Meeting with some German AFOLs to chat and build LEGO sets. We have a lot of fun!
I had 3 days of holidays and now I am preparing for my 2 upcomming business trips in between and shortly after my Easter vacation.
Tomorrow I will fly for a short 2 day meeting with several very long time and active German AFOLs to Frankfurt and next week Wednesday I will be on my way to Moscow for 4 days to meet with my Colleagues from LEGO Russia and the local AFOLs from Double Brick and Phantoms.
Looking forward to both trips – of course I will share pictures.
Happy Easter to all of you!
Wow, well this week was another roller coaster… There’s lots of stuff going on so I’ve been running around the office showing my face and playing the business man. Hold onto your hats!
We’re holding this year’s annual LEGO Certified Professionals summit here in Enfield, CT in mid April. As such, I’ve been meeting frequently with Vince, the Senior Manager for Event Marketing, to coordinate all the logistics involved with the meeting. The agenda has been set but there is still quite a bit of work left such as reaching out to colleagues around the company to join in the three day conference. We’re working with marketing, legal, PR, Consumer Services, Events, and of course the Community team. Not to mention the task of coordinating all the hotel rooms, transportation needs, restaurant reservations and catered meals. I’m looking forward to the event as it should help me in my understanding of the program as I have been recently assigned responsibility for primary CEE point of contact for the LCPs in North America and Australia.
I had meetings with both PR and LEGO Brand Retail (LBR) this week. We have continued our ongoing discussion with our colleagues in PR as to the best course of action to better and more appropriately support online fan sites. Should these sites fall under the responsibility of the CEE team? What happens when these sites grow to a point where they are on par with other main stream media outlets? These questions have brought up among others and we are hoping to have a system in place soon. Meanwhile, I have been continuing the ongoing discussion with LBR around the LUG Showcase and the future of the program. We generated a lot of good ideas and thoughts during a brainstorming session which will now get reported back to the global Community Support Team for consideration. It’s been quite challenging to get everyone on the same page as we have key partners and colleagues in both Enfield and Billund, Denmark with interest in these two discussions…
Outside of meetings and email discussions- every moment not previously booked for meetings has been utilized to continue physically shipping out LUG and event support to the community in North America. NILTC, AbbyLUG, MBLUG, IowaLUG, ParLUGment, VicLUG, ULUG, GMLTC, WamaLUG, DixieLUG, KLUG, GLUG, CoWLUG, OBB, WHaCKoLuG, rtlToronto, DelVaLUG, and ColonialLUG have all be sent their 2013 LUG support packages! I’ll be diving right back in again after the long holiday weekend, so if you’re group hasn’t seem anything yet don’t worry.
I can’t imagine anything else would be of interest to you folks. Perhaps maybe the fact that I received another product sample of the next LEGO exclusive model to be unveiled? Well, I’ll be building that over the weekend. The next unveiling will not be taking place in North America, however we still receive a sample to build and familiarize ourselves with it for any questions received after it’s publicly unveiled. Let the rumors commence.
Wishing everyone out in the community a wonderful Easter holiday!
Time for this business man to hang up his hat and put on the house slippers for a few days…
LUG UPDATE: We officially welcomed a new LUG this week into the region! SquatchLUG – The Northwest Washington State LEGO® Users Group has been spotted among the brush! They are still working out all the finer details of coming out from hiding, so they will hopefully have a website up soon. North America currently has 88 active LUGs.
The members of the CEE (Community Engagement & Events) team are always on the lookout for unique and interesting opportunities to support the fan community. Working closely with the North American LEGO Castle marketing team we are happy to continue our yearlong competition celebrating the anniversary and return of LEGO Castle in 2013! We have partnered with the 9 large fan conventions taking place in North America in 2013 (BrickFair: Alabama, Bricks Cascade, BrickFair: New England, Brickworld: Chicago, Brick Fiesta, Brickfête, BrickFair: Virginia, Bricks by the Bay and BrickCon) as well as with our colleagues on ReBrick to offer up an opportunity to win an entire collection of the new 2013 Castle product line.
As each convention already offers up a castle themed section for MOCs, as well as some form of “best of” category at the event, we have agreed that the winner chosen at each event will become a semi-finalist in our competition. This individual will be rewarded with an entire collection of the 2013 Castle product line once available, as well as enter into a final round amongst the winners chosen at each of the other conventions to compete for a secret grand prize. We understand that not everyone is able to attend these events; as such, we have opened up the competition online as well with our colleagues at ReBrick. The competition details have already been posted and can be seen here so anyone, anywhere, has a chance to enter!
We have found our second semi-finalist! Alice Finch, from Mercer Island, Washington came out and showcased her absolutely incredible Hogwarts castle at Bricks Cascade. Her MOC was selected as the “Best of Castle” at the event and as such she will be receiving an entire collection of the 2013 LEGO Castle product line! Her MOC will now move forward and compete against the 8 other North American fan conventions as well as the online winner selected on ReBrick! Congrats Alice!
I’ve come to the end of a very busy and productive week. Outside of the normal office routine of meetings, phone calls, and emails- I’ve been occupied with a few interesting tasks of note.
I’ve been working with the LEGO In-Bound Licensing & Entertainment Department to explore a unique opportunity for the local fan community in and around Los Angeles and Southern California to get involved with the new LEGO Movie. Don’t fret too much if you’re not in that area, my colleagues just launched a contest that may be of interest to you on ReBrick.
As we are getting closer to the end of the first quarter of 2013, I’ve been collecting the data as reported in from the LUG community in the Americas. I reach out every quarter to ensure all our records and data is as accurate as possible. It also helps our team keep track of all the wonderful events the community is doing! However, what is probably more of interest to you folks is that I have finally started shipping out LUG support packages! I’ve been processing the applications in the order that they were received so ARKLUG, CactusBrick, QuéLUG, LBAFOL, ToroLUG and BayLUG are first out of the starting gate. So that means I have processed only 6 out of 54 submitted applications, but don’t worry- I will be diving right back in next week.
Event support packages are still shipping all over the region as I have now processed 26 event support applications out of the 44 currently submitted. To date, I have now shipped out over 100 LEGO sets and over 16 cases of LEGO playbrick in event support alone. We have received nothing but positive feedback on this new support program and I’m happy to hear the great ways the support has been utilized by the LUG community.
This week I also took in my share of lumps as I began the work week fielding complaints and concerns over changes to the LBR LUG Showcase program. There have been a great deal of disappointed and frustrated fans, and as such we are working closely within both our team and with our colleagues in LEGO Brand Retail to explore this program and its future. On the digital front, we’ve been working with the PR Department in Enfield to determine the best way to move forward with online fan site support. This has opened up a somewhat debatable dialog on the best way to support these sites, and where they should fall (meaning who should be responsible for supporting them).
Jan and Kim over in Billund have been busy moving their inventory to the new office, but not to be outdone- I too have been spending my time in a dusty warehouse. With the new expansion of the LEGO Enfield office kicking off within a few weeks, the entire warehouse is being moved to a new location. As such many of the various teams around the office have been diving into their stashes for spring cleaning and reorganizing for the move. I called upon my colleague Paul, an Administrative Assistant for D2C (Direct 2 Consumer) to help me roll up the sleeves and go through the inventory. We spent an entire day, shuffling, organizing, scraping and prepping the inventory for the major move. We found a few surprises in there, including but certainly not limited to, a blast from the past.
Now, I think it’s time for a much needed rest.
Have a great weekend!
As we moved from our old office area to the “new” one, we found a glass cabinet that we instantly claimed and now we’ve filled it with all things AFOL related that we had in our drawers and such.
As promised there’s a “close up” of Arjan’s awesome Steamboat Maarten.
We’re quite happy to finally being able to display some of the great stuff that the AFOLs do.
Now all we need is more space to display more MOCs and such!
I am in the middle of all my planning for the upcomming business trips – it is impossible to visit everybody and everything I wish to but I will do my best to cover what I can with also managing to have a private life too.
Trips until now planned for the next 5 months go to Germany, Russia, France, Denmark, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy and possible Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Hope to see you around somewhere!
Last weekend I ventured back out to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States for an encore performance. Although slightly earlier in the year in comparison (only 9 months apart from the first) the LEGO fan convention Bricks Cascade entertained the masses for a second run. Despite its reputation, the weather was absolutely beautiful for my time in Portland, Oregon. It was a welcome respite from the never ending cold Connecticut temperatures.
My travel schedule on Thursday called for a five hour layover in Chicago, Illinois. I decided to utilize this opportunity to have lunch outside the airport with a colleague of mine who lives and works in the area. He is currently an Assistant Store Manager for one of the LEGO Brand Retail stores so we caught up and discussed some of the changes that have taken place over the last few months in regards to community support. It was great to finally have an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza- thanks Adam!
I arrived in Portland at a nice and early 8:30PM PST, which was too late to drop by the event for check-in. Friday morning I walked across the street from my hotel and into the Oregon Convention Center. This year the event moved both in timing (last year the event took place in June, this year was March) but also physical location (Last year the event was in HALL E and this year was moved to HALL A) of the convention center. There were already dozens of AFOLs setting up various MOCs as well as vendors preparing their wares. Friday the event was not open to the public and only the registered attendees of the event. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with the local fans and put names and faces together for newer contacts.
The theme of the event this year was “Let’s Play!” which in addition to pioneering a controversial event t-shirt also happened to inspire a few brick artists to create video game themed MOCs (A personal favorite of mine). I was especially partial to the large Mushroom from Super Mario Bros. as pictured below. I was also impressed to see a fully motorized minifigure scaled Lady GaGa concert with music and back-up dancers (dancing!). I had the opportunity to go out to lunch with a few members of the BZPower online community on Friday. We discussed the event, online fan site support, as well as LUG support. Micah also did his best to squeeze out any newsworthy tidbits to share with the online community. :) In the evening I hosted the ever popular official LEGO Q&A session. Questions ranged from CUUSOO, event support, LEGO Friends, to minifigs. Lots and lots of questions about minifigs…
Friday night I had the pleasure of dining with all three event organizers: Thomas, Grant and Bob. The four of us enjoyed a nice meal while we discussed the future of the event itself. I am happy to see that the event seems to be growing at a steady pace with more fans in attendance as well as a nice healthy growth to the public attendance. It also seems that the overall organization and execution of the event has taken a nice step forward.
Saturday the event was opened to the public and the line was already formed more than an hour before the doors opened. I walked the floor taking pictures as well as speaking with the fans. I met up with three members from ULUG who made the trek out to show off an impressive Lord of the Rings and Wizard of Oz layout. Per our conversation it sounds like I may be visiting them closer to home next year… I held my session: The AFOL Community vs. The LEGO Group during the afternoon, with about 20 fans in attendance. We spoke about the changes in support structure both for the LUG community as well as towards the LEGO fan conventions. I also went into further detail about myself, our team and how we work together. Attendants of this seminar were also surprised with a few minifigure business cards I brought with me. Not to be outdone by the stories I shared from Alabama (my last event) the attendees began placing the minifig me in odd situations around the event. I was almost eaten by a spider!
It was great seeing the event grow and even better to connect again with the local fan community. My next trip is scheduled in May, where I will be attending the US LEGO fan convention BrickFair: New England.
My full set of photos can be found in my Flickr photostream here:
Today I had a great day on my first visit to Serbia. I did some sightseeing, visited 3 places where to buy LEGO sets and met with 14 very nice AFOLs from the local Skockani LUG (some members traveled over 100km) over dinner and some drinks afterwards to discuss around LEGO products and MOCs and other various things. Was great fun.
National libery and unfinished church in the background.
The Serbian parliament
Special way of playing music
Talk with 4 AFOLs
That is what I call a playful logo!
Belgrade castle by night – looks beautiful
Dinner meeting with the guys from Skockani
A local nightcab
For tomorrow I have more meetings planned with a guy from another LUG and some more shop visits. Leaving Serbia in the afternoon.
It was a great visit so far – thanks a lot to the Skockani members to make it so special for me!