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mal-practice

the architecture of constructing a practice

  • new media, new communications, new books...

    In agreeing to review Steve Mouzon’s latest book, “New Media for Designers + Builders”, I’ve willingly become a part of an experiment tied to its underlying premise: that the ways we can communicate have proliferated exponentially and that harvesting some basic command of these methods can help us become part of a larger, truly global conversation.

     

    For the launch today (September 27th), roughly 200 volunteers (including myself) agreed to post their reviews simultaneously and across as many platforms as we reasonably could. It’s classic viral marketing; however, it’s one of the few I can think of explicitly generated within the design community. How could one resist the moment?

     

    New Media for Designers + Builders is aimed squarely at people who are web savvy but who may have otherwise not fully thought through how to integrate all the various media options available for them. Broken down into 3 general parts, the book covers the broader context of the construction industry since 2008, detailed insights into each platform opportunity and how to customize a plan of action that suits your own interests, strengths and role.

     

    Beyond a general overview of media and advertising techniques, Part 1, “Why”, is devoted to helping place a context around the construction industry as it recovers from the global meltdown. Based in Miami, Mouzon may be more acutely aware of these conditions than some readers; however, he attributes part of his own rebound to the insights outlined in the book. Here, Mouzon argues that we’re moving away from an emotional economy rooted in faster, cheaper, better to “virtues” of patience, generosity and connectedness. Though hard to argue overall, the tone and repetition in this section may be harder for some readers to relate to and harder still for some to fully connect to the ‘why’ of new media’s relevance.

     

    Keep going, though, to get to Part 2, “How”. Because, as a resource, the 120 pages in here are impressively well thought out, cogent and holistically integrated in a way that is accessible for just about anyone. More importantly, the principles laid out cover all types of media – speaking and writing get as much attention as tweeting and blogging. Like a great work of architecture, Mouzon connects part to whole and back to part fluidly and seemingly effortlessly. This section alone is more than worth the price of admission.

     

    Finally, in Part 3, “Who”, Mouzon introduces us to a variety of examples in each of the areas covered in Part 2. It’s also a section that would most easily benefit from being linked to a parallel, ongoing website that allows readers to catalog their own examples, leading to a practicing example of generosity and connectedness. While most of the architects and designers featured here fall within a professional range that shares deep affinities with Mouzon’s own work, they’re worth a look for the reasons outlined in the book.

     

    In closing, New Media for Designers + Builders is a worthwhile addition to the stack of books on your nightstand. Be sure to read it in iBooks (or another e-reader like the Kindle) as it’s loaded with hotlinks and external features. And, if nothing else, take a few steps outlined in the book – there’s nothing to lose and a much richer conversation waiting.


  • forget the pritzker, go for the gold...

      in the wake of the pritzker prize committee's decision to not act on 'awarding' (technically, the request was to 'jointly recognize') denise scott brown a retroactive medal, another - and perhaps more interesting - opportunity quietly opened up to properly recognize collaborative efforts...


  • skills, education and jobs - oh my!

    (photo copyright taylor rhodes)   “The market is broken on both sides,” explained Sharef. “Many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking, and don’t know how to get them. But employers also ... have unrealistic expectations.&rdquo...


  • just. do. something....

      a friendly reminder for all you recent graduates (or those looking for work) relative to those upcoming interviews: it's almost never about who you are or what names are on your resume. it isn't about fancy schools or who your studio professor was.   it's about what you've done. what...


  • up, up and away...

      everyone's talking about 'green shoots' these days - either they're sprouting or being choked out before they ever begin.  green shoots? how about full on growing plants.   right now...  it feels.... busy - at least at my firm. we're winning a lot of opportunities, hiring...


  • sometimes a glass is just a glass....

    interesting dichotomy of numbers out today.   on the one hand, the aia's architecture billings index (which i am a participant with) is truly picking up steam over the past few months. at the very least, reading through the tea leaves, it indicates that work is picking up overall. and i...


  • marissa mayer is smarter than you...

    much ink has been spilled the past couple of weeks over yahoo ceo marissa mayer's recent decision to require all employees to work inside the office. a vast majority of the knee jerk responses have focused in on why at-home workers are more productive, have a healthier work-life balance and...


  • 5 years on and it's still about construction...

    we've been beating this drum, relative to what will help 'right' our economy, since 2009:   it's all about construction. all. about. construction.   it's really this simple: get construction spending back to 'normal' levels and everything else will fall into place.   so, it's nice...


  • jobs, jobs, jobs...

    a confluence of articles out today are worth collating and reading in sum. all, as you may have guessed from today's title, are about jobs. or employment. or 'how are we going to get people working again?'   robert samuelson argues, yet again, that we're in a particularly stubborn situation...


  • some super reading this weekend...

    so we have a har-bowl after all. bleah. can't really root for either team, so it's time to catch up on some reading...   following up on my last post, it really is all about teams...   you a winner? or a loser? hope you're the former...   about that corner office...   i...


  • team of individuals...

    well, it's getting to be crunch time for the nfl. my current hometown falcons are playing a meaningful game in late january, we still have the option of a 'bi-coastal tech bowl (sf and new england/boston)', a all-bird bowl (falcons/ravens); the 'har-bowl' (as nominated below)* and whatever you...


  • wrapping up some presents early...

    it's going to be a full sprint through the beginning of the next year, so finding time to develop any of the topics on my list is....well....going to be impossible. but there's some loose ends, throughout the year, that i'd like toss out for your holiday reading pleasure:   for those of you...


  • skills vs need vs fees

    Tagged fees, pay, labor, skills

    for anyone "looking for a job", the following equation will almost certainly drive the decision about how much pay will be offered: (fees/expenses) + ((skill-sets+need)/availability) = rate x (duration of project) or some variation thereof. in shorthand: the rate's driven by a combination of the...


  • the future of profit per partner...

      if you've lasted 4 or 5 years in this profession, you know that entry level wages for architects aren't the highest among the 'learned' professionals. constantly bemoaned, it's a murky subject, shrouded in a lot of secrecy, and fueled by fierce competition in the marketplace. it's the root...


  • contract assassins

      yet another post about the rise of the contract worker.   yes, there are people for whom this kind of lifestyle is something to be desired. but my experiences and discussions tend to confirm the opposite: most people crave stability. not all, but most. for a ton of obvious reasons...


  • some thoughts about the labor market...

    Tagged jobs, hiring, archinect

      recently, we put our first advertised job posting out in four years. there's several reasons for the time lag, not all of them due to the economy or a downturn in our fortunes. on the contrary, we've done relatively well- steady, but well - during that stretch. the biggest issue is we...


  • a little labor day story...

    what's been danced around, mostly, as the great recession has lingered on is exactly what kinds of jobs have been lost and what kinds of jobs are coming back.    it comes as no surprise to see, in the nytimes today, a report that validates this supposition. the upshot? as you can see...


  • let's produce something...

      Today’s meditation is on the ‘producer’. No, we’re not referring to a grocer or sales generator. For our purposes, we’re looking to the recording industry for some inspiration. A producer, in the world of recorded music, is the person “whose job is to...


  • one chart, one heart, one....

      it's pretty rare that a single chart can show so much about the current state of the industry, but this one, from Macro Monitor, does a great job.    the upshot? 2.27M construction payroll jobs lost between '06 and '11. only 60k net new jobs since feb. 2011.    only...


  • some sobering numbers....

    with the greek election behind us (and mixed initial reactions), let's take a quick snapshot as to where our own economy is. i found this article based on David Rosenburg's studies sobering and enlightening at the same time. the summary?     Forty-five million Americans (one in...


  • too much overhead...

    One of the more persistent sentiments I’ve personally seen more openly laid out over the past few years of this recession is one which claims ‘there’s too much overhead at my firm’. Most often, this statement is being made by someone who is presumably not part of that...


  • the hole's not getting any smaller...

    out from the commerce department today: "WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders increased their spending on construction projects for a second month in April. A pickup in home construction and commercial projects offset a fifth consecutive decline in government spending.   The Commerce...


  • yet another mixed housing report...

    a quick update today: as reported on tuesday, the latest case-shiller housing price index taunts us with a mixed report.    the good news? phoenix, denver, miami all seem to have hit their bottom and are rebounding since the same time last year. this is relative of course - phoenix and...


  • why didn't they teach us...

    "why didn’t anyone teach us ‘business skills’ in school?"     if a nickel were deposited in my bank account for each time that phrase has been uttered the past 4+ years, i’d be… well… mark zuckerberg (or at least as wealthy on paper. at the ipo.)...


  • do the right thing...

    last friday, i caught dwain cox of chik-fil-a as he spoke at the atlanta creative mornings series. beyond being a great speaker and head of innovation for the cow-run company, he's also the former owner of his own design consultancy. in fact, as he tells it, the main reason for the jump to...


  • taking stock....

    in the autobiography on steve jobs, he claimed to spend a lot of his time designing 'the company' as much as any of apple's products. this was especially true during his last few years - after the cancer became manifest and, presumably, a concern for his legacy brought into sharper relief. and...


  • winning the lottery...

    it's been a long couple of weeks - massive proposals, a respiratory illness, responding to people coming off the last couple of posts. hopefully, we're finally back on schedule.   for some weekend reading, this piece in the nytimes today sums up the cultural trend that...


  • on a truly integrated development program (not just intern development)...

    In the companion to this post, we took a look at some of the challenges and barriers to creating an incubator culture that could support architectural startups. But, when you take a step back, would accelerating the number of new startups really solve some of our most pressing issues? The notion...


  • re-start me up (a reply)...

      There must be something in the air.  My last post - about a recent conversation FastCo had with fuseproject’s Yves Behar - looked at that design firm’s equity role with some of the startup clients they work with. Later that week, David Fano and Steve Sanderson of CASE took...


  • from designer to vc....

      been swamped doing proposals (green shoots in the air!) but fast company beat me to by next post, which was going to feature fuseproject, the industrial design firm headed by yves behar.    best quote: 'Where most design firms work for a fee and then part ways with their client...


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About this Blog

Central to the blog is a long running interest in how we construct practices that enable and promote the kind of work we are all most interested in. From how firms are run, structured, and constructed, the main focus will be on exploring, expanding and demystifying how firms operate. I’ll be interviewing different practices – from startups to nationally recognized firms, bringing to print at least one a month. Our focus will be connecting Archinect readers with the business of practice.

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