Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This time, the Big Apple is the "second city"

AIA New York has launched its own architectural boat tour around Manhattan, following in the highly successful footsteps of its counterparts in Chicago, which datesback almost 30 years.

I took the Chicago tour a couple of years ago when our Hot Firm Conference was in the Windy City and was certainly impressed, as were many others on my cruise. Are there other cities where this could work?

ABI still struggling to crack 50

The American Institute of Architects' monthly gauge of design activity, the Architecture Billings Index, jumped almost two full points in July to 47.9, the second-highest score in almost two years, but remains well below 50, meaning there is still a dip in work across the industry.

“It didn’t move dramatically, but I think it is kind of back on track to the trend that we were seeing back in the first months of the year,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in an exclusive interview with The Zweig Letter.

Nevertheless, Baker says, a recovery isn’t looking as solidly in the cards as the pundits predicted earlier in the year. He expressed frustration with the up-and-down nature of the economic recovery, saying that none of his predictions of sustained recovery in the second half of 2010 have materialized.

When do you think the ABI will break 50 again? Were you predicting it would happen by now too?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bring value to clients and stop wasting time and money

During a company-wide brainstorming session this morning, ZweigWhite Chairman Ed Friedrichs, former CEO of Gensler, urged everyone in the comany to think about two main ideas in everything they do going forward: "What value are you bringing to your clients?" and "What dumb idea we've always done should we stop doing?"

Meanwhile, ZW's new VP and director of operations, Eric Howerton, who will be spearheading our greatly expanded marketing efforts, says the goal of the company should be to be distinct, desirable and dominant.

How good of a job does your firm do in these areas? What value do you bring to clients? Where are you wasting time any money? How do you stand out from the crowd in an increasingly vanilla world?