Fidget no more

Listen, I held out as long as I could with this whole fidget spinner thing. Sure yeah “It’s only $3, Dad!” but I just couldn’t get myself to do it. And then my 7-year old used the age-old trick used by 7-year olds for centuries: she went over my head and convinced my wife to buy one for her a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, the joke’s on her, because the fad is basically over. Why so soon? In The Rise of the Fidget Spinner and the Fall of the Well-Managed Fad Charles Duhigg takes a fascinating look at why fads… well, aren’t what they used to be. It all comes down to how they used to be managed carefully by marketing & sales departments, as is still the case with Beanie Babies:

In reality, though, all these middlemen were often crucial to ensuring that the pie was baked at all. As Osborne learned when she started selling Beanie Babies, middlemen like Joyce are often the ones who turn a fad into a sustainable business that creates jobs. You might think a company’s main function is to make stuff. But that’s usually wrong. Making stuff is often the easiest part of what a company does. It’s everything else — marketing and defending intellectual property, coming up with distribution strategies and knowing when to stop manufacturing Peanut the Elephant — that’s the hard part. That’s what middlemen do.

Anyway, consider this your PSA that we appear to have finally seen the last of those ghastly things.