As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Who would rip off an eight-year-old? (The answer will surprise you.)

The Pumponator water balloon filler was a popular Grommet in 2010.  It is a great little invention by an eight-year-old girl named Lexi Glenn.  Daily Grommet helped to make it successful by telling her story.  The award-winning toy landed in Real Simple magazine and is now widely distributed.

Alas, I saw a direct knock-off in Bed Bath and Beyond today.  I don’t mind when a competitor improves on an idea.  Sometimes the original version of a product does not advance and a new, improved version is created.  But what I saw today was just a direct imitation of the Pumponator. To blatantly rip off a child inventor like this is heinous.  (Here is what Lexi, now age ten, says about that.)

That’s my mad face, below.  Discovery Kids the division of the Discovery Channel that makes this rip-off copycat should be ashamed. C’mon Grommet folks, let’s support Lexi, and her original invention.  As for the Discovery Channel…when did you go to the dark side?

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