LEGO IDEAS: the ultimate paradox

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LEGO IDEAS: the ultimate paradox

Post by JackBrick »

So, november will be the month we can expect new LEGO IDEAS sets. And, as most of you have read or noticed, the COVID pandemic has created time for a tremendous increase of LEGO IDEAS designs to submerge from the depths of AFOLs and TFOLs all over the world, even that much more that the TLG team responsible for the selection et cetera-process behind LEGO IDEAS had to alter their ways. Well, at least they said they did.

Up for the paradox? wrote an article last week announcing that... "continuous demand for both Saturn V and Ship in a bottle" is a reason for TLG to rerelease these sets this year..?!

I am totally going passed the amount of beautiful fan designs here which I feel should all be considered to become released sets.. I just don't really get this. But let us break this down. TLG bought the Bricklink platform. They did not need to do this to find out what is wanted or not, but I understand that it will give a massive indication to what is wanted when you have the data available stored by the platform search engine. But.. we are collectors right? If we "piss next to the toilet", to literally translate a Dutch way of saying you missed out on an awesome opportunity, our true collectors spirit emerges from the depths of our inner AFOL and we go through swamps, jungles and hell to achieve the collecting of any specific piece or set.. which is a huge part of the fun of being a collector. It is a simple availability-demand balance which should always lean from less availability towards a higher demand, so items are rare and therefore become musthaves. And, suddenly rereleasing stuff from the past does not only demolishes the collector-part of our collector hearts, screwing with the core of kapitalism (exclusion tends to be addictive as long as you are on the included side of things) it also keeps the release-slots blocked for NEW and AMAZING designes to be released! How depressing! All our upvotes at the IDEAS platform down the drain! Ignored! Torn apart! Denied!!

There is a paradox however in this point of view, in my egocentric way of thinking. My collector heart whould be filled with joy if they would start rereleasing some older expert sets, like the Green Grocer which is way to expensive for me to buy today in the resellers world. So writing this article about the IDEAS paradox also made me aware of my own paradox.. I think what merely is the issue for me, is that the IDEAS team is becoming more and more unpredictable and less transparent in their ways. What once was set out to be an awesome, open community enabling platform is today somewhat of a dictator-like "whe do whatever we please to do today"-team. I think I will have a nightmare tonight, and will be suddenly awake screaming because I have dreamed TLG also bought Rebrickable.

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Re: LEGO IDEAS: the ultimate paradox

Post by Bricksterdam »

That's a lot of different thoughts to unpack here. Let's start with the notion of the IDEAS team being dictorial. There is no autonomous group within TLG that only does IDEAS. It's the regular set designers, managers and marketeers. And my thoughts there are well documented on this forum. But because of this ad hoc way of working I don't feel they would be capable to be very powerful. So disagree with you here.

Then there's covfefe. This is making life hard for many industries and I can imagine things like set development move at a slower pace because there need to be concept versions that need approval etc. I can't blame them for putting out rereleases to fill this gap with the huge demand there currently seems to be for LEGO. These sets need no investment/resources for design of set and packaging. I don't think these rereleases have any impact on the (amount of) sets picked for release. In my perception there's been an increase of IDEAS sets released per year, so no reason for complaints I'd say.

And to be specific about these two sets: ship in a bottle is awesome, after Birds my favourite IDEAS set. So a good choice I'd say. Saturn V: there's so much space related stuff in IDEAS, hopefully this rerelease will have LEGO pick mostly non-space submissions in upcoming reviews.

HOWEVER the production capacity seems strained. Plenty of sets are out of stock on a regular basis. So I'm recently wondering if the constant stream of new sets is justified. Maybe they should pace themselves a little bit, get sets in demand in plenty stock before doing things like this.
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