Wednesday, July 3, 2024

When I Met Monet by Lotus Zhang (Of Lotus & MIchael)

Read this post on Lotus & Michael Blog When I Met Monet Part II :

When Michael wears our Kungfu shirt and stands on the bridge leisurely looking over the pond, I recall the painting I did years ago. That painting is about Monet; about Monet standing on his Japanese bridge watching his beloved waterlilies.


If Monet were here, he would like to wear the same clothes Michael is wearing now, and would look over the pond as Michael does.

READ MORE.... When I Met Monet Part II

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Are you a Why or a Why Not? Think carefully. Your future may depend on it.

 Are you a why or a why not?

Think carefully. Your future may depend on it.

Are you afraid of change? Don’t like your current situation but can’t face the future with something different? Then you have a fixed mindset.

Or, do you welcome change as opportunity? Risks yes, but possible rewards outweigh them. Then you have a growth mindset.

Do you prejudge the future as if you can predict it? Do you defend the present as “we have always done it this way?”

Here’s the key question—please think about it. Are you a why or a why not?

The answers to these questions will most likely determine the course of your career and your relationships.

The most famous case of failure due to a fixed mindset is the case of Detroit in the 1980’s as told in Richard Halberstam’s The Reckoning. “Doing things the Detroit way” lost American carmakers the dominant share of market—forever.

One of the best movies of all time shows the paralytic, destructive and even tragic consequences of a fixed mindset: How Green Was My Valley, John Ford’s 1941 masterpiece telling the story of a Welsh mining town (which could be anywhere) that is so tragically stuck in their mindset so that the only way out is—out.

I recommend you watch this movie on YouTube or wherever you get your media. Then come back here and comment about your takeaways from this film. As with all films of that time, the focus is on acting, not effects. Great performances and a great story won this film 5 Oscars. It is one of my all time favorites—it entertains and teaches if you pay attention and open your mind.

Finally, answer the question for yourself: Are you a why or a why not? Are you happy with your answer? What will you do to change it if you feel change is needed.

Here is the link to the movie on YouTube: How Green Was My Valley?

Next article: an approach you can take to improve your mindset.


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lotus & MIchael Road trip 1- To the Outer Banks (OBX)

Want a road trip?” One day Michael suddenly asked, who had been inspired by his friend’s recent road trip.

“Road trip?” I felt interested, “Go where?”

“Down to the south along the east coast. We can go to Savannah, perhaps even Miami. We can leave it open, see how we feel then.”

Thus, we started the packing right away: One basket for our clothes, one basket for our drinks and fruit, one basket for the toiletries. Next morning, with a full tank of gas, our “wide-eyed” little green mini carrying us set off toward the south, where the sun shone blazingly.


Our first stop was the north Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills. Sea, beach, palm trees, and sun-tanned people. Michael was born and grew up by the sea, so being with the ocean, listening to its roaring or rumbling, letting the refreshing sea breezes pass through his hair, he felt like he was back to his deep soul. While to me, who so lacked experience about the sea and beach, I was captured by the ocean aura immediately. Yes, the Ocean does have its particular aura: It is calm, yet wild; it is open, yet mysterious; it is clear and gay, yet salty and bitter. 

With our toes in sand, while watching the tides, I thought of a Chinese poem. It goes:

“Starting from tomorrow, I shall be a happy man--

Feed my horse, chop my firewood, and travel around the world;

Starting from tomorrow, I shall care for my crops and vegetables,

And build a house, facing the sea, enjoy the blooming spring.

Starting from tomorrow, I shall write to all my friends,

Telling them my happiness.

Whatever I get from that flash of happiness,

I shall tell everyone.

Give each river, each mountain a heartwarming name;

My dear stranger, I will offer you my best wishes as well--

May you own a prosperous future,

May you obtain a good ending with your darling one,

May you eventually find your happiness.

While I, I only hope to be facing the sea, enjoy the blooming spring.”

In my case, beside the sea and blooming spring, I will build a garden as well, a most magnificent sea garden. I already started it with a small collection of shells and stones that I took away.


Sunday, May 26, 2024

What is A Wearable Tattoo™? And why you may like to get one


Many of us (like me) have tattoos.

Some are small, some are bigger.

Some can be seen by others.

Some are hidden, to appear only to our intimates.

Celebrities with exposed tattoos have a better chance of them being seen by many others. They range from large and obvious, like Mike Tyson’s Maori eye tattoo, to Dame Helen Mirren’s interlocking v’s. Tyson said that he got the face tattoo to make a statement about himself as a warrior, and Mirren says that she was drunk when she got it (as were many that did the same), and that it represents “love thy neighbor.”

So what do all these tattoos have in common?

First, they are indelible, except with a lot of pain.

Second, they all make a statement.

But what if Mike Tyson doesn’t feel like a warrior one day? Or if Helen Mirren doesn’t feel so tolerant?

Too bad.

I think we can all agree that on different days, even different times of the day, we have many different feelings—power, powerlessness, love, beauty, happiness, dangerousness, endangered.

So, what if you could have a tattoo that you could wear when you feel like it and not when you don’t? Or that you could cover and expose at will?

If you like this idea, Lotus & Michael garments are for you. We created the Wearable Tattoo™

Dragon, Lion, Mamba, Spider, Peony, Sinensis, even Double Happiness and more on the way. These are all your go-to top, dress or shorts. Depending on how you feel that day.

Wear them, don’t, show them, don’t. Up to you.

All of this on garments that look, fit and feel great.

The result: Happiness.

Try them and give us your feedback by sending a picture of yourself with the garment on. The best combination of picture and story gets a free garment of your choice.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lotus & Michael 3 P’s: Planet, People, Product: Our love of nature and sustainability expressed through product and embroidery


It is popular these days in business courses (like mine) to teach about the Triple Bottom Line, which represents People, Planet and Profit that is, according to Harvard Business, a “sustainable business strategy” which benefits the environment, people and shareholders. This strategy is getting a lot of attention from businesses and consumers these days.

Our business strategy changes that up a little bit. Our strategy is Planet, People, Product. Wait- where’s the Profit? Don’t we want and need profit? Of course. The difference is that we firmly believe that we need to focus on the important stuff and profit will come. Why? Because people who love our product and our philosophy will buy—thus the profit will come, but our first mission is to place our product with people who love it and respect our brand.

All of our commitments are summarized in our Dozen Commitments below, but first let’s get a general understanding of our 3P’s:

Planet- All the critters, creatures and plants that live on our planet. From the little ladybug to the fierce tiger, from the modest crocus to the extravagant peony. Also included in Planet is our responsibility to protect it and not do anything to harm its present or future. In fact, we can add to its future by doing things like eliminating plastic from our product and packaging, and making garments that will last longer and not become garment waste.

People- All of us are residents of the same planet. Some have different roles than others, but that doesn’t change what we are and who we are-people. We believe and act to respect all people and their absolute right to feed their families and build their communities. This includes everything from how we treat people to how we pay them. 

With this philosophy, the physical, racial, financial differences between us become irrelevant.

Product- Once again, the product itself and its packaging should ALL be made of sustainable materials. Packaging should be minimized and therefore transport should minimize use of fuel. 

But here there is more: We know that clothing has the ability to make us feel good and happy, or bad and embarrassed, with all shades of grey in between. We go for the extreme happiness side. We want to see big smiles when people put on our garments, as well as those who observe them, because our product has delighted them by exceeding their expectations. 

Our product celebrates nature and is not afraid of showing that through its embroidery and quality fabric. We sell (and wear) the representatives of the world we believe in.

Quality is of the highest importance to us; without quality, all of our other efforts are wasted. Our garments are made with the harshest critic in mind—us.

This is our sworn commitment and the principles of how we live, so the natural result is our product. We live, create and produce by this philosophy. Our Dozen Commitments are the specifics:

Our Dozen Commitments:

1. Original Designs-All the designs showing on our products are created, owned and copyrighted by LotusandMichael,LLC.

2. Artisanal craftmanship-We pay meticulous attention to every detail, our products are crafted by the most skilled artisans with supreme fabrics to meet our high-quality standard. We would and do wear anything we sell to you.

3. Dependable Pricing-We guarantee that each product’s price on our website will be reliable and consistent, so as to be fair to every one of you when making a purchase. You will have the security of knowing your price won’t be discounted after you buy the item.

4. Payment Security-The payment methods offered on our website are secure by Shopify and Paypal. You can shop freely without any concern.

5. Pre-shipment Inspection-Though our manufacturers have conducted multiple inspections at our workshop, we inspect every piece of our products as a double guarantee before we ship it to you.

6. Customer Service-Offering you great products and services are our goal. Whenever you have questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us (

7. Social Compliance-Our factories must adhere to our Code of Conduct, which looks out for the Health, Safety and Welfare of our workers; we guarantee to adhere to the SA 8000 standards, which include ensuring:

No Underage labor

Right to Collective bargaining

No Discrimination

No Environmental harm

Freedom of association

No Harassment and abuse

Compliance with Health & Safety Standards that protect workers

No Prison or forced labor

Wages that are fairly applied according to local and international standards and properly compensate workers for normal and extra work hours, days or task

No Excessive work hours- Workers must have at least one day of rest per week and overtime should be limited to 12 hours/week

No Unauthorized Subcontracting at Non-Compliant workshops

8. Fair Trade-We guarantee that we have ensured that the factories and workers in our supply chain comply with local and global Fair Trade standards. Our Suppliers will not pay less than the local and global standard, even if they can.

9. Paying Our Suppliers on Time-Once we buy something, we own it and will pay the suppliers for it in full and on time as agreed.

10. Worker Community Welfare-We take responsibility for the communities of workers in our factories and aim to build viable communities for them and their families. We pay a fair price that builds communities and sustains workers and their families.

   11: Sustainability and Minimal Environmental Impact-As home gardeners, we appreciate nature and our planet. Here we proudly announce that:

All the materials used in our products are natural and sustainable.

We build our products with great attention to be timeless and durable, so with a little tender loving care, they can be with you for years.

We are extremely selective on merchandising in order to produce less, thus less textile waste and more benefit for our planet.

We minimize our packaging to avoid wastage and avoid non-recyclable materials.

In our small way, we are willing to contribute as much as possible to the earth’s future.

12. Privacy Policy- Your time on our site is totally voluntary. We will never sell your information to third parties or follow you with tracking cookies. Our site is open to all and the information therein will never be gated content.

This we swear; this we live every day. Because we want to and should.

Join us.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

RIP Henry Kissinger 1923-2023 Opinion: The Death of American Strategy

 RIP Henry Kissinger 1923-2023

I am saddened by the death of the greatest strategist of our time, and more saddened by the fact that his death is such a non-event. Even more sad is that today’s governments do not have the experience, knowledge and capability that someone like Kissinger had (he visited China 100 times- NBC News), so they rely on politics and knee-jerk policies with strategy nowhere to be found (how many times has Blinken visited China?)

Kissinger and Nixon changed the world by applying strategy to the Cold War situation. Actually, both China and the US applied the same strategy, which can be traced back to at least the Three Warring Kingdoms period (220-280ce). After the collapse of the Han dynasty, China rule was divided into kingdoms. The evil Cao Cao, leader of the Wei kingdom, posed a great threat to the Shu kingdom, of which Liang was the military commander. So he convinced Zhou Yu, head of the neighboring Wu kingdom, to ally with Shu against Wei. This resulted in the defeat of Cao Cao.

The same strategy was used by both Kissinger and Nixon as well as Zhou En Lai and Mao Zedong. In this case, the threat was the Soviet Union. Zhou and Mao were worried about the aggressive posture of their neighbor to the North and did not want to be forced into a head-to-head conflict. Kissinger and Nixon were fearful of the threat of the two giant Communist nations with nuclear weapons as a critical consideration.

So, even though there were huge ideological differences between the US and China, Kissinger and Nixon adopted a reality-based strategy.

What are the differences between 1971 and today, Kissinger/Nixon and Blinken/Biden?

1. Nixon had a pair of balls

2. Kissinger was a brilliant strategist with an educated and informed world view

3. Nixon’s philosophy was that whatever benefited the US benefited him, not the other way around

4. As said before, they were comfortable with a reality-based strategy. Today, ideology and politics and polls determine strategy.

The result of their successful political leveraging were the SALT talks first, then eventually the collapse of the Soviet Union—because it had neither political or economic ground to stand on.

What can we learn from Kissinger/Nixon that we can apply today? Wait- from where I sit, even if I personally advise on US government grand strategy (fat chance of that!), the bigger problem is that there is nobody on the other end of the phone to listen to and understand me. Disagree? Tell me who the master strategist is in Washington (start with the Secretary of State, who appears to be the chief firefighter)?

I know- some of you are saying (after you call me a dumbass) that China in 1971 was much different than China today; today China is much more powerful and that power may pose a threat to the US. True. But China’s power today is thanks to us; we created the monster and now we are chiefly responsible to channel its power. No? If you had a kid who became a delinquent or sociopath due to your own neglect, who is responsible to fix the problem and make them productive? YOU are.

But what is different from then to now? Russia still proposes a threat, maybe even worse than in 1971. China didn’t invade Ukraine (or Taiwan). So leveraging amongst the three powers is equally important. 

So what did the people in Washington in whom we trust do and what should they do now? They let Putin cozy up to Xi, and a year or so later we are shyly meeting with this and that to try to restart relations. F**k that. Have a pair of balls. Meet with XI and his cohorts for as long as it takes to create a mutually beneficial program of cooperation, no matter what the Right or the Left says. The US is in the center of it all—you and me.

Also, don’t give me the line about that the US is a democracy and China is a dictatorship. Events of recent years, and our income gap, has proven that, if the US is a democracy, it is seriously flawed. OR in grave danger if Trump is ever elected again (the thought makes me think of alternative countries).

There is no Henry Kissinger or John Galt to save us now. Even if there were, I believe nobody would listen. The strategy that Kissinger and Nixon used is still valid today. Russia is even more dangerous and we cannot give up any leverage to Putin, because, like Stalin and Hitler, he is dangerous smart. 

The problem is that strategy as a guide for policy has been exterminated in favor of petty politics and greed. 

I don’t have too much hope for the US ever adopting an educated, non-partisan strategy given its current divisive and self-centered population and direction. One way I believe would work, IF the government were willing to let strategy override politics where it was appropriate, would be if the government had a standing committee of academic experts whose voice would be taken seriously in the formation of national policy.

Otherwise, as I said in the beginning, strategy will pass away with Henry Kissinger. Rest in Peace.

(Kissinger is one of the two people I admire most in the world; the other is W. Edwards Deming)

2 December 2023

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Companies, please tell your “Virtual Assistant” to shut the **** up! Let’s put the Customer back into Customer Service

(read the article to the end and I will give you a hint about how to possibly shortcut this nightmare)

Technology is detrimental to business? In this case, yes. Am I nuts? Yes, no or maybe, read on.

I am willing to venture a guess that we all have been through this: You call a company that is vital to your existence like your internet provider or your bank, and, instead of a person, you get a “Virtual Assistant” who asks you to state your issue. No matter what your response, it tells you that you can get a quicker response by: a. visiting their web site b. chatting with someone (who is somewhere) or responding to the link they just sent to your mobile phone. If you don’t respond to one of those choices, there is no option to speak to a live human being. In fact, in more than one case (company to remain nameless), if you don’t choose one of those it hangs up on you. IF you have experienced that, you know how I feel, and if you didn’t, I need to know which companies you have called recently.


It seems that, today, companies will do ANYTHING to prevent you from talking to a human being. Why? Because that human being is someone who is paid for the knowledge that will help you, while the other choices are free or cheaper. 

Wouldn’t chat be a viable option? NO. Why? Because a. It is so much easier to say “sorry I can’t help you” on chat than on phone and b. more than likely, that person is in another time zone, probably working in the dead of night, is not paid by the company that you called and c. Doesn’t know jack about your problem.

So, since I am a businessperson and professor who is supposed to understand the economic benefits of technology, I should get it, right? NO. I don’t. For two reasons: a.  I didn’t get my problem solved and b. I am really pissed off at the gauntlet I have to go through every time I call. Make no mistake about it: If I had the chance to dump your ass and switch to another company, I would. So the company’s terrible customer service moat is switching cost. They are betting you can’t or won’t switch because your brain doesn’t want the trouble. Are they right?

What have I done in these situations? Simply, get apoplectic. I yell Customer Service! Representative! Human Being into the phone while pressing 0 a dozen times in rapid succession, like 00000000000000000. Oh.. Good thing my heart is sturdy.

Do I have to go through that every time? Seems so, except when I find a workaround (see below)

Wait, it gets worse. All of these companies have conspired, once you get to a point where a human is possible, to deliver the message, “We are experiencing a higher-than-normal call volume.” That, my friends, is half the story. The real deal is that the company is experiencing a higher call volume that the fewer and fewer humans cannot handle.

But seriously folks, if I were the CEO of one of those companies, I would STOP all that and allow customers to chat with a human any time they indicate a reason that cannot be answered by an automatic response (like bank account balance). But wouldn’t this cost more money? Depends if you are looking for short term gain or customer loyalty. Executives know about the value of customer loyalty, right? (Your answer? See below) 

Even for those unlike me (there are a lot of them) who just hangs up, gives up, or chooses one of the alternatives, the experience will create a negative memory in their unconscious mind and, according to Dr. Peter Steidl, author of Neuromarketing Essentials, just as our forebears did when they were looking for easier ways to hunt food, like this is a great place for food but there are lions there, whereas another with less food is lion-free. They will try to avoid the bad experience and look for more positive ones. 

Thus, for example, the plethora of cellular companies that has sprung up in recent years. They really don’t provide better service or coverage, but the companies people are switching from really suck. So as human beings led by their quest for dopamine (the brain’s chemical secreted when we have or anticipate a pleasing experience), they have to make the move.

My message to companies is, no matter how much more you think you are spending for prompt and human customer service, it will create more business, more loyalty and create behavioral codes that will make your company a no-brainer and an automatic choice. All you need to do is connect your customers to a real, knowledgeable person that actually works for the company in the same or nearby time zone. 

Happy customers spend more, stay longer and buy more things. This is a fundamental fact. Whereas unhappy ones become part of the leaks in your Leaky Bucket. Ask Apple, who still makes it easy to get in touch when you need help (used to be ask Amazon as well but they have gone the way of the outsourced). This is more than a fact of Customer Relationship Management or business logic: It is a fundamental function of our non-conscious mind or System 1, which controls purchase decision making.

Wait. Shouldn’t big companies know this? There are ways to measure customer loyalty, like Customer Lifetime Value and Customer Retention Rate, Average Customer Spend etc. 

NO. According to a survey done by Customer Gauge in 2022, 44% of businesses didn’t know their rate of churn or retention. In fact, 32% of B2B executives were completely unaware of their loyalty rates at all.


“According to our most recent research, 86% of B2B (me: I know this is for B2B but it should be the same or worse for B2C because B2B firms have fewer and less diverse customers) brands aren’t measuring the ROI of their customer experience (CX), while 47% don’t measure upsells, cross-sales, or other metrics of customer loyalty.” 

It gets worse. According to the same survey, “The trouble is that many of the executives we spoke to didn’t know how to measure customer loyalty.” 

OMG. Where is John Galt?




What is my little hint to circumvent the gauntlet? Don’t respond to any prompts or questions; as soon as you get connected to the bot, press 0 and say customer service, representative, human. This will confuse the Virtual Assistant and give it no choice but to hand you over to a human. (This does not work all the time, nor does it guarantee which time zone the human will be in).

Good luck with that. Protesting or writing to the company most likely won’t help. As always, customers need to talk with their feet. Or their checkbook, as it were.

Friday, October 6, 2023

The answer is NO! Creative Destruction is NOT, nor will ever be, DEAD. So what about Nondisruptive creation?

 The answer is NO! Creative Destruction is NOT, nor will ever be, DEAD. So what about Nondisruptive creation?

After reading Kim and Mauborgne’s “Beyond Disruption,” I got my answer: NO. Creative Destruction is not only not dead, it is, as was venerated from antiquity and by Schumpeter, the way of all flesh. It may wear different clothes in this age of technology, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the authors call it.

My answer did not come from anything they said, but partially from my own head, and partially by what they originally wrote about in Blue Ocean Strategy. 

The authors make a good case for what they call the third path to growth, after:

Complete disruption in the zero-sum world of conventional strategy within the boundaries of an industry. As an example, we can use Netflix streaming vs. DVD as a good example (hmm…let’s consider for a while that Netflix started in the DVD rental business). The social consequences of this type of disruption are massive in scale, like they were for everyone who worked for Blockbuster.

Partial disruption as exemplified by Blue Ocean Strategy. Uber caused havoc and great social consequences, even suicide, in the taxi industry; but there are still taxis today,

Then there comes nondisruptive creation, which the authors position as an innovation that has no social consequences, because it is something totally new which adds growth without something else dying or having to reinvent itself to survive. Examples they give are Viagra, Sanitary Napkins, and Prescription Eyeglasses.

Then it occurred to me, wait—the above examples were nondisruptive creation when they first came on the market, but are they now? So let’s look:

Viagra- Pfizer’s patent expired in 2017. Immediately afterward and until now, a new industry was born- generic ED and other drugs. Hims, Roman etc. all selling generic sildenafil at a small fraction of the price of Viagra (still today). Not only could former users who could afford the outrageous price of Viagra replace it with a cheaper alternative, but a whole new marketplace was born. Think about it—ED, which occurs to something like half the men over 40, does not restrict itself to the rich. Now an even bigger market was born, all those who had ED but not the means to buy Viagra.

Somebody said, not sure who, “if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Pfizer had literally 20 years to think about what would happen after the patent expired. Maybe they thought about it, but they did nothing. Of course, as a result, their business has declined. 


Sales peaked at $2 billion and now the graphic has them at $0.5. It is difficult to estimate the market size today because of the price difference (generic around $.37/pill vs. $5.75 for the supposed real deal), but my guess is that the market is growing for the generic providers. 

2. Sanitary Napkins

Were first marketed by Johnson & Johnson in 1888 as “Lister’s Towels.” The nondisruptive creation didn’t last long as you can find ads for other brands as far back as 1900  

The current market size is huge- $23.6 Billion in 2022 projected to grow to $34.03 billion by 2030.  But this market has never, in real life, been a nondisruptive market. It is a conventional market and a zero-sum game. Most women will continually use the same item and, if they switch, it will not be a partial switch.

3. Prescription glasses- This is the most ridiculous citation of “nondisruptive creation.” Some sort of corrective lens goes back until latest the 15th century (1430) and the first protoype of modern eyeglasses with arms was invented in 1727 and made its debut in 1750. Here is Warby Parker’s timeline:


Looking at the timeline, exactly when was prescription eyeglasses a nondisruptive creation and when did it become a zero-sum game?

So is there no such thing as “nondisruptive creation?” I believe there is, but not only is it not enduring, it is the beginning, the birth, of Creative Destruction and its original iteration leads to a disruptive marketplace. Will it be total disruption or partial disruption a la Blue Ocean Strategy?


Depends on what? Depends on what the product is and its usage, as we can see from the above. IF it is simply an innovation of an existing product that calls for substitution if adopted, then it fits the total destruction mode.

IF it is a product that crosses markets, as in Blue Ocean Strategy, it will be more difficult to copy and will not total destroy the disrupted product.

But in no case that I can see will a non-disruptive creation be in the garden of eden for long.

It can be a bit of a scary thought that, no matter what you do or invent, that you can be disrupted sooner or later. And, in today’s crowed marketplace, how do you prevent that from happening?


My best example of this business strategy is Apple. I am sure it was well known that the smartphone would replace the iPod, likewise with all the other trends Apple has captured since. Philosophy should be, I have to act like I work for another company and figure out how I would disrupt the current products. Then do it yourself- or someone else will. This entails waking up every day thinking about how you are going to improve or take the next step, not going to sleep or living in a bubble of denial as so many have done (think Nokia).

So, in conclusion, my position on Creative Destruction now is that it is not replaced by Nondisruptive Creation; it is, in fact, the beginning of that cycle.

So I won’t change my classes—totally. But, thanks to Kim and Mauborgne, I can present them with the most complete picture of product strategy.

AND, I understand that there is no answer for disruption. Just a matter of who, when, and how.

 Wikipedia, “Menstrual Pad,”,by%20Johnson%20%26%20Johnson%20in%201888.

  Verified Market Research,

Warby Parker, "When were glasses invented?",and%20sold%20by%20street%20vendors.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Oh No! Is Creative Destruction Dead?

 Oh No! Is Creative Destruction Dead?

For years, I made a federal case out of Schumpeter’s theory. As a university professor, the theory supported my position that:

1. Disruption is the way in as a Unicorn. 

2. Disruption is your biggest danger as a business owner.

3. Your economic Moat is in place to protect you from being the Disrupted.

As a dramatic support mechanism, I used the Hindu Trinity to illustrate the Circle of Life and the inevitability of the proposition that, for something new to be born, something had to die. Netflix and other examples presented themselves as easy examples.

Known in Sanskrit as “Trimurti,” the process represented is the inevitable influence of the trinity: Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the maintainer; and Shiva, the destroyer. One representation of the trinity looks like this:


They look innocent enough, and maybe that’s the point: the constant regeneration is not a bad thing, but the reason life continues.

In business, there are so many stories that we all know that seem to support this theory- Sears, JC Penneys, Toys R Us all became irrelevant because something else came to take their place, such as Amazon; Walmart replaced countless small local shops; Smartphones, Apple replaced everything that came before them. And more.

This explains everything very neatly and is a lesson to all students and businessfolks to absorb, lest they be absorbed.

In 2005, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne of INSEAD came along with Blue Ocean Strategy, which supported the age-old principles of Sun Tzu by declaring that the way to success was to “make the competition irrelevant” which dovetailed with Sun Tzu’s principles like “Win All Without Fighting,” “Attack Weakness Not Strength,” “Shape your Opponent,” etc. 

They also seemed to shed new light on Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage which seemed to (but really didn’t) visualize markets as bordered and to be defended from within the castle by recognizing the Five Forces that challenge firms, which has at its center Rivalry Amongst Competitors.

Most importantly, finding new market space which is a Blue not Red Ocean of competition seemed to reinforce the thought that those companies who created new market space were setting up the eventual demise of those incumbents in the previously established space. Creative Destruction- yeah!

Now, in their new book entitled “Beyond Disruption,” Mauborgne and Kim have come up with the concept of “Nondisruptive Creation,” which states that, as they notice from their work to date, that new markets and businesses can be layered on top of existing markets without disrupting them.

They stated that “Among the cases that had been added to our original database over time, a few had triggered no disruption or displacement at all.” After researching their findings, they believe that “Nondisruptive creation is distinct from existing innovation concepts and can be defined as “the creation of a brand new market outside or beyond the boundaries of existing industries.”

Wait—isn’t that what Blue Ocean Strategy was supposed to do? Where was it written that BOS only applied to disruptive opportunities. Many of the examples given in the original book didn’t seem to depend on putting someone else out of business. An example of this is Yellow Tail Wine, which they described as wine for the non-wine drinker. The customers of Yellow Tail are probably customers the traditional wine sellers would not have gotten anyway, so does not threaten them with disruption.

I think if you want to nitpick you can contend that nondisruptive creation is a subset of Blue Ocean Strategy. And, as book sellers, if they positioned it that way, they would limit their audience versus saying it is a new thing.

That said, the concept has its own validity no matter if it is a distant cousin or a brother of BOS.

The idea that new markets can be created in a red ocean that gets redder every day is a bright light shining on the future that allows new businesses, enhanced production and new demand to be layered on the well-being of society without anyone having to lose their jobs (such as the inevitable result of disruption).

So does that mean I have to stop teaching about Creative Destruction? I don’t think so because disruption will continue to exist as a force in business, especially when companies lose their relevance through poor merchandising or failed leadership ( you can think of lots of these).

But- the concept seems to offer opportunities above and beyond what has gone before. Still making the competition irrelevant? Maybe, but also creating new demand for which there is no competition. And, as the authors say, “nondisruptive creation opens a positive-sum approach to innovation and growth that allows business and society to thrive together.”

I have not read the book yet, but as usual with Mauborgne and Kim, it is well and broadly explained on the internet. I will comment further once I read it.

Bottom line for me as a professor is that I can keep teaching Creative Destruction but have to add Nondisruptive Creation as a new opportunity.

 Michael Serwetz 2023

Link to Mauborgne and Kim’s web page for the concept and book.

Friday, September 15, 2023

The CAT- a poem by me


(original oil by Lotus Zhang)

The Cat
A Poem by Michael Serwetz
(with Homage to Carl Sandburg's Fog)

The foggy cat

Enters on little cat’s feet

Takes a

and moves on.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Top Hurdles for (some) (most?) students today and their easy (?) fixes

Top Hurdles for (some) (most?) students today and their easy (?) fixes

I am not looking down my nose or lecturing. What follows are some of the top hurdles facing students today in getting the most out of their journey through college and graduate education. Some of today’s students’ difficulties are different than those during my college years due to the dominance of technology (most students today were born connected) and mine; but some are similar or the same. Recently I have taught many students who are making their way through internship and school simultaneously; the stress of doing both aggravates these issues like iodine on an open wound.

1. Problem: Time management issues- Too much to do? Well, for those who have not had anywhere near such a full plate growing up, it seems to all fall at once, which gives inexperienced players the panic attack that it all has to be done at once. OR, my boss or my professor will think less of me! Giving in to confusion and fear in your limbic brain becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
a. Related to this-
i. Inability to establish priorities- Somebody said, “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”
ii. When the tasks seem to be too much for the time you have to spend, you become overwhelmed and freeze emotionally. A suprising amount of students in this position have a psychosomatic reaction and “feel ill.” Or is that a call for help from mommy or daddy? (be honest!)

2. Easy fixes-
a. Stay calm- breathe, meditate, whatever works for you. The more anxiety and fear, the worse it gets because you are crippled emotionally.
b. Land one plane at a time. Nobody can do everything at the same time and do it well. 
c. Write s**t down- I mean really write. On a sheet of paper or notebook. IN order of priority, by due date, and any associated activities needed. Then, as you finish, Cross them off.
d. Cut down or eliminate unproductive time- the majority of students, mostly GenZ ers, spend between 4-6 hours/day online on social media, video games, shopping etc. not related to today’s needs or responsibilities. Imagine how the crunch would abate if you took half of that back: 2-3 hours x 7 days=14-21 hours more and wouldn’t cut you off from the world. With the remaining hours, you can make better decisions about how you use your time: does it contribute to your personal improvement with people with whom you have a mutually beneficial relationship? Does K-Pop offer a degree? OR a job? Or a career?

3. Problem: Attitude toward learning: Many students view learning in the same light as mopping a floor or cleaning a bathroom: I really don’t love doing it, but I have to.

4. Easy Fixes:
a. Change your mindset- this is something you are doing for yourself, and spending time to build something for you. Nobody else. Not parents, friends, family—YOU. When I wax my car it is not only because I need to protect it from rust etc. but because I want to be proud of it and of myself.
b. Give up the short term for the long term- I can guarantee that whatever dire sacrifices you feel you are making now will pale in comparison to the rewards.

5. Problem: The
Dopamine Consequence: Overcome your technology-rooted hurdles brought on by dopamine addiction-
Not your fault. These are brought on by the fact that the world is literally at our fingertips and we can find and learn something in 5 minutes that took hours, days or weeks in the past. Some of these are:
a. ADHD-like attention span- Like a TikTok video, 30 seconds
b. Inability to listen- Too much noise in my life
c. Inability to focus- Too much noise in my life
d. Prejudice- No time or desire to really find out, so you go on what you know and were taught, better or worse
e. Ego and Blindspot- something you may not know about yourself and is untested because your personal relationships are superficial. 

6. Easy fixes:
a. Read a book- a physical book- from cover to cover
b. Meditate
c. Tai Chi
d. Deep breathing
f. BE honest about who and what you are
g. Most important: lose any denial you might have about how what I describe here applies to you.

7. Problem: Failure to recognize the most valuable elements of your education- Not the academics- you will forget most of that. So what will you/should you remember and cherish? 

8. Easy Fixes:
a. People you meet along the way- whether it is a professor, friend, classmate, speaker etc. they will carve their initials on your Wall of Growth and, in some big or small way, be a part of who you become.
b. Value your personal growth- Recognize that each small experience adds up to the most valuable element of your educational journey. This is your biggest reward, even more than the degree. 
i. Who were you? Who are you now?

I walked a mile (or two or a hundred) in your shoes and I understand that in your 20s, you may not understand or want to understand that you have to get real with your future. Doesn’t seem like as much fun. Maybe it isn’t. Can you make productive time fun? Sure you can.

I hope you can make use of the above information now. Time passes by in a blink and before you know it, you will be out of school and in a position of responsibility. Give yourself the tools for success before you look in the Lion’s mouth.

As an instructor, what can I do?

1. Understanding- Walk a mile in my students’ shoes
2. Firmness- Reminding them of their responsibilities and insisting they fulfill them by organizing themselves appropriately and not panicking.
(We used to call this the iron fist in the velvet glove)

Some gifts for you

I appreciate your reading this article and hope you will take it seriously. As a gift for getting this far, I want to share three critically important pieces of advice, maybe the most important I can share:

1. Lead by Example- If what you say and what you do are not the same, you will be ineffective in business and personal relationships. Others’ poor example is not an excuse. You are who you are, and people will respect you for that. 
2. Value others as you would have them value you- Nothing resonates better than authenticity, and nothing resonates worse than the lack of it.
3. Everyone has something to offer- including you. And each person is different. Look for the positives and understand the differences.

I have lots more of these, but that’s another article.

© Michael Serwetz 2023


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Michael Serwetz updated bio 2023

 Michael Serwetz BIO 2023


* Leadership positions in retail, marketing, merchandising, design and sourcing; more than 30 countries around the globe since 1970. 

* Retail at Federated Department Stores where, as a buyer, he developed many new items, pricing and promotional strategies, as well as creating a new denim department.

* At Levi Strauss, he was the youngest ever promoted to General Merchandise Manager of Womenswear, $300million business, first Women’s 501 in Levi’s history. 

* Joe Boxer, worked with Nick Graham to start and operate one of the most iconic brands in global textile history, grew from $15 million to greater than $70 million 

* GoldToe Moretz, he opened offices in Asia >$100 million FOB profitable international business, reducing cost of operations from >5% to 1.5%

* Lived in Hong Kong and Shanghai for 10 years, operating his own WFOE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise, sourcing and marketing varied products for clients in US, Brazil and MEA.

* I, sourcerer- Industry consultant, Blogger and teacher

* Founder and Shirt Artisan- Lotus & Michael- The Art of Shirts- A LUXURY BRAND- Original, high quality Shirts for Men & Women (equally)

* Blog URL:

* LinkedIn:


* Bachelor’s Degree from Brooklyn College of CUNY,  American History.

* Master of Arts from Dominican University of California in International Political and Economic Assessment (Pacific Basin). 

* Adjunct professor Dominican University of California, teaching MBA courses (Macroeconomics, Political Science) on site in Wuxi, China in 1990, living in dorm with students for 6 months; 

* Has created his own style of teaching, passionate about neuromarketing and storytelling, sharing some of the knowledge and experience he has gained over his career and in recent years as a university instructor to students (and learning from them;

* Particularly created a comfortable connection with international students since he has lived and traveled around the globe (more than likely to where they are from), since 1970;

Courses Taught and Teaching:

* Campus Online Community College Program- Instructor, beginning Fall 2023-; Groundbreaking program devoted to access, affordability and quality support for any student; populated by top-notch professors from premier universities. A new paradigm for education- where teachers and students are both important. 

* NYU SPS (School of Professional Studies- Division of Programs in Business (Graduate), Competitive Strategy (Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022); Operations Strategy (Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023); CRM the Experience (Fall 2022, Spring 2023); Internship (Summer 2023); Transforming Organizations (Summer 2022, Summer 2023); Strategic Marketing (Fall 2022); Global Luxury Marketing Partnership program with SKEMA Paris (Fall 2021); Undergraduate DAUS- Digital Marketing (Spring 2019, Spring2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022), Customer Relationship Management (Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021); 

* FIT- Global Marketing (Spring 2018), International Business Transactions (Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021), Global Sourcing for Stylists (Spring 2021); Precollege Global Marketing (Summer 2021)

* Baruch College of CUNY CAPS (Continuing and Professional Studies)- Leadership Skills for the Fashion Industry (INSEEC Paris Fall 2018), Global Marketing (Spring 2019, Summer 2019, Fall 2019, Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022); Introduction to Customer Relationship Management (ISG France Spring 2019, Fall 2019); Digital Marketing for the Fashion Industry, Luxury and the Arts (ISG France- Spring 2021), Integrated Marketing and Social Media Strategies (INSEEC Paris-Fall 2021)


Passionate home cook and foodie; living in Trenton NJ where he and his wife can enjoy their home, garden and vegetables.

Author of two books: “Travels With Mikey: Global Life of a Business Foodie,” “The Culture Factor: Understanding the Plain Truth About US-China Relations;" Working on a marketing non-textbook, "The Way of the Unicorn" to be completed soon.

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