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How Lego Became the Apple of Toys

DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617
Excellent article published by Fast Company.

When it Clicks it Clicks
LegoKipBuriedinBricksAdeelZubairBumblepantsLostInTranslationPepperGothamConstructionCoGalactusbrickupdate

Comments

  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    Thanks for sharing. Great read.

    I assume the startup device they were talking about is the S brick.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,742
    It's an excellent, and suprisingly long, article - well worth a read.
    Andor
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,294
    Nice to read an article about Lego that is well-informed and well-written for a change. Thanks for sharing it.
    LostInTranslation
  • KleiovousKleiovous UKMember Posts: 95
    My favourite quote: "every single member of the Future Lab team joins in with summer-camp enthusiasm to sing a song"...
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617
    My favorite part was where their anthropologist was "dubious" of American parent's motives. :)
    LostInTranslation
  • BricktickBricktick UKMember Posts: 60
    Made for a very interesting read, thanks very much for sharing.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,742
    Given all the discussion in the media about LEGO's supposedly increased reliance on licenses, it was interesting to read that licensed themes account for a third of revenue or less.
    BumblepantsKevin_HyattSirKevbagsAndorchuckpAdeelZubairGothamConstructionCo
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,454
    Ten out of ten for content.
    Minus several million for the use of 'Legos'.
    matticus_brickschuckpAdeelZubairGalactus
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,742
    ^ Yes - an unexpected misstep given the stellar content.....
    Andor
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 778
    'Legos'. Oh noes.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 553
    Great article. I'm not sure agree that assessment of the title, but still a great read.

    As for the the use of legos, just deal with it. It was clearly written by an American and 99% of us say legos. I'm not hearing any complaints of the use of the words "color" or "mold."
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,454
    And another thing.
    They can't bloody well spell 'colour' or 'mould' properly.
    BumblepantsKevin_HyattLobotmonkeyhangerGothamConstructionCo
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 553
    Oh, don't forgot "gray." It's spelled proper American way too. ; p
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,454
    edited January 2015
    I'm beginning to think you're doing this on purpose...
    ;o)
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    Great read! This is the first I've heard of that library-esque room with a selection "every part in every color" (I assume this has to be an exaggeration, as that couldn't possible fit in any one room. It must mean everything that is currently available, or something close to it). If heaven exists on Earth, that's where it is for me!
    Andor
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617

    If heaven exists on Earth, that's where it is for me!

    image

    AndorchuckpMojoestAdeelZubairmatticus_bricksPepperGothamConstructionCosidersddRonyar
  • chuckpchuckp NYMember Posts: 684
    edited January 2015
    Very interesting article, especially the parts about Architecture and Cuusoo. It's great to read about LEGO and the AFOL market, even though they admitted they're gouging us with the Architecture sets. :smiley:
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    ^^ Wow. Incredible. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be a designer.
  • msandersmsanders Member Posts: 1,017
    I really enjoyed reading the article. The sentence that made me laugh is:

    ' Lego official language is English - but employees also hail from China, India, the UK, Thailan and elsewhere'.

    Ummm....I 'think' English is the official language in the UK as well! Although with all this discussion about spelling, 'Legos', 'color' and 'mold', may be the author thinks that people in the UK don't speak English!

  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    It was an interesting article, although felt a bit odd as there seemed to be a big old elephant in the room that fusion is crap, life of george seems crap, the minifigures game is crap, Lego universe got stopped, lego games has been discontinued. Without exception every lego mobile game has been utterly underwhelming.

    Mindstorms is really good and Ideas has also been a success and as it uses the internet to vote then that can perhaps be called a tech tie in. Ironic though that its also led to by far the most successful tech tie in by making an old fashioned lego version of minecraft which was suggested by fans and not Lego employees.

    I can see how its a massive issue for LEGO - as was mentioned in the article children might be buying more LEGO but they're playing with it less. That raises questions of value for parents. When compared to a tablet with mobile games on it the differences are like chalk and cheese - games are often free or close to it, worlds can be literally infinite and you're not limited by the bricks you own (minecraft), you can play with friends you aren't with and theres no tidying up.

    All that said though the last thing I want (and I think my kids want) is for LEGO to tie in closely to screen based games. One of the nice things when the kids are playing with LEGO is that they're not staring at a screen, playing on a phone/tablet/console/computer.
    BumblepantscaperberrythenoschuckpSirKevbagsAdeelZubairGothamConstructionCosidersddRonyar
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617

    It was an interesting article, although felt a bit odd as there seemed to be a big old elephant in the room that fusion is crap, life of george seems crap, the minifigures game is crap, Lego universe got stopped, lego games has been discontinued. Without exception every lego mobile game has been utterly underwhelming.

    I do agree with you, but most businesses have a serious aversion to risk of new products and ideas not succeeding. Maybe this is more unique to American business culture than EU. However, something like the spectacular failure of MU would paralyze an American business from ever trying to innovate on that scale. So I applaud TLG for continuing to try new things. Yeah, they are crap, but one day maybe the next idea will be brilliant.
  • Legopassion8Legopassion8 North CarolinaMember Posts: 1,181
    Great article. Gave me jitters...
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,478
    ....So I'm going to start seeing hipsters lining up around the block of a LEGO store for the new releases? :-p

    I love where LEGO is now, compared to being near death, but I'd prefer to see LEGO be a company that values quality over quantity at this point. Stickers that won't stick, parts that crack out of the box, huge color shading differences on new parts of the same color, etc.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 553
    DadsAFOL said:

    It was an interesting article, although felt a bit odd as there seemed to be a big old elephant in the room that fusion is crap, life of george seems crap, the minifigures game is crap, Lego universe got stopped, lego games has been discontinued. Without exception every lego mobile game has been utterly underwhelming.

    I do agree with you, but most businesses have a serious aversion to risk of new products and ideas not succeeding. Maybe this is more unique to American business culture than EU. However, something like the spectacular failure of MU would paralyze an American business from ever trying to innovate on that scale. So I applaud TLG for continuing to try new things. Yeah, they are crap, but one day maybe the next idea will be brilliant.
    It really has more to do with the difference between a public vs. private company rather than European vs. American. A public European company would be just as hurt in the stock market as a public American company would be. Whereas a private company isn't as driven by the whims of the stock market and is answerable to the shareholders in a different way. This is one of the big advantages TLG has being private. They can take risks with out the stock market and investors influencing their decisions.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,454
    edited January 2015
    I thought this was a fascinating tidbit...

    "Every brick is encoded with a tiny number, so that if a defective one were to leave the plant, Lego could track it back to the machine that made it...  ...to determine what went wrong."

    Is it visible to the naked eye?
    Pitfall69
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617

    I thought this was a fascinating tidbit...

    "Every brick is encoded with a tiny number, so that if a defective one were to leave the plant, Lego could track it back to the machine that made it...  ...to determine what went wrong."

    Is it visible to the naked eye?

    They mean the mold number. Looks something like 4-5, which would be mold #4, position #5. Its not an actual unique number per brick.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    It is just as visible as the LEGO inside the feet of newer minifigures.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    edited January 2015
    Personally, I can't stand Apple and I cringe that they would compare Lego to Apple. That's just me though.

    I could picture @Legoboy‌ standing behind the "Genius Bar" at a Lego store.
    SirKevbagsLegoboymadforLEGObluemooseJP3804
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    .
    Bumblepants
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,837
    Lose the specs and you're pretty much spot on.
    Pitfall69Ronyar
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,307
    msanders said:



    Ummm....I 'think' English is the official language in the UK as well! Although with all this discussion about spelling, 'Legos', 'color' and 'mold', may be the author thinks that people in the UK don't speak English!

    Interestingly (and known to people that watch QI) English is not the official language of the UK. Official language is one if those terms like legal tender that has a specific meaning. The UK doesn't have an official language.

    Whereas Scotland and Wales do have official languages.
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432


    I can see how its a massive issue for LEGO - as was mentioned in the article children might be buying more LEGO but they're playing with it less. That raises questions of value for parents. When compared to a tablet with mobile games on it the differences are like chalk and cheese - games are often free or close to it, worlds can be literally infinite and you're not limited by the bricks you own (minecraft), you can play with friends you aren't with and theres no tidying up.

    All that said though the last thing I want (and I think my kids want) is for LEGO to tie in closely to screen based games. One of the nice things when the kids are playing with LEGO is that they're not staring at a screen, playing on a phone/tablet/console/computer.

    This is spot on. My kids play a lot of Minecraft. Much more than playing with their Lego sets. I used to wish my kids would spend more time doing creative things like building and storytelling with Lego. I was blind. My kids do all this digitally now. As you said - unlimited resources, no cost, easy to startup/stop.

    I collect Lego ads. Some of my favorite are those where the kids are so proud of their creations (like the one seen here). You could easily replace the Lego in the photo with a laptop/tablet running Minecraft. My kids love to show off the vast worlds they create on their devices.

    image
    Odindusk
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    edited January 2015
    A few observations:

    Why do all of the Lego employees presented in the photos look like CGI models? It's a slickness that is prevalent in too many brands today that is un-appealing. Give me skunky looking nerds dripping sweat over piles of bricks. I don't care about their excursions to the pool between meetings.

    Mindstorms is very un-Lego. If you've built one of the robots and then programmed it you'll know what I mean. It's really not much fun and taking it apart to build something else is painful as well. Sold it and moved on.

    Lego Architecture is actually pretty great. Building something like Fallingwater is such a pure Lego experience. And the packaging is beautiful.

    Lego video games are awesome. Lego Fusion is not. It feels like some kind of "Big Brother" experiment.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,837
    edited January 2015
    sidersdd said:

    This is spot on. My kids play a lot of Minecraft. Much more than playing with their Lego sets. I used to wish my kids would spend more time doing creative things like building and storytelling with Lego. I was blind. My kids do all this digitally now. As you said - unlimited resources, no cost, easy to startup/stop.

    I collect Lego ads. Some of my favorite are those where the kids are so proud of their creations (like the one seen here). You could easily replace the Lego in the photo with a laptop/tablet running Minecraft. My kids love to show off the vast worlds they create on their devices

    I love posters like that. Whereas I agree to some extent, in that creative gaming can be good for the mind, nothing can replace having the physical bricks.

    For the past month, my youngest has either been out playing on his rollerskates, playing on his 360 or building with LEGO. Normally I'd have a problem with him playing on a console for more than half an hour at a time, but Minecraft is helping develop his creative skills so we give him a little while longer. He loves it.

    However, I don't feel a digital skill will ever teach him to be hands on if faced with a simple physical task. He can't get a real appreciation for weight or gravity using his console as he could by building with real-life media. That's not to say a more advanced system isn't capable of closing the gap, but for the time being he could play with his bricks all day long if he desired but digitally his time will remain capped. Lord knows what harm he'd be doing to his eyes if it wasn't.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Minecraft certainly doesn't give a feel for physics but that's not because its digital just that its not part of the game. On the other hand it does give some idea of using or combining materials to make something new, which leho doesn't. Swings and roundabouts.
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    If Apple produced plasticparts in the same lousy quality TLG does, the internet would explode
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    I do agre, the fact that licenses only make up a third is fascinating.

    I also found this one interesting...
    "For one, boys tend to be more compelled by a strong narrative—which is reflected in Lego’s popular boy-focused lines like Ninjago and Legends of Chima, which come with almost comically detailed backstories. Girls, on the other hand, tend to use their sets for role-play"

    I find it interesting, since it is very different than what I see here. My girls use story play, which may be about role-play or they may incorporate story lines. My son is no different in that. Of course, the more interesting part is that despite that above paragraph, Lego is going straight into narrative with the Elves line targeted straight at girls.

    Yes, games like Minecraft gives infinite ability to create. I guess I do not mind it being not hands on, since my entire career was working on a computer, as opposed to hands-on. I think the skills they pick up in gaves like Minecraft will be useful downstream in their careers. It is a generation that will have highly strong skills at being able to design an innovate digitally without the need for physical models. As @sidedsdd expressed, these are kids that are just as proud of their virtual models as physical models. There is no difference between the pride and showing off the set my son built yesterday versus him showing off his Minecraft creation.

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