There are a lot of things in the works here on the podcast, some are really cool, and some are akin to making sure the dirty dishes in the sink are washed and put away. We are pulling the curtain back a bit and essentially letting you in on a 2023 planning meeting for Life of an Architect while we bring you up to date on the things that have already happened. … Welcome to EP 119: Architectural Defrag.
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What Have We Been Doing jump to 6:42
Just like the start of any year (at least the ones since 2010 when I started this site) I spend some time at the end of the year thinking about what I want to do with the site in the coming year. Just like anything that goes on for a long time, things can get a bit monotonous if you don’t at least try to come up with something new and interesting in an effort to keep things fresh.
A few weeks ago Andrew and I went to Vegas to attend the International Builder Show, held jointly with the Kitchen + Bath Industry Show … it was a lot. It is a massive show and I believe it is attended by over 100,000 people. We did not decide to attend the show this year until enough people requested our presence since there is a density we are looking to achieve. To make the most out of our time (and energy) we have a handler at this show – her name is Amanda and she has her own PR firm called Fair Game A+D Marketing and she is the person responsible for getting us where we are supposed to be. I went back and counted the number of appointments we had over a two-day period and it was 22. We met with some great folks, had a lot of conversations, and walked about 10+ miles each day (and that was only between the hours of 8-5!) and the goal was to get some ideas for potential topics we could cover this year on the show.
There are typically events and get-togethers that go on in the evening. I got there Monday night a few hours ahead of Andrew and managed to work in a meeting with Bryan Uhler from Pioneer Builders Inc – who is a follower of the show and someone I exchange correspondence with fairly often through Instagram. His dad started their homebuilding company in 1971 and we met up, the whole lot of us, and had a few cocktails and we just talked about the business. It was basically the original premise for this podcast – what sort of conversations go on when people in the industry get together and simply talk. Shocking, isn’t it? Despite having been in this social media world for over a decade, I am always a bit surprised when meeting someone for the first time that you have been talking with for a few years. You would think it would be a lot weirder than it actually is but so far, I haven’t been surprised with someone being completely different than I imagined them.
Show Topics jump to 24:14
This is a big topic and you might be surprised on how difficult it is to come up with topics to cover on the podcast. Part of that reason is we’ve done a lot of shows (this is #119 so …) and unlike a lot of other podcasts, excluding ones that are interview-based, we like to focus in on a single topic and spend the entire time discussing the finer points. If we decided to take a single episode and cover 10 topics for 5 minutes each, that would be an extremely easy thing to do … pretty sure I can talk for 5 minutes on just about anything at the snap of a finger. We don’t do that for the very specific reason that I don’t think there is much value there and when I started this podcast in 2018, that was one of the first things I decided I would do differently.
We have a handful of recurring topics we hit on during the course of a year:
- Studio Lessons 101
- Residential Architecture 101
- Talking Shop with …
(previous guests include Marlon Blackwell, Omar Gandhi, and Christine Williamson to name a few)
- Ask the Show (2x a year)
- Annual Gift Guide (1x a year)
But we also have guest shows that are because we want to discuss a specific topic and feel like there is some expertise and experience that would make the show more educational and of value. Examples of the ground we’ve covered just in the last two years include:
- Ep 106: Interior Architecture with Joey Shimoda
- Ep 102: Business Development with Mark LePage
- Ep 89: Small Firm Strategies with Mike McGlone
- Ep 85: Design and Fabrication with Matthew Hufft
- Ep 70: The Dirty Side to Green Building with Tori Wickard
There are also topics we are working through for this year, which seems to be a neverending moving target. A great many of the topics we want to cover include topics of which (between Andrew and myself) we know just enough to be dangerous and recognize that we need someone with a deeper pool of knowledge – meaning these will be guest shows but not “Talking Shop with …”. The challenge with these is that frequently the subject matter experts we find actually run a business that focuses in on the topic at hand and there is some concern that these episodes will be seen as an hour-long infomercial … and I’m not sure that’s the direction we are looking to take things.
Topics such as Artificial Intelligence and how it intersects with the profession of architecture, prefabrication, and modular buildings; there are financial topics that would be of some use, process-oriented topics that cover quality control and delivery methods … so many, but they all require a certain amount of granularity and for some, a subject matter expert that needs to be found and plugged into the process and recording schedule.
How ’bout Them CEUs jump to 36:41
I think this is an interesting direction we are exploring and while the premise is simple, the execution is decidedly less so (at least if we want to make life easier for people, which we do). This started for me when I was working on a project in Wyoming that incorporated a lot of heavy timber framing – something that an architect in Dallas doesn’t work with very often. Obviously, I had some questions, and it became the seed for an episode on Heavy Timber 101 (which is actually in the works). We are trying to essentially get the episode registered so that people who listen to it can get a continuing education unit! How cool is that?! The execution of that requires a lot of behind-the-scenes effort and it’s not as easy to execute as you would like to think. You listen, follow a link to a site, answer a couple of questions, and hit enter. The group we partner with (Building Design + Construction) will then take over the process of getting that CEU recorded for you. Amazing!
Think of all the CEUs out there that are actually interesting that we can turn into a show!
What’s the Rank versus … Something Else jump to 43:32
This is a hard one, but a good one. We have worked our way over the years from “In my spare time” to “Hypothetical Questions,” “Would You Rather” and now “What’s the Rank?” and for some time now we have been thinking about whether or not it’s time to move on to something different. I was actually thinking about a segment titled “Either Or” where you have to choose between two things. For example, beach or mountains? Wine or Rum Punch? Pro Football or College Football?
Another version I thought of was “This and That” with the premise being that it is a yes or no type situation but you get one good thing, and one less good thing and you have to decide whether or not you accept them both. For example – Tall and with bad breath, or Genius IQ but can’t swim.
Of course, we can always throw in one of the previous question types in the mix.
What the Rank jump to 53:34
Today we are ranking [drum roll please] ….
The Best Three Non-Traditional Household Pets
We aren’t quite ready to move on to the This and That or the Either Or segments so we have another round of insightful rankings. The trick with this one is the limit to which you are willing to define what constitutes a “household” pet. My definition I think is pretty mainstream and does not consider that random one-off person who has a pet hippo.
|Andrew’s Best Household Pets||Chameleon||Chinchilla||Capuchin Monkey|
|Bob’s Best Household Pets||Ferret||Sugar Glider||Koala Bear|
Andrew and I had to get past the initial “a crocodile isn’t a viable household pet” part of our discussion and once there, I think we came up with a few respectable options. While I’m not sure how viable a koala bear would be (recognizing that I can’t procure the right sort of food), I don’t think I have to deal with anything violent inside my house. Monkeys on the other hand, seem like they could turn on you …
*an issue came up during our conversation that Andrew was not familiar with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the animated short based on the 1894 Rudyard Kipling story of the same name, one of my favorite animated shows that would come on once a year when I was a child. Everyone should see this 30-minute show at least once in their lives (granted, it’ll b a lot better if you are a child).
Ep 119: Architectural Defrag
There are certain obligations that come with putting out a popular architectural podcast – to provide content of value, to keep it interesting and relevant, and for our own benefit, to make it worth our time to make, and your time to listen, regardless of the topic. There are times when this is harder to maintain than it would seem but we are always looking for ways to grow and evolve this show. We rely on support and guidance from folks to help guide what we attempt to cover so if you feel like there is something that would be of value to you – please let us know. We occasionally get requests to cover specific topics and we do our best to work them into our schedule, but some topics are incredibly difficult to focus on for an entire show (which is actually part of the reason the “Ask the Show” episodes came into existence.
As we embark on the 5th year of the podcast, our goal is simply to keep it interesting, approachable to a broad demographic, and provide some value that can help generate additional conversations. That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
Special thanks to our sponsor Petersen, which manufactures PAC-CLAD architectural metal cladding systems. Visit pac-clad.com to learn more.