10 Mar

Legos for grownups – Hillel Cooperman

Just came back from an amazing vacation, where I was able to get away, sleep in, eat amazing food and most of all, first hand witness the marvelous evolution of GottaCon in Victoria BC.  (

This year it had a major transformation from being a great Canadian gaming convention into one GREAT Canadian gaming convention.  Attendance numbers doubled, enthusiasm was at an all time high and it has received recognition by not only big gaming companies but also, the city itself.  GottaCon is pushing the boundaries of what it means to build community.

(And every time, I am always extremely happy to write something for the con book each year.)

During this week away, I took the time to see Lego: The Movie!  (with Mary, this year’s winner of the Settlers of Catan tournament, a title I will win back next year!)

And therefore, Lego.

There’s not much to say except, WOW, LEGO!!! 

Cooperman brings up two very good points, that Lego is 8-12 and in the same talk, it is embraced by some very serious adults who have placed some very serious time into their hobby.

Isn’t Lego a child’s toy?  Yet, somehow, it isn’t.

And it brings up the evolution of how one’s approach to a topic changes the typical “paradigm” of acceptance.  Anyone who has every sat on the couch with an idea would know, that the world of tomorrow would be a very different place if we opened up to the possibility.

Lego, builds blocky sculptures if you stick with the starter kit.

Art, builds incredibly detailed works of Lego can exist when you move beyond the structured limitations of the starter kit.

Now take for instance, the concept of customer service for products that are wired into the internet 24 hours a day.  The starter kit is the idea of

customer -> something bad -> customer gets frustrated -> customer researches numbers to call -> customer calls in -> customer explains ‘something bad’ to someone -> etc etc

How about if we take out the structured limitations, take away the requirement of calling in?  What if the call was the ‘other way’ around?  However in order to create that kind of feedback loop, the company would need to manage backwards the happy customers as well.  That’s not just customer service anymore, that’s community management.  (Although to keep it realistic, each community they would look after would probably be very small)

Community managers isn’t a new concept, anyone who beta tests a product will usually be ushered into an online forum run by these individuals.  However it is in this constant feedback where not only complaints are addressed but it also fosters the growth of new ideas with the product, where to target improvements and individual voices may rise up to become additional supporting experts.  A problem that affects a large group can be identified and broadcast immediately instead of a clanging of repetition.  (Although in some cases, that is preferred)

It’s a weird stretch to use Lego as a metaphor for building change, but the toy does lend itself to the idea.

Obviously, Lego in becoming Art requires some drastic changes in mindset.  For instance, a particular art build may require 2,500 of the same piece.  For most people, this task would be impossible.  Likewise, evolving customer service agents to become recognized community managers, would also require equally proportionate changes in methods of contact, training and general attitude.

Although it is rare when I personally contact a support line, the usual tone is the moment I’m off the line they are going to be moving as quickly as possible to take the next call.  (And sometimes I reminded of this when I hear that all lines are full answering calls)

I don’t mean to specifically aim at customer service as the new Lego, it was just the first one to come to mind.

This would apply to any product, service or function where there is a divide between identifying oneself as a user versus simply liking it.

“I like Lego.”  vs  “I am a Master Builder of Lego.”

“I like instant noodles” vs “I am a chef of the noodles instante!”

It is that cultivation of mindset that requires the extra, the extra millions of blocks, superior drafting / design technologies and dedication.

It’s worth it.  It’s all Lego.

I also love the movie.

Dream.  Build.  Share.

– ED


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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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