I Was a Drag Queen and Why Being a Woman is Hard Work!

Last night I dressed up as a woman. From that experience, and what I learned in just a few hours of “being a woman,” I can safely say that I think all men should dress up like a woman for at least one day in their life. It will do much to diffuse the battle of the sexes.

Even though last night wasn’t actually Halloween, it was the night of most of the Halloween parties in Tokyo. I dressed up as a woman. I have always wanted to dress up like a woman (ala Monty Python) last night was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

I never want to do that again.

After just a few hours of getting prepared, going out, trying to socialize with people and then coming home completely and totally exhausted, I have come to have a much better understanding and sympathy for the fairer sex. Frankly speaking, being a woman sucks.

I don’t mean that in any derogatory way towards women. I just think that if I say, “It’s great to be a guy” that reeks of braggadocio. No. I mean, women have to put up with way too much sh*t. I couldn’t do it. I don’t mean that I don’t want to do it. I probably just couldn’t be a woman. It’s far too much work.

Besides taking an hour to get all prettied up to go out (and trust me, I did the absolute minimum) it was a major production just to get out the door and go anyplace.

Hell, guys can just sleep in their T-shirts, get up, slide on some jeans and we’re out the door. I do that all the time. Women? Nope. It took a good 20 minutes to get the dress on right. It took 5 minutes just to get the nylons on (for some reason, you have to put those on or the high heels won’t fit correctly)…Then, when I did get the nylons on, they kept slipping down my butt and making me feel uncomfortable. So I kept pulling them back up until I ripped a hole in my left leg stocking! God, those tear easy!

Horrors! What’s a proper drag queen to do with a hole in his stockings? What do women do all their lives with this sort of problem?

Ken Nishikawa (L) Mike Rogers (R)

Drag queens 10/28/11

Then, after the dress and nylons were on, it was time for the makeup. Like I said, just the minimum as I was getting really impatient with this stuff so the ten minute makeup applied by my wonderful wife was quite sufficient, thank you. I can’t imagine spending a few hours, like many women do, getting ready to go out on a date.

Calculate it, guys. The girl spends three hours showering, blow drying their hair, putting on makeup, getting dressed in the latest (expensive) fashion, finishing touches, putting on nail polish, all for what? Going out on a date with a loser like you? A date that ends in two hours?

She spends ¥10,000 (about $110) on makeup and stuff to go on a date with you and you take her to a cheap-assed restaurant or the game center? On top of that, if the date goes well, all you want to do rip her clothes off and ruin her makeup?

Doesn’t seem to balance the books very well, does it? Doesn’t seem like a very good deal for the girls.

After my friend, Ken, and I put on all our makeup, wigs and dresses, we went out. We caught a cab and thank god for that!  How in the hell do women walk all day in high heels? We didn’t walk a total of 5 minutes and my feet were killing me! I didn’t walk a total of 150 meters (150 yards) last night and I got a blister on a toe on my left foot that broke and now I have a blister on my right small toe. My feet were killing me last night. They still hurt this morning!

Funnily enough, I don’t want to dress in drag ever again. But, like I said, I think all men should do it for one night in their life at least. Why?

Because, we all know that women get the sh*t end of the deal in life. They have to bear the pain of childbirth; they are generally weaker than men and their men often beat and abuse them; they go through painful monthly cramps due to menstrual periods; they can’t get paid as much as men do at the workplace… The list goes on and on…

And that’s not all! Not only do women have to put up with the above list of tortures in life, they live longer than we do so they have to put up with it longer than we do! For what? They have to go through this sh*t of dressing up and looking nice everyday of their life just so their men can abuse or ignore them!?

That really sucks!

Not me. Not anymore. I have a much greater appreciation for my wife and daughters and what they have to go through everyday. From now on, I am going to be much more appreciative of them and their looks. They spend hours on trying to look their best and we men are too fricking stupid to spend two seconds saying, “You look nice. I appreciate you!”

I will never be impatient anymore when my wife or daughters want to shop. I will be more appreciative of the women at work too. I will compliment them all when I see they’ve gotten their hair done.

From cross-dressing for just a few hours, once in my life, I have a much better understanding of what women go through.

I will now always appreciate and be more sympathetic towards them…

I will always thank god that I was born a man. Being a man means I can be a slob and, if I so choose, dress like a woman… Not that I’d ever want to. It’s way too much work.

Guys, appreciate your women and what they go through.

*Seriously, guys, try dressing in drag with high heels for just one night and you will understand exactly what I am talking about. The world will be a much better place if all guys dress in drag on Halloween. But… It won’t happen. Dressing like a woman is much too much work for most men.

Parents! Teachers! Motivate Your Children and The Children Inside All of Us

Motivate your children!

What child doesn’t want to feel like a winner?

What adult doesn’t have a child inside?

Yesterday’s post about being a good salesman and selling by taking the time to find out what people want and thereby motivating them to talk to you and buy your services. In that post: Good Salesmen Do Not Sell Their Product… They Sell Solutions For Customer’s Problems please refer to:

Whether with an introduction or none, the good salesman will always be able to open doors and start conversations when their approach is totally geared upon providing a solution to the prospective customers needs.

The client is not interested in what you want to sell. The client is only interested in finding a solution to their problem.

If you can be a part of that solution, you will be a great salesman and make big money. So remember to always think of your prospective customer needs first. Never meet a new client and start discussing your product. Always start discussions on their problems and needs. Sell people what they want to buy. Sell them a solution to their problems.

Marc Sheffner, a great blogger and teacher, wrote to me and said:

Seriously, tho, tomorrow morning I have this particularly difficult class of young people. Reading your post, I wonder if I have not focused a little too much on what I want them to buy, and assumed that what I’m selling is (of course) a solution for them, one that they want (otherwise they wouldn’t be in my class, right?).

Perhaps so, Marc. May I also recommend to you (everybody!), once again, to read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnagie? Please don’t take my rcommendation as my foolishly thinking I am wise enough to give any sort of advice to anyone… Trust that I have and need to continually read this book. In fact, I even bought this book for someone who is much smarter than me… My wife! And I gave it to her just a few weeks ago! (OK… Maybe she ain’t all that smart. After all, she married me, right? Chuckle!)

Why did I buy this book for my wife? Well, let me give you some back ground. Take a moment to allow me to indulge in what we called in Japan “馬鹿親” Baka Oya (Stupid parents). I am a baka oya. Baka oya are parents who like to brag about their kids too much. So, I guess that means, that all parents are stupid because what parent doesn’t want to brag about their kids?

My son plays classical piano. He got a late start and started at 5. (Trust me folks, for the classical piano world, that’s a late start). Even though he started late, last year, he won a prestigeous award from the Japan National Piano Teacher’s and Instructor’s Association. That award put him in the top 20 seven to nine year old piano students in the entire country. We were, of course, so proud!

My son practices, and has always practiced with his mom at least one hour a day, everyday, seven-days-a-week, 365 days a year. Sometimes they practice twice a day for an hour or two hours!) No misses. He does this religiously. Every day. Over and over. There’s no stopping.

Now, consider, my friends, what it takes to get a 5 ~ 7-year-old to sit down at a piano and practice hard everyday? Most parents have a hard time getting their children to sit down and be quiet for five minutes! How does one motivate a small child to do something like this? Surely, we all know that yelling and threats do not work. There must be a secret to motivating children.

My wife has been excellent at it!

Recently, though, there’s been a trouble a brewing! At least twice, after piano practice with his regular teacher, my wife complained that he figeted and didn’t pay attention. On three occassions, recently at home or during practice, either he came down crying or my wife came downstairs and angrily flopped on the sofa in total frustration.

The other day, when this happened for the second time, I asked my wife, “What’s wrong?”

She then started complaining and reciting again the troubles I just listed. Ironically, I had been rereading “How to Win Friends and Influence People“… In one chapter in the book, Carnagie refers to getting children to do something they don’t want to do. In that chapter he speaks of finding the child’s motivation and finding a way to spark that.

Carnagie recalls an interesting story in the book. A woman complained to Carnagie that her sons at college would never write back to her no matter what she did. She had tried pleading and begging, even threats didn’t work. Carnagie bet her that he could get the sons to write back to him immediately.

In Carnagie’s letters to the sons (I seem to remember that the boys were his nephews) he wrote something like, “I am proud to hear that you are doing well in college. Please find, enclosed in this letter, a check for $10 to spend on whatever you wish.” He then intentionally forgot to enclose the check. Within a few days, both boys had written back “Thank you” notes and politely mentioned that there was no check.

Talk about finding a college student’s motivation!

I ordered the book, in Japanese, for my wife. When it arrived, I gave it to her. At first, she seemed insulted. She said,

“I read this book long ago! I know all about it.”

Yes. I was sure she has. It would have taken someone quite versed in this knowledge to have gotten a 5-year-old to sit down at a piano for an hour a day – and have that child actually enjoy it! I have read this book too. From reading it, I learned a thing about how to respond to a defensive comment like this one from my wife. I politely and calmly responded.

“Yes. I figured you already know everything in this book. But, since we have been having a small bit of trouble with our son’s discipline recently, I reread the book and thought, perhaps, you’d enjoy reading it again too. I thought, perhaps, that maybe we were doing something differently than we were doing before and that, if we thought about it, perhaps we could do things a little bit better.”

That totally disarmed her and with a kiss on the cheek, I went off to work.

A few days later, I received an unexpected email from my wife. It said,


I read the book. I know almost everything in it as I have read it before. But sometimes, I see that I have been forgetting to do things this way. This book is so very useful to me. Thank you.”

Thank god I reread that book. Had I not, my wife and I might have gotten into a fight about the way things were heading. If I hadn’t applied what I learned in that book, here’s what probably would have happened:

1) Our son would still not be practicing diligently

2) My wife would be getting angry and frustrated

3) Piano practice would have started turning into a very unpleasant experience for all involved (which might end any future piano dreams)

4) I might get angry at my son and shout at him

5) I might have gotten frustrated with the entire situation and my wife and I would get into fights

6) Nothing positive would have been accomplished.

But, as it turned out, I kindly and politely gave the book to my wife with the words, “Perhaps we could do things a little bit better.” Here’s what happened:

1) My wife and I have a closer relationship and understanding

2) My wife was reminded of the magic she used to get her son to practice diligently and seriously before

3) Practice has been going well

4) My son is happy because, instead of anger, he gets praise

5) Only positive things have been accomplished.

What a relief. And it’s all so simple.

I highly recommend “How to Win Friend’s and Influence People” by Dale Carnagie whether you are dealing with clients or staff or even your own kids… Because, after all, we all ARE children inside.

Learn to motivate that child and you will prosper! Learn to motivate that child who lives in all of us and you will be extremely successful!

NOTE: My son’s most popular video on Youtube has over 7,000 views! It was made when he was only six! See it here:

children, coworkers, happy family, positve, practice, sales, worker, Dale Carnagie, happy, business, How to Win Friend’s and Influence People, motivate, motivation, piano,

Groupon Cuts Their IPO by 60%… It Will Go Down MUCH More!

I’ve been writing since last year that I thought Groupon was a flash in the pan and a crap company. I think my predictions are coming true and the recent news seems to bear me out. Read on!

Groupon has had many problems… recently, the worst being questionable accounting practices. But, besides that how could anyone think a business model built on SPAM email woud be viable? I didn’t and I still don’t. Groupon is nothing but an over-valued business model that is built on digital junk-mail, fer chrissakes!

Well, the results are in. The game is up. It is common knowledge now that Groupon is a disaster.

Yahoo Finance reports on Groupon’s fall from grace:

NEW YORK (AP) — Only a few months ago, Groupon was the Internet’s next great thing. Business media christened it the fastest growing company ever. Copycats proliferated. And investors salivated over the prospect of Groupon going public.

Today, the startup that pioneered online daily deals for coupons is an example of how fast an Internet darling can fall.

Groupon is discounting its expectations for the IPO that in June was valued as high as $25 billion. In a regulatory filing Friday, the company said that it expects a valuation that is less than half that at between $10.1 billion and $11.4 billion.

It’s the latest twist for Groupon’s IPO, which was one of the most anticipated offerings this year. In June, after Groupon filed for the offering, the SEC raised concerns about the way it counts revenue. Then the stock market plunged.

Now Groupon faces concerns about the viability of its daily deals business model. The novelty of online coupons is wearing off. Some merchants are complaining that they are losing money — and customers– on the deals. And competitors are swarming the marketplace.

“Groupon is a disaster,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst. “It’s a shill that’s going to be exposed pretty soon.”

“Exposed soon”? Are you kidding me? Let me brag. I exposed Groupon many times in the past.

Let me recite just a few of them for your convenience:

Groupon Japan’s New Year’s Disaster

My, I am surprised to see that I have been kicking Groupon so much. But then again, it is easy to kick such a poorly run and inept company. It is also fun to do so when their management are so brash and conceited…. Especially in Japan.

As I predicted long ago…. Groupon is a flash in the pan and their business model is not good nor sustainable. Any good business deal must be beneficial for all parties concerned. Businesses were losing big money on Groupon and the promised repeat customers generally didn’t materialize…. Many companies actually lost customers and reputations!

I have an idea though, why doesn’t Groupon give out 50% ~ 80% off coupons on their IPO?

If that fails too, then they can stick that in their liberal refund policies! I predict that their IPO will be the failure of the decade.

Killing Butterflies – and Killing Those You Love

To my lovely dear daughter, Sheena….

I’d like to talk to you all about why people take things of beauty and destroy them by putting them in cages.

When I was a 7 or 8 year old boy, a second-grader, and living in the country in Minnesota, my school class gave us the assignment to capture butterflies and bring them to school for some sort of Science class experiment.

One of the neighborhood girls, and a classmate of mine, Paula Nelson, and I went out to capture butterflies together. Paula was a nice girl but I didn’t have a crush on her like I did with some of the other girls in class.

While chasing butterflies together, we spied a large yellow beauty fluttering about the roof of my house. The butterfly lit upon the rain drainage pipes. I gathered a ladder and started to climb up in order to capture the butterfly with my net.

As I climbed, Paula started chanting, “Mike! You can do it! You can do it!” I began to swell with pride and because of this cheering began to to develop a real liking for Paula…

Everyone wants to feel important and Paula did that for me at the time. I will never forget how I felt at that moment. Someone was truly cheering for me! I was so happy!

In a way, capturing a butterfly and making it “mine” is also a way for children to increase their personal worth and add to their lives “treasures.”

I neared the butterfly slowly and took up my net. Paula continued chanting. I swatted my net down upon the beautiful butterfly and… It escaped and fluttered away.

I felt defeated for a moment and felt that I had let Paula down.

A few days later, back at school, I viewed all the captured butterflies the other children brought into the classroom laying dead, side by side, in a row. Some kids had very many of them. I had failed to catch even one. As I viewed the butterflies, it dawned on me that dead butterflies were not beautiful but were actually trash.

All those wings of grace and color and dreams lying there were like a pile of old and dirty crayons: cold, lifeless and used up. Of no use to anyone or anything.

Simply garbage.

The butterflies flying in the blue skies are actually a miracle of grace and give us, children and adults, dreams… Dreams of flying over the mountains and clouds. Dreams of being who we’ve always wanted to be!

The butterflies laying still and lifeless in a cage give us death and dispair.

For the first time in my life, I was glad that I didn’t catch any of those poor butterflies. I wished I had had a time machine and could help all those dead butterflies go back in time where I could have prevented their capture and set them free.

I will never forget that experience.

When my lovely second daughter, Sheena, was a small girl of seven and a second-grader, she and her friends had some nets and were out catching butterflies in the neighborhood near Yokohama. To my great surprise they caught a very many of them and put them in a plastic, see-through clear box that had holes in the top. Even though the box was designed for insects, the holes were so small the butterflies suffocated and died….

The children had so merry time a capturing these creatures… They were so happy that they brought the butterflies to me for my approval. But I didn’t approve. The memories of my time as a child and seeing all those dead butterflies came racing back to me.

I foolishly got angry at the small children.

“These poor butterflies are beautiful and a gift from God when they are flying free. But now that you’ve captured them, they have died a terrible death in a box. Dead and lifeless they are not beautiful to anyone anymore. They are merely trash to be thrown away. Please, dear children, don’t take these beautiful creatures and capture them. They are only beautful if they are flying free.”

I learned that lesson as a small child. I was hoping that these small children would learn it too…

I was reminded again of that lesson again last night.

A beautiful girl, with dreams and visions all her own, marries… Then the husband takes her away and puts her in a cage where she suffocates.

In the cage she suffers, cannot breathe, begins to lose herself and is, of course, extremely unhappy.

The husband thinks he loves her and so he captures her and puts her away… He puts her into a cage where she languishes and eventually will become resentful and will whither and die…

Is that what the husband really wants? Does he think that this situation is really what’s best for his happiness too?

When you stop to think about it, if he truly loved her, he’d make her happy and set her free. Everyone desperately desires freedom.

Why do so many men never grow out of their childhood phase?

True love between two people will come from a sympathy for each other and putting the other’s feelings first… How could putting one in a cage possibly do anything but create a feeling of resentment and start tearing down the dream that was the intention at the start?

When my daughter was a small girl, she refused to come and sit with her grandfather. “Why won’t she sit on my lap?” The grandfather complained to me!

I told him, “Because, when she wants to get up and go play, you won’t allow her too. You hold her down so she can’t leave. Let her come and go freely as she pleases and wishes to do and then, and only then, will she sit willingly on your lap.”

He followed my advice and she willingly began sitting on his lap again.

Men! Do not destroy that what you love! Do not strangle that which you want to grow. Do not destroy, hold, capture and cage!

Women! Life is short! The cage once closed is rarely opened again. If it does crack open, for even a bit, dash and make yourselves free while you can! For the chance to do so disappears as your youth and energy dissipates! Do not allow yourselves to be captured and caged! If you are caged, then set yourselves free!

Men and women! Be free. You can still do tat and share love! Share the love everyday! Always understand and feel sympathy for each other. Life is short, we all have much suffering to go through. Let us not be the cause of more suffering for each other.

Life is bad enough without have those who supposedly love us being the source of our misery. Life is bad enough without those, who supposedly love us and want to care for us, putting us in a cage.

Share. Respect. Set free! In this way, and this way only, can you build the one and only true love.

What Makes a Great Boss “Great”?

We all know bad bosses. What makes them bad? I think it is something like comparing lies to the truth. There is always only one truth. There are many lies. So, there are many reasons a bad boss is bad.

Bad bosses are never cute… Excepting in Japanese anime.

What makes a good boss? Being a nice person? Perhaps. But what makes a great boss? I mean a really great boss?

Actually, this post is about a TV producer but it is interchangeable with any boss at any occupation. So, instead of just referring to a “producer,” a title that doesn’t strike a chord with most people, let me refer to this person as a “boss”

There are a lot of bad, stupid bosses.

But first, let me tell you what a producer does. A TV producer is a person who coordinates everything concerning the production of a TV program or movie. Many people confuse “TV Producer” with “Director” but they are two distinctly different things. In many cases a producer lines up sponsors and stars to appear on shows and also hires directors and staff. They are the people who set up the over all view of how a program is to be run. The director, on the other hand, is the person who is actually in-charge of the shooting and is the boss at the set.

The producer has a lot of say in what goes on and can give his opinion to the director in how s/he thinks the production and editing should be done, but the final say goes to the director. If the producer, or producers, don’t like what they see in the director, they can fire that director and hire another one.

Producers of TV shows are much like people on the Board of Directors at a company; they can advise on policy and choose a CEO but the actual daily running of the company is left up to the CEO. If the Board of Directors doesn’t like the direction in which the company is going, they can remove the CEO and get another one.

I have been a producer of programs many times. I have only been a director a few times. Being a director is a tough job. Being a producer is an easier job, I think. Why? Because a good producer doesn’t really have to do much excepting make sure that there is an atmosphere whereby everyone, including the director, can be and do their best.

In other words, in many cases, producers are glorified “coffee boys.”

As a producer (and I think I am a good one) I make sure that everyone is happy and is enjoying their work. I try to prevent tensions and disagreements. I always try to make sure that there are enough refreshments and coffee back stage for everyone. I try to make sure the “talent” or sponsors and staff of the program know that they are well respected and cared for.

Of course, though, there are times when I must put my foot down; but I like to think that when I do, it is for what is best for the show or the people who appear on the show. It is never for what is best for me.

The great producers are humble and are, like I said, de facto servants to the staff and talent. Everyone needs to know that they are needed and everyone needs to know that their opinion’s are heard. Everyone needs to like the producer and want to work hard for him because he is such a good person and an inspirational leader.

That’s the key here: The great producer’s make everyone want to work hard and do their best. The great producers are able to make an atmosphere whereby everyone feels important and everyone feels that they are respected and they know that they can blossom and bloom to be their very best.

If you, as a producer or boss, can create the atmosphere where everyone knows they are respected, where their opinion counts, where they are somebody important, where they can be their absolute “best” then you have real power.

Once again, the truly great producers (and directors) are able to create an atmosphere whereby everyone can be their best. That is the key to success. They are also the ones that, when praise does come, the first thing out of their mouth’s is something like,

“Well. I have a great team!”

Great producers never take credit for themselves. They always thank the team first… Bad producers suck up praise like Spongebob sucks up water. (I like Spongebob!)

Alas, there are far too many bad producers (bosses) who get confused and start to think of themselves as superior to their staff. They take all the credit for success and blame others for failures. They talk down to their staff and belittle them. They start to believe that all the success that has been gained so far is 100% due to themselves and not to the hard efforts of those around them.

Those are the bad producers.

The bad producer yells at people in a disrespectful manner. The bad producer treats people with little respect. The bad producer will belittle people in front of others. The bad producer will not motivate people to be their best.

The bad producer is his own worst enemy. The bad producer is a fool.

There are a very many bad producers and bosses in this world.

Think about it; which is better? Motivating people to do their best and to grow and achieve or to disrespect them and demotivate them to do the minimum required? When the staff are not doing their best, who suffers? Of course, as workers, the staff do, but also the producer does.

Who loses money when the staff don’t perform up to the best of their abilities? The producer (boss) does. So why does the bad producer continue with these bad habits? Isn’t it self-defeating? It sure is.

Long ago, I had a boss who was an excellent producer. His name was Kiyoshi Mizuno. He produced many films in Japan and has won famous awards. One day he was talking to me when I was a 25 some year old. He was talking to me about what a good producer was. He told me a story that I realized was a sort of parable. He pointed to an old dirty ashtray and he said to me,

“Mike. Imagine you were a famous and wealthy producer and you wanted this ashtray from me. You came and asked me for it and I said I would give it to you if you got on your knees and kissed my feet. Would you do it?”

“Of course not!” I replied.

“Well, then, you will never become a good producer.” He replied, “A good producer will be humble and lower his head and do whatever is necessary to get the job done. All you would need to do is to get on your knees and kiss my feet. That would take just ten seconds of your time. But for that ten seconds, you’d have this ashtray forever. That’s the difference between a great producer and a bad one. The bad producer has too much pride.”

He was right. The bad producer (boss) has too much pride. He is arrogant and talk down to people and belittles his staff in front of others. He doesn’t make an atmosphere whereby everyone can do and become their best.

Only a fool is a bad producer. Don’t be a fool.

Any intelligent person can become a great producer (boss)…


For more on becoming a great boss or producer, I recommend reading:

The Road Less Traveled by F. Scott Peck

Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus by Michael A. Roberto

Good to Great by Jim Collins

The Most Profitable Business in Japan?

Today, you won’t read about the company I am going to tell you about in magazines about business or the economy… You won’t see news reports about them on TV shows about profitable businesses…Why? Well, as I’ve written many times before, the mass media is not interested in the truth. The mass media are only interested in filling the spaces between advertisements. That’s all.

Besides that, as a more than 30 year veteran of the mass media, I will tell you that the business of most in the mass media is: kissing businessmen’s a*ses in the hopes of getting paid advertising for their media…

While the Internet and Social Media are all the rage today (Hint: when things are “popular”, they are already out of fashion) there’s still a few “traditional” business models that blow the rest away.

You won’t read too much about this company in the mass media… Yet… But you will someday soon (the mass media are always a day late and a dollar short.) But this company blows the socks off of Groupon, Twitter and these other flash in the pan “Social Media” darlings of today.

I’m talking about a publishing company. That’s right, a publishing company. You know, printing press and all. Ink and paper….

Gutenberg would be blown away that a company, so many centuries later after his invention, could use his idea and still make a massively successful and profitable business in the age of the “Internet”, in the age of “digital media.”

Remember that it wasn’t that long ago when people were saying that the Internet was going to destroy books and magazines? Ha! Laughable. Remember that it wasn’t that long ago when they said that children today needed to know about the digital age in order to survive? Ha! Laughable.

As it was 2,000 years ago and as it will be 2,000 years from now, the wealthy, the intelligentsia, the church and the movers, shakers and leaders of society will be people who read books. It has always been that way, it always will be.

To think otherwise is just plain stupid.

You know, I’m talking about one of the most profitable companies in Japan today…a publishing company that puts out old fashioned things like books and magazines… And, no, you can’t get their products on Kindle.

I’m talking about Deagostini. Specifically Deagostini Japan…(If that link doesn’t work, see here:

Look out Internet businesses! Your business models are far too often a scam (or full of scams or SPAMS!) I think so because if your online business doesn’t translate into something tangible or real-world, then you are headed for a fall.

Move over Groupon. I’ve railed on you over and over. But your business model is a joke. Who could possibly think that there would be a potential for a business that survives on SPAM? And you want a 60% sales commission!? Any good business model has to be good for all parties concerned… I don’t see where you are getting any repeat customers in Japan… Maybe that’s why your advertising here has disappeared. Gee! Does Groupon save me time from having to clip coupons? I never really had a problem with that before. Did you?

Twitter? You kidding me? I get more messages from Twitter that are SPAM than anything that I would ever want to read… And who needs to read idiotic nonsense on Twitter like, “How to get more followers on Twitter for only $5?”

Jeez! Who wants a bunch of “followers” who are people who know absolutely nothing about you nor do they care about you excepting that you are another digit in their masturbatory dreams of having a large “Twitter following”?

What a joke!

But old fashioned publisher Deagostini is no joke.

Deagostini sells a product that you can hold in your hand. Deagostini sells a product that kids can look forward to like Christmas or a birthday. Deagostini sells an “event” and a “limited edition” item… Once they are sold out, they are gone forever…

People in a consumer society have a history of going crazy over stuff like that.

Deagostini Japan was founded in 1997. Because of the Internet, 1997, was called the beginning of the end for the traditional publishers and old school mass media.

Deagostini’s late entry into Japan was considered by many a joke. All the traditional big Japanese publishers laughed at this upstart foreign company and their ridiculous ideas for penetrating the already overly-saturated Japanese market… A market that was the most profitable with the highest literacy rate in the entire world…

They all said that Deagostini’s products were cheap and poor quality. Then, Deagostini were the laughing stock of the Japanese publishing world. It was thought that there was no way a foreign company could come here and survive…

That was then.

They aren’t laughing anymore…Last year, of the top 15 publishing products sold in Japan, 13 of them were Deagostini products. I got the sales figures for Deagostini Japan yesterday. These figures are not public yet, but I have quite dependable inside information.

Deagostini sales in Japan for 2010 (still not public information) were….are you sitting down? ¥28,400,000,000! That’s ¥284 BILLION YEN! (about $370 Million USD!) Not only is that just incredible, but of those sales about 30% is pure profit of ¥842,000,000 (about $110 million dollars!)

Deagostini Japan’s newest model… Think kids go crazy

for this stuff? Yes. They do! I know even adults who buy

these items… Heck! I’ve even bought them before!

How does Deagostini do it? It’s so simple that when I first heard this idea, I slapped my head and thought, “Of course! Everyone knows this idea!”

How do they do it? Deagostini releases their products in a limited edition series. Like the Gundam advertisement above, they will release a quality model of a toy product (anime, war plane, car, ship, etc.) in a series of editions to be released once a month or so. There could be anywhere from 12 to 50 or 60 items in a series.

The first editions are really cheap. They get more expensive as the series progresses.

I bought a Zero Fighter for my son last Christmas at the book store because I couldn’t believe how cheap it was and the quality was awesome for the price.

This model was high quality metal cast. It had moving parts.

It came with a huge book, and other great things that boys love…

I think it was about $4.00….

Then, regularly, Deagostini releases the rest of the series in succession. As the issue go along, after a certain point, the items grow slightly in price.

If you are a real collector, you will buy each item until the series is over. Trust that there are tons of collectors with the disposable income to buy this stuff in Japan… Not just Japan! All over the western world.

In, say, a twenty series set, by the sixth issue, Deagostini has broken even on the cost of production and logistics of the entire series and each item sale after the sixth issue is pure profit.

Get that? In the series, after the sixth issue or so, every item they sell is 100% pure profit.

It’s an incredible success story and an incredible business model.

So much so that Deagostini is a model for future businesses in Japan and the world over… How many other businesses can claim that 30+ some percent of their sales is pure profit?

Certainly not Facebook or Twitter, which have no sales; nor Groupon who keeps doing the switcheroo on accounting methods.

Kids want something to hold in their hand and play with. The child’s imagination is a powerful thing. Social Media offers no real tangible items….

Deagostini not only offers a product to hold and play with, they sell a dream and something to look forward to every month.

With Deagostini products, kids get Christmas not once a year, but 12 times a year… Adults too.

What’s having something to look forward to everyday worth to the average person? Well, judging from Deagostini’s Japan sales, it’s worth well over $370 million US dollars and growing.

Nah. No big deal, right? Let’s talk about Social Media…. Yawn!

UPDATE: My friend Brenda chimes in:


Not only that, they re-issue same series years down the line – all profit! I did some marketing for them in UK years ago.