I read an interesting book over the weekend. Groundswell is a book from the Harvard Business Press written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. It discusses how to use social media to open up communication channels with your customers. For instance, how to harness the wisdom of the crowds to design better products and improve technical support. The book describes the approaches of several companies and shows the ROI calculations for the investment in social media.
One of the companies that was profiled was the Lego Group. I learned that Lego is the sixth largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over a billion dollar a year business. And somewhere between 5-10% of their sales go to AFOLs. Adult fans of Lego. In fact, they have an executive in charge of marketing to AFOLs because it is such a significant market. AFOLs hang out in an online community called LUGNET. The Lego Group’s approach to social media is to have Lego Ambassadors in the AFOL community listen to the needs of the people who view Lego as a building material, not just a toy. And these amabasadors are paid for their services in Lego bricks, not money. Pretty cool.
So what does this have to do with Eclipse? EclipseCon 2010 is having a e4-Rover Mars challenge where you have the chance to use Eclipse technology to maneuver Lego robots. Go to EclipseCon and add four letters to the end of your name without paying for tuition. AFOL at EclipseCon!