January 10th, 2012

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Amazon vs. the Publishers

Pay close attention to Amazon.com because it's moving more aggressively into book publishing.  This has pros and cons.  For authors it can mean a better deal, especially on books ... at the moment.  For readers, it means a richer one-stop-shop if you like online browsing for books.  But like any monopolist, if Amazon succeeds in killing off the competition, it will turn on its current allies and shaft them once they have nowhere else to go.
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In which Lego's left and right hands do not know each other

So Lego made this dumb line of girly toys that people are petitioning against.  Meanwhile Lego also made this awesome line of architecture toys.

my_partner_doug just got Fallingwater for Christmas.  We spent several days putting it together as a team.  And what was I talking about most of that time?  The NASA legos I loved as a kid, and how complex they were in comparison to the new set, and the evolution of Lego instructions from folded to stapled to spiralbound.  Build-it toys were a favorite category; I had the most of Legos and Lincoln Logs, plus other stuff like Construx.

Dudes.  If you want to sell Legos to girls, you can 1) make Lego things of what many girls like -- Lego dollhouse, Lego barn and horses, etc. made with plenty of bricks; or 2) put a bunch of girls in a roomful of Legos and see what they build, then firm up some of that into sets.  Put some girls on the packaging of the generic sets and themed sets because, hey, some girls like rockets and trains instead of dolls.  If you've come up short on girls who like Legos, maybe quit hiring ad agencies and go ask some scientists and teachers if you can borrow their daughters.

An even better idea: crowdsource Lego plans and kits on the website.  Lots of people love to play with Legos.  It shouldn't be hard to let customers share their building plans free in a forum, and the best ones will float to the top if there's "favorite" button or 5-brick rating system.  There are already places for buying particular types of Lego bits, so people could get what they needed if they didn't already have it.  Heck, imagine being able to go to the Lego site and buy new patterns for a buck or so, to use with one's own collection of bricks.  You bet there would be girls and moms building stuff and sharing their patterns.