“And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?” – The Talking Heads
Well, how did I get here?
I don’t suppose the opening chapter of my story is all that unique. I grew up around southern farm houses. I watched This Old House with my Dad every Saturday morning. After we moved to Chicago, my Mom and I toured every Frank Lloyd Wright design we could find our way into. That love of history, passion for craft and understanding that design was a noun and a verb and something to aspire to led me to architecture school.
But, when I woke up this morning I wasn’t an Architect. How did I get here?
I spent more than 20 years playing different roles in the practice of architecture. That’s what I always figured I’d do … almost.
CAD Jockey vs Marketing
When I went to work for a large firm right out of college, the need for “cad jockeys” to feed the machine was real. I learned that possessing the skills to produce graphics and write marketing copy was more valuable.
A handful of years later, at an even larger firm, I rolled the dice. I saw an opportunity and figured that if I could pull it off, as the youngest person in the department, stepping up and claiming ownership of an entire market segment would be a good way to pave my own way. I was right.
Two decades later, as I looked back, I saw a leadership position in a third firm and two consecutive stints launching, marketing and managing construction management divisions for architect-led design-build firms.
Not much of it looked like what I learned in architecture school. There was more business development, management and marketing than design. I even spent time writing campaign speeches, crafting election messaging and running social campaigns.
It became more and more obvious that I wasn’t designing buildings anymore. I wasn’t using materials to craft spaces. I was using words. I crafted messages and stories. I launched this Architect of the Internet site to explore how Architects could be better marketers.
While many of my friends that are writing for #ArchiTalks this month are using the power of the built environment, I’m using the power of words.
Maybe I Don’t Fit In
In a profession that prides itself on being different, I didn’t always fit it. In a profession that, at its best, champions positive change, I often found the status quo stifling. In school, we were told that the way we designed, the way we built, the way we thought could change the world.
I’m not an Architect, but that’s OK. I don’t even have a large automobile, but I do have a beautiful wife and I know how I got here.
I like to think that I can support the world changers by helping them to communicate their thoughts and designs and by helping them tell better stories.