Blake Mallen Has a Passion for Disrupting Old Business Models and Creating New Ones

Industry observers say the phenomenal business success of Blake Mallen rests partly on his savvy ability to tap into the power of the gig economy. Gig economy jobs are temporary positions most often filled by freelancers or people with regular jobs taking on some extra, temporary work. According to a Gallup poll, 36% of American workers are participating in the gig economy. That translates to 57 million people. Blake Mallen built his own business, ViSalus, by incorporating platforms that would tap into this massive number. Analysts say that Blaken Mallen’s businesses have created more than 300,000 “solopreneurs” over the past 15 years. That includes 16 countries where people have leveraged Mallen’s creations to build self-employed enterprises in their spare time.

With ViSalus, Mallen and his partner, Nick Sarnicola, endeavored to disrupt the direct sales industry by leveraging social networking. They created enticing and attractive opportunities that people could grasp easily and use to envision new possibilities for themselves. It was especially attractive to millennials who think differently about how they want to live and work compared to their parent’s generation. Blake Mallen said the old direct sales model was the precursor of today’s gig economy model. He built on the direct sales model by injecting viral messages into online social media platforms that gave young people an opportunity to “accept a challenge.” This was the initial introduction to his unique brand.

These viral messages were amplified through the powerful platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. Blake Mallen told a business writer recently that he “loves disrupting” and creating new models that leverage outdated models or turn them on their heads when necessary. He said he is passionate about creating innovative platforms in diverse emerging categories. His latest venture, Liv ( appeals to people looking not just for ways to build independent sources of wealth for themselves, but models that allow them to have a lot of fun along the way. It’s not just about challenging people, Mallen said, but providing an opportunity to experience the thrill of the challenge. All of it has made Blake Mallen a successful entrepreneur to watch.



Sheldon Lavin Puts Unique Stamp On One of World’s Largest Companies

Sheldon Lavin has been known to call the international meat processing giant he built, “one of the biggest companies in the world that no one has ever heard of.” And that’s just fine with him. The company is OSI Group headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois. It employs 20,000 people worldwide operating more than 65 facilities in 17 nations. Forbes recently listed OSI at No. 58 on its tally of America’s largest private firms. That designation – privately-owned – is key for Sheldon Lavin. He likes the idea that his company is not publicly traded. That means it is not subject to the whims of Wall Street and others who might meddle in what industry observers agree is among the best-run companies in the world.

Sheldon Lavin still thinks of his own company as “family-owned.” He believes it is this “family quality” that makes OSI Group special. It’s a firm that cares deeply about every employee, whether its workers in India, China, Australia, South America, North America or Europe. At every location, Lavin has strived to make each facility a welcome and contributing member of the local community. It does more than process meat. OSI employees are famous for getting involved in charitable and community-enriching functions wherever they operate. Another key marker of Mr. Lavin’s stamp on OSI is the concept of sustainability.

Mr. Lavin has been the driving force behind making his company among the most environmentally conscious in the world. OSI Group is almost obsessive about pursuing its goal of becoming a carbon neutral operation that emits net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing waste to zero is also a goal as is finding ways to enable “extreme conservation” of freshwater resources. Sheldon Lavin is determined to make OSI Group a world citizen with a reputation as an earth-friendly entity that will leave the planet a better place for future generations. Feeding the globe’s most than seven billion people with healthy, safe and wholesome foods is a tremendous challenge, one that Mr. Lavin relishes every day. Today, in his eighties, Sheldon Lavin is among the longest-serving CEOs of a major international company in the business world.

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