Richard Woldenberg and Dennis Blackmore

Recorded February 23, 2020 Archived February 23, 2020 39:27 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddf000471

Description

Rick Woldenberg (60) sits down with his friend and colleague Dennis Blackmore (66) to speak about the early days of the educational toy business and reflect on the growth of their company.

Subject Log / Time Code

DB recalls meeting RW through his mother, bonding over margaritas on the night of Margaret Thatcher’s death, and DB coming to RW’s daughter’s 1st birthday.
DB recalls their first office in his dining room, and the dynamic of working at home with his wife and RW, before moving into a warehouse.
The pair discusses hands-on learning, and early struggles selling their educational products to schools for different cultural reasons.
They speak about having to change spelling, units, and cultural references between UK and US products for schools. RW and DB speak about initially being in the education business before moving into educational play.
They talk about touching lives, and their mission. RW speaks about their company winning the Educational Toy of the Year award for 2 years running.
RW speaks about this being a family business spanning 3 generations and 100 years, with his children still working at the company. DB speaks about their company’s family culture.
DB recalls a trip to Tampere, Finland to see a customer, being pulled over for speeding, never paying the fine, and being pranked by Finland’s embassy.
DB speaks about the challenge of motivating others in the company and getting people excited about the mission. They discuss their business attitude as “being less stupid than the competition.”
DB speaks about the lessons he has learned in business: “walk towards the problems, lean into the issues.” RW speaks about the importance of relationships in their company.

Participants

  • Richard Woldenberg (b. 1959)
  • Dennis Blackmore (b. 1953)

Recording Location

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Fee for Service