Joe Fisher Architect
Just Enough


Mind-sploded: malignant undercurrents of the practice and the business model of the future

Author: Mike Lee


My mind was blown when I heard Elizabeth Christoforetti (Founder and Design Lead at Supernormal) articulate the opportunity that fiscal responsibility plays in creating a vibrant, equitable practice. Check out the BSA Now Practice Now discussion on Soundcloud:

 Quote @ 58:20 minute mark:

"Awful things that are an undercurrent of our profession around gender and other issues... ...profit might be to blame. We have so much pressure on us, we're also kind of desperate to try and figure out the next job that there isn't very much left over, there's no cushion for kind of civility in some cases. So I like this idea of more profitability becomes the key to unlocking a new, maybe more civilized era of the profession that we're working in."

This idea is embedded within the 355 business model. It's pretty simple: if we can focus on leveraging technology and innovative workflows to deploy capital responsibly, we can foster a sustainable, equitable practice and be the change we want to see in the industry. We want to treat our clients well by doing excellent work. We want to do excellent work by investing in our talent. We do this not by blindly obsessing over top line growth and inflating margins, but by perpetually tuning our operations and thus, our bottom line. By Strategically shedding superfluous overhead expenses inherent to the archaic practice we might seek to propel ourselves to become the practice of tomorrow.

Here are some of the methods we use to responsibly use capital resources:

  • Cloud-based collaboration
    • We don't pay rent for physical office space.
    • We don't waste time or resources commuting.
  • Digital literacy
    • Every team member is armed with digital skill-sets conducive to a seamless workflow of design conception and execution which results in highly coordinated work.
    • Drawings are produced in industry-leading software and work-shopping is typically done with a tablet and stylus so we have minimal printing costs.
  • Humanistic Values
    • Because we are not beholden to a conventional 9-5 schedule, we encourage our team to work when they are most productive and we promote a healthy work-life balance. 

Culturally we don't subscribe to a "starving artist" mentality in order to squeeze work out of our talent. We don't accept ostracism based on gender or race that might push out diversity or compromise equity in our practice. We are nimble. We are so because we care.

Fiscally, we are very cognizant of the "pressure" that Christoforetti is so critical of in her critique of the practice and we are diligent to put into place business strategies to protect the quality of our work from being eroded by that pressure. Moreover, we produce better work by implementing this diligence. We are very transparent and very proud to focus on working responsibly with capital - our monetary capital as well as our intellectual capital. 

Creating a better practice is crucial part of creating better work. At 355 we strive be better - we strive to make, better.

Mike LeeComment