If you're a nerd/geek like me, you will have noticed that the lego brick just had its 50th birthday. I think we should all take a moment now to commemorate such a profoundly important invention.

Let me explain. If you do a snap poll of all the people you know who build software, you will discover a very high correlation between the hours spent playing with lego as a child and their abilities with software. Why is this? Because lego requires you to assemble and disassemble larger objects from smaller objects. It requires you to be able to envision in your minds eye what could be created, and then also think about how to implement it. It teaches you to think about each individual component while simultaneously thinking about the whole.  It also requires an ability to hold complicated geo-spatial models in your head and then perform creative variations and run 'what if' scenarios on those models. The same parts of the brain that use you to do this with lego, are the parts we use when building software. These are all foundational mental skills required to be a good software developer.

So imagine if all the software people in world didn't grow up playing with lego?? Where would the software industry be now? Some less extreme variation on the scenario in the movie Idiocracy perhaps?

Lego is just one of those little things that we take for granted - like s-bends in plumbing. (Have you ever stopped to wonder just exactly how significantly the s-bend improves the quality of your life? You should)

So lets all take a sentimental moment to think about the impact the humble lego brick has had on our lives. (Or if you somehow missed on growing up playing with lego, you could commemorate the s-bend.)

posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 7:39 PM | Print

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