Talking about Boost In Billund: Interview with Carl Merriam

Meeting LEGO Boost

Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017.  With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation.  At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.

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Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost? Continue reading

A Dialogue with CEO Bali Padda

The Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days provided a great opportunity to meet representatives of other LEGO Fan Media from around the world.  In conjunction with the team from RevistaBricks, and HispaBrick Magazine, we reconstructed our meeting with then CEO Bali Padda.  The article that follows is reproduced from HispaBrick Magazine 28, which is now available for download.

As part of the LEGO® Fan Media Days at the end of May 2017, the represented LEGO® Fan Media organisations were joined by the CEO of the LEGO® Group, Bali Padda, for a dialog. He has been with the LEGO® Group for 15 years, initially based in the United States, and then in the UK, where he has been in the role of Chief Operations Officer.

While the appointment of his successor, Niels B. Christiansen, has already been announced, Mr Padda gave us some interesting insights into some of the issues currently facing the company:

RLFMs: You have now been in your new role for around six months. What do you think are the challenges in this new role?

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Meeting Mette: LEGO Rebrick at the RLFM Days.[Interview and new Contest]

In which I have a conversation with Mette Hansen about the LEGO® Rebrick program: whats been popular, where in the world you can enter from, and the challenges of running contests when there is a seperate owner of the intellectual property. Of course things have progressed since this interview in June, and with the announcement of the new UCS Millennium Falcon, there is a new contest on Rebrick, with the new set as a prize!

I have mentioned some of the contests featured on Rebrick here previously. As the LEGO® Group’s official contest platform for teenage and adult builders, the prizes on offer for the contests can be quite exciting. As part of the Fan Media Days earlier this year, I had a chance, along with Christian Breinbauer from Revistabricks.com, to meet with Mette Frøkjær Hansen, one of the team who has been working with the LEGO® Rebrick platform.

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Mette Frøkjær Hansen, explaining some of the details about the Rebrick Platform at the 2017 LEGO Fan Media Days.

Rambling Brick: So far we have seen competitions covering multiple themes, from Cars to Batman, Technic, Friends and Modular Buildings. The MiniModular competition, however, offered such an amazing prize pack it appeared to have a lot of interest online.[That is to say, the winner would receive the entire 10 year run of modular buildings from Cafe Corner to Assembly Square.] Was it the most subscribed competition that you have had to date?

Mette Hansen:It was actually the second most popular contest that we have had: the one that was the most popular, and got the most entries was actually LEGO® Bionicle, last year. We had that last fall, as an ode to the theme being discontinued.

Had the fact that the theme was going to be discontinued been announced at that stage?

Show us Your Makuta – entry by TolerantAxe97

No, at that time it hadn’t officially announced, but we wanted to do something for the Bionicle fans, because they are just so amazing, and so creative. The Bionicle contest got over two thousand entries! It’s sometimes hard for us. We have no idea when we publish a contest: will this get two thousand entries, or a hundred entries? Now, we are starting to get some more learnings, because the Rebrick platform has been around for a bit of time now, but it is still relatively new: we launched in March 2016 with this specific contest platform. We are still excited to see which contests will get a lot of entries, which ones are less popular. But for us it is not necessarily about the volume of entries. It’s also about people being excited about the theme, and if only fifty people or twenty people are really excited about the topic and they build something amazing and they contribute and upload and help to inspire the wider community, that’s enough. That’s Mission: Accomplished! Continue reading

Making Friends, with Fenella and Ricardo: LEGO Friends’ Designers (Interview)

At the start of June, as part of the LEGO Fan Media Days, I had the opportunity to meet Fenella Charity and Ricardo Silva, who are both part of the LEGO Friends design team.  Fenella’s back ground is in industrial design, and Ricardo came to work at LEGO via the fan community. Our conversation rambled over a variety of topics relevant to the Friends line: including storyboarding the  sets and animated stories;  stickers vs printed elements; gender balance; designing Stephanie’s house and starting the trip down a slippery slope by using tan walls  in the pizzeria. But before we started on that path, I had to ask something…

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The LEGO Friends sets have be inspirational for introducing buildings around town that aren’t fire stations, banks being robbed or police stations, as are de rigour in LEGO City. But something I have been wondering… Are we going to see a police station?

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