Is a Fungus Among Us?
Bryant and Mattel settled out of court, but Mattel is going after MGA in a trial that started last Tuesday. Meanwhile, MGA is countersuing Mattel.
The question here is not about dolls—or even this trial—but rather about a corporate culture that causes a creative employee to take a hot idea to a competitor, rather than bring it in-house and jointly reap the rewards.
Craigslist v. eBay
As readers know, I am no fan of eBay. Last Feb. 7, this cranky little e-zine published, “Should Congress Shut Down eBay? Is this auction site the world’s biggest criminal conspiracy?” I wrote:
If my numbers are remotely correct, it means that eBay is the supreme enabler of counterfeiters, forgers, hooligans, miscreants, petty crooks, pirates, rapscallions, reprobates, rogues, scallywags, scamps, scoundrels, swindlers, thieves, thugs and villains on a scale heretofore unimagined in human history.
If my numbers are correct, eBay is perpetrating the largest, most pernicious worldwide criminal conspiracy and fencing operation the world has ever seen.
If my numbers are correct, eBay is costing consumers whose homes have been burglarized—and businesses and copyright holders of all sizes whose property has been plundered and who have lost legitimate sales—billions upon billions of dollars, not to mention the insurance companies that have paid for the losses.
I am no fan of Craig Newmark and his Craigslist, a Web enterprise that seems bent on (1) taking over the classified advertising business and (2) putting traditional newspapers out of business. My problem is not that Craig Newmark is unhorsing a vestigial medium, but rather his service in 100 cities on five continents is mostly free. The free market, freebooting buccaneer in me screams, “For Pete’s sake, if you’re going to revolutionize an industry, do it to serve customers and make a killing while you’re at it!”