I’m concerned that it looks like I’m faking incompetence in this video in order to live down to my pre-build expectations for myself. The people with which I have shared apartments and furniture in the past can tell you that I am not faking it. I can tell you that I only wish that was the case. These chairs are designed to be put together by soft city-dwellers like me, and I played with LEGOs all the time as a kid, but I still fell into most predictable pitfalls of IKEA assembly. In retrospect, I never had a chance.

The robot we were virtually racing was built by a team at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. It took the robot “11 minutes and 21 seconds to independently plan the motion pathways and 3 seconds to locate the parts,” which we accounted for by providing unmeasured time before the challenge to unbox the pieces and peruse the directions. From there, the robot was able to build the chair in a brisk 8 minutes and 55 seconds. We were not.

Dan, while failing to best the robot, did well because the first Ikea store in the U.S. was opened just outside Philadelphia and, loath as I am to admit this, the city is a stronger part of his personal brand than it is mine.