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A Minecraft Misunderstanding Prompts Reflection

by Michelle McNally | Feb 2, 2021, 00:00 AM
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Mother-Daughter Conversation Mirrors Marketing Challenges  

A lot of Minecraft has been happening in the McNally household during this season of social distancing. If you’re not familiar with it, Minecraft is a video game in which players use a variety of blocks to build (and break) their own structures and worlds. 

There’s a social component to Minecraft that helps our daughter stay connected to her friends, but sometimes she plays solo and tries to come up with new ways to challenge herself. One such idea bloomed on a cold winter’s night, and she tried to explain it to me. Reflecting on our exchange, I saw some parallels to my experiences at BoxCrush.

The Explanation

“Oh I’ve got an idea,” my daughter said. “I’m going to use a random block generator to build my house!” 

“That sounds cool,” I said. “How does that work?” 

“Well, there are hundreds of blocks that can be generated. I’m going to take four random ones and then use them to build a new house.” 

“You can build a house with only four blocks?” I asked, confused. 

“No,” she said, looking at me in disbelief. “It’s going to give me four KINDS of blocks. I’ll use one for the roof, one for the walls, one for the corners, and one for embellishment.” 

“What if the generator gives you too many of one kind of block?” I asked.

“The generator isn’t making the blocks,” she answered, looking at me strangely.  

“But you said you were getting the blocks from a random generator,” I answered, proud that I was understanding what I thought was happening. 

“The generator isn’t in the game,” she explained. 

“Then how are you getting the blocks?” 

“The generator tells me what blocks to use. It doesn’t give them to me,” she said, somewhat exasperated. 

I asked the question one more time. “Then how are you getting the blocks?”

“I’m using the random block generator,” she said, this time with more emphasis. Clearly I was not understanding something about her process.

“But how do they get in the game?” I asked. I wasn’t giving up; I could tell there was a critical piece of information I was missing.  

“It’s not in the game, it’s an app,” she said, then sighed. “You know what a random number generator is, right? You give it a range of numbers, and it spits one out.” She was breaking this down into terms my Gen-X brain could understand. 

“Yes, I’m familiar,” I answered. 

“So I’ll use the block generator app to generate four random block types. Then I’ll select ONLY those four types of blocks in the game to build this house.” 

“Ahh,” I said. Finally, I understood!

As she was continuing to enjoy her self-made challenge, I started thinking about how conversations like this happen every day, in different contexts. We make assumptions about what other people know and expect that they should understand what we’re saying, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Communication is a big part of what we do at BoxCrush. We don’t expect that our clients will know all of the steps involved in building a website, or how we go about creating Google Ads that drive traffic to their website. That’s why we communicate regularly with clients, and provide reports that help them see our processes. We also give space for our clients to ask questions and request clarification. In a way, we are building “houses” for our clients, and we want to be transparent about how and why we chose our building blocks.