The LEGO Company gets a clue

In this video, former LEGO Community Team manager Jake McKee talks about how LEGO has begun changing its long-standing corporate culture, involving a greater diversity of people to build a community around the company and its brand.

10 comments on “The LEGO Company gets a clue

  1. Brent

    I just finished watching the whole thing….and wow….it is one of the best things I have ever seen, and makes even prouder to be a Lego fan. Thank you Andrew for posting this.

  2. hamilton

    i dont have much to add to what brent posted..
    Jake, `Big-Up` and a handshake from me….

  3. Cunzy1 1

    I just still think that’s it’s crazy, that if I want to buy a LEGO crocodile or whatever I can’t just go to the LEGO website and order one. Or ten. Surely to please the AFOL and make a mint they should just do this. Or am I wrong? Or do they want you to buy as many (expensive) sets as possible and work from the accumulated bricks you might have.

  4. Brad

    Intriguing video. I wonder–given the apparent audience–if any of the audience were a bit left behind. I say this because it seemed as though his presentation was a bit more about LEGO than it was about a ‘new conversation’. If I weren’t an AFOL, I’m not sure I would have fully comprehended his points! I especially liked his points about fans: focusing on one particular hobby IS weird. But there’s nothing weird about fans, and everything, including businesses, has fans.

    Also, at Cunzy1 1: I’m not sure I understand. Are you asking why every LEGO piece ever made isn’t available via Pick a Brick/LEGO Factory? My understanding was that this had to do with manufacturing cost, available molds, available manufacturing ability, and so on.

  5. Cunzy1 1


    Not every single brick but more than the rather poor selection available via pcik a brick/lego factory. It`s really a constraint for younger builders who don`t have 1000`s of pounds to spend on LEGO and a twenty-thirty year old expansive collection of parts. Why, for example, are there a random selection of 3 heads and legs for the minifigs or such an eclectic mix of brick parts.

  6. Josh

    I just got the time to sit down and watch this all the way through. Excellent presentation by Jake! It was very interesting to hear the inside take on the growth of company interaction with its fans. It still amazes me that Lego does what it does. I have been involved in many other hobbies based on a brand and none of those companies has the interaction that Lego does. That is probably why I am still involved in this hobby. I’m not saying that no other companies engage their fans like Lego, but no other company that I have been involved with has to this extent.

    Cunzy1 1: The selection keeps growing but I don’t think you understand the infrastructure that has to exist to make those pieces avaliable. I am surprised that they have as much avaliable as they do. Their focus is always going to be on selling sets. They can’t allow online PaB to compete with sets sales.

    Ecto: I don’t know the whole story, but I’ve heard various people say that Lego’s compensation package isn’t that great. A number of former employees say that it was a fun job, they just needed to make more money. I don’t know if that was Jake’s reason, but seems to be a common one.

  7. Jake McKee

    Thanks for posting this video, it was a great event and I had fun speaking. (Although I had to follow Doc Searls, one of the co-authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. No pressure!) This particular speech was not one of my personal favorites simply because I can see my extreme tiredness as I watch it (I had had a brutal week that week), but it’s also gotten more attention than anything else I’ve done. Maybe I need to tighten it up and present it again somewhere else :)

    @Brad – Fortunately the audience seemed to really gel with the content. The Q&A afterwards showed a strong level of comfort.

    @ecto – The very simple answer on why I left is that I’m a bit of a Challenge Junkie (ok, maybe more than a bit). My tenure at LEGO spanned a great period of transition in the company and in the month I left AFOLs were on the cover of a major publication (my personal goal for my efforts) and the company announced a restructuring that put huge focus on the direct/community efforts. It was time for this Challenge Junkie to find a new challenge. I’m now doing consulting work for a variety of clients trying to implement the same type of magic. Talk about challenges… :)

    @Josh – Had nothing at all to do with salary. I too have heard about some of the pay issues at the parks, but from where I sat, I had zero problems with the compensation. Seriously, none whatsoever. It wasn’t crazy money, but I was completely satisfied. And the medical benefits were just insane. The birth of my daughter cost something like $150, for crying outloud. All in all, LEGO was a great company to work for and they treated their employees marvelously.

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