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The Shark Tank: Can Dragons Swim?


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#1

The Mad Maple

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Posted Mar 30, 2009 @ 6:42 PM

Mark Burnett's version of The Dragon's Den was picked up by ABC.

Personally, I've become a fan of the Canadian version of the show, and I thought it was interesting that two of the Canadian dragons, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary, are both gonna be on this show. You'd think they'd be sick of each other by now. :)
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#2

The Mad Maple

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Posted May 17, 2009 @ 11:28 PM

So, does anyone know when this show's gonna debut?
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#3

alexmarsz

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Posted Jul 20, 2009 @ 9:57 AM

Ah yes, ABC vs Capitalism yet again. Debut is scheduled for Sunday August 9 at 9pm EST.

I've watched most of the BBC episodes and as much as I could of the CBC ones, which is saying something since I have no television access to either. And I'm very glad Dragon's Den (with the unnecessary name change) is finally coming to the US, but I am not optimistic about ABC's involvement. Had NBC been the partner I'd think much more highly, and expect rebroadcasts on CNBC too. But you play with the hand you're dealt and let's hope for the best.

For quick reference, the sharks are:

Barbara Corcoran
New York Real Estate. Also does motivational speaking and writing.

Kevin Harrington
Informercial pioneer used to varied products.

Robert Herjavec
From the Canadian version. Internet security into broad IT.

Daymond John
Created FUBU. Writes and speaks on branding now.

Kevin O'Leary
Educational software then founded his own mutual fund company. "The bad guy" from the Canadian version. Often first bidder with huge demands who either gets outbid or controls the negotiation.

Of the five, 2 are experienced Dragons and therefore are clearly comfortable investing in the right business. Keving Harrington (likely to be known as "the other Kevin") probably knows more about what is and isn't salable than anyone. But the other two - while clearly wealthy - don't strike me as the diverse venture capital types and I sincerely hope they're not just "token woman" and "token black guy." Obviously they both know how to discount a cash flow, but a lot of investors are (understandably) unwilling to buy in on business lines they don't know. And it just seems like Daymond's and Barbara's experiences are narrow.

Anyway, fingers crossed. I've been waiting years for the series to expand here.

Edited by alexmarsz, Jul 20, 2009 @ 9:59 AM.

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#4

selkie

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Posted Jul 20, 2009 @ 11:06 AM

As long as they don't bring the supremely annoying rainbow mohawk dragon over from the Australian version, (or pretty much any of the Australian dragons over. I found them to be an unlikeable group) I'm good with the recycled Canadians and Brits from other versions of the show on the US version.
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#5

Taeolas

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Posted Jul 21, 2009 @ 1:13 PM

I'm looking forward to it, but I'm curious about how having two Canadians in the Den will affect the investing and negotiations. I guess the US doesn't really have much in the way of Foreign ownership rules or anything that, unlike up here. (Two American dragons would never fly on the CBC series, partly because the CBC is gov funded, but mainly because of our foreign ownership rules that would probably crimp a lot of dealmaking on camera).

I'm sure Kevin and Robert would never have signed on if they didn't know all the ins and outs for buying into a US operation after all. :)
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#6

Taeolas

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Posted Aug 6, 2009 @ 8:14 PM

There was a clip of Shark Tank during Wipeout this week I saw... and Kevin (I think) was in fine form tearing apart two people who wanted 1 million for 10% of their company. Good to see he has made the border crossing untouched. Meanwhile the glance I saw of the other shark seemed less than impressive so far.
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#7

Faxinator

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Posted Aug 7, 2009 @ 8:32 AM

Having watched both the BBC version and the Canadian version, I'm very dismayed to learn that several of the dragons from the Canadian version have migrated to the US for the "Shark Tank". In watching both, it seems to me that the Canadians were consistently asking for a much, much higher percentage of the businesses who appeared before them, giving the Canadian version an air of "let's screw the desperate business owners" vs "let's form a beneficial partnership".

Oh well, I guess we'll see when it airs...
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#8

Taeolas

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Posted Aug 7, 2009 @ 11:46 AM

Well keep in mind that in order to officially make the deal, the dollar amount is set in stone; the Entrepreneur has to walk out with at least that amount.

So what often happens in the CBC version, is the entrepreneur sees dollar signs, but isn't willing to give up a big chunk of his company, so he sets a high dollar amount and a low percentage.

The dragons, on the other hand, with all of their experience and contacts, see a product with potential (often) but which the seller has set an unrealistic dollar value on it, forcing them to up their stake in the business to match a more realistic valuation of the company.

For example, in the clip we saw during Wipeout, the Entrepreneur was trying to get 1 million for 10%. Kevin rightly pointed out that that meant the entrepreneur was valuing his TOTAL company for 10 million dollars, and from his tone Kevin didn't believe it was worth that much. 1 million for 50% on the other hand would value the company at 2 million dollars, which is probably a much more realistic take on it.

Another thing to keep in mind too, is that the Dragons Den/Shark Tank are showing the selling and bargaining process which we aren't used to seeing. To go up to the Sharks, the entrepreneur is testing their business savy both in selling their product/service and in pegging a dollar/percentage amount that will let them get to the next stage. If they do both well, then the dragons usually jump right on them. If they sell well but haven't done the numbers well, you often see the Shark's looking for more controlling interest to better match the dollar value. And usually that initial Shark/Dragon offer is a second test for the Entrepreneur, the start of the Bargaining process. At that point, the Entrepreneur needs to read the Sharks, and decide how interested they really are in it, and how much give they really have; can I talk them down lower, etc..., all to try to reach that golden middle ground. (In the Wipeout example, Kevin, were he REALLY interested, might come back for 1mill for 50%, but the bargaining may mean he's willing to come down to 1 mill for 33% instead. Instead, he wasn't all that interested and he bailed out.

I've never seen the BBC or the Aussie versions, but I know the CBC version always felt like it had a good mix of people who were on the ball and really got the dragons interested, people who had great ideas but horrible numbers but managed to make a deal anyways, people who had great ideas, horrible numbers and whom the dragons basically said "Come back when you have better numbers/better business sense", usually with advice for what to do, and of course the horrible ideas that just had to be stopped before the Entrepreneur ruined their lives any further on it.

In any case, I'm jonesing for my Shark Tank/Dragons Den fix (CBC repeats aren't enough, but they help. :) ) So I'm looking forward to Sunday now.
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#9

blackwing

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Posted Aug 7, 2009 @ 3:00 PM

I'm not familiar with the Canadian show. Having seen the incessant promos for Shark Tank, I have absolutely no desire to see some nasty people sitting at a table with piles of money in front of them yelling, being condescending, and ripping new assholes in young entrepreneurs.

Is this supposed to be entertaining? I'll pass.
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#10

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Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 10:28 AM

blackwing:

The original BBC version which has been around for quite some time, is far superior to the CBC imitation. While lots of people came into the den with unrealistic values for their companies, the BBC Dragons usually presented a realistic offer in return.

Not only that, but the personalities of the BBC dragons have generally been much less abrasive. Comparing the two side-by-side, having seen all of both of them, the BBC original comes across generally as show offering a real potential business opportunity for the business owners, while the CBC version by comparison comes across as a much more abrasive, more caustic, more cartoon of the original program.

Learning that several of the drago... er, sharks... came from the CBC program has dampened my enthusiasm for our own version of this format.

Compared to the BBC original, the CBC imitator is a bit of joke.
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#11

alexmarsz

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Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 9:20 PM

Well true to expectations ABC is trying to ruin it. Sob stories before each presentation, extreme facial closeups during discussions, and my pet peeve "the worst economy since the great depression" right in the credits. All that aside, the meat of the show did ont disappoint at all!

All the dragons (oops, sharks), even Kevin O'Leary, had the right mix of hard and soft. Tough negotiations with compassionate advice. Genuine encouragement without without blind cheerleading. There wasn't a single case where I thought any of the sharks was overly harsh or foolishly soft. Some of the offers could perhaps have been a little more generous, but they weren't unreasonable as what they are.

Probably my favorite momemt was with the last guys:

"We built this company up to make it worth three million dollars, and we shouldn't sell it short."
"So make us an offer."
"OK, we value it at ten million."

($1 million for 10%, natch)

They did get their brand names out there at least. I heard "hunks moving junk" and "foxes packing boxes" so much I thought they'd switched over to a Dr. Seuss special.

Looking forward to next week, and I hope the pie guy and medicine dropper girl do well.
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#12

shibori

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Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 9:24 PM

So, after the foxes pack your boxes, will the hunks move your junk? Cause I don't see those girlies doing heavy labor.

You know, I think the implantable bluetooth guy is just going to walk away thinking they just didn't get his concept. I wish instead of just telling him he was crazy that they would have asked some hard questions about FDA approval, medical ethics, etc. But, he was crazy.

Edited by shibori, Aug 9, 2009 @ 9:35 PM.

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#13

PS1211

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Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 9:27 PM

Man, the guy with the WiSpots? I didn't know whether to feel bad for him or be angry at him. I mean, throwing away your kids' college funds? And two mortgages on an idea that even I knew was past its time? Yikes.
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#14

QueenAnne

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Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 10:39 PM

I thought Daymond made an excellent point about the criteria for selection of the foxes' patrons; I wish we'd gotten to hear the entrepreneur's answer, which he seemed to be trying to squeeze out. How do we know some perv isn't hiring them so that he can stand around and watch them bend and stretch?

I wanted someone to ask crazy implant guy what on earth his patrons were supposed to do if they wanted to go to sleep and some nitwit with a wrong number rang their cell at 3 in the morning. If he was pushing a regular bluetooth that could be inserted and would fit like cochlear hearing aid, then he might have had something.
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#15

Rex Raider

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 5:49 AM

Celphone Implant thing -> They should have asked the guy if he had one already himself. (I think he was a nut)

Medicine dropper -> Nice throwaway idea. But she has her whole concept based only one one kid that she worked with. I would do much more market research before going ahead. At least she was asking for a realistic number, and did state she needed the expertise more than the money itself.

Pie Guy -> If McDonald's was on board as a purchaser, and he could prove that, you would think that some kind of business loan would be available to him without the sharks getting involved. The mascot brings brand identity. I didn't see a problem with it.

Boxes/Foxes -> If these guys did start the first company, and it's a huge success, and they are on Forbes top 30 under 30 list, what do they need the Sharks for? They seem to know what they are doing. With all of their connections and success, you would think they would know what resources to go after. I'm kind of happy they rejected the deal. I didn't really like their idea anyway.

The Wi/Fi pads, I saw done about 5 years ago in Montreal (my brother worked for a company like that). They supplied the computer tablets for free. The doctor would not have had to pay $9000. The whole thing was funded solely by the online advertising. I'm not sure where that company is today. Not a bad idea, just not thought out properly. And sad that he spent so much money before finding out that it wasn't working for him.
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#16

Taeolas

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 6:36 AM

My ABC feed comes from Rochester, NY, and with all the storms in the region, the signal was basically completely messed up so I couldn't see much. (Hopefully the west coast feed is clearer, I'll find out tonight).

That said, what I did see, I was happy with. There didn't seem to be all that much different from the Dragons Den, other than a more upscale presentation area. And the implantable Blue Tooth... WTF? I know SciFi shows like to implant everything they can, but we just don't have the tech to make that feasible anytime in the near future.
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#17

shibori

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 8:30 AM

Medicine dropper -> Nice throwaway idea. But she has her whole concept based only one one kid that she worked with. I would do much more market research before going ahead. At least she was asking for a realistic number, and did state she needed the expertise more than the money itself.


This one raised an interesting question, I think. If you're presenting a product that isn't patented, what's to prevent someone with more resources from stealing that idea and putting it into production right now?
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#18

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 8:39 AM

What a pale, unfortunate, disappointing version of this format that we in the US have now been "treated" to. As bad as this version of the original BBC program is, I'm still going to have to watch because I love the basic premise. I guess I'll have to continue to turn to BBC's "The Dragon's Den" for QUALITY, and turn to ABC simply for quantity.

The Hunks/Junk/Foxes/Boxes guys made a big mistake in passing on that deal.

Of course like with the other versions of this format, despite what is agreed to on TV, we all know that many of these "deals" will actually never get done in real life, anyhow.

ABC, please fix this show so it will be more watchable! Dump the pre-pitch sob stories. Get rid of those silly computer-generated sharks in the hallway (how cheesy can you get?). And please -- PLEASE! -- stop with the very OBVIOUS recycling of audio out of the flow of the actual conversation. That's DOUBLY annoying!
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#19

alexmarsz

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 9:51 AM

Boxes/Foxes -> If these guys did start the first company, and it's a huge success, and they are on Forbes top 30 under 30 list, what do they need the Sharks for?

Exactly. A very good point that I don't think was properly mentioned on the show. If their first business is making $300k a year (profit) as they claim, there's no reason they should need to seek an investor for $250k.

So I'm not sure it was wrong to pass. I think it was wrong to be there at all. It seemed like they wanted to make an inferior copy of their first idea and act like it was a new one.

ABC, please fix this show so it will be more watchable! Dump the pre-pitch sob stories. Get rid of those silly computer-generated sharks in the hallway (how cheesy can you get?). And please -- PLEASE! -- stop with the very OBVIOUS recycling of audio out of the flow of the actual conversation. That's DOUBLY annoying!

I'm embarrassed to admit it but I actually LIKED the hallway sharks. :) The rest I absolutely agree on though.

Of course like with the other versions of this format, despite what is agreed to on TV, we all know that many of these "deals" will actually never get done in real life, anyhow.

Yeah, they're all subject to due diligence and sometimes get dumped because relevant factor XYZ was omitted or exaggerated. But do you have an estimate of how many usually get dumped? Because I have no idea.
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#20

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 10:17 AM

This one raised an interesting question, I think. If you're presenting a product that isn't patented, what's to prevent someone with more resources from stealing that idea and putting it into production right now?


Then she would make more money from winning the lawsuit then she ever would have selling the item. She's got video proof it's her idea, and I'm sure TPTB didn't let her story go into production without at least applying for the patent.
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#21

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:28 AM

Yeah, they're all subject to due diligence and sometimes get dumped because relevant factor XYZ was omitted or exaggerated. But do you have an estimate of how many usually get dumped? Because I have no idea.


If I recall correctly, the article I read said that more deals fall through than actually come to fruition. So apparently more than 50% get dumped.
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#22

TV Watcher

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:17 PM

On the patent issue, the U.S. still has a first to invent rule. So even if someone else applied for the patent, if she applied for one she would get it because she was first to invent the idea. Moreover, the person who stole her idea would not get the patent because, having seen it on television, it would be considered prior art, and not patentable.
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#23

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:26 PM

With all of their connections and success, you would think they would know what resources to go after. I'm kind of happy they rejected the deal. I didn't really like their idea anyway.


There's a category of presenters on this show that I always end up thinking that they've got no intention of a deal going in; what they really want is effectively a national ad for their business. I'd put those folks in that category.
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#24

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:46 PM

Medicine dropper ->


Patents only cost about $1500, and yes it could still be stolen (with or without patent, it happens all the time) even w/the video proof. She couldn't afford a lawsuit against a big company, they'd just outwait her till she went broke.

Big companies also steal ideas from each other and get away with it. Biore invented the pore strip, and Ponds was selling the same thing w/in a year.

The product is a winner, as long as she's done her due diligence that there really is nothing similar out there. The baby/child market is one of the most lucrative - 1) in pure dollars, 2) because it will never go away, and 3) because new "customers" are constantly cycling in and out of the target market.

I didn't agree w/their focus on market research. Who cares if the kid gets wise to it after a few uses? By then you've already SOLD them one. This isn't a repeat business like a food product where you must keep them coming back.
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#25

Taeolas

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Posted Aug 10, 2009 @ 5:00 PM

I wonder if the directors had to edit/cut Kevin's story about his family arriving, since he's mentioned it a few times in Dragon's Den too, and they seem to be going out of their way to make sure that Kevin and Robert are not seen as Canadians.

Already I can see elements I don't like, and I'm wondering if this is Mark Burnett's influence. Knock off the sob stories and squeeze another entrepreneur or three into the ep. The set design I don't mind as much. It's not bad actually.

And I hate that stupid "X Dragons are out, will the 5-X'th dragons make the deal?" schtict. CBC has done it once or twice but not as bad as Shark Tank.

Personally, I'd rather see the ideas that got blasted out fast, and some closer focus on the better ideas, and flood the ep with a lot of ideas, then the apparent 4-5 products per ep they seem to be setting up.

Why is it that Network producers seem determined to put sobstories and draw things out so much nowadays? Especially when it isn't needed like in a show like this. I miss the days when all we know about people on a show is a 30 second quick interview with Alex after the first commercial break, and then back to the stuff we're actually watching the show for.

*edit* Oh and IMO it was a good reason to grab two of the Canadian Dragons. Kevin would probably completely dominate the Tank if Richard wasn't there to balance him out a bit, and both are experienced enough in both the show and with eachother to play off eachother well.

Edited by Taeolas, Aug 10, 2009 @ 5:11 PM.

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#26

The Mad Maple

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Posted Aug 11, 2009 @ 8:12 PM

I tried watching it on the ABC station out of Detroit, so I had a lot of the same problems that Taeolas did. I wound up completely missing the dra...*ahem* the sharks' introductions, and a good chunk of the piemaker's pitch.

Still, once you get past the slick-looking set, the cloying sob stories for each entrepreneur, and the blatantly manufactured cliffhanger on each pitch, it was still a decent show. I still prefer the Canadian version, though.

That bluetooth implant goes right up there with the reusable pizza boxes as one of the worst ideas ever pitched.

(And like I said, I missed the introductions. I kow Robert and Kevin already, but who are the other three?)

Edited again 'cause I had Robert's name right the first time....

Edited by The Mad Maple, Aug 12, 2009 @ 6:10 PM.

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#27

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Posted Aug 11, 2009 @ 10:44 PM

I'm not familiar with other versions of the show, so I didn't find the sob stories irritating. I actually thought it was awesome how they would have these sob stories, then totally undercut them by having the entrepreneur's idea valued for what it was, without the haze of emotion. It was a delightful tonic to shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and America's Got Talent.
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#28

missy jo

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Posted Aug 12, 2009 @ 5:52 PM

I was probably most impressed with Pie Guy - at least until he choked up. I didn't have a huge problem with the sob story, but it detracted from his presentation.

It's amazing how many of these wanna-be entrepreneurs don't even have an "elevator pitch" yet (ability to explain your concept in the time it takes to ride in an elevator).

Pie Guy had that, plus he had all his facts and figures down pat and was able to reel them off confidently and quickly, which the sharks love. You also see a lot of these participants who can't explain income, profit/loss, net vs. gross, their estimated costs, etc. I was surprised more of the sharks didn't want to back him.
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#29

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Posted Aug 16, 2009 @ 1:40 AM

Patents only cost about $1500, and yes it could still be stolen (with or without patent, it happens all the time) even w/the video proof. She couldn't afford a lawsuit against a big company, they'd just outwait her till she went broke.


My friend has a patent for a children's product - and it cost her a lot more than that and about three years to obtain.

I didn't agree w/their focus on market research. Who cares if the kid gets wise to it after a few uses? By then you've already SOLD them one. This isn't a repeat business like a food product where you must keep them coming back.


True. But parents also create positive or negative word-of-mouth. You want a product that every parent wants - not one they warn their friends not to bother buying.

I thought the idea was cute. It's supposed to distract the child so they'll take the medicine - and realize the taste is okay. While the approaching elephant could trigger a negative 'Oh no, it's medicine time again' reaction the second time it's used, it could also induce a 'Yay, it's medicine time again' reaction.
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#30

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Posted Aug 16, 2009 @ 3:43 AM

I was thinking one way to avoid having a negative Pavlovian effect of the elephant was merely to put good tasting stuff once in a while. But I think the nanny was correct, the medicines nowadays are pretty tasty, little kids just don't like nice looking things around them. :)
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