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LaiserinLetterLetters

Responding to IssueSix's Laiserin'sLemma, "Of Red Herrings and Rotten Fish," Mark Parr, Director of Business Development at ProjectVillage, writes:
> "As an avid reader of both publications [The LaiserinLetter and Red Herring], I thank you for your honesty and for this timely perspective."

> Thank you, Mark, for that vote of confidence. For another perspective on the topic of conflict of interest, see this issue's LaiseBoy Philosophy, "Do As They Say, Not As They Do?"

John Mullan, an architect with Househam Henderson Architects, Winchester, UK, writes:
> "I applied my usual heavy dose of skepticism to the first edition of your LaiserinLetter™you probably apply your own quick mental assessment to unsolicited email. Then Issue No.2 appeared, and I read it. By Issue No.3, I was starting to think you were not only becoming very serious about this new publishing venture, but you also had a lot of good things to say.

"Finally, with Issue No.6, I forwarded... to some of the serious CAD-people in the office. They devoured it and came back for more. So now I have a dilemma. Do I just forward your excellent article on "A Few of Our Favorite Things..." and share the benefit of your experience? Or do I just hoard it, drop a new link every day in their mailboxes, and bolster my shaky reputation as the office IT Knowledge Manager? I guess, in the true spirit of collaboration, I'll have to hand it over.

"It's a very entertaining read, and I hope you've got the stamina to keep it going (weekly!) for a long time."

> Thanks, John! Kind words of encouragement, such as yours, help fuel the stamina to keep this weekly pace going. By the way, LaiserinLetter mailings may technically be "unsolicited," as John described his (in the sense that he hadn't explicity asked to receive them), but they are never sent to anyone with whom I have not had some prior professional or business connection. In John's case, we met at a conference in Washington, DC, where John recognized me as the author of various print and online publications he'd read and then gave me his business card. Even with that kind of connection, every mailing includes any easy option to unsubscribe.

> Separately, "AutoCAD proficient" readers may wish to try Househam Henderson's AutoCAD Test, which measures "the minimum standard of ability (they) expect from applicants who wish to join" the firm.

Vladimir Bazjanac, Staff Scientist, Building Technologies Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, writes:
> "Great job...I truly enjoy each issue. Your newsletter will be a huge component in making the future arrive a bit sooner. Thanks!!"

Science-fiction author William Gibson (who coined the term "cyberspace" in his 1984 novel, Neuromancer), reportedly said "The future is already here. It is just not uniformly distributed." Work like Vlado's, which I reported on in IssueSix and IssueFive is the kind of effort that actually will make the future arrive a bit sooner; all that I can strive for in publishing the LaiserinLetter is to make awareness of that future just a little bit more evenly distributed.

Phillip G. Bernstein, FAIA, Vice President, Building Industry Division, Autodesk, Inc., writes:
> "I'm enjoying your newsletter immensely."

> To my mind, the positive turning point in Autodesk's renewed commitment to AEC came when the company lured Phil away from Cesar Pelli & Associates to head up the Building Industry Division. One of the cool rewards of an effort such as the LaiserinLetter is engaging the attention of the industry's most important and busiest leaders. Thanks, Phil!

Responding to IssueFour's Laiserin'sLemma, "Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Change...," Tom Anderson, AIA, VP, Product Marketing at Bentley Systems, another important and busy industry leader (and a man of similarly few words), writes:
> "Enjoyed the "Hey Buddy..." article."

> As one of the CAD business' real veterans, Tom likely has seen his share—or more than his share—of change and change resistance, so I take this as high praise, indeed.

Responding to IssueSeven's Laiserin'sLemma, "High Hopes," Robert Israel, CAD Manager at Reid Campbell, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, writes:
> "Everything you wrote (keyboarded?) has happened to me and others of my acquaintance. The job pressures are such that to allocate non-productive time to actually try to "make things better" almost never happens. The management approach has long been "well, you've got a computer/program/printer why do you need a better/faster one?" When I experiment with add-ons/improvements/different techniques, I've often been asked "what are you playing at now on your computer?"

"I've been in Architecture/construction/building for over 40 years. I saw the promise of CAD when AutoCAD first appeared. Management did not. The gradual grudging application of the new technology still has a long way to go in this country. In a previous job, the chief engineer would not, for many years use a calculator, preferring a slide rule. This attitude continues with senior management not wanting to touch CAD. Why? Obviously some do not want to appear less proficient than their staff, so they adopt an attitude that computers are for menial tasks, whereas true designers use much more creative means. The others? It appears to me that many managers actually missed the PC revolution due to the way they were educated, and now have no interest in catching up.

"Is there any short-term solution? In my current workplace, time has been allocated to me to get all interested staff together for tutorials, etc. This attitude is in my experience, unusual in the AEC industry.

"Training generally [elsewhere] has been ignored, is not encouraged, and is often seen as a necessary evil, an additional expense, a time waster. "You use 'the product', how different is the new version? Just get on with it." This happens so often in so many offices, that almost never are all the features/improvements, etc. used or even known about.

"I still think that CAD has a great promise of improving the way we work, and maybe one day the programs will get out of the way, and let us get on with the real job."

> Similar tales of woe can be heard on six continents (likely seven, if there are CAD users on Antarctica). At least Robert's tale has a happy ending, with management at his current workplace clearly enlightened in their attitudes toward technology. To glimpse just how enlightened the folks at Reid Campbell are, visit the firm's Contact Centre Benchmark Calculator. Their "Australian based team has planned, managed and delivered Contact Centres [call centers, in USA parlance] for a number of major organizations, with projects totaling thousands of seats in locations throughout Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region." Compared to the "brochureware" on most current AEC, plant/process, and infrastructure industry websites, Reid Campbell's Contact Centre Benchmark Calculator generates meaningful involvement and goodwill for the firm by delivering real value to prospective clients for the firm's specialized facility type. This is what technology leadership in design business is all about.
JL



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