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October 07, 2005

Comments

David

Chris, do you consider this idea of customers participating in the design of new products (not just customizing their own, but designing things that the company licenses and sells) to be part of the Long Tail concept, or is it something else?

PeterCashmore

Wow. Lego totally "gets it". Why can't more companies embrace user-generated content and software hacks? If your users love your product enough to participate in the process, let them.

Do I need to say FedEx Furniture?

PeterCashmore

Actually, I just remembered that story about Lego trying to stop someone from using their own name, which was indeed "Lego". Hopefully they've come to their senses on that one.

Stefan Engeseth

Lego is a great product and maybe it could interact like iPod do with the consumers? A new iPod model built in Lego?

Lee Kraus

The Lego example is great. The economics of unlimited shelf-space have obviously begun to take effect. However, the Lego model builds from a successful brand already at the head of the toy tail. I wonder what effect that brand position has on those participating in the niche markets? Is it an easier sell? It is also interesting to think about the Lego filtering effects, or the 4 click model. "If you like building a Knight Castle, click here and order the blocks you need to custom build your own garage?" I also like your discussion of the limitations on distribution. "on-demand" manufacturing is still a challenge.

Lee Kraus

The Lego example is great. The economics of unlimited shelf-space have obviously begun to take effect. However, the Lego model builds from a successful brand already at the head of the toy tail. I wonder what effect that brand position has on those participating in the niche markets? Is it an easier sell? It is also interesting to think about the Lego filtering effects, or the 4 click model. "If you like building a Knight Castle, click here and order the blocks you need to custom build your own garage?" I also like your discussion of the limitations on distribution. "on-demand" manufacturing is still a challenge.

Jacob Bettany

No references to Mechanized Brick, I can't resist.

Kevin Wilson

Even further out on the tail than the niche market products produced by the LEGO company itself, are third party LEGO-based producers - custom kits (like the Guild of Bricksmiths at www.bricksmiths.com) and individual pieces (the hundreds of individual sellers at Bricklink). There are even people who make super-niche-niche pieces that LEGO itself doesn't make, like Big Ben Bricks' train wheels and weapons from the Little Armory.

Jake

Great write-up, spot on with the recap!

LEGO Factory really is an amazing concept. I'm proud to be part of the team.

Considering it took several years or testing, tweaking, and learning to get here, it'll be interesting to see what we can pull off in the coming months and years. As you can imagine, we have big plans, some of which are currently underway, some of which are still being planned, and some of which exist in the recesses of our brains :)

The question posed above about how a brand owner/head of the tail can also benefit or influence the tail is an interesting one. I've also wondered what the impact of a small tail business can have on a larger head business when you effectively combine the two. In our case, the question is how much does the tail sales push head sales. It's pretty obvious to me that the head pushes the tail, but it'll be interesting to see how the opposite plays out.

Again, great read!

Tyler

I have a new idea for legos. My idea for legos is Pokemon.

nachbarin

http://www.girlnackt.com/

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!