In this episode with Base4 Chief Marketing Officer, Blair Hildahl, you’ll learn about…
“Most of the industry is run by fear and intimidation because that’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s really a culture of work harder not smarter.”READ FULL TRANSCRIPT
Blair, welcome back to The Brand Lab Series™. You were on way back in season three, episode number 69. And what’s been interesting about this new season is we have brought back a handful of our guests who had blockbuster episodes, where there was a lot of audience engagement, a high number of downloads, a lot of follow-up questions, and your topic for sure was really interesting a few years back. At the time you wearing your chief marketing officer hat at Base4. You were doing a lot of work in terms of designing the hotels of the future using IoT and other emerging technologies but I know a lot’s already changed in that time period, so talk about how you and everything is evolving.
Well, things are evolving quickly in the bigger space of the architecture, engineering, construction sector, I’ll call that kinda AEC moving forward here. We chatted a lot in our initial discussions about the future hotel room, the guest room of the future, kind of a totally integrated IoT space within a hotel. I think we even chatted about the glass shower doors that you could write on with your finger and would automatically download to your device. These are all things that are kind of a bit futuristic still at this point. I wish I could say that they were moving in a lightning pace and that all these things are gonna be integrated in your next hotel stay but that’s just not the case. And that’s kind of been part of my transition here over the last year as well. Is kind of identifying some of the bigger challenges that we’re facing right now in this sector. And I’m sure we’ll kinda dive into this later, but the AEC sector is one that moves very slowly. And the industry as a whole is facing some much larger challenges, some of these more progressive forward-thinking kinda techy cool ideas, I just don’t see coming to fruition until we address some of these underlying issues, which I’m sure we’ll kinda dive into a little bit later here.
Well, that’s a great point because I know in the past we talked a lot about design. I know we also had the global IT innovation lead for Bosch on in a past episode. And obviously, there’s a lot that the technology allows you to do and there’s a lot of design thinking that can allow you to harness the power of IoT, but in your particular space AEC, as you called it, there’s the design component which I know we spent a lot of time on in that prior episode. But then there is the actual construction component, and as someone who’s living in the West Loop of Chicago, it’s been a super high-growth instruction zone in the city for the last couple of years. But every time I go by a construction site and it seems that the industry there has been much slower to evolve. Can you talk a little bit about that and why is this area so ripe for disruption?
Oh goodness, Brian, you’re gonna get me in my soapbox with this question. Where do I begin? Just to kind of give you a little bit of perspective on how slow the industry, the construction industry in a whole evolves, McKinsey, the global consulting firm that puts out a lot of information on this topic, reported last year that the productivity in the construction sector has actually declined in the last 50 years. And you look at other industries, like manufacturing, agriculture, they reported that those same industries have increased their productivity by a factor of 10x, a 16x on the agricultural side. You think about that for a second, 50 years ago, we didn’t have powerful science software, AI automation. We didn’t even have mobile phones. Yet we haven’t gotten any more productive in the way we construct buildings. And it’s kinda like, “How is that even possible?” Really, in my opinion, that the AEC industry has really two root problems. First, a severe lack of leadership and secondly, an extreme amount of fragmentation that just makes efficiency almost impossible.
And regarding the leadership piece, what’s interesting is most industries, especially those in the tech space, which I know you chat on your podcast a lot with people in the tech space, is that they celebrate youth and innovation. And what’s interesting is that the construction industry really is one that is known to mock youth. I’ve worked in the sector for quite some time, I’m a licensed professional, I run a 300 person firm, I’ve worked on hundreds of projects around the globe and generally, I’m a quite confident person. And still today, I walk into meetings and I’m left to feel stupid by older contractors, primarily due to my age. And this story plays out countless times. It’s not just me across our industry. Unfortunately for some reason, most of the industry is run by fear and intimidation, and kinda “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality. And it’s really a culture of work harder not smarter. Just kinda put in more hours and get it done, which is probably what you think about when you think about construction. But you think about companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, if you were sitting in a business planning meeting at their office and someone said,” because that’s the way we’ve always done it or just put in more hours,” you’d likely be kicked out of the meeting. Overall, the AEC industry just needs fresh leadership and a ton of new people, thinking outside the box.
Well, along those lines, it sounds as though kinda the value model in the AEC industry has always been time equals value, as opposed to maybe efficiency or quality equals value.
Yes. The time equals value model has always been so odd to me. It promotes inefficiency. Think about it, if I’m charging by the hour, I would earn less by being more productive. Why would I do that? On the Base4 side which is our design company, we’ve taken a much different approach to the architecture and engineering industry. Traditionally architects have always been seen as a service-based industry many of whom charge hourly services. We disagree with this model entirely… We think our industry is a product-based one, and our clients are buying a product, a buildable set of permitted construction drawings. Now, this might sound like semantics product or service, but it is actually a very important distinction ’cause as soon as you move away from the service-based approach, there is more incentive for productivity improvements. Now think about the last time you went, car shopping, you walked around that Car lot do you know how many hours it took for Toyota or Ford to build that vehicle? Do you even care when you look at the price keg do you care? No, of course not. You’re only looking at the value per dollar. And we feel there is no reason, the AE sector shouldn’t be the same. And this is a model we share with all of our clients.
It sounds like it’s also part of that and I am paraphrasing a little bit of what you said a couple of minutes back is it’s this very status quo kind of stagnant thinking and I can appreciate that quite often as someone whose career started in technology, then shifted into the advertising agency space for many years before I started AE Marketing Group. Because the advertising agency model is still a dinosaur in the sense of it’s all service-based, you are selling people’s time and there is a mindset that the more hours you staff on a piece of business, the more quality is there. And one of the things that I think has made our company so successful, the last eight half years is we’ve always kinda had that product mindset first and I know that the AEC industry has always been service-based as well. And it sounds like it doesn’t have to be, talk a little bit about more where you see product, whether it be physical product or at least maybe product marketing principles kind of coming into play that could really benefit people in that industry.
Well, I think if you look at the industry as a whole, and this is the AEC so everything from design through construction you are right, it’s always been driven as a very much service-based industry and this is part of the reasons you see so much inefficiency and a lack of productivity gains is because when it’s a service-based industry it’s really about just throwing more hours at it and not looking at it from a product. An apple might look at an iPhone and say, “Hey how can we make this product more efficient, when we put it on the assembly line and put it together?” And that’s why we have internally really adopted more of the Silicon Valley mindset. And I haven’t seen many actually I haven’t seen any design firms, to be honest in the AE space that have had this discussion about a product design as a product.
But I think you are starting to see steps in the right direction, on the construction side lately over the last couple years here, I spent a good deal of my time involved in the modular construction initiative that’s happening across our sector. You’ve probably seen it in Chicago with Skinder. They’re a big player in the news right now, they just signed an affiliate agreement, with Z modular and they’re critically integrating their product and for anyone not familiar modular construction is volumetric boxes. This can be up to 60 foot long, 16-feet wide, they are finished off-site in a factory on an assembly line and then shipped by truck to a site and they stack them and buildings are assembled much more with a manufactured approach and these boxes show up completely finished down to the mattress that’s included. So, it’s a shift in thinking to construction as a manufacturing process, which is very much one that’s driven with a product mindset and the good news is Modular construction is really getting people to think about the industry differently and promoting a product-driven approach.
I spend a lot of time talking to executives, and organizations from many industries. In fact, just in the first half of the year, I think I’ve spoke at almost a dozen B2B companies, and one of the things that I always tell them is in that world, is we get so hung up on B2B B2B B2B. And I say, “Everyone outside of their day job, is actually a consumer,” and there’s a lot that B2B brands can learn from consumer-facing brands, and I think what’s interesting about what you just talked about with the modular design, there’s also this really interesting cultural shift through the consumer perspective, that is looking for more of a minimalist approach to living and design in ways that I think doesn’t mean that they don’t want high quality, it just means they want more of a minimalist approach. And I think that the modular building idea which has been around for a long time, though is really starting to fit nicely into that kind of market niche and market demand where consumer behavior is driving a lot of interest in that area as well.
Without question, there is kind of three things and you hit on one of them here where we start seeing this modular piece coming into play. ‘Cause like you said, this is not new technology, there’s nothing new about what’s being done in the modular sector, but you’re seeing it in the news like crazy right now, especially in the last six months. And you got some very big players on the VC side that are getting into this space as well, which is a sure sign we’re headed in the right direction. And so here we are talking about a technology that’s 60 years old that’s now the future of the industry that partly ties to how far behind our sector is in developing new technology. But it also speaks to… Okay, what changed? So the post-war era, modular pre-fab cheap cookie-cutter housing. So there’s a couple of things that have come in to play that have changed as of recently, one, we have a major labor shortage that’s happening right now throughout the US in the construction sector and we can kinda dive into that piece a little bit more. Secondly, is that we also have a housing crisis.
Just the amount of new inventory that needs to come into this space can’t be supported at the current rates. And three is, the piece you touched on which is the consumer perception which one is it’s kind of an eyesore, right now, that’s a challenge for the industry in that they have to get away from modular being seen as a low quality product and that’s why you see a big push right now in the sustainability side, the minimalistic side of the value that modular brings from that piece as well because that’s a story that you can sell to a consumer. And we are both in the business of marketing and story sell product.
You’re absolutely right there. And as a marketer, that’s certainly something that would excite me, just because it is always fun when you can try to look at future markets or future demand where you can see something on the horizon, but you have to kind of galvanize consumers or businesses depending on the type of products that you’re selling but get them to be able to see that message. And I think, like I said and you just broke it down really eloquently in those three areas, there’s a lot of things that are starting to align. It seems like, in many ways, it’s a perfect storm for disruption in an industry that’s relatively slow. And you’ve mentioned something else there that I do wanna just talk about for a minute. And that is kind of there’s also this big perception right or wrong that next generation workforce, especially maybe millennials, maybe gen Zs, even some frankly, really young Gen X-ers like me don’t understand the trades, never grew up understanding even the bare basics of what to do with the toolbox and as such, there seems to be already a natural built-in labor shortage. But then as you talked about early in the conversation, there’s also a little bit of stagnant leadership as well. Is this an area where maybe technology can actually help versus hinder the next generation workforce?
I think, without question and you’re starting to see it now, and just to kinda give you some perspective on the labor shortage, this isn’t a small problem. This is a problem that’s just been compounding for some time now. In fact, just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that over a third of US contractors turned down work this year due to a lack of available skilled labor. On top of that, we have this aging workforce. And this isn’t a perception, you don’t want in. Right now, I think over 50% of those in construction are 45 years or older and those figures just raise every single year when they run the Turner reports. So the younger generation is just not interested and it could be the leadership issue. So I guess, how does technology play in? I think technology is certainly not out there to replace jobs and we all know that. You think about agriculture not too long ago. Over half our country worked in the space. Now that number is, I think, less than 1% due to technology advances. So if anything, I think technology is gonna excite people about this space. When most people think of construction work, especially younger generations. We think, we don’t think tech, that’s for sure. We think hard work, we think long hours, harsh outdoor environments, risky working conditions, we think kind of the tough, tough man that falls into that role.
And to be honest, who gets excited about that in today’s world? And I don’t take anything against that generation ’cause they’ve built America, but when you think about exciting youth, that’s where we see technology coming. We see it in our company. We are attracting some really awesome young talent and part of it is because they’re just really excited about the stuff they see our firm doing in AI, drone fly through, 3D design, automation, virtual reality. We’ve got guys in our office walking around the Oculus goggles that everyone just… You see that, you get excited. And their enthusiasm and passion energizes our entire firm. So I think you’re gonna see technology used on that side to really bring more youth in. I could be wrong, but we’ll see.
Well, I hope you’re right ’cause like I mentioned earlier, I live in probably the fastest growing, although, I’m sure there’ll be another one on the horizon soon, neighborhood in the city of Chicago that’s just grown gangbusters the last few years. And I feel like every time I go by a construction site, the only probably real difference is that some of the trades people that are working on the site are actually also holding a mobile phone while they’re simultaneously using some of the tools and that they’re working on, but they still have the hard hats, they still have the vests. I imagine they’re not actually using those mobile phones from a technical building perspective, it’s more just the fact that we’re addicted to our phones. We were joking about that before we started the conversation this morning. But what about a couple of areas, and I know you just mentioned a few, but what about things like AI and what about things like robots? I see them being able to obviously help the AEC industry in the trades, but again, it requires a skill to even be able to help build design execute some of those different technologies, so I would think that that creates some opportunity.
Definitely. And to touch on your earlier point there, we actually have a kind of running joke I share. You walk on a construction site 30 years ago and you walk on it today, and almost nothing has changed with the exception of three things which is one, more orange vests and hardhats. Secondly, more mobile phones, whether that’s for work or for not, it’s to be determined. And third, less beer cans. So those are kind of the three major differences a lot of people notice on construction sites. So as much as I’d love to kinda dive in and talk about these really cool things that are happening in this space right now ’cause they are out there. AI, robotics, you see exo-skeleton suits for contractors, robotic construction workers who can hang dry wall, they got automated brick layers now 3D printing. I just don’t think we’re gonna see a lot of this stuff, these more advanced technologies until we address more of the underlying industry issues, which I think technology can address. It’s just to kinda take a big picture.
I like to use the example of car manufacturing ’cause that’s an industry that’s advanced quite a bit over the last 30 years. No one would ever imagine that you’d start building a car by going out hiring a designer who then hires engineers, then hiring a builder who hires different sub-consultants from different vendors and suppliers, and then everyone ships all the pieces to your driveway where 20 different trades put this together in the rain and inclement weather. And on top of that, the next time you build another car, you use the same process but with an entirely different team. So there’s no relationship building. No one would ever do this because it’s fragmented and inefficient and it would cause you a million bucks per car. In fact, you probably have a hard time coming up with a more inefficient process. However, this is how we currently construct nearly every building in the US.
So I do think we can use technology to address some of these bigger issues on the logistics side. And that’s what you’re seeing now with some of the bigger players that are getting in. The Skenders, the Katerras of the world where they’re trying to do full product, project product lifeline integration where they own the entire process and remove a lot of this fragmentation you’re seeing. And that’s where you’re seeing a lot of the tech money that’s coming in right now. It’s less than the robotics and AI. It’s more in handling logistics to address these major underlying issues that are where you’re gonna see the dramatic improvements in productivity and efficiency.
Going back to something that I had talked about a few minutes back, which I think is also interesting is you think about this alignment of consumer wants and needs and behavior changes. I think one other thing that’s really interesting is you said that the AEC industry has historically been slow to evolve, a little inefficiency and always associated time equals value. And again, what’s interesting to me is I talk to a lot of my peers, my friends, my neighbors, and it seems like more often than not, they have a contractor horror story about some of the work that’s been done. So there’s also this interesting black eye on smaller segments but within the broader industry. And that’s where I think there’s a value misalignment with the end consumer, number one. And number two, I think people recognize that shortage because they know how hard it is when you try to go to your friends and family in word of mouth networks and say, “Hey, I need to do this project, who can you recommend? Who can you refer?” And it is really interesting that they could help within that segment, even all the way down to like the household level is still so hard to find.
It is, and a lot of that speaks to the fragmentation. I throw that word out a lot, but really, you look at the contractor space. It’s mostly made up by very, very small groups. In fact, I think the General Contractors Union recently released that, it was almost 50% of those in the construction trades worked for a company that has less than 20 people. Now, you think about trying to bring efficiencies, trying to invest in technology, invest in your people. That’s very difficult to do at that smaller scale because you’re really just worried about getting the next job and paying your next set of bills when you’re that small. And that’s why I’m really interested to see some of these bigger players get in and how they, they’re playing on the small scale level, on the residential level, but they’re big players that can bring volume and really buying power and efficiencies and really invest in their people and technology. So it could be an exciting, really exciting five to 10 years here as you see this space completely transition.
And over that same time period, if you look at what has been happening in a parallel space, you touched on this for a split second, but you’re certainly seeing a huge surge in VC funding in the area of construction tech. And I have no reason to believe that that will not continue for at least the better part of this decade. So that suggests obviously they see a need for disruption as well. Where do you see the VC people focusing right now? I know you talked a little bit about that, but maybe expand on that.
Yeah, so saying it’s grown is probably an understatement. In fact, the Wall Street Journal just last week released that in 2016 investment in this space, VC investment in what we’ll call the contractor or the construction tech space increased from $352 million in 2016. So $352 million in 2016 to $6 billion in 2018 and as of June, end of June this year, they’ve already done over $4 billion in investment. So we’re on track to actually trump those 2018 numbers.
That’s beyond a little growth.
Yes. So you’re seeing a ton of growth and not only that, you’re seeing big names get into this space. Google, Amazon, Ikea, they’re all jumping into this space. You also see massive groups like SoftBank investing billions of dollars and SoftBank is, I mentioned Kattera earlier. They’re a big group that’s come on the scene here. In fact I had the pleasure of having dinner here a few months ago with the CEO and founder Michael Marks when I was out in San Francisco. And just what they’re bringing into the space is their end goal is so someone can go on a website as a developer, they can check, “Okay, I want a hundred a unit apartment, I wanna put it on this site.” And it will show a hard cost for them to procure, buy, design and construct the entire thing that they’ll hold to. On-time pricing just in time delivery with a hard delivery date, that’s unlike anything anyone is even talked about at all in this space. Here it’s like, I can’t even get a contractor to come in and put in a couple of cabinets in my house with a hard schedule or a hard date. So [chuckle] they’re looking to completely revolutionize this space. And that’s why you’re seeing so much money being thrown at this on the VC side because they see the potential disruption that could happen.
I knew that the numbers were staggering. I did not realize they were that big in terms of accelerated growth. And here I was trying to scribble on a napkin the math on the acceleration of that growth. And all of a sudden I had this funny moment in my head actually of going back to where we first met, which is, we both have been involved in leading high-growth Inc 5000 companies and to think about the percentage increase in 350 million to 6 billion. I couldn’t even do that without the help of a calculator. On the same side, I also couldn’t help but laugh where you just talked about getting someone to come in just to do a couple of cabinet works. And we’re recording this just off the 4th of July holiday. And of course we finally get summer in Chicago. And what happens, we started having some type of a leak with our HVAC and we need to shut off the air. We realize it’s actually not an HVAC issue, it’s a plumbing issue. So we find a plumber and he tells us, “Okay I can come on this date and I’ll come sometime between 12 and 6.
And literally, the first thing that my 11-year-old daughter says is, “Well, I don’t understand what does he mean between 12 and six? Isn’t there a better way that he can anticipate that?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” But the funniest part is, he was in my home, for less than 10 minutes, he put some type of a pressure gun down one drain said that’s fixed, that’s $165. And I was like, “Wow, this guy makes a pretty good living. If he could just get some of his efficiencies down imagine how much more, he could make.”
That’s a story that’s playing out thousands of times across our country, right? There is good money to be made in the trades. No one ever does a construction project or hires a contractor and says, “Wow, that was a good deal.” No one ever feels that way because it’s just they’re in high demand and if they can figure out the logistics piece and bring a lot of efficiency, there is money to be made, lots of money to be made. We’re not talking about 100 million industry here, we’re talking about a multi-trillion dollar industry, globally, trillion. And so when you think about even small improvements in efficiency on a trillion-dollar industry, there was massive amounts of money to be made. In that same McKenzie report that I referenced earlier, they released just about 18 months ago, and they were talking a lot about this productivity gap we’re seeing. They believe that just by increasing some of the efficiency that we’re seeing, that there’s a 1.6 trillion dollar gap that they could close, 1.6 trillion dollars. So everyone is kind of looking at that number and saying, “Man, if I could just get a small piece of that.
Yeah, those numbers are almost impossible to comprehend, but yeah, a small percentage of a number that big is a big number, still. So that’s, I guess, really, what matters. Kind of just changing gears for a little bit as we begin to wind down, as I alluded to earlier, we serendipitously sat next to each other at an Inc 5000 event, years back. And I know that you’ve been kind of a serial entrepreneur, you’ve been involved with, obviously, base four but a few of the other sister companies that are really kind of what I think is interesting is really looking at future market opportunities. I know we talked a little bit about that in the relation to IoT and design, but you really, in many ways, and I know that this is a bit of a cliche, but you’re kind of a futurist, you’re looking at opportunities with the aging population for a whole other line of business I know. And how do you build product into the AEC industry? As I know it’s no longer the big that eats the little, it’s the fast that eats the slow and you have to be not just keeping pace but you have to be ahead of all the competition and seeing where the market’s going and you seem to do a good job at that. So what’s kind of your secret and what advice do you have for others to kind of be more futuristic in their thinking, regardless of the industry that they’re in.
One of our core principles with the companies we’ve established is to always challenge the status quo and be flexible enough to move quickly when you need to pivot. Just to kinda give you guys an example, this past year, our executive team, we were just becoming very frustrated with email. Traditionally, projects construction, especially in the design side all the logistics, the organization, the project management is done through email. You send the email, you CC 38 people and everyone is gonna do the next steps and nothing slips through the cracks. We’re getting frustrated with it and so we challenged our team to eliminate all internal email. Email is no longer a part of the way we do business internally and move 100% to the project management software called Basecamp.
And what’s interesting is we gave our team, they initially came back and said, they needed six months to make the transition, we gave them two weeks because we said, “We’re gonna move fast, we’re gonna move quick, we’re gonna pull off that bandaid as quickly as possible.” And you know what? They did it. Now everyone is beyond ecstatic about removing email from their day-to-day work life. And here we are now we’re kind of sitting around, asking ourselves like, “Why were we ever using email in the first place?” And honestly, the answer was, “Because that’s the way it was always done.” And any time we find ourselves with that response, we know we’re headed in the right direction. And just as far as getting into other market sectors, our mantra has always been, find a niche, become an expert in that niche, and then branch out, but always remain flexible along the way. And we initially found our niche in the hotel design sector and now we’re obviously, now that we have that brand established, we’re working on moving into other markets where we see great potential. Seeing a living is one of them, with the Silver Tsunami that’s coming. Modular is another one and then our multi-family sector. So we’re excited, always got our eyes, there’s the balance of, you don’t want the shiny object syndrome and be torn in a 100 different directions but really identifying market opportunities and then moving quickly.
I’m fascinated by that last segue there, and the idea of removing at least internal email because I see that there is so much clutter and I think there’s so much that’s been written and so much that’s been buzzed about, about how meetings can kill productivity and I think they’re not wrong based upon a lot of the meetings that I have to sit in on, but at the same time, I feel like people often, almost gets back to that smartphone addiction we’ve talked a little bit about here and there, which is, that you assume, “Well, that’s the way it’s done.” We communicate via email. And it’s funny that Basecamp headquarters is about two blocks from my house, and we actually use Basecamp, very successfully to manage external projects for AE in our customer portfolio, and we find that it works so well. And I was having this moment in my head where I said, “Well duh, why don’t we maybe steal Blair’s idea, and maybe see if we can use that to be more efficient on the internal side, as well.” So, interesting piece of advice there, Basecamp is an awesome tool.
And brand and culture and everything about Basecamp. But as we wind down, I do have the luxury of knowing you a bit. Although we’ve actually only sat in the same place, I think, on one occasion, I know that you are a fast-moving entrepreneur, futurist as you talked a little bit about, your job requires you to kinda travel in many ways all over the world, you’ve been to a lot of places that I can’t even pronounce, you have a family, so I’m always curious, how does someone like you find the way to maybe down-shift, or occasionally slow down or create a little space to kinda reboot, recharge? How do you do that?
Well, you travel a lot. Travel sounds glamorous, but the hotels and the airports, they all start to look the same. And when you start forgetting what city you’re in, you know the glamor is gone. [laughter] So outside of work, I have a lovely wife, three young children. That’s where I spend nearly all of my free time, really. That’s kind of my unwind space. We love getting outside, getting outdoors kind of fresh air and nature typically do the trick for me. In fact, I did something, it was a very uncharacteristic of me. Usually when I go on business trips I keep them as short as possible, get in and get out as quickly just to limit my travel and get home to spend time with my family. On this last trip, I was just in Georgia, the country of Georgia a couple of weeks ago, and I stayed the extra weekend. Which is something I can’t even remember doing in the last couple of years and I went with a few of my colleagues in the office, and we drove to the Russian border and went up into the mountains, and we spent the entire weekend hiking and we stayed in a, we hiked up the side of a mountain, stayed in a small hostel, just amazing view, something I had never done but it was a way to unwind. So I found that any time I can get out in nature, is a great way to kind of to unwind.
You’re preaching to the choir there, because I’m such a city guy and I love the fast pace that the city provides me but I feel like it’s a metaphor for my life as well that I’m always moving, whether I’m here or traveling. And I’ve really found in the last few years, going back to actually an African safari, but where I realized, “Wow, there’s something so great about just being outside.” And it doesn’t have to obviously be as extreme as Africa or Georgia. You’re very brave for walking along, or going within Russia these days. So kudos to you for getting way outside most people’s comfort zones, but I think there’s something just really nice about being able to find those moments. We just had our mid-year planning session and I said, “You know what, we’re gonna get outside of the office, we’re gonna spend it all outside and we’re gonna hike and we’re gonna talk and we’re gonna do this.” And there’s just something really great I think about letting air and nature, and I know Natalie on the team is big at getting outdoors and hiking and keeping everyone around her active as well. So I think that those are really important aspects for sure. As we wind it down, how can our audience learn a little bit more about you or all the great work that your companies are doing?
Well, I can certainly, if anyone’s interested in reaching out to discuss any of these topics more, I can certainly pass along my email for you to share in the show notes. I also have a weekly blog that I write that’s primarily driven to the hotel space, but we also write quite a bit on the things happening in the modular construction world. I’m also currently working on a new book, which I just recently got rolling on which is gonna discuss a lot of the topics we discussed today, primarily about the future of the AEC space with a heavy emphasis on the modular piece. So keep an eye out for that. And otherwise, I welcome having dialogue on this or on any marketing topics, with anyone that’d like to reach out.
Well, Blair, thank you again for your time. As I said, we wanted to cherry-pick a handful of small guests who’ve been on in our first four seasons where either our team was just inspired by what he or she had to say or the audience, just really engaged with the guests, raved about him or her, the particular topic that was discussed, and in your case, it met all three of those criteria. So to have you back on a couple of years later to talk about a whole other topic, in an industry that’s ripe for change is super helpful for us in terms of our inspiration and hopefully very helpful to the audience to think about a lot of the things that you talked about today. Always smarter when we end our time together. I just hope it’s more often than it has been in the past, and hopefully one of these days, it’ll also be face-to-face again.
Brian, thank you so much for the opportunity, always great to catch up and looking forward to hopefully having that face-to-face meeting sooner rather than later.
Tags: Technology, Brand and Marketing, Technology
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