Out with the Old, In with the New

Bob Borson —  December 30, 2013 — 58 Comments

It’s pre-dawn on a Sunday and I am currently sitting in my kitchen, the rest of my house still in bed, trying to get my bearings in place before the new year kicks off in earnest. I am a believer in reflecting on things that have happened as part of the process of moving forward and I can’t spend much time thinking back through the events of 2013 without devoting a big chunk of time to Life of an Architect and all that entails. Depending on how you choose to measure success, my time spent working on this site was either a smashing success or simply a lot of time spent entertaining myself. I know that most people who come to my site couldn’t care less about the metrics behind a site like mine but I’m going to tell you anyways …

Life of an Architect blog 2013 By the Numbers

190 Posts

This is the actual number of articles written by yours truly. I debated doing a total word count but that would take FOREVER to generate and despite me actually wanting to know the answer, I have other things to get done today.

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3,324 Comments on these posts

WOW! This really surprised me but when I think about, there is a great community of people who come to this site and frequently the comment section is a better read than the actual article I wrote. Hat’s off to you if you’ve participated … if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? I officially invite you to leave a comment and become part of this community. You don’t even have to talk to me, respond to someone else.

… just don’t curse or personally insult an individual, those are my only rules.

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860 Images/Graphics created and processed

This includes all the photos I have to process (crop, edit, straighten, etc.) and the graphics I create to support the posts (like these graphics I created for Architect + Architect = ??). I don’t like using other people’s stuff, not because of my ego, I just don’t want to mess with the copyright issues.

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4,868 Emails sent privately

I am extremely proud of how many people I respond to … the amount of time I spend on it is crazy. If I didn’t get to your email this year, I’m very sorry – I did my best. For those of you you thanked me for responding to your email, you guys are my favorite, I love those people. For those of you who asked questions to which I responded but didn’t acknowledge the my response with any sort of acknowledgement, i.e. “thanks” or “you’re full of sh*t” – I don’t like you very much. Sorry to be a buzzkill.

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3,137,635 Total Visitors [1,882,581 Unique]

That’s with an M … Million. What?!? This is another number that boggles my mind … probably best that I don’t think about it too much.

Too late, I just thought about it. When I first started doing this, my biggest fear by a mile was appearing stupid to my peers. Now after 4 years, although I’ve known for quite a while now, is that there are more people out there like me than not. Stephen Hawking isn’t reading this site so despite the occasional grammar gaff or typo, I must be doing something right.

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6,232,066 Page views

This is super cool and its only for one year! Out of all the stats I have access to, this is the stat I look at the most often. For some reason I associate this number with whether I am hitting the mark … or not. People find my site through one of a handful of channels and once they land here, they tend to explore. I have been keeping track of the numbers on my site since March 4, 2010 and from that time, I’ve had over 14 million page views.

Crazy

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If it isn’t readily apparent from those numbers, I spend a lot of time working on the blog and for the most part, I absolutely love it. This is the closest thing I have to a hobby (not quite sure what that means) and I have reaped the benefits that come with having one of the most visible architectural blogs in the world. That having been said, there are some changes coming in 2014 … I won’t say they’re going to be awesome since I don’t really know, I’m making this up as I go.

They could totally suck but let’s start off by thinking that they’ll be terrific.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed (although I hope you did) I haven’t written a new article in a while – almost two weeks. (GASP!!!) This is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I first started this blog almost 4 years ago. I’ve been spending this time drinking trying to figure out how I am going to juggle what needs to get done this year. If you didn’t already know, I left my old firm of almost 12 years to become a partner in a new firm [How to become a partner in only 21 years]

Architect Bob Borson contact information

 – and this means I have new responsibilities that need my attention. It’s different now than when I wrote ‘What’s an Architect’s Day Like?‘ now that my name will soon be on the door (we’re moving offices in May but that’s a different story) my day shape up a little differently now than it did in 2012. How do I spend my time?

40% managing projects – client meetings, design, constructions drawings … basically the practice of “architecture”.

20% managing office workflow and staff … not very fun but extremely important. This load will increase this year because my partner is the President-Elect for the Texas Society of Architects and the demands on his time will increase even more over the next two years.

20% volunteering my time to charities and professional associations. I will run my “Life of an Architect Playhouse Design Competition” once again and I have leadership roles in the Dallas Chapter American Institute of Architects as Director of Communications and at the state level Texas Society of Architects as Chair of the Digital Communications Committee.

20% business development. This is the big one on this list and the area where I have the least experience. Most people hire me because they know me and seem to think that working with me would be a good idea. Building upon this premise, as much as I love the company of my peers, I need to meet more people who aren’t other architects.

This is where the hard part comes in – where to focus my attention. This blog is going to be impacted by these changes, although I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I’ll probably start off writing less, I typically write 2 articles a week now but I’ll probably be going down to one a week. I will also probably shift the focus of those posts to more design oriented, informational posts than the “career advice” posts I seem to have gravitated towards.

besides, who really needs life/career advice from me?!?

For the record, I highly recommend writing a blog – even if no one reads it. I haven’t found a better tool to spark the creative process … you need to actually create something if you plan on being a creative person, it’s pretty simple (dang it, there I go again with the advice). This blog has also been a gateway to more opportunities than any other 4 year window of my life; I’ve met more like-minded people, been exposed to creative brilliance, and had the opportunity to spend time in the company of forward thinking individuals who tend to wade out into the water before they know how deep it is – which is totally incredible.

So expect more while getting less, because that’s what I’m selling. If you don’t like it, just let me know and I’ll refund your admission. Other than that, thank you for allowing me to [sometimes] waste your time over the last year, I really appreciate you allowing me to figure out what I’m doing while I do it.

PS – If you’re not on Instagram I also recommend it, especially if your just starting to dip your toes into the digital arena. You can follow me on Instagram and if less than 10% of your photos involved your family pets or your meals out at restaurants, I’ll probably follow you back. I like to surround myself with all the creativity I can find.

Cheers to you

Bob AIA signature

even better

  • http://travelogueofmedzz.blogspot.com/ Medzz

    “I highly recommend writing a blog – even if no one reads it.I haven’t found a better tool to spark the creative process … ”

    Come to think of it, I also find blogging has become a medium for me to be more expressive with my thoughts and ideas and get my ‘brain’ moving. It is INDEED a great tool to spark the creative process. Of course, even though my blog was initially meant for to me to express myself, it does gives a tad of mind-boggling feeling every time I check on my statistic which only shows not many ‘traffic’ passes-by. ;)
    Anyway, love reading your rambling and your perspective of the Architect’s life!

  • Christine Choi

    Good stuf you got there! Just surfing the net after an intensive architectural client meeting and come across your blog. I really agree with how we need to keep searching for our space allowing our creativity to continue. Waiting a blog is a great way even if no body reads it.

    Anyway keep it up and being a partner of an architectural is exciting ay! I’m one of them too but sometimes I just get knock out by this reality clients. Oh we’ll that’s our life!

  • http://twitter.com/timraleigh timraleigh

    Happy New Year and thanks!

    My only hope is that you can continue with this blog as you surely will bet busier and busier.

  • Judit.B

    Dear Bob, you write about a lot of things, which I think affects a lot of us. Working at a small architect office, I dont really have anybody to discuss matters with. Reading your blog and the comments made me realize that I am not alone. It is great to see how much you care about architecture. Thank you and please keep up the good in 2014! Greetings, Judit

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Judit,
      Small firms have their own unique issues to contend with don’t they? It seems as though we all have to simply make it up as we go … but there’s nothing more exciting than wading out into the water without knowing how deep it really is, but sometimes it’s nice to know that someone else is standing out there with us.

      Happy 2014!

  • Alan Westbrook

    Not being an architect (just a fan of it), I don’t usually have anything relevant to post, but this time I just might.

    If you have the articles as *plain text* files somewhere, here’s how to get your word count using the tools already on your Mac with fairly little effort:

    1. Put all the posts in a directory on your desktop, let’s call it ‘posts’
    2. Open the Terminal app (COMMAND+SPACE, type Terminal, hit Return)
    3. Here we can use a little utility called ‘wc’ (Word Count) along with ‘cat’ (concatenate) to help us out here. Type out this command sequence:

    cat Desktop/posts/* | wc -w

    The resulting number should be a reasonable approximation to the number of words you wrote.

    I’m not sure this will help you, but I thought I’d try since you are encouraging posting and I felt I should give back a bit in some way for all the great content you provide!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Awesome tip Alan! Your solution would still require me opening up each post, and if I did that, there is a word count already within each post. It’s the act of opening up each of the 190 posts that would take longer than I care to spend.

      All that having been said, I’ll take all the Mac tips I can get my hands on!

      Cheers

  • gayle pickering

    Well honestly i was hoping for more posts, not less, but of course we’ll be delighted with whatever you have time for – I find each post a) humorous (situationally appropriate of course!) b) good design advise c) informative. Thank you!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Gayle – for all I know, once things start to settle in a bit more at the new office, I might be able to reassess my time restraints. It is possible that I will end up with more than 52 posts for the year :)

      I hope that my goal of more focused posts will make up for the fewer numbers.

      Cheers, and Happy New Year!

      • gayle pickering

        thanks for the reply – hope this didn’t sound snarky!

        • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

          not at all – I took it as a compliment!

  • Stxiber

    Hi bob,
    I am a student- anything that makes the architectural world outside of university more accessible is a gift to me. You’ve created a window that humorously displays the ins and outs of your daily experience as an architect, I appreciate your outlook.
    So, thanks and happy new year!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks – and Happy 2014 to you!

  • Steve B.

    Hi Bob,
    I just started reading your blog a few months ago and I have to say it has been very inspiring and creatively stimulating. I’ve spent hours (probably too many) re-reading the stuff in your archives- which I find just as engaging and relevant as your current posts. I’ll eventually take your advice and start my own blog because I can see how rewarding it is both for you and your readers. Thanks again…

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks – that’s very kind of you to say and I’m glad you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. I think part of the reason I am going to start scaling back (other than time restraints) is that my best work seems to be behind me – maybe I’m forcing things a bit too much?

      I suppose we are going to find out!

      Cheers – and Happy 2014

      • Rick

        Bob, I am sure that your best work is still ahead! It’s just a matter of time. All your posts are great and fun to read. Even if you cut back on the number of posts, I am sure that all of us look forward to what you have to say next. Please keep it up!

        • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

          Thanks Rick – I appreciate that.

          Cheers

  • TX Architect in LA

    Bob, isn’t it time to multitask? Only 52 blog posts a year? I agree with Kerry, you seem to be slacking. 104 articles a year isn’t enough for all of us… Happy New Year, Bob. I hope it will be your best yet…

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks … maybe I should look at outsourcing? Maybe I should break the posts up into less than 1,000 words? A single picture is worth a 1,000 words (I’m told)

      I think I’m on to something

      Cheers

  • Kerry Hogue

    hi Bob. Could not help but notice you are slacking a bit. Your time dedicated to various responsibilities/activities at work only add up to 100%. Aren’t you supposed to give 110%.
    Thanks for an entertaining and always insightful read. Happy new year to you.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I thought someone would call me out for only giving 100% – thanks for making that a reality :)

      I hope you have a terrific 2014 and for someone who lives in the same city as I do, let’s make this year the year we meet in person!

  • Facebook User

    Hi Bob,

    I have been meaning to write sooner to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. It has real substance and always inspires!

    Happy New Year to you. Look forward to reading your continued blogs in 2014.

    Cheers!

    Michael Hampton

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Michael – I appreciate your time and your willingness to get involved.

  • kArno

    Thank you Bob for juggle this “ball” among the other balls that you are currently juggling .. Well, done and wish the best for 2014 :)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Cheers to you – and best for 2014

      • kArno

        You got it!

  • W. Boggs

    Thanks Bob for this post. I have an 11 month old now and finding it harder and harder to keep hobbies and add things to my schedule. How do you do it? Juggling a family and professional career?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I put on a lot of weight this year since I sat in front of a computer at the office AND at home. It’s possible that the only time I wasn’t really working I was watching TV … in bed.

      Congratulations on the 11month old, it’s such a fun time.

      Cheers

  • Rafael Gomez

    Thanks Bob. I am lucky to find this gateway of so many interesting people and comments…just priceless. Happy New Year

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Happy 2014 Rafael!

  • http://www.leecalisti.com/ Lee Calisti, AIA

    Thanks for the site and the time (where did you find the time), thanks for the conversation (I hopefully responded…if not, here’s a big THANKS), and I look forward to an ongoing conversation in 2014. I too struggle with finding the time. One of my goals for 2014 is better daily use of time.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’m glad you used the word ‘goal” rather than “resolution”.

      Most of the changes we look to make to ourselves and our business are slow burns and happen year round. Finding the time is always a work in progress isn’t it?

      Cheers,
      Bob

      • http://www.leecalisti.com/ Lee Calisti, AIA

        Great thoughts. We could liken goals and personal/business changes like a design problem. They take iterations, start overs and sometimes just work. No announcements or heralding. Just quietly do it and when we fail, do it again.

  • IAGDint

    Happy New Year 2014 – IAGD interior

  • Edward Hipolyte

    Bob,

    Congrats on your new firm and as always…great post. What a year you’ve had. Nothing gives one better perspective for the future than hindsight.

    Yours blog posts have been an inspiration to me over tha past two years and certainly a morale boost this year as I was finishing my Interior Architecture honors (crazy sleepless nights).

    I’m looking forward to your future posts…Happy New Year to you and you family.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Edward – glad you found me two years ago. I look forward to hearing from you as you start your career, it will be a very exciting time for you.

      Happy New Years!

  • Erik

    Bob,
    Great look-back, look forward post. I am glad to be counted in many of those page views and site visits. Your site is the one that I’ve learned the most from and had the most fun viewing. Almost a daily visit for me. Thanks for the effort spent to make the creative process great for all of us! Happy New Year!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Erik,

      I have valued your friendship over the last few years, I am glad that I can’t count you as one of the upsides to writing a blog like mine, it’s the people and connections you make.

      Cheers

  • Alex Simpson

    Well Done Sir… you do make a difference!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      too kind.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, I look to see more from you in 2014. Cheers!

  • David B. Ferguson

    So, less is more.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Exactly!

      Although, it’s possible that less will be less …

      • David B. Ferguson

        Don’t sell yourself short.

  • http://www.rigginsconst.com/ Bridget Willard

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve written than many posts with my four blogs combined cumulatively. You are a writer by nature and we’re thankful for the humor and advice. You are a strong member of the AEC community online and I’m proud to be part of your community.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Bridget – can’t convey enough how much I appreciate your support! Looking forward to more path crossing in the coming year :)

      • http://www.rigginsconst.com/ Bridget Willard

        Ditto!

  • Courtney Price

    You are the king of stats- impressive! cheers~

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Courtney – as always, I appreciate your friendship, and that you are always willing to share your insights.

      Here’s to a fantastic 2014!

  • http://businessofarchitecture.com/ Enoch Sears

    Nice Bob, great to see the stats and see the new plans!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Cheers Enoch – here’s to 2014 (pretty sure our paths will cross again this year)

  • Jeanette Pritchard

    OOPs, meant 2014. Thanks best wishes for 2014.

  • Jeanette Pritchard

    Thanks for the insight and best wishes for the new year. I have enjoyed following your emails and I will be better has answering back. I am a bit shy when it comes to blogging. Thanks for giving me more confidence not only for blogging but also in being a part of the field. Look forward to reading more and learning more in 2013.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Jeanette, I look forward to your increased participation!

  • Stephanie

    Thanks Bob – Happy New Year! I am typically one of silent readers that shares your goods with others in my office and now your posts come back to me from my co-workers when they see something good…Blog I will – I have started before but your reflection today hit the mark! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      as always, it was – and continues to be – my pleasure.

      Cheers

  • Lindy Weston

    Hi Bob! I would like to hear about your thoughts on being a partner/principle compared to being an “associate”. Any surprises? Most of all I am curious about the problems you have faced as a p/p, and how you solved them. What problems has MM architects faced in 2013?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      In 2013 it was about transition and growing pains – the process go people learning to work with – and lean on – each other whereas they didn’t have that option previously. The likelihood that I will air any “problems” is slim :)

  • John O’Neil

    Thanks for writing about being an architect, Bob. I apologize for never commenting on your blog posts before, but I read almost everything you post. I’m a registered architect and have devoted the last 40 years to writing specs. You’re telling the story about being an architect in a very engaging and candid way.