It’s barely 2021 and I am full of bad ideas. It’s a new year and this is the time that people generally sit around and evaluate their life and come up with some sort of plan to ensure that objectives and goals have a better shot at being met. Not me … I’ve decided to think about things I probably won’t be doing this year. I would typically consider myself a goal-oriented person but of the “I don’t really make goals for myself” variety. I went to bed last night thinking about what I would write about in today’s blog post and I literally woke up thinking about the phrase “Nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan”.
Is the Universe trying to tell me something?
Do I need to start making some plans regarding my future? I’m feeling pretty good about my professional future as things have settled down for me over the last year and interestingly I feel like I have a bigger say in what happens now in a firm of 100 people than I did in a firm of 10. This is probably more a reflection of how responsibility is compartmentalized and set up in silos where many people have a voice and the future appears to be shaped by group consensus – which (shockingly) suits my personality.
As a result of no career considerations, I am left to ponder what to do with my free time. What to do, what to do ….
In approximately two weeks, this blog will be 12 years old, and there are more times than not that I think nobody cares and blogs are soooo 2015, time to retire the site and rededicate the time I spend doing this to other (probably less fruitful) endeavors. I have a hard time turning my brain off unless I am reading a book or watching TV (who am I kidding, I don’t “read” books anymore), and as a result of my overactive brain, I am extremely prone to coming up with new things to do and then not following through on them. In the last 3 days, I have spent an exorbitant amount of time researching the following items:
What I want:
Headphones – TMA-2 HD Wireless Headphones from AIAIAI
I like good headphones and I think I want to step up my audio game in a significant manner. I listen to music pretty much constantly and I read the specs on these particular beauties and think “I really NEED these for my life to be better.
Why this is stupid:
I’m not sure that it is, but I do already have a really nice pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones that are really nice … but these TMA-2 are on another level. It’s extremely possible that I will have these in the very near future.
Scale of 1-10 chance that you are thinking the same thing (if you are an architect): 5
What I want:
Table saw – Dewalt DWE7480XA
I want to make some new cabinets … even though I have never made cabinets before in my life. I can detail them and I know HOW they are supposed to be built so could it really be that far of a leap to successfully build some myself?
Why This is Stupid:
I don’t really need any new cabinets. Even as I type this, I am fully aware that this is ridiculous because even as I acknowledge that I don’t need new cabinets, I am now thinking “… maybe a side table would be nice …”
Scale of 1-10 chance that you are thinking the same thing (if you are an architect): 8
[Imagine a picture of concrete planters here – I haven’t made any (yet) and I don’t want those hyper-aggressive DIY Home bloggers coming after me for using one of their images]
What I want:
Custom Board-Formed Concrete Planters
I want to build some cool formwork and then pour some concrete into that cool formwork.
Why this is stupid:
I don’t need it and I can’t really think of a place where I would want to put it … but this is a material that I want on my house
Scale of 1-10 chance that you are thinking the same thing (if you are an architect): 6
What I want:
120 Gallon Propane Tank Smoker – Custom Fabrication (the one shown above is from pit master Aaron Franklin)
This could possibly happen because smoking barbeque is the closest thing I have to an actual hobby. The irony of this is that I like making barbeque much more than I can actually eat – which is a really good thing for my neighbors and co-workers.
Why this is Stupid:
They aren’t cheap, they aren’t small, how much barbeque could one person need?, and I already have one … sort of. I have a lightweight offset smoker that I’ve had for about 5 years and it’s starting to fall apart. In addition, my skill set has advanced beyond the limitations of my current smoker and now I spend more time working around the inadequacies of my smoker than I do on the nuances of actually smoking the food. I started this hobby about 18 years ago and maybe it’s time to step up my equipment.
Scale of 1-10 chance that you are thinking the same thing (if you are an architect): 3
Life of an Architect Blog update:
Numbers play a large role here on the website – not that I do anything with the information. I suppose I use it to see if there is something wrong or if an unintentional trend is developing. Most of the time I look at it in my attempt to keep an eye on the amount of time I spend dedicated to the site. That is also the reason why I don’t keep track of ALL the things I do related to the site … I’m not sure I want to know.
66 Blog Posts Written
58 by me and 17 by Andrew Hawkins, my podcast co-host and convention conspirator (back in the day when we actually still went to conventions).
1,566 Comments on Site:
comments are the true lifeblood of this site and are probably the most important interaction I have with people on the site. There are about 2 dozen people that either comment directly on a post or email me with every single blog post that is published. When some people disappear for a while, I actually become concerned. Maybe it’s narcissistic of me to think that something bad has happened to them because otherwise, they would still be commenting. Whatever the reason, I still miss those exchanges.
616 Images and Graphics Created/Processed
I don’t like to use other people’s images or graphics and as a result, I make all of them here for the site myself. While they aren’t all winners, they all represent some time – whether it’s something as simple as resizing an image, or collaging a bunch together into a single image, preparing drawings and notes – whatever – it all represents time and effort. This post alone is a good example since most of the images were stitched together or created from scratch to help convey my point.
1,724 Emails Sent Privately
Tracking this number down was a total drag. I had to go through my sent box and count them 1 at a time. That’s 23 minutes I will not be getting back. So why did I do it? Because I have several hundred emails I received this year that I have not responded to and I want those people – on the very slight chance they read this – to know that I didn’t intentionally ignore their email. That’s responding to an average of about 5 every single day … that doesn’t sound like that many now that I just wrote it out but most emails are fairly involved since nobody is asking me yes and no questions.
963,106 Total Visitors (1,777,641 pageviews)
This number is definitely down from years past – probably more a reflection of how blogs are eroding as other forms of communication are stepping up to take their place. Back in 2016, I was flirting with hitting 4 million visitors (didn’t hit it) but starting in 2017, this number has been slowly dropping. I suppose that part of the reason I find this next statistic so intriguing …
99.96092 Percentile of Trafficked Sites
Despite the fact that I get less daily traffic now than I did when the site was at its peak, this site is still ranked very high in terms of all sites with an active URL. As of this writing, LifeofanArchitect.com is ranked 27,588 in the United States and 108,177 in the world in terms of traffic (according to Alexa). Back in 2016, this number was 35, 422 (yes, I keep track) so despite less traffic, the ranking of my site is higher now – which is probably a reflection of the fact that there are almost 400 million active websites on the internet.
I don’t actually put a lot of stock in the metrics these sites present because if I look at my own site, there are a ton of things that I know are wrong, but I am assuming that it is consistent in HOW it is wrong so it still provides some value from an analytical perspective.
I should also say something about the Life of an Architect podcast as well since I’m here (and presumably you are as well).
I started the Life of an Architect podcast back on June 14th, 2018 and things have been moving along pretty well and for the most part, I am really happy with the progress and engagement we get … but there are always things that can be improved upon, and Andrew Hawkins and I have been meeting over the Holiday break to discuss what some of those changes might actually look like.
We recorded 26 episodes last year even though at times it felt like a lot more than that. It is with a little amusement that I look back to the beginning when I thought podcasting might actually take less time than blogging. I was as wrong about that as anything you can possibly imagine. Since I am a fan of transparency, I will share with you what nobody else will – my actual numbers.
As of December 21, 2019, we have had 318,786 downloads of the podcast. Is that any good? I don’t actually know. Over the last 6 months, we have been averaging 4,081 downloads at the 4-week mark for each new episode and according to this post, that puts us somewhere in the top 5-10% of all podcasts, architecturally related or not. Maybe that site is full of baloney, maybe it isn’t – I’m just happy that the amount of time and attention we put into it shows.
Andrew and I have already blocked out most of our topics for 2021 and we are covering a lot of new topics. We have also built in the opportunity for more guests – not because I think we’ve run out of things to say but because we want to get some subject matter experts on the show. Plus it gives me the chance to digitally meet interesting people that I might not otherwise have the ability to meet.
So that it is – the Life of an Architect state of the Union for 2020 and a look towards 2021. I sincerely hope that things return to some level of normalcy so that I can get back to traveling and going to conventions and conferences. I don’t think we will actually get there this year but I hope that we can take a step in the right direction. If you engage with me on the site – thank you, it really means a lot to me. If you haven’t please consider doing so. It is a nice group of people, nobody is made fun of, the culture here is helpful, amusing, and I would hope educational in some manner.