Architecture, Startup(s), Agency …
In February 2016, I made a decision to cease my consultancy work in architecture and move into a director position at the digital agency, Dixon & Moe. For some time now, I’ve straddled the line between working traditionally at an architectural practice and building my first company Section Cut.
“Section Cut is an online research resource for the architecture profession and an venue for in-person workshops with notable academic institutions.”
With multiple degrees in architecture and several years as a practicing architectural designer, the decision made me question whether I was throwing it all away. This was an uncomfortable period for me, having spent years learning and training to be an architect, yet still feeling unfulfilled. And then I realized, at my core — I’m an entrepreneur! I’ve co-founded Section Cut and recently started my second company Big Fluffy.
Big Fluffy is a full workstation you can access anywhere there is high speed internet. Changing the way that architecture, engineering, and construction industries think and buy computing power!
You can read more about why I’m starting Big Fluffy here.
Rather than describing the economic situation or ways in which architecture applies to other fields, my decision is centered around personal challenges and growth. What it came down to is I didn’t feel like I was growing anymore working in an architectural practice. At a certain point, I felt like a lot of the work I was doing was repetitive, and I wanted to learn more — and learn faster! I wanted to have the ability to manage my own time and focus on my two companies. While working nights and weekends on Section Cut and Big Fluffy, I came to the realization that I really enjoyed building companies. I love the thrill of it and the business development that comes along with growing an idea. I started to re-evaluate who I was and what I was doing.
Personal: “I want …”
Lately, I’ve been asking myself the questions: What do I really want out of life and am I on the right path? What do I enjoy now? Where does my passion align today? How can I maximize my skill set to provide value to society? What does architecture mean to me? Understanding the answers to these questions changes over time, as it should, and knowing they change is linked to personal growth. This is a super valuable exercise that everyone should try occasionally, and it was time for me to reflect and make a transition.
I want to build businesses to help the architecture and design industries. I want to live my life to the fullest and work with friends. I want to focus on bridging beautiful design and technology. I want to build personal and business relationships, and I enjoy meeting new friends and problem-solving issues beyond the built environment.
If I’m no longer getting what I want, what am I doing? (taking this, of course, with a grain of salt).
For those who I went to grad school with “I do what I want!”
I was first introduced to Alex Dixon and Moe Amaya by Andrew Manto during the Rob|Arch 2014 conference at the University of Michigan. With shared interests, goals, and a background in architecture we became close friends almost overnight. After a number of outings, beers, and long conversations about architecture, design, and technology, I hired Dixon & Moe to revamp the Section Cut website and move it off the existing Wordpress CMS. (I’ll dive into this in another post).
Since then, Dixon & Moe has grown from a couple of freelancers in an apartment to a small agency— you can read more about that here: Agency Year 1. I wanted to join a new and growing company where I can have an influence on its culture. This played a major role in my decision to not seek the startup life. I wanted essentially to be part of something pre-startup to really have an influence.
Since joining the team we’ve moved out from the apartment and into a legit office. I’ve helped revamp our internal processes, proposals, fee structure and contracts while also building up our business development strategy. Understanding and preparing strategic positioning for clients within various industries is what I do now.
The more time I spend working with Alex and Moe, I’m convinced that these are the guys I want to build the future with! Together we can align our interests in architecture and bridge design with technology.
We’re a San Francisco based design and software consultancy developing websites and digital products. We brand, build, design, and market, and can help you with your next project at just about any phase. — Dixon & Moe
Off to the races…
It’s time to get back to work! If you’re interested in learning more or need a sounding board for ideas— don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Ann V., Alex Dixon and Moe Amaya for reading the drafts.