Youngevity: Evolving the Wellness Paradigm Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
If you know anything about my father, , it’s easy to understand why I grew up with an aptitude for science. His lessons started in my early childhood and still guide me to this day. And one of the main principles he ingrained in me is to be observational, a necessity for anyone on a quest for knowledge.
I was conceived in South Africa, soon after my father accepted a job to work on Operation Rhino and Operation Elephant—conservation programs developed to help save these magnificent endangered species. He was later invited back to the U.S. by Marlin Perkins to work on a large research project, which would compare the health of zoo animals around the world and study the effects of pollution.
Mr. Perkins was already a household name by then, famous for his T.V. Show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” He was not only a mentor to my father during this period, but also the Zoo Director of the St. Louis Zoo. So my family moved back to St. Louis, where my father was born.
Mr. Perkins handpicked my father because of his distinct experience and particular background in research. With degrees in veterinary medicine, a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Soil science, along with a fellowship in comparative pathology (comparing animal diseases with human diseases), he was certainly the right person for the job.
This specialized education and experience put my father’s career on a path of deep research. It also provided me with a childhood most people could never even imagine. I grew up in and around several zoos and animals of all types. I grew up immersed in efforts to support environmental conservation and animal welfare, while providing nutritional, holistic, and traditional care for animals. As a child, I even received animal and holistic treatments for my own illnesses, due to my father’s unparalleled background and capabilities. All of which reinforced the importance of observing the world around you.
Simply put, if you want to take a scientific approach to anything you have to always be looking. What you see, or perceive, is often what’s known as a paradigm. I first learned about paradigms from a book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. In the dictionary definition the word means model, a pattern, the design. I speak of a paradigm simply as the way we think it is.
The Swiss watch is a prime example of this. Soon after the first pocket watch was down-sized to become the “Watch Wristlet” in the 1890s, the Swiss became the leading maker of these new personal, compact time pieces. The world saw the Swiss watch as the gold standard in this product market. It was the paradigm of wristwatches for more than 70 years. But things were about to change.
In the mid-1960s a research laboratory in Switzerland discovered quartz crystal technology. It was more accurate, smaller, lighter, and cheaper. It also lasted longer because it had none of the mechanical challenges inherent with mainsprings, balance wheels, gears, and 17 jewel movements. But the Swiss saw no reason to change what was working. After all, they already owned the watch business.
While the Swiss invented quartz technology, shifting the paradigm, it was Japanese manufacturer Seiko that seized on its massive potential. It pioneered the new paradigm, taking it out of the lab and into the open market. In less than a decade the quartz watch (“Made in Japan”) was a new paradigm of wristwatches across the globe. And when you think of an affordable, accurate wristwatch today, it’s the Japanese quartz watch that first comes to mind.
In much the same way, my father shifted the medical establishment’s paradigm, particularly its treatment of disease with surgery and drugs. He challenged this status quo (think Swiss Watch) with a “radical” common sense approach of diet and nutrition (think Japanese quartz watch), which he presented in his mega-best-selling lecture and book, Dead Doctors Don’t Lie. Now, through the Youngevity family of brands, we’re pioneering a new paradigm of the health and wellness industry in the 21st Century.
If you can take something that’s great for one thing and apply it to something completely different, you suddenly have something new and super exciting. I believe that’s what we’re doing at Youngevity.
Comparisons can also be drawn to the story of Apple Computers. When Steve Jobs started the fledgling company in 1976, the name said it all. The company sold computers and that was it. Similarly, when we started Youngevity, we simply wanted to make my father’s essential nutrition products right. . .what we now call 90 For Life (the 90 essential nutrients we all need).
Over time, Apple Computers transcended simply offering the best computers to providing technology that would make people’s lives better. This technology was the foundation for superior information, communication, and entertainment products, which people had never before conceived of much less demanded. Nobody was banging on Apple’s door asking for an iPod with iTunes or iPhones or iPads. However, by developing these products, Apple gave people what they didn’t even know they wanted or needed. Now millions around the world seemingly can’t live without this ubiquitous technology.
That’s what I believe we’re doing at Youngevity, transforming the business model of direct selling. Only instead of technology, our expertise is Health and Wellness. With 90 For Life as the hub, we’ve created an ever-expanding array of spokes—a select assortment of individual brands, each with distinctive lines that lead their individual product categories—supporting and strengthening the wheel of Health & Wellness. And thousands of our Distributors and Customers have integrated these products into their daily lives. In fact, many of them will tell you they can’t imagine life without Youngevity’s full range of offerings.
We’re all familiar with five and 10 year goals in the world of business, but what about 100 year goals? That’s the paradigm my father created, my paradigm. Because of his life’s work and influence, we firmly believe that with a proper diet, along with the 90 essential nutrients all animals require, living in optimal health to 100 and beyond is the way life should be. We’re shifting a concept from one realm to another—from long life to longevity in business and over all well–being.
Now that I’ve given you a little background on myself and how my life has led me to this unique position, I’ll began to explore specific areas of health in forthcoming installments of this blog. We’ll discuss the science behind each topic and how our plant-based approach plays a role in the ever-evolving wellness paradigm.