New LEGO CUUSOO Knowledge Base

We’re excited to announce the first version of our Knowledge Base. There you can find answers to common questions about how LEGO CUUSOO works and about creating your projects. With this, we are moving our support from Get Satisfaction (the Feedback tab on the right hand side) to UserVoice, and will be retiring our Get Satisfaction account. We appreciate all of the suggestions and recommendations you’ve given us there, and we’ll refer to them when working on our future roadmap and improvements.

Our goal is to address some of your most common questions about the LEGO CUUSOO process, the site, and the community. There are some questions we won’t answer, though, especially specifics about how decisions are made in the LEGO Review beyond what we have explained on the blog to date.

Special thanks goes to community members GlenBricker, lizardman, mopeydecker, and TheNerd, who who helped us pick the most important questions to include from the beginning, and also volunteered their time editing and proofing the articles!

What you see today is the first version, and we’ll be improving the articles over time and adding more as we see fit. Enjoy!

She stole my idea! A story about original ideas and how they relate to LEGO® CUUSOO

A few weeks ago, I attended an all-day workshop at the LEGOLAND Hotel conference center in Billund, Denmark. The restaurant at the LEGOLAND Hotel serves brick-shaped fries; for lunch I couldn’t resist putting a few on my plate. Being a good Instagrammer, I snapped a photo to show the world what I was eating.

After lunch I checked Facebook, and saw that my colleague Signe Lønholdt (from ReBrick) had already posted a photo of the same fries. She copied me! I was a bit bummed … she took my idea and posted it first, stealing the thunder I thought was mine.

But Signe’s photo was just a plain old iPhone shot. So I tightened my skinny jeans and fluffed my scarf as I scrolled through Instagram filters, observing for example how Lomo-fi brought out the rich colors of my artsy catsup splotch while Walden faded it out. I chose Hefe, wrote a witty comment, and uploaded it.

Almost immediately, an AFOL responded to my Facebook photo; “so that’s the second time today someone has posted those fries on my feed.” Aargh, I had been outed as a copycat. But Signe copied me, I thought, and mine was better!

My thunder was stolen and my faux-hipster ego deflated. I was a copycat.

Fries-signeFries-tim

But who had the original idea? Did I steal it from Signe? Did she steal it from me? Or were we both inspired to post a picture of the fries because of the trend of sharing food photos online? The brick fries are a rather unique food, but neither Signe nor I invented the brick fries. We both independently came to the same idea of sharing a photo of them; the “idea” to share a photo was both of ours.

It’s easy to understand a person who is upset because someone else uploaded an idea they had; they had the spark of inspiration and another person took it! Is that really what happened? No, someone independently had a similar thought and executed it too. I’ve even heard a few people say, “I thought of Facebook before it took off,” like they thought Mark Zuckerberg owed them something. What about Friendster or MySpace? Don’t they deserve Facebook’s success, because they did it first?

Paul Lee, a regular on LEGO CUUSOO, once sent me this Doghouse Diaries web comic to illustrate the principle.

On the site we see two kinds of ideas; original ideas (that you truly thought up yourself) and generic ideas (like a new fire truck, your favorite sports team, or even a new LEGO element that compliments an existing one, like a roof corner).

“Generic” ideas themselves are only a small fraction of the value of a project.

For LEGO CUUSOO, we see the value of a project as the Idea + Execution + Audience. It’s not enough to have a good model, or be the first with the concept. Your project should be produced in such a way that it attracts an audience that in turn shows us the demand for a potential product. Just like Facebook built a more successful social network than Friendster and attracted more users.

This means you can’t “squat” the thought for us to release a new IP or a new generic idea by putting up a photo and a description — even if the model is original. Someone else has every right to submit their own version and attract supporters. However, if you submit something truly your own, and someone else tries to piggyback or copy it, you can use the report button on the project and we’ll remove the project if it comes too close to your work.

I hope this story helps illustrate what we consider original, and what the value of a LEGO CUUSOO project is. But what happened with the brick fries? As of this blog post, I out-executed Signe. My pic got 27 likes and 13 comments, where hers got 19 likes and 8 comments. ;-) So Signe, thanks for stealing my idea. It inspired me to write this post.

 

Link Roundup: Your LEGO CUUSOO Tips

Last week, we posted an open call for you to share your tips for using LEGO CUUSOO on your own blogs, and promised a link in return. We received five posts from four LEGO CUUSOO fans, thanks everyone!

Each post contains some great tips and good opinions. Here we’ve picked out a highlight from each one as we share the link so you can go read each post. So, check out these fellow users’ tips and put them into practice on your projects:

  • Huw Millington posted: “Think outside the box: Don’t bother submitting anything that’s remotely like what LEGO is already producing, or is likely to. Come up with something new.” Read Huw’s entire post on Brickset.
  • GlenBricker provides an excellent analysis of “relative support,” or how your project ranks next to other projects. It also gives reassurance that you’re doing better than you might think if you only have a 50-250 supporters. Here’s Glen’s chart comparing supporter count to project ranking:
Project-ranking-and-supporters-glenbricker
  • In a separate post, Glen analyzes what is a realistic minifigure count for LEGO sets. This isn’t a tip we would have thought to share, but it’s totally true (wink wink, nudge nudge).
  • Richard Hayes of BrickFanatics gives us a series of tips, and the one that sticks out to us is to build your idea (well) in bricks. The model and presentation in your cover photo is your best chance at attracting suppporters, so make both high quality if you want people to get on board.
  • CUUSOO user Dralcax shares his list of tips, and we especially like #6, talking about price range. There is no set bottom or top price point for a CUUSOO project to be accepted, but you’ll have a better chance of us accepting your project if it is a reasonable size.

Didn’t write up your tips in time to make it into this post? Share your tips or leave your link in the comments below.

Open Call: Share Your LEGO CUUSOO Tips

If you’ve been on LEGO CUUSOO for a while, you see the vastly different approaches people take to creating their projects. If you follow the site really closely and are active in LEGO fan forums, you’ll also see the different ways people promote their projects from reading discussions about CUUSOO.

We’d love to see more tips and tricks about how to build and promote your projects that can be shared with everyone. And, who better to share this advice than the very people testing these techniques on their own projects?

That’s what LEGO CUUSOO user GlenBricker did when he wrote up this article about how to make and use QR codes on MOC cards to promote CUUSOO projects at LEGO fan conventions. Since it’s summer in the northern hemisphere and con season is in full swing (I’ll be at Brickworld in Chicago this weekend), this is a great tip for any of you looking to promote your project. We know there are more great tips out ther, so we’re hoping you can share yours too.

LEGO Fans, Start Your Blogs
So, this post is an open call for you to blog your best tips for using LEGO CUUSOO and receive a link back to your blog from us. Talk about the ways you refine your projects to articulate your ideas, and talk about your ideas or what you’ve found works best in promoting your projects (as long as it’s legal, of course). Write up your posts between now and the end of next Sunday, June 24 and send them to us. As long as your post follows our little list of rules below, we’ll link to it in a link roundup post that shares the tips with everyone!

Here are the Rules

  • Write whatever tips and tricks you think are best. Keep your advice legal and ethical (e.g. having a celebrity tweet your project by asking nicely = good, setting up a black-hat SEO link farm = bad).
  • Keep your article focused on tips that help your fellow builders. You may use your project as an example, but it should be your secondary focus.
  • Your post should follow the LEGO CUUSOO Guidelines and House Rules for appropriate content and tone.
  • Please write in English. You may include a translation to another language so long as our English-speaking staff can read your post.
  • Email your link to LEGOsupport@cuusoo.com with the subject “CUUSOO Tips Blog Post” by the end of Sunday, June 24.

Disclaimer: we will link to your post only if you follow these common-sense rules. :-)

Don’t hold back (the time has come to galvanize)!

7 Habits of Highly Effective CUUSOO Project Owners

So, you’ve got a great project idea, and you want to learn what it will take to reach 10,000 supporters. Just what does it take to get there? We took a look at the habits of some of the most successful projects owners on LEGO CUUSOO, and here’s what we found.

While we can’t promise you results, follow these habits and you’ll be well on your way to gaining more supporters for your project.

Highly Effective LEGO CUUSOO Project Owners…

  1. Take the long view. Before they start, they understand that achieving 10,000 is not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of effort and patience.
  2. Make a quality project before posting. The best projects feature original work that the builder has put a lot of time into.
  3. Only post one or two projects at a time. Trying to do more than one or two means you can’t put the quality into your projects to make them worthy of being noticed.
  4. Make the effort to write a good description. The best descriptions are two to three paragraphs, using proper grammar and punctuation. They tell the story of the  project and inspire people to support it, without directly asking.
  5. Use appropriate tags. Successful project owners know the right tags makes a project easier to find. They also only use tags that are relevant, and don’t use unrelated tags, which is considered “tag spam.”
  6. Tirelessly promote on relevant websites and social networks. They know that each person who sees a project can only support it once, so they keep sharing their work with other people and communities who can drive traffic to their project.
  7. Participate respectfully in the LEGO CUUSOO community. They’re helpful and thankful, they don’t spam others’ projects, and they’re polite and encouraging when giving constructive feedback. They make sure all of their comments follow the Guidelines and House Rules.

For inspiration, check out the most supported projects on LEGO CUUSOO. Take a look at at their photos and descriptions, and start living these seven habits.

Want to hear it directly from a successful project owner? Check out this interview with Yatkuu, the builder of the Winchester model that achieved 10,000 supporters. He gives advice to others submitting projects to LEGO CUUSOO.

Best of luck to you on your quest to 10,000 supporters!