I was looking at FIRST the other day and it became very evident how prestigous the FIRST community is in comparison to vex. now, there are ALOT of reasons for this such as celebrity exposure (having the black eyed peas’ Will.I.AM as a frontman) and television presence.
But i truly believe theres more to it than how much it costs, and which celebrities are supporting them.
What I am asking is this:
What can we, as a vex community, do to make VEX bigger and better, and try to get it to as close to FIRST (in the prestigious way) as possible.
First thing I can think of is promoting it online through youtube promo’s to help get word out that “HEY! WERE DOING SOMETHING AMAZING TOO!”
Comparing apples and oranges. Or perhaps the 100 meter dash vs. the marathon. The 100 meter is quick and flashy with little time for adjustments and everyone sees the race from start to finish to the victory lap but the marathoner is constantly making adjustments all the while running an active race. However, he seldom has the energy to take the victory lap (26.2 miles X 2 is a long day) and wave to the jubilant crowd and is more worried about how much of a beating he took and what he needs to fix now and take steps to recover in time for the next marathon. And while the masses on their couches at home recognize Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, the people who run truly appreciate what it takes to be a marathoner even though most of us cannot even name who won this year’s Boston Marathon. (Of course that was the week of Worlds).
FIRST is neat, for sure. But VEX need not imitate it to have or otherwise demonstrate its value. Its value lies in its limiting format such and extended season which promotes the iterative process and taking risks and being willing to understand and accept lessons learned in failure.
And exceptional robots, e.g. Team 1103 Currahee, will always draw attention.
So, the short answer is everyone needs to worry less about marketing to the masses and simply build robots that the expert can appreciate. Not every team has a Grandpa Fred but plenty of teams have sponsors with no relation to them but who still take note and are willing to support quality. And while the masses may recognize Will. I. am , Northrop Grumman Foundation, EMC, NASA, Chevron, Microchip, Texas Instruments and HEXBUG (especially HEXBUG) are some pretty awesome heavyweights that might recognize what it means to say you participated in VEX.
Of course, FIRST has its sponsors, too but what I’m trying to say is you need not try to be like FIRST to attract attention. You need to just be good.
Not all of FIRST charges a $6000 registration fee. You must be thinking of FRC. All of FIRST is not just FRC. FTC is comparable to VEX. VEX is starting to follow the lead of FIRST in the sense that their competitions range from elementary to high school. VEX does have a college division which is nice, but in my experience FIRST participants move onto the AUVSI competitions when they move onto college. They are more real world and coincide with their majors.
Oh, I guess you’re right. With all the acronyms - FIRST FRC FTC VEX IFI RECF BEST OMG WTF PLTW VEXU VEXIQ FLL STEM - and with all the others my kids keep texting at me, it’s hard for me to keep track of what’s what.
I’ve only been involved with VEX for about a year, but I noticed that FIRST always seems to get more recognition - there are scholarships from colleges, its in the papers, ect.
However, I think that the VEX community is awesome!! While it may be overshadowed by FIRST at times, I think VEX is much more relatable. I doubt I would have joined a FIRST team with no prior knowledge of robotics, but with VEX I felt like I could learn something and contribute without being intitmidated by giant robots.
Basically, VEX is amazing. I have met some of my best friends and had awesome times through VEX, and whether or not others recognize that is not most important. I think the best thing that the VEX community can do is invite people to participate! High school teams help a local elementary school establish a team…hold community events and let people see and drive the robots… I think every team has the possibility to reach out to their community and make themselves visible. It’s not necessarily about ending up on the TV show or having a prestigious reputation, because I think a reputation like that could be a turn off for people like me who had no prior knowledge and just wanted to learn. The reputation of VEX rests on the teams and individuals who get involved with their school, community, state, and even country.
Also, just a suggestion, but we should establish VEX day:)
VEX is a great competition setting. I like the parts better and the atmosphere at the tournaments looks very professional, but the kids participating sometimes take it too seriously. The atmosphere at the FTC tournaments is much like VEX, but the kids do it for fun and winning is just a perk to them. The scholarships are much better with FIRST than VEX. The company I work for mentors 11 FTC teams, an FLL team along with the periodical VEX team. I will always be VEX biased, but it is fantastic what FIRST is doing.
Another benefit of vex is that it is possible to have a 1 person team. While this does remove the teamwork aspect of the program, it allows more people to be involved. I have never read about a 1 person FRC team. Has one ever existed?
This. The core values aspect is one of very few things I prefer from FIRST than from VEX. I know most other people on our team would hate me for this, but the whole teamwork and gracious professionalism is great because it teaches a lot more real life experience. And I personally think it makes it more fun.
I will update this post as I find them. The video title is the link to the whole video and the timestamp links to specifically the reference. I would recommend watching the whole video, but you know whatever floats your boat.
*]Grads at 0:22
Side videos about FIRST:
*]Microsoft did a short about FIRST.
*]President Obama hosted a science fair and there was a Chicago FIRST team in attendance. Kind of an awkward video just because kids being intimidated by all the attention. Starts at 19:32.
*]Rubik’s Cube video starting at 1:05 and at 1:33 of FIRST.
I’m pretty sure there was a car ad a while back that had a short clip of VEX robotics, can’t remember anything else about it
Directly responding to the thread, i personally do not care very much about our popularity. I like the way we have our learning environment and i do not think gaining public attention is crucial. However, if we could be known by more people, it would definitely be amazing.
About FIRST vs. VEX issue, i would say that VEX is an easier environment to start with. Parts are generally less costy in VRC high school and middle school and the rules allow an easier start. I cannot imagine what we would do if a weight limit were to be placed on us…
However, VEX is still young. It takes time for such a competition to build up its fame. The VEX community is growing and I am happy to see that.
Edit: actually VEX is getting less rookie friendly this year, because the game seems harder for new teams, or, at least scoring is not that easy. Maybe this is one way VEX is growing and maturing.
I think you’re right. But I’m guessing they made this move because they now have Vex IQ to ramp up the beginners. I wonder how many middle schools will be torn between metal vs. plastic because of it. With SkyRise I predict a lot of bots will not make it through an entire tournament because of lots of damage caused by falling over. I don’t think most kids will be quick enough to make repairs within an hour or so, nevermind the cost and availability of the parts that will get broken after the bots topple out of the game field and sprang across the concrete floor.