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September 19, 2006

Learning from Mistakes: Veggie Tales

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Business

Big IdeaTwo years before Pixar made a splash with Toy Story, Big Idea created the first ever computer animated video series in the U.S.--the children's series Veggie Tales, which debuted in 1993 and fulfiled Big Idea's mission of promoting Sunday morning values with Saturday morning fun. The positive Judeo-Christian values propelled the series to big profits. Between 1996 and 1999 Big Idea's revenue grew by 3300%, from $1.3 million to $44 million. But it all came crashing down and ended with Big Idea's bankruptcy in 2003 (as part of the settlement Big Idea was sold to Classic Media who continues to crank out Veggie Tales shows).

Big Idea founder Phil Vischer shares what happened in a surprisingly honest and revealing series of blog posts, What Happened to Big Idea (at 11 separate parts it's also lengthy). It amounts to a business case study in how not to make the transition from small company to big company. Big Idea found itself in the sticky middle ground of being "too big to be small yet too small to be big," which ended up being deadly.

For bonus reading you can check out Vischer's recounting of how Big Idea almost bought the Dupage Theater in Lombard, Ill. as a headquarters. It's another business case study, this time in how not to buy a headquarters.


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» It's Time To Talk About What We've Learned from thoughts
Speaking of Veggie Tales, you should head over to Phil Vischer's blog if you get a chance. He has a great series of posts chronicling the downfall of Big Idea. I summarize it over at Think Personality. It's a good... [Read More]

Tracked on September 23, 2006 7:36 AM