worked at Thrive Learning Institute?

Check out his Linked In Profile:



Experience:
Owner - SoJo CrossFit
January 2014 – Present (1 year 5 months)South Jordan, Utah
Customer Relations Director - Guidance Intl.
May 2008 – Present (7 years 1 month)Orem, Utah

It turns out that Guidance Interactive has only really been in existence since 2014 according to the State of Utah, the same year Thrive Learning Institute pulled it's own LLC Registration. Both companies share the same address. Zach's Guidance timeline matches when he was at Thrive Learning.

That's our Zach - the same one you've spent so much time on the phone with. (But apparently, he's too embarrassed to use "Thrive Learning Institute" on his resume.)

How about Colton (Colt) Moody?

Colt Moody Linkedin - former principal of Thrive Learning Institute
Per his Experience on LinkedIn:
Partner - Equinox Nutraceuticals
April 2010 – Present (5 years 2 months)American fork
I am currently involved in several businesses as an owner and manager.
CEO - Momentum Marketing
2000 – 2010 (10 years)Draper, Utah
Ceo of Momentum for 10 years, business coaching
No direct link to Thrive here - but there's long trails on the complaint forums that say otherwise.

How about Dave Rasmussen?

This was the guy who started Thrive, apparently getting Colt to bankroll his project.

On LinkedIn: 
Dave Rasmussen - Thrive Learning Institute COO

How do we know he's the right Dave R.?

Check out his LinkedIn Experience:
Chief Operating Officer - Vision Solar July 2013 – Present (1 year 11 months) Orem, UT
Vision Solar specializes in making clean and renewable power available to all types of homeowners. We offer affordable solar solutions that allow our customers to enjoy the benefits of solar with little or no up-front costs. Vision Solar is a full service solar provider including the design of the system, all required permitting, installation and inspection, and system maintenance, all for a fraction of the cost of traditional power.
We, along with our customers, take great pride in going green and lessening the impact on the environment. Improving the world one home at a time is a challenge that we passionately accept. For more information visit visionsolar.com.
Member Board of Directors - Enspark July 2012 – January 2014 (1 year 7 months) Provo, Utah Area
Enspark is a leading e-learning solution provider specializing in on demand interactive E-learning courses, custom E-learning course development and E-learning environment management. We deliver our courses in a user friendly Learning Management System that is easily re-branded to fit the needs of any organization. Our team is comprised of instructional designers, corporate trainers and multimedia developers. We differentiate ourselves by providing training that is highly interactive to the end user using technology that enhances learner performance.
SpecialtiesOn Demand Interactive Elearning Courses, Custom Elearning Courses, Elearning Environment Management.
...
COO / Managing Partner - Thrive March 2008 – July 2013 (5 years 5 months) Orem, UT
Managing Partner of Thrive
Over the past several years Thrive has mentored thousands of clients to achieve their goals. The education our clients receive allows them to launch businesses, develop multiple streams of income, and ultimately transform their lives. These results are invaluable to our clients and their families.
Thrive doesn't have a "one-size-fits-all" approach that caters to the easiest clients at the expense of others. Quality matters to us and we focus on every single client, their individual goals, and how to get them from where they are to where they want to be. Our flexible Business Consultants personalize our curriculum, tailor assignments, customize the learning experience, and mentor each client as a unique individual. Our system works.

There's the sound of other shoe dropping - he ran Thrive Corporate (into the ground).

Conclusion - Did they go clean?

That's up to you to determine. 

Obviously, Thrive quit making money about the same time they got busted for millions by the State. You'd have to find and talk to these these guys at their current business to see if they actually did change their stripes. The thin margins Thrive ran on couldn't keep up with the swamping complaints which deluged them - after they trained people how to research on the Internet. (Is that poetic justice or what?)

I can buy that Zach runs a cross-fit company. He told me he was mowing lawns (landscaping business) before he jumped in bed with Thrive. 

Colt Moody says on LinkedIn he's still managing companies. This gives him the shadiest alibi of the three.

Dave Rasmussen is the hardest to buy - could he really walk away from everything and just sell solar panels for a living? He went from Thrive Corporate to Enspark, which is another online training company, and then to solar panels. That's tough to swallow. 

New people you may want to know...

(CEO Guidance Interactive: Ari Monkarsh - LinkedIn)
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ari-monkarsh/1/288/339

Not much there. At least you know his back trail.

Ari was involved in this type of business before. Maybe he's running this straight. Maybe. (Having an internet training business in the (Utah) Scam Capitol U.S.A with the same address - and maybe even phone number - as a scam outfit: that's not the best beginning.)

PS. The Bright Builder Connection

Above, I mentioned Thrive got a deal from Bright Builders and inherited their aging site-builder along with their customers. That's first-hand data told to me and verified by their own trainers and consultants.

Bright Builders was heavy into the then-popular Ebay home business model, developing their own site builder and buying HammerTap, which extracted data using the Ebay API.

If you look up Bright Builders' President, Greg Cole, it turned out that he first worked for "Colton Solutions" for 2 years and started Bright Builders in 1999.

Did Colt (Colton) Moody have an early involvement? We may never know...

Since Provo and Orem are right next to each other, it's likely there's some networking possible. The sheer number of scammers originating out of this area says something else might be going on. 

Let's hope they are all on the straight and narrow now.

PPS. Disclaimer: All this is verifiable online. 

I've linked everything except what they Zach and others personally told me. My conclusions are based on what I've found online and my own experiences in getting scammed through Thrive. Your conclusions are your own. I sincerely hope all mentioned are living great, honest lives now. Certainly their (and our) time with Thrive Learning Institute was an education all around.