Saturday, May 3, 2014

The amazing story of how "Baby Einstein" was conceived and why it was sold!

And the projects that the founder is involved in now. 

A must watch / listen and amazingly charming Mixergy interview with Julie Clark, co-founder of The Baby Einstein Company, the pioneering creator of musical video DVDs for kids (which was sold to Disney after building it to a $20 million size in five years with just 5 employees.)

  • Impact that passionate teachers tend to have on their students future careers and life
  • The interview emphasizes - yet again - why some of the best businesses - which includes Google in the US and redBus in India - are launched by the founder(s) "scratching their own itch". As Julie puts it, both baby Einstein and her newer ventures were founded because she thought "someone ought to create a product for ---" and when she realized there was nothing like that out there, she went ahead and create it. She is clearly not someone who will only take the plunge after validating through the "focus group" kind of stuff.
  • Benefits of participating in trade-shows
  • How making the product remarkable helps in generating both PR (Julie talks about how she got featured on both CNN and the Oprah show) and word of mouth.
  • Story of why Baby Einstein was sold to Disney. (The business, though scaling rapidly, was taking over the founders' lives and also the category that the company had created was attracting competition from the big media companies. Julie poignantly describes how she comes from a humble background and how she was proud to have found a home in Disner for "her baby". The viewer/listener is however left with a felling that Disney - credit it to its brand - got Baby Einstein quite cheap.)
  • Julie also talks about her new ventures including Happy Appy - which serves up one Youtube video, as per their tagline is "Never Rude, Crude or Nude". A typically Julie app!
Lest the almost fairy tale like story of Julie Clark makes us think entrepreneurship for women in the US is a piece of cake, here are links to two other podcasts that focus more on the challenges and hardships involved. 

  • EO Fire interview with "geeky woman" entrepreneur Katherine Matsudaira, founder of Popforms.
  • Mixergy interview with New York-based I-banker turned Entrepreneur Yunha Kim, founder of Locket.
  • Mixergy Interview with Spain-based Pilar Manchon founder of INDiSYS (acquired by Intel)

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