What I Learned from Displaying MOCs at the NYC FIRST Robotics Competition

Here is a 2nd installment of the “What I Learned” review of I LUG NY’s latest public showing which took place Sunday, March 18th, 2012 at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

We were invited to have a presence at the NYC FIRST Robotics Competition which also oversaw the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Challenge. This event was attended by children from grammar schools, middle and high schools throughout NYC. It was wonderful seeing so many kids and teens taking up an interest in science and robotics (and LEGO for the younger participants). Our contact person Arlene was very friendly, professional and quite possibly the quickest responder to emails I have ever met.

What I Learned about our presence at the NYC FIRST Robotics Competition:

1-We felt that this event wouldn’t target our core audience of Adult Fans of LEGO and for the majority of attendees it didn’t. The kids that are building with LEGO are focused on their Mindstorms Robots. This event doesn’t fit the builders of our LUG because it presently doesn’t have Mindstorms builders other than Lee (currently in Billund) and Jon who didn’t make the event. NONETHELESS we had countless visitors to our booth who were quite impressed with our MOCs and even more importantly we might have met some potential new members. We had about 30 people sign our email list. We also gave out nearly 60 business cards. Mike brought his tank and a swan, Blake brought an awesome M-Tron space ship, Anthony brought his latest Train MOC and Sid brought a HUGE Plinko Machine that had the kids entertained as they thoroughly enjoyed his LEGO game that makes the Official LEGO Game “Meteor Strike” look miniscule in comparison.

2-Meetings CANNOT take place at public events. There is way too much going on with the public to give members a chance to sit down and talk. (Sorry Mike-I was hoping to be able to discuss Lyndhurst in more detail with you as well).

3-Much like Mad Eye Moody from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter we must be ever vigilant while watching our MOCs! A teal spaceship of mine was stolen from the table while I ate lunch at the back of our booth. I had to take the train into Manhattan which severely limited what I could bring. I didn’t want our table to seem empty so I stuffed my mosaics and some small MOCs in my LEGO bag as they were easy to travel with. Unfortunately they were too easy to travel with as one of them disappeared. Arlene had an announcer tell the crowd that the ship was missing but it never showed up. This will always stay with me as it tainted the last 2 hours of the event.

4-While we were talking Mike came up with the idea to have a QR Code printed on our next round of business cards. Excellent idea! We also felt that the LUG should have some sort of freebee like a logo sticker that we can give to people as they visit our displays at events. Vic-can you reach out to your printer contact to see how feasible this is for the group? Before Lyndhurst would be ideal.

5-Everyone attending these events needs to bring business cards with them. We were all given them if I remember correctly at our February meeting so it shouldn’t have fallen on one person’s shoulders to have business cards for the event.

6-Thanks to our website and my pimping of the LUG on Brickset we met two new guys who were awesome company and who spent the day hanging out and talking LEGO with us. Paul and Bill-great meeting you both yesterday. Look forward to spending more time with you during future events and meetings.

LUG members who attended included Mike, Bert, Blake, Sid, Anthony, and Brian along with the new potential members Paul and Bill. This was several more members than last year so this is yet another sign of I LUG NY’s growth in membership from last year.


Those LUG Members who attended the event please share anything you may have learned and whether or not you think this is an event we should attend again next year if we are invited back.

I LUG NY to meet at the Javits Center, March 18th at 10AM

We will be meeting up on the 18th to have a presence at the New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship. This venue will offer us a chance to display MOCs, spread the word of I LUG NY and perhaps meet other AFOLs. There are presently two new potential members who have said they would like to attend so this will be a great opportunity to meet up with new faces.

Those attending will also take part in a meeting to discuss among other things our upcoming event at Lyndhurst Castle. After the event we might either take a trip to Jon G’s work to see a model he built and/or take a trip to the Rockefeller Center LEGO Store. The store closes at 7 so we should have enough time to check out their PaB Wall. Bring your Holiday PaB boxes to use them before they expire.

Hopefully I will see you there.