Archive Page 2

The Courage to Proceed

The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t?

The Courage to Proceed.

Dream. Plan. Proceed. Succeed.

Step 3 is the most difficult.


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The 8th A.R.E. Division: Practical Construction Experience

I come from a family of auto mechanics and contractors, so repair and construction are in my blood.

Before I was registered as a New York State architect, I worked as a carpenter and mason during summers and school breaks. As a child, I would hear my carpenter uncle speak negatively about architects and I wanted to know why, first hand. (…and boy, did I?)

One of the topics often debated over at the Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group is whether practical construction experience should be required for professional registration. The current Architect Registration Examination (A.R.E.) consists of seven divisions, which include multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and check-all-that-apply questions as well as graphic vignettes.

Not one hour of practical construction experience is required.

The lessons I learned swinging that hammer each summer are utilized every time I step onto a job site. Reading architectural drawings as a tradesman and executing each detail as documented, reinforced the importance of clear concise construction documents. As a member of a construction crew, I heard the unfiltered criticisms of architects thrown by disgruntled carpenters. I learned quickly how architects could build stronger relationships with the people responsible for bringing their designs to life.

Today when I visit a job site to review progress or meet to resolve an unforeseen condition, I come to the discussion with a very different point of view than if I had forgone these experiences as a young aspiring professional. My relationship with the people building my projects are based on mutual respect and understanding, and my projects are built better in return.

Practical construction experience should be the eighth division of the A.R.E. Jobsite relationships would be stronger and buildings built better.

What say you? Should practical construction experience be required for the registration of today’s architect?

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5 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Architect Should Be Following

Podcasts (an episodic digital series of audio or video files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device) are a great way to learn the lessons about business that many of us lacked during architecture school.

Below are my 5 current favorites:

EntreLeadershipDave Ramsey w/ Host Chris LoCurto

One of the most successful podcasts on the planet, EntreLeadership focuses on personal success, business and leadership. For about 45 minutes every two weeks, host Chris LoCurto guides us through a fundamental business topic such as Sales, Marketing, Delegation or Personal Productivity.

During each episode, LoCurto shares a lesson presented by Dave Ramsey recorded at one of his many live events. The second half of each show features LoCurto interviewing one of the nation’s top leaders or business people, such as Tony Dungy, Steven M. R. Covey, John Maxwell and Tony Hseih. Each interview dives deeply into the topic of the week and listeners learn many secrets to success.

For a little podcast bonus time, be sure to pop over to Chris’ own website for an extended interview with each guest.

The Rise to the Top | David Siteman Garland

A fun, inspirational and sometimes “off the wall” podcast about helping rising mediapreneurs (online media creators, authors, thought leaders, personal brands, coaches and internet marketers) grow their businesses and dominate online.

David’s in-depth interviews attack each subject with focus and dedication to finding the root of each entrepreneur’s success. As David states at the end of each recording, “if you’re looking for fluff, go pet a bunny”.

This is Your Life | Michael Hyatt

The former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt is now a consultant, speaker and author of the bestselling book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Michael’s blog and accompanying podcast focuses on what he calls, “intentional leadership”. His mission is to help his listeners live with more passion, work with greater focus and lead with extraordinary influence. Sounds like a few things every Entrepreneur Architect is seeking, doesn’t it?

Startup School | Seth Godin

Marketing expert, top blogger, bestselling author, entrepreneur. Now he’s a podcaster too? Seth Godin shares recordings from his recent Startup School live seminar using the podcast format. He takes us from defining your approach to business (freelancer or entrepreneur?) all the way through startup launch in this weekly podcast.

Currently offering his 8th episode, when Godin reaches the end of the recorded event, will this become a permanent offering from Godin? Only time will tell.

This one is well worth the time while its still available.

MixergyAndrew Warner

A successful entrepreneur himself, Andrew Warner spends an hour each week interviewing founders and CEOs of the world’s leading technology companies.

Focusing on the “ambitious upstart”, his questions probe deeply into the hows and whys of each entrepreneur’s story, teaching listeners what do to, as well as what not to do when launching and running a company.

So, what are some of your favorite podcasts? Please share a link in the comments so everyone may check them out.

photo credit: Colleen AF Venable via photopin cc

Letter To My Beloved Profession (Guest Post)

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Marie-Claude Soulard, an architect based in the San Diego area and the owner of Soulard Architecture. Last week I posted a new discussion at the Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group titled Architecture is Dead: Let’s Reinvent the Profession.

The following is Marie-Claude’s response to my challenge to imagine what our profession could be if we started from scratch with a blank sheet of trace paper.

I’d love to know your thoughts on both my challenge to reinvent the profession and Marie-Claude’s response.

Hope you had a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving.

Marie-Claude Soulard writes:

During this Holiday week, as I reflect on the last few years, I find myself feeling thankful.

Thankful for the recession. Yes you have read correctly.

I am thankful because from this deep and long lasting economic crisis, a light finally has been shed on the true state of the profession. Architecture as a profession and a business is in serious need of overhaulin’.

A coming together of all participants in the business of the built environment needs to happen. I would like to see collaboration, sharing of ideas, partnerships.

1 – Starting at the academic level, the architecture schools’ curriculum of the 21st century need to include collaboration with contractors, developers and business owners. Business classes: how to start your own firm, social media marketing, old fashion networking, clients relation building, business plan writing, construction skills: how to build.

2 – After graduation, the newly minted architectural intern should enter a dedicated network of architecture firms. The firms would have for their mission to mentor and form the next generation of architects; truly guiding the interns towards licensing. This mentorship should be one of true collaboration between the interns and the architect firms where each party gains and learns from each other. This network of architecture firms should be based on a new business model that embraces collaboration and possibly even partnership between contractors/developers/architects. These firms should be on the cutting edge of technology, sustainability and laboratories of new ideas.

3 – Lawmakers at the City, State & National level need to eliminate lobbying and loop holes and require that the services of an architect be utilized for all types of buildings. No exceptions.

4 – The residential market should be recaptured by architects. In collaborating with major land developers, contractors, designers, in an integrative approach to design. By developing a marketing campaign aimed at homeowners to increase their awareness of architecture and design.

5 – NCARB and AIA will need to be revamped to stay relevant. Their missions should include the propagation of architecture to the masses and the support of the business of architecture.

Why not for 2013 have a Mega Symposium on architecture and the business of the built environment. I would like to see a brainstorming of ideas to establish the blueprint of the collaboration of all in the creation of the next generation of buildings and cities.

Take this list, add to it, share it and make it your own. Take action, Make things happen.

With gratitude and hope,

Marie-Claude Soulard
California Licensed Architect #C-33310
Tel: 858-455-6672

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#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 112112

Topic | Master Builder: Architect Led DesignBuild and Construction Management Services

A complete transcript of tonight’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here.

How To Complete an Overwhelming Project

Last week I announced the 12/12/12 Project and with it, an invitation for you to join me in committing to your own life altering decision. On December 12, 2012, together, we’ll start the next phase of our lives.

A life altering commitment is pretty heavy. A 12/12/12 Project is overwhelming by definition. So, how in the world do we approach such a thing? How do we accomplish, quite possibly, one of the most important decisions of our lives?

This week, I want to show you a simple way to get started.

Develop a Plan.

As architects, we’re good at developing plans. So, let’s start with a plan. Map out your project, step by step from beginning to end.

In his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey writes about  Habit 2; Begin With The End in Mind. What do you want your project to look like when it’s finished?

My family and I live in Westchester County, New York. Our little cottage in the woods sits upon a one-acre lot. Dozens of tall deciduous trees stand side by side from property line to property line. Every autumn we are blessed with a colorful spectacle of orange, amber and red. That wonderland quickly turns into a layer of dried brown leaves covering every inch of our parcel. It’s rather overwhelming, knowing that I am solely responsible for removing each and every leaf.

It’s a very big project.

What do I want the property to look like when I am done? Clean and organized.

How do I accomplish that? I follow my plan.

Break it down into small sections accomplished over multiple days.

I deconstruct the overwhelming project into smaller, more manageable sections, to be accomplished over multiple days. “The Front”, “The Hill”, “The Garden”, “The Patio”… Looking at the project as several small tasks makes the massive amount of work appear much more manageable, and even quite surmountable.


No project has ever been completed by standing there and looking at it. You need to actually start. Sometimes starting is the hardest part, but trust me, starting is critical to the success of the project.

Use the right tool for the job at hand.

I pull out my trusted orange gas-powered leaf blower, fill it will fuel, pull the cord and get to work. Yes. It’s noisy and a bit smelly, but its the right tool for the job. Leaf removal is no game. We are talking major amounts of organic material, accumulated, probably weighing hundreds of pounds. A plastic rake isn’t going to get me very far. A plug-in electric blower with not much more power than my wife’s hair dryer? I’d rather pick up each leaf by hand.

Begin with the section having the heaviest impact.

So many leaves. So many sections. Where to begin? Begin with the section having the heaviest impact. I start with “The Front” section. When the front of the house looks maintained and tidy, the whole property looks better. The project starts to look much more manageable when the front of the house is in order. A sense of motivation to carry on with the project sets in as I move on to the each consecutive section.

Work down hill with the wind at your back.

Trying to blow leaves uphill and against the wind just doesn’t work. In fact, you’ll often end up with more of a mess than when you started. Work down hill with the wind at your back. Leaves also move easier over the smooth driveway surface than over the pachysandra bed.

Scope out the path of least resistance and work to move the leaves in that direction toward a central location.

First pass, push through and collect as much as possible.

Once you’ve gathered all the leaves in a central location, its time to move them to their permanent home, the mulch pile. After 30+ years of moving leaves (it was my job as a kid as well), I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.

To move a large pile of leaves as efficiently as possible, you should proceed through the big pile blowing full throttle, in one brutal push, collecting as much as possible as you move forward.

Don’t attempt to push the entire pile in one pass. If you do, you will find that it is more difficult to move the leaves and much of the pile will remain uncollected. You will quickly tire, putting the entire project in jeopardy.

The most important thing is to move from the front of the pile and all the way through to the back of the pile without stopping. You may even use your feet to push more leaves forward as you go. Move as much as possible with each push forward.

After each pass, back track over and push more forward as you move back.

After each pass through the pile, back track and continue to push more leaves forward as you move back to collect more of the pile you left behind on the preceding pass.

After the final pass, collect the small stuff

After several passes through the pile, you will have efficiently moved the entire pile to where you want it to be. With a final pass you will collect the small stones, twigs and debris.

Leave nothing behind.

Use a different tool for the fine detail work

In some areas, a leaf blower is not the proper tool to do the job. It is far too powerful and may damage the delicate plantings in the garden and among the stone ledge. For fine detail work, you will need a small rigid rake.

Remember from above. Use the right tool for the job at hand.

Repeat until complete. Then move on.

Complete one pile in the section. Then move to the next. Repeat this process until the section is clean, organized and looking its very best.

Then move on to the next section.

Repeat the entire process until the project is complete.

See? It wasn’t that bad. An overwhelming project… completed.

Maintain every week

In order to keep the property looking its very best all year long, I do simple maintenance, weekly, throughout the year. I pick up the small sticks that fall in wind storms and rake up random leaves that find their way back onto the property.

If I maintain the property each week, it stays healthy and always looks its best.

Perform a major clean up 4 times per year

Every season requires a different approach and a separate cleaning. Every three months, I reevaluate the condition of the property and address the areas needing my attention.

Revisit each year

Each year, the cycle of seasons finds its way back to autumn and the leaves fall again. Each year, I pull out my trusted orange leaf blower and get to work.

Cleaning the yard is not my favorite project, but all the hard work results in a great looking property. The gardens fall into their winter slumber and wait, prepared for spring to arrive once again. My wife is happy that her gardens are cared for, which, of course, makes me happy.

I look forward to the day when I will finally delegate this annual chore to the next generation of leaf blowers. With a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 5 year old daughter already asking to take over, it may not be long before my leaf removal days are finally over.

When that time comes, I will pass the lessons I learned on to them and move to more productive uses of my time. There are waterfalls to complete, stone walls to stack and garden sheds to build.

The list of overwhelming projects is never-ending.


photo credit: Micky** via photopin cc

#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 111412

Topic: Fees and How to Get Paid

A complete transcript of tonight’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here.

How to Participate in Twitter Chats

Every Wednesday at 9PM EST, I host the #EntreArchitectChat Twitter chat. Each week we discuss, live and in real time, another great topic about business, leadership or life, inspiring architects, designers and creative professionals across the globe. It’s lots of fun and I always take away information, which I can put to work immediately at my firm.

If you are interested in joining us for the live Twitter chat #EntreArchitectChat, the following is one requirement and a suggestion:

1. Join Twitter (if not already tweeting). It’s fun, easy and very interesting. Visit and claim your user name.

2. Each Wednesday at 9 PM EST, visit and enter #EntreArchitectChat. This will allow you to participate in the live Twitter chat with all your other twitter traffic filtered from your live twitter stream. TweetChat is not required to participate, but it makes live Twitter chats much more enjoyable.

See you on Wednesday at 9 EST. Please spread the word about #EntreArchitectChat.

The 12/12/12 Project

During these next 30 days, I will prepare a most important document; a plan that will change my life. On December 12, 2012, I will take a deep breath, commit to executing the plan and commence with my 12/12/12 Project.

What is a 12/12/12 Project?

First, I will tell you what it is not. It’s not a resolution, where you stop eating chocolate or promise to go to the gym. It’s not something you’re going to “try”, and two months down the road you fall back into your old routine and forget that you ever resolved to make a change. A 12/12/12 Project is much bigger than that.

A 12/12/12 Project is life altering.

Take that big idea that you’ve been dreaming about and make it your reality. Find that one thing that you were put on this earth to do and do it. Follow your passion. Commit to something life changing. It doesn’t need to be a huge. It can be small, but it must be something that will change the patterns of your daily existence from this point forward. It may be something in your career. It may be something for your family. It may be spiritual. It may be something to do with your own personal development or for the good others. It may be for the good of all the world.

Remember… “life altering”. A 12/12/12 Project could be a path to your life’s purpose.

I invite you to join me. I encourage you. I challenge you to commit to your own 12/12/12 Project.

During these next 30 days I will write more about my 12/12/12 Project. I hope you’ll join me and share details of your own 12/12/12 Projects here and on Twitter using hashtag #121212Project.

The clock is ticking. 12/12/12 is coming. Thirty days. Prepare a plan. Do something amazing. Be remarkable. Make a difference. Be awesome!

Architectural Interns: Read This Now!

Bob Borson from Life of an Architect blog published a great post today about Architectural Interns. It includes tips, suggestions and requirements from some of Bob’s friends, including me.

If you know an architectural intern or a recent grad looking for work, this is a must read.

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