In Business and Nature the Large Eat the Small

In nature the powerful overcome the weak, the large consume the small. The predators feed upon those creatures who peacefully go about their business grazing on plants or gathering nuts and berries. So it is in business. Not good, or bad. It just is.  

In years gone by we worked very closely with British, German, and Spanish toy companies whose names are now part of industry lore, having been acquired and effectively vaporized by larger, US-based, international toy companies. Each European country once had its own thriving domestic toy industry and its own toy fair every year. These once thriving domestic toy industries are mostly gone – gobbled up in the acquisition frenzy of 80's and 90's.  

One of my personal favorites was Spears Games of the UK. It was a wonderful British toy company full of terrific and sometimes eccentric British toy folks. We had a good run with them, licensing some games and working with them to develop others, until they were eaten up, lock, stock, and barrel by Mattel. That story was repeated with Bluebird, Waddingtons, and others.  

Our Wacky Washer was a success with Spears. In early product testing it tested better than Mr. Bucket, the reigning preschool game at the time. When Mattel took Spears over, the game came to the US as Dizzy Dryer. Escape the Blob, a board game inspired by my mother (thanks, Mom!) was another of our successful games with Spears.    

These many wonderful, distinctively British, or German, or French toy companies may be gone but they are not forgotten. When a tree falls in the forest, a hundred spring up, vying to take its place. I have not seen that happen in the European or US toy industry.  

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