A couple of days ago LEGO turned 80 years old. Watch this short movie, a great one I assure you, on how it all started out.
For me personally, I’ve always loved this little tiny bricks, thinking out ideas, sometimes assembling things with the help of non LEGO bricks just to build something cool. I think I got my first set at the age of 5 or so from my parents. A tiny car with and the driver had a white cowboy hat and also a smiley face. The LEGO I saw before that were mostly very old bricks my grandparents bought for their children, my uncle and aunt. When I grew up I mostly asked for LEGO for my birthday, Sinterklaas, Christmas eve, sometimes I got it even for making good grades at school. I also witnessed every year more specialized blocks coming out with more dedicated purposes. Personally I still like to believe that the magic of the bricks, the imagination unleashed that came from it and my LEGO Technic sets started off the spark to become an engineer later on. Not only LEGO of course but also some other influences got me there , which is for another story one day, but it for sure did help.
Being a young adult, age 19 - 20, I remember going back home after a great party in my home town. It was around 3 am in the morning or so and while walking home I passed by a pub. A young boy, 10 years old I assume, was playing outside with, yes, LEGO. Apparently he had some problems getting some pieces together and asked for help. Coming to think of it now the situation was rather bizarre but I simply sat down on the summer’s eve, and helped out the little guy with his LEGO kit until it was finished before going further home. The sparks in the eyes of the little guy reminded me of the happiness I felt myself when I was about his age. Though I guess mine was a way more happy one as my parents didn’t go to pubs and certainly didn’t let me stay up that late playing outside on the sidewalk.
Seeing this video, and how it all started, doesn’t only show the history behind the fun bricks, it also shows determination of a family and several key people who believed in something, conquering problems and having the courage to start all over again. As a kid I for sure didn’t know about that all but as an adult, and engineer, I can hugely appreciate and sympathize with what they did. Of course I’ll try to pass on the love for the bricks to my children one day and see the magic lighting up in their eyes when they try to build their own creations and the magic that comes with that. And of course I’ll be smiling when they come over to show me them, just like my dad did when I was young, hoping that they’ll become even better engineers than their old man. But rest assured, I won’t let them do it at 3 am in the morning on some sidewalk in front of a dirty pub. There’s a time for playing with magic, but there’s also a time to fall asleep and dream about magic.
If I may, a small comparison. The last years as a developer/architect/… I’ve seen magic happening as well. Nuget is called the LEGO for developers, small little bricks, fitting together to create something cool that helps out customers in doing their business faster and better. People don’t always realize it but it’s still some kind of magic, determination of dedicated people, who make that work.