To kick things off, I want to focus on start ups for the first few weeks of the blog. Partly because of circumstance - the current economic climate in Europe and the US has forced many architects and designers to become entrepreneurs whether they were ready or willing to be. Partly because it's a kind of mythology embedded in the profession itself - over 60% of the firms in the US, according to the AIA profiles, are solo or 2-4 person practices. (perhaps more ironic is the fact that all those firms only generate 7% of the total billings.)
So we're a profession of start ups, whether we'll admit it or not. And, to be quite blunt, as a profession, we do a fairly poor job managing the business end of our work, especially when looking at smaller, start up firms. The internal transmission of knowledge from firm owner to employee is likely to be selectively revealed at best. And much of this received knowledge merely perpetuates some truly bad habits over and over. This is where we'll do most of our exploration in the coming weeks.
For now, I'll leave you with a well written and provocative piece from FastCo.on the external factors that can help shape a culture of start ups, specifically looking at the relationships between taxation, services, and entrepreneurship. I'd suggest checking your political affiliations at the door and just analyze the numbers. In the end, you just might agree with the following quote from the article:
“What we’re doing when we are paying taxes is buying a product. So the question isn’t how you pay for the product; it’s the quality of the product.”
Quick bonus quiz on the side: without reading the article first, anyone know the three countries which actually have more startups per year than the US (vs. people simply saying they want to start a company)? Even more bonus points if you can name the two industrialized countries which pay a lower percentage of their GDP in the form of taxes than the US.
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.