145: ‘The Gordian Knot, Part 1’, with Phil Read

A conversation with Phil Read.

145: ‘The Gordian Knot, Part 1’, with Phil Read

About this Episode:

Phil Read joins the podcast to talk about the value of an in-person conversation, Phil’s personal journey, his experiences in AEC tech over the last few decades, the value of an architect, advice for students interesting in pursuing architecture, advice for those thinking about starting their own firms, investing in tools versus buying toys, how to gain the luxury to say ‘no’, how Phil got into Revit and Enscape, the importance of systematizing processes, a look ahead at the future of the industry, and more.

Connect with Evan:

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145: ‘The Gordian Knot, Part 1’, with Phil Read
Phil Read joins the podcast to talk about the value of an in-person conversation, Phil’s personal journey, his experiences in AEC tech over the last few deca…

Episode Transcript:

TRXL 145: ‘The Gordian Knot, Part 1’, with Phil Read

Evan Troxel: [00:00:00] This episode of TRXL is supported by AVAIL. AVAIL helps AECO firms better manage, organize, and navigate information, faster.

This episode of TRXL is supported by Confluence, a small conference event for AEC professionals and technology providers to discuss industry trends and ideas together. It's put on by the fine folks at AVAIL. Learn more about the upcoming invite only event happening in the spring of 2024 in New York City during this episode.

This episode of the TRXL podcast is made possible with support from ArchIT.

Evan Troxel: Are you tired of standard IT services that missed the mark. Choose ArchIT for specialized proactive, IT management, BIM support and robust data security tailored for architects. Whether you're a team of 10 or a growing firm of 50+, ArchIT understands the architecture [00:01:00] industry and will empower your unique, creative vision to enable you to do your best work.

Embrace a technology team that enhances, not hinders, your design process. Visit GetArchIT.com for your free IT assessment and start transforming your firm and your tech experience today. That's GetArchIT.com.

Welcome to the TRXL podcast. I'm Evan Troxel. Before we dive into today's episode, I have a small but significant request. If you enjoy these episodes, could you please subscribe to the TRXL podcast on both YouTube and in the audio podcast form on your preferred platform? Your subscription is incredibly valuable in supporting my efforts. Producing this podcast demands significant resources and time, and I genuinely hope you find it enriching for yourself and valuable for the AEC industry.

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Okay. In this episode, I welcome Phil [00:03:00] Read. Phil is the CEO and co-founder of Read Thomas, a global BIM and VDC consulting group and go-to market startup advisor in 2020, Read Thomas founded the AEC Leadership Retreat, an annual event that occurs in the fall focused on developing good leadership skills for people in the high stress, low control AEC industry. And I'll have more to say about this in the near future, but now I want to bring your attention to a couple of links that I've put in the show notes for Phil's upcoming AEC Acoustics Retreat, which is a new addition to that fall series and happening at the end of April. So for now, I'll just say that I'm planning on being there and I hope you'll consider it as well. Again, check out the links for more information and for registration in the show notes to find out more about the AEC Acoustics event. For this one, Phil and I met up in the Denver airport. I flew in from Oregon and he flew in from North Carolina to meet in the [00:04:00] middle. And have an in-person conversation for this episode, which was really fantastic because of where we ended up finding a place to record there's no video for this one, but you'll hear more about that. Once we get into the conversation.

I've also decided to split this up into two parts one for this week and another next week, because that way I think there's a better chance. You'll get the whole picture. It's literally peppered with little golden advice nuggets throughout and has become one of my favorite episodes I've ever done. In part one, we discussed Phil's personal journey from seminary to architecture his experiences in AEC tech over the last few decades, the value of an architect, advice for students interested in pursuing architecture advice for those thinking about starting their own firms, investing in tools versus buying toys, the importance of systematizing processes, a look ahead at the future of the industry, [00:05:00] and more. I do regret not having the wherewithal to get a picture of us while we were in our very public recording studio when we were in Denver. But I'm confident there will be more chances in the near future to memorialize the value of in-person communication like this episode. So until then, please enjoy this audio recording of my wide ranging conversation with Phil Read.

Phil Read: Cheers,

Evan Troxel: Why don't you explain where we are?

Phil Read: We're at the United Lounge, East Concourse B, third level. Denver, Colorado.

Evan Troxel: And you, you know this place, like the back of your hand, it sounds like, like with that kind of

Phil Read: kind of.

Evan Troxel: I'm like, we're in the United Lounge and no, you took it three levels deeper than that. So you fly a lot. You

Phil Read: get to know where places are, and areas of refuge.

Evan Troxel: are. Right. As much as refuge as this actually

Phil Read: can be. Yeah, we couldn't get a [00:06:00] They, they used to have meeting spaces in the lounge. And then the new design got rid of all of the conference rooms. Because businesses would fly in executives and they would bar the conference room, but now

Evan Troxel: Oh yeah. Mean they would just had, they would monopolize it. So it wasn't,

Phil Read: alternative was Westin at the end of the, airport. You could walk to it from here, but they wanted like $1,000 a day to get a conference room. And I said, no, we don't have to do that. We'll just spend $300 and get a regular room. And then I thought, well, maybe the United Lounge and then we'll get food too.

Evan Troxel: I love it. And so, we've made an investment to get here.

Phil Read: We have, of

Evan Troxel: Yeah, I mean, to do it in person, I saw you at AU in the booth, and we and you were generous to say, you know, let's do it in person, because the conversations are so much better.

Phil Read: are, and you can talk about other things outside of the conversation, outside of the formality.

Yeah, it's the um, I think conversations can be too transactional, and the [00:07:00] value of just getting to know someone, catching up, How have you been over the last three years? We haven't seen each other. I think it shows some earnestness, and it shows attention to detail.

Evan Troxel: So we've met in the middle.

I'm on the west coast, you're on

Phil Read: I didn't want to go all the way to Medford, I thought, we'll just, I can fly, and fly out, and you can do the

Evan Troxel: and it's such a small airport that it costs a lot of money to get in and out of there, right? So, yeah, because Medford is just I don't know, there's five gates, six gates, it's very small, and so not a lot of airlines fly direct there anyway, so.

Phil Read: Well this, so I was going to fly out and I looked at it and I thought, well that's expensive but it's direct to Denver, because it was like Charlotte, Denver, Denver, Medford, and I thought, oh, maybe just each meet halfway and then I wouldn't spend a hotel, I'll just fly back to Charlotte tonight and you'll fly back to Oregon.

Evan Troxel: So we're spending the day in the airport, in the United Lounge, and flying in and flying out, so if anybody's wondering why we're hearing the background noise.

Phil Read: it's not artificial. It's not a,

Evan Troxel: we're, this, yeah, this is not a backing track, a conversational backing track of [00:08:00] room noise, right, so, uh. It's authentic. So we had breakfast together here, at the lounge, which was nice, and we had a chance to actually get to know each other a little bit before.

Phil Read: Yeah,

Evan Troxel: We hit record and

Phil Read: threatened me because you said, Oh, we have to, you're, don't,

we have to talk about this again. I said,

Evan Troxel: yeah, you're going to have to repeat all of this because it was all, this is what the podcast is. It's, it's like people get to be the, in the room with the people having the conversation. I mean, that's, that's why I do this. And I mean, I think it's that important because in order to facilitate real conversation, you have to allow digressions to happen.

Because that's how you get to know people, right? It's not just talking points. It's not just the agenda, the outline. It's, it's the other stuff. It's the in between stuff that, that really, I think,

Phil Read: are important.

The context is important. The reasons are important. So yeah, it's not just a list of questions. Answer ten questions and thank you.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, I never send out [00:09:00] questions ahead of time. I rarely have it even structured that way, so if somebody asked

Phil Read: don't know what we're going to talk

Evan Troxel: I couldn't, yeah. Well,

Phil Read: going to surprise

Evan Troxel: you know the next word that's going to come out of your mouth?

Phil Read: No,

Evan Troxel: We don't. I think that's super interesting. We don't even know.

Phil Read: And so that's, but that's an authentic conversation. think for both of us, because we'll both have input based on what we chatted about over breakfast. We'll both have input and then. That allows it to be more than just a transactional meeting. It allows it to be a connection, I think,

Evan Troxel: So, maybe you can give a little bit of your backstory for people who don't know it. Because I think you establishing kind of your Trajectory throughout the AEC technology industry is important. Just to establish this, because I don't think we're gonna talk about that too much today actually.

I think we're gonna talk about the softer stuff that we talked about before, but I, but I love the idea of just people [00:10:00] telling their story to kind of kick it off.

Phil Read: it up. So, as quickly as possible, it was entirely accidental.


went to seminary for four and a half years, and got out, started Picking up any odd job. I worked in radio, broadcasting, television for a while because I studied communications and literature and then, um, Taught math for, at a school for troubled youth and realized I can't change the world.

I'm not really, I'm just one person. I got to get serious about career kind of

Evan Troxel: kind of

Phil Read: But I didn't know what I wanted to do. Went back to the same small town. Um, I really, music, and, and, music was a first passion, but I just couldn't figure out how to pay bills with other musicians. And, uh, went back to the same small town, started picking up odd jobs as much as possible, and took a class at a local technical college just out of curiosity.

This thing called CAD. And, um, [00:11:00] loved it. Oh, 98?


Evan Troxel: Okay.

Phil Read: And

yeah, the small technical college had this CAD program.

Ended up meeting someone. I took a job at a summer camp so I could fish in their private lake.

and ended up meeting who's now my wife, 30 years. Um, we went to New Zealand, got married. I started working as a commercial artist, because I had an artistic background.

I mean, I could,

you know, it wasn't all just computers and technology. And then came back to the U. S. to study architecture on the condition that I wouldn't borrow money to do it.

Evan Troxel: So you set that condition with yourself, with your

Phil Read: yeah, yeah. It's like, I can't

Evan Troxel: You set some ground rules around

Phil Read: and I couldn't decide, Evan. It was, it was, I kind of narrowed it down. I wanted something that I could do anywhere in the world for my entire life. Like, that was part of what I wanted to choose. And maybe

Evan Troxel: is interesting [00:12:00] there because like,

Phil Read: like,

Evan Troxel: definitely could just sit at a desk for the rest of your life.

People do. There's the joke in like, you die at the drafting table. Like,

Phil Read: anything, I narrowed it down to law, medicine, or architecture.

Evan Troxel: So all professional.

Phil Read: Well, something you could do your whole life. Like, it's not going to physically break

Evan Troxel: Yeah, right.

Phil Read: But, and intellectually, it'll always be curious. And I, I sort of thought, okay, medicine, you can't really do that anywhere, because you'll have to get certified if you want to You know, go somewhere else in the world.

So I narrowed it down to law or architecture. And my roommate at seminary went and studied law, and I was back in the U. S. for a wedding, and we were catching up. And I, and I was studying for my, what is it? The MetCat or the LSAT? And I was also looking at architecture schools, and, uh, Dave was doing great.

He'd started families, buying a house, and I said, I've narrowed it down to architecture or law. What do you think? And he said, do [00:13:00] architecture. And I was surprised, like, he had all the

Evan Troxel: If you would have asked an architect, they would have said, do

Phil Read: to

Evan Troxel: I said, what

Phil Read: what do you, what do you mean, and he goes, I get up in the morning, and I look at myself in the mirror, and I think, I'm gonna have to ruin someone's life to make a

Evan Troxel: Oh, wow. Yeah, architecture's not like that.

Phil Read: yeah, so he said, he said, actually, and his dad was a contractor, and we worked together in the summer in the construction space, and he said, I wish I'd gone into architecture, because I could make things instead of tear things

Evan Troxel: make things instead of

Phil Read: So with that, I thought, okay, well that makes it simple. I'll just do architecture. It's

noble. Um, I applied and got accepted to Taliesin. With just my

Evan Troxel: just a


Phil Read: Well, they transitioned back and forth. And, I was so excited. This would have probably been ish.

Evan Troxel: What

was that application process like? Like what did you

Phil Read: it was a phone call.

It was a faxed application. It was pay money. It would show them evidence of earnestness in terms of, [00:14:00] uh, technical ability. And I had a portfolio from school and also some hand designs that I'd done. And I was so excited, you know, coming out of seminary, you know, you're kind of in one religious cult, and you're going into another religious cult.

So that was okay. You're

right, right.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Phil Read: So I wasn't worried about that, and I, and I thought it'd be interesting to be part of that historic context. and, uh, then it turned out, at that time, so this was in the early 90s, if you were married, your spouse has to attend, and you couldn't work outside of the fellowship.

So it was effectively. an apprenticeship for seven years.


then at that time, it wasn't accredited.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Phil Read: So Justine didn't really want to go. I didn't want to borrow money to do it. It was seven and a half thousand dollars per person per year. So I thought, well, still I'm borrowing 15, 000 for seven years and you can't work outside the fellowship.

So I was really just

heartbroken and

Evan Troxel: that sounds [00:15:00] untenable, right? Because if you have to dedicate yourself to that, you basically have to have all that money up front.

Phil Read: There's no other way to do it. Yeah. so I just finally had to just rescind my application and I was just really heartbroken and, um, ended up looking at a map and going, okay, I've got family in Asheville and family in Raleigh and family in Fayetteville.

Where is an architecture school near that? And it just turned out that there was, uh, University of North Carolina at Charlotte had an architecture program. And, um, I wasn't particularly passionate about going there, but it turned out to be a really serendipitous move. It was a great program. I keep in touch with students that I graduated with.

It's always stressful being an, I, I was probably 28, 29 when I started school there. And I'd already had this prior degree, I'd already worked in, when I, when I first came back to the U. S. to start to pursue going to architecture school, I was working at an engineering firm, and because of a technical background, I couldn't design, well, I [00:16:00] could do, we were, we were a civil engineering firm, so I could design, but I wasn't doing severe calculations or accountable for any of that, I was really transitioning, I was, I was trans, transitioning someone who'd drawn something by hand, usually sketched by hand that needed to be in the computer.


I realized I wouldn't have to borrow money to go to UNCC. Uh, I had a prior degree, so I only had to take studios. And so that was, that was in the fall of 94. I started, and I started working for an engineering firm in Charlotte. And by the end of the third year, they started a master's program.

So I jumped into that. It was a two year master's program if you had a prior degree. So I wrapped up my four year degree. While kicking off my master's degree the same year, and then in five years I had a master's degree and an undergraduate degree. And so that's where it just was it, it was accidental.

But I think if for anyone who was in high school that wants to study architecture, the big lesson is I would probably tell them not to study architecture as an undergraduate. go get a [00:17:00] technical background and work while you're in school so you have enough time. You have enough time for friends, but not too much time.

You have enough time to drink, but not too much

time. But get an undergrad, like in high schools now, you can start early college and get a technical degree. And start picking up your design tools and learning how to use them and solve problems early. And then study something else at college as an undergraduate.

Any STEM related

class. like computer science, psychology. engineering, and then go back and get your master's degree in

architecture. And work while you're in school. Work as much as you can, work part time during the year, full time during the summer, get a job at a firm, and learn how to solve problems.

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Do you feel like you have that advice now because of the time period that we're living in with computing? Like, it seems to me right now with computer science especially, that's got to be an enormous amount of

Phil Read: think it gives you a well

rounded You

Evan Troxel: you could, you could do software for so many, it's, it's like a, it's kind of [00:20:00] a foundational thing now. Whereas when I was in school, it wasn't.

Like, I

Phil Read: went

Oh yeah, there was no, there was not much software in, in the 80s when I was first in college, right? It wouldn't, it wouldn't have been a thing. I think the importance is, as soon as you can start the rigor of learning how to solve problems and learning from experienced people as a young person, I don't know that you,

I don't

know that you're learning from experienced people in college.

And so working part time for a company that has to solve problems and be polite to the client, and particularly with small firms, you have to do everything. If you're a young person with a technical background, uh, in SketchUp and Revit and, and Polite, you're going to get pulled into meetings with the customer.

The owner's going to say, hey, I need you to open up that project in Enscape and come in here and drive the model. So you're going to be part of those


Evan Troxel: get to absorb what happens in that room and learn so much

faster. Being in that

Phil Read: Yeah. And university has a, I think there's a [00:21:00] couple of challenges.

We're at an inflection point with how people learn to do things. at a time when information is racing to the cost of zero, uh, university has become irreparably expensive in terms of student loans. So if you can protect yourself by not borrowing money whilst you go to school, you'll graduate with.

Probably four or five years of real world experience and then pick your grad school. Um, if you're from a disadvantaged background, that kind of portfolio is going to pay you in terms of scholarship. And now you'll get a great graduate diploma from a top notch school. But for an undergraduate, I would just get a technical background while you're in high school or before you go to college and then start working for a firm.

And get the experience of not being an employee but learning how to think as an employer. Because you have to, everybody gets to do everything at a small firm.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, the whole idea of architecture school is learning how to [00:22:00] think about problem solving on the macro level. Not Right, right. I feel like it's kind of like weeding out non problem solvers and problem solvers.

People who are up for the challenge versus people who are

Phil Read: are

Yeah, there's, the lack of constraints at university creates an artificial approach to design problem solving.

And I think when you have a client with a budget and a problem that you have to solve, you're trying to do it as elegantly as possible within budget and to be earnest.


don't think that cheapens the design. I think it, actually you come up with really interesting solutions. Whereas, you know, early in architecture school, I would say the first three years is kind of like, yeah, you learn to make blobs, but you don't really learn how to make decisions.

And your client doesn't have a budget, they're your professor and you're paying

them. So that part of it

is kind of an unofficial con, it's, it's, it's a, yeah, it's a, [00:23:00] it's an artificial

construct. So if you're in that world, where you're learning how to solve problems, I don't know, that it's not necessarily going to be high design.

I think a lot of small firms are actually doing really earnest, really good work, and you might not have eight hours a day to work for a firm while you're in school. You might only have four hours a day, but you're going to, you're going to be there at critical moments, and you'll learn a lot. I, I, when I was going to UNCC, I was working full time, and I look back now, because it was, parts of it were a blur, I would get up at 3 a.

m., 30 a. m. I would leave, I would drive to South Park from the University area, start work at 4 a. m., eat lunch at 9 a. m., and then leave at noon to go home, eat lunch, well, eat breakfast at 9 a. m., eat lunch, uh, have a nap, and then be in studio by 2 o'clock. And, uh, that was, I would, I would start to fantasize about sleep by Tuesday or Wednesday, like, oh, I [00:24:00] just can't wait till I can sleep.

but the advantage of that and not borrowing money was such that when Revit came out around the spring of 2000, I was able to take a chance buying a computer, learning how to use that tool. So by the spring of 2001, I was working for Revit technology. And,

had I borrowed money, I don't think I could have taken that chance because you don't know what's going to happen.

And, uh, so having the fReadom, when an opportunity comes along, you don't want to have to go off and pack your bags, you want to have the bags already packed, you want to be ready to go. And I kind of, I was still anxious about whether or not Revit would work out, um, you know, cause I was full of hope and promise, but we were fighting an uphill battle, there were a lot of technology incumbents.

But, uh, The fReadom of not borrowing money means you can say yes to things that are important and no to things that aren't. a lot of us, I think, we go to architecture school to learn how to become an employee, but not how to become an employer. You [00:25:00] know, professional practice is typically, you know, your

fifth year course,

Evan Troxel: practices, typically, you know, fifth year course.

stated goal is is to teach you to become a designer when the percentage of jobs in firms with that title are

Phil Read: Oh, there's people in front of you and there's few of

Evan Troxel: and yeah and the latter already has four or five people on it ahead of you right and they're stomping at your hands from above so There's a

big misalignment with the profession and academia, and I don't see a

Phil Read: profession in

academia, and

Evan Troxel: came

Phil Read: I don't [00:26:00] see a solution. And, uh, that was a, that was a good lesson. It's like you need to keep track of your time so your time doesn't become cheap. And, uh, I don't know that architecture school, maybe they've changed in the last 20 years where they're starting to, not, I don't want to say respect time, but sort of give people the mindset that you can't work 24 hours a

Evan Troxel: I think that's

Phil Read: You know, studios, working 40 hours a weekend over a studio is probably not

healthy. Like, I would watch students have mental breakdowns and smash their models

and stuff like

Evan Troxel: like that. Yeah, same. Light them on fire in the courtyard, yeah.

Phil Read: And so that's a, if you're learning how to solve problems, including being polite to a customer, that's like a critical part of, of, of being successful as a business person.

You have to show up, you have to be polite, uh, you have to give them a good experience, you have to show earnestness. And. [00:27:00] I don't know if that's directly related to design itself. So that's the, those are, so architecture school graduated in the spring of 99 and went to work in the architectural space, saw Revit in the spring of 2000 and was working

for Revit technology by February 2001.

Evan Troxel: How did that happen right there? So is it that you bought the machine, you learned the software, and they saw that motivation in you?

Phil Read: No, well, I wanted to use it at the firm that I was at, and I can distinctly remember the, um, one of the owners saying, Well, if we learn how to use this, uh, then we'll have to use this and AutoCAD and MicroStation.

And I realized he didn't understand the, the, the, the value of it. I'd committed myself to using the Macintosh platform while I was at university, but when I saw Revit in the spring of 2000, I went out and bought, uh, what was a cheap workstation at the time called an eMachine. And put Revit 1.

0 on it and started going through the little booklet that came with the CD. And I was starting, there were a lot of [00:28:00] limitations in the software, obviously, at the time of that release. There was no site tool. Uh, well, there might have been a site tool, but it was limited in certain ways. So I started modeling sites as in place geometries.

And, um, Revit had this, they would send out these periodic marketing emails with renderings. And My images were in there and no one had asked permission.


there was a guy that would call me and go, Hey, this rendering that you sent, how did you do that? Because I ended up taking a project that we had done at this architecture firm all the way through documentation, then it never got built.

And I I took a copy of that home and started recreating it in Revit and by doing so discovered every edge condition that Revit couldn't handle and then I had to start figuring out how to do it. So the first thing you do is say, well, there's a room tag or a wall tag. So now you're opening up a family editor and trying to create that artifact.

before I bought Revit, I was actually looking at ArchiCAD and the local reseller. [00:29:00] I had my pen out with the top of it clicked, and the checkbook. I was going to write a check for ARCHICAD plus the STAIR tool. That was like 7, 500. And, um, and Mark said, Hey, look, before you write this check, I just want to let you know, we've kind of become friends, and there's this tool called Revit, and they've integrated the documentation.

You might want to look at that before you make this purchase. And I thought, OK, I'll look at it, I'll see what it I was blown away when I read Revit 1. 0, because for me, the conceptual pieces that you really had to have were the main building components, uh, the content inside the building, and you had to be able to create instructions, and you had to be able to, organize that in a way where as much as possible was all in one place.

And so at that time, Autodesk had ADT, MicroStation had TriformaJ, ArchiCAD had their tool, but all of them seemed to require exporting to documentation. And we were using MicroStation At that [00:30:00] time, and the challenge was, you would get the model to a point, you batch export to document, and the batch export wasn't fast.

It might take an overnight, and then you'd have a meeting with a customer, you'd have red lines, and you'd start tweaking things in the documentation, because the deadline might be that week, and you don't have enough hours to keep exporting when things, when changes occur. And so we'd submit for the deadline. And then we'd have to make this kind of existential decision of do we go back to the model to pick up these red lines after the

deadline's passed, Or do we just

keep start updating the drawings, and so it was kind of

this Schizophrenia. of I'm using a model, it has all these advantages. But then I have to decouple from it because of the workflow.

So what I saw with Revit, like early on, Oh, I can put something on a sheet, open up the view on the sheet, move something, delete something. It will come out of a schedule. It would come out of a section if you deleted it from a plan. And I thought, well, that's a big fundamental. Someone's finally nutted that [00:31:00] out.

So, Revit, at that time they were advertising for a lot of positions and they had a technical expert, they wanted like a support person for the Mid Atlantic and I went up to interview, uh, I interviewed with Steve Burry, and I think Rob Maccarini, and Dave Heaton, and uh, after all the interviews for this position, they, offered me the, That job.

And I said, well, really, I don't want this job,

but I

tell you what I think you should do.

I said, the thing is, this job is like helping customers after things are broken. Why don't you have a team of people that go and work with a customer to kick projects off to keep. the problems from


And they said, well, actually we're going to create a team to do that.

We're going to create a consulting group. It'll probably mean a lot of travel, but you'll go in the office, you'll kick the project off with a customer and you'll work hands on. Oh, it's like, that sounds amazing. And that's what I did. I started February 1st, 2001. And, uh, every February 1st, I still call Dave Heaton, say thanks.

[00:32:00] And, uh, to this day, we still have breakfast once a month online. Cause he's up in Maine, retired. And, uh, we just talk about anything and nothing. Yeah, it's good. He taught me a lot, besides just technology. It was

great. And,

um, yeah, so that was a, that was a kickoff to working at Revit. And then within, within a year, I guess we were acquired April of, uh, 2002.

Working for Autodesk. Yep. And that's a rocket ship, right? Because they've got people everywhere in the world making sure that their solutions are being sold and supported.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

I just recently had Marty Rosmaneth on the podcast, and he told a little bit of the Revit Technology Corporation, you know, Charles River to Revit Technology to Autodesk, and it is pretty fascinating to see the paths cross, uh, from various perspectives, and I mean, back then when I was, I graduated with my bachelor's degree in 97, I was using Microstation also, and that, that process that you

explained where

Phil Read: Was [00:33:00] that out

Evan Troxel: used a little bit of that.

It was Microstation J, Microstation 95 I think J came after 95, but it was available on the Mac back then and There was there was a another version of AutoCAD that actually ran on the Mac until it didn't anymore, right?

But I think I just think it's interesting when you talked about that process of Kind of that fundamental decision that you have to make of where you're going to make the changes, and we all struggled with that.

It's like, do I make them in the drawings? Do I go back to the, do I do it on the sheets? Do I do it in the model?

this was just the digital version of changing the dimension on the hand drawn plans, rather than redrawing it, And, and so it was still kind of fundamentally, at some point, it broke, but architects were

Phil Read: just,

it worked, but it was so slow that you couldn't get your head around it.

and, so you had to,

choose two bad ways of doing something is not a fun choice.

Evan Troxel: then the mental overhead of just remembering where those changes were made, because were they made here or there? Some were [00:34:00] here, some were there, and I mean, it's actually not too different now in Revit when you don't have a power user behind, and they're making a decision to.

Draw something with detail lines or put a dummy tag in just to get through the to the

Phil Read: Just to get through the drawings. Yeah.


Evan Troxel: then the technical debt It gets, you accrue so much of it, and you can't remember which way you hid that object, or things like that, where, like my wife struggles with this on a daily basis, and now she just goes to the forum and she says, Is this even possible?

And she often finds out, No, it's not even possible. Before, she used to go through step by step by step to try to figure it out, to do it, and only to find out it wasn't possible at the end. Now she's like, I just skip to the end. I just go there. But, but we're still struggling with very similar problems. I can't tell

Phil Read: I can't imagine how difficult it will be for someone. If you're gonna learn how to use a tool really well, you have to learn what it doesn't do. And early on Revit didn't do a lot of things.

There was no railing tool. You actually use the curtain wall tool [00:35:00] to make railings. which even now has great flexibility. Um, I still use curtain walls for mezzanine levels because they contain space. And because you can slide those,

uh, yeah, because it's a wall. And you can slide the balusters around because it's just a curtain wall.

It's like sliding around a mullion. So it's like, actually that was kind of flexible. Um, but the challenge now is you, back then you could learn what Revit couldn't do very quickly. Now, it would take a long time to learn what Revit doesn't do. So you're Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of workarounds, but getting to the point where you know, am I, should I just work around this, or should I try to figure it


Evan Troxel: think co coming up through the program, if, to lack of a better word, but. It was all about the challenge of finding the workarounds and, and figuring out

workarounds because we had to solve the problems and so like I was going to school to learn how to solve problems and I was doing it also just to get the software to do what I wanted it to do [00:36:00] and I think there are a lot of great examples of software that does exactly what you want it to do and yet there are so many that, that still don't or there's programs like Revit that are 23 years old and There's a lot of cruft in there, or, or there's things they can't advance because there's other pieces holding it back, uh, and, navigating that world of the constant changes, but also still having to figure out those workarounds in a world that expects we don't need to have workarounds.

Software is super powerful nowadays. There's a, there's just a

Phil Read: Yeah. And there's a, I, I think there's a, there's an artifact of creating software that is almost.

Irrecoverable in that you're, you're creating software to speed up an existing process, but then in doing so, the desire to create the thing that software allows changes, and now the software can't speed up the existing process.

So in the case with Revit, if you're designing a fairly conventional building, it's kind of straightforward, but then people aspire to not design conventional looking buildings, and now it's [00:37:00] not straightforward. So on the, well, I mean it wouldn't, this was, on the Trade Center rebuild, one of the design iterations had an external diagrid of stainless steel cabling.

It was like a cable net structure, the structure ran up through the center of the building and then there was, there was an outer rigging

out the top of the building and then the cable net was suspended from that. And the cable net was a series of diagonal stainless steel bundles. Now when you cut that in plan, Your circular bundles are going to look like ellipsoids.

And the documentation artifact was, if we were drawing this in plan, we would show those as circles. And there was an internal, there was, there was like this, uh, considerable discussion on how do we show circles in plan. Because when we cut plans out of geometry, it's showing


Evan Troxel: what's really there.

Phil Read: Yeah, so we were trying to create, I think Revit in a way, And Marty might back, back me up on [00:38:00] this, Revit was a tool that was primarily designed to automate the documentation process.

It was also a modeling tool, but it was, it was modeling in the service of creating documentation.

And now,

I think the problem has moved on. It's gone from documentation and coordination to collaboration. And, um, we haven't solved the collaboration part yet. Cause now the tools that you want to collaborate with, and Autodesk is making amends to figure this out, but you want to be able to use a Rhino model for your exterior.

Um, but then is it going to behave intelligently? You get the geometry, but you don't get the artifacts of space containment, and you have other challenges. And so, yeah, everything becomes a workaround. Now you're using a Rhino model for your exterior skin, but you have to cover everything in, uh, in, uh, room separation lines in order to contain space.

So, yeah, the problem moves on, but the software is always trying to catch up.

So it's constant workarounds.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

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Evan Troxel: So, okay, so you left off with Autodesk. So what's happened since Autodesk? Or

Phil Read: you

know, The

kids were getting older, and I'm not exaggerating. The last three years at Autodesk, I couldn't figure out how to do something else at Autodesk. And I kind of poked different areas to kind of move into technical sales, to maybe move to another geo, and um, it was kind of like, I found later on through the back channels, it's like, no, no, hands off Phil.

You can't, you can't have him. And so my stress was traveling 48 weeks a year. The last three years it was at Autodesk, which is amazing. Um, getting to work with all of the firms I would have aspired to work for whilst in college. Getting to work with them and [00:41:00] not kind of for them. You know, having the high level relationship being plugged in with all the hypos at these firms, trying to solve difficult technical questions, it was heady days. But, you come home Thursday night, and uh, my oldest was probably about 9 or 10 at that point, it's really starting to stress him out. And I couldn't figure out how to make the transition to do something else, to stop traveling so much, so I, I, um, no bridges burned, I resigned, I took an, I took an opportunity, uh, as an, at an, as an executive at a large A& E firm, and, um, found myself in a world of stress, because now things start moving slow, and start, instead of managing technology, you have to start managing people, and I had no skill set for that, so that was probably, I don't know, I was, I guess it was probably 2008, so maybe I was 43 ish,

and, uh, realized I'd made

probably a [00:42:00] terrible decision because I didn't know what the emotional cost of going into managing people was going to be like for managing technology because I could happily stay up Until the wee hours in a hotel room trying to nut out a technical problem and then go to sleep happy but you know managing people and um It was during the global financial crisis and things were stressful It was a large firm, but various offices were having to lay people off And I just felt like I was getting paid a lot of money to not Know how, how was I actually making the company money?

Just going from meeting to meeting, what, what was that like? So that was very stressful. Um, and eventually, I think I was graciously, my job was eliminated, so I was kind of graciously let go. some of the people I worked for, I still keep in touch with, but it was, it was very, very stressful. Better part of almost probably three years, um, went into another startup.

and um,

that was kind of a mixed experience, but then by July 2013, what I [00:43:00] saw at Autodesk, the thing that I couldn't nut out, Evan, was that, so Autodesk is a, you know, multi billion dollar software company, they have a lot of mouths to feed, and the consulting group, at

that time, if I was going to come in and work in an office to kick a project off, and this is in the early 2000s, it was anywhere from 2400 to 5000 a day plus travel expenses.

And so I would, I would kick off two or three projects at a time. That was fine, but that's, that's the edge condition of architecture firms that can afford that kind of overhead. And I always thought, you know, 90 percent of the firms are less than 10 people. They need expertise in the moment that they need it.

But how do you distribute that? You can't get it on an airplane. It doesn't scale. And so in July of 2013,

I reached out to my nephew, who I taught Revit to when he was probably in middle school. And he graduated from. Southern Poly,

Did his

undergraduate degree in architecture, and an undergraduate [00:44:00] degree in computer science, and then he also got his MBA.

And he was working at his own consulting practice, he's a very



Evan Troxel: a total slouch.

Phil Read: Yeah,

he's a slack ass. And um, I called him and said, do you want to go into business together? And his next words were, what took you so long? So we started a practice, a consulting practice, with the intent of being


retainer based service,


we're never going to work at risk, we're never going to chase money after the work's done, we're going to work with customers, set up retainers, and the moment they have a hard problem, we're going to help them solve it and charge in 15 minute increments.

And that was July of 2013. We work with architecture firms that don't even know we're working on their projects because we're getting the information through the contractor, we're helping them solve building design problems. We don't do design, but we, we do a lot of coordination work for contractors who've now outsourced their BIM teams.

Uh, we do a lot of best practice, we do a lot of, a lot of, content creation. [00:45:00] There are amazing firms of one in two people where the owner says, this light fixture is amazing. Can you guys get this in my project by Monday? And we'll say, yeah, just put a, you know, put a placeholder in your project and send us a photo.

And a photo and a Google image search will show you what that manufacturer is. And you might even get a cut sheet so you can build that piece of content with enough information to get them moving forward. we have an architect, he's F A I A in Asheville, North Carolina. And he might just call Adam and say this dang curtain wall is making me crazy.

And we'll go, Jeff, just sketch what you want, or can we jump on a web share? Show us what you want, Adam will get in the project, and do the work, and then get back out. I mean, it, it was, we didn't exactly know how it would go in July 2013, cause where, where Central Files lived was kind of ambiguous at the time.

But now, the way that Autodesk has managed that, we can get access to a multitude of projects, get in on an as need basis, and get back out again.

Evan Troxel: So is this a baseline requirement, is that it is [00:46:00] a Revit based project for you guys?

Phil Read: I mean, that's the one that I think the industry just, we'll do whatever the contractor wants.

The majority of use cases, it's Revit. Yeah. Um, I don't think we have any other ARCHICAD or any other technology based projects. but on the coordination side, the, the most part, the contractor might have a requirement about what tool they like to use to solve their coordination issues and to track them, mitigate them, and we'll just use whatever they want.

So, that was July 2013, and we helped some large, interesting projects stay successful, and then I realized with the network having worked for Revit and Autodesk, When I first heard about Enscape in July 2015, I thought Bullshit. Like, why would anyone make a, a, an easy button for rendering, not for architecture, if you had real time, uh, you'd probably do it for the medical space, or for some other industry with deeper pockets, and went home, downloaded it, it was blown away, [00:47:00] like, it, it wasn't the best rendering, but it was so fast, and it was so transparent, um, so I reached out to Thomas and Moritz, who are the founders at Enscape, and said, I know all the architects that will want to use this product, and You guys don't understand the design workflow.

You don't know how to use Revit.


let me take this around the world and we set up a, kind of a, Oh, it's just a, it was a revenue share for selling the software on the condition that I would also support it, that I would help in marketing efforts, that I would help in, uh, you know, going to conferences.

And so that, I guess what it evolved into was a go to market. Relationship that other companies have since approached us for as well as like, hey, we're making this technology. It's expensive for companies to go to market. And if you start hiring, if you want to hire someone who's a rainmaker at a big software company, like let's say you're going to hire someone from Autodesk as a rainmaker and say, you know, all the customers help us [00:48:00] go to market. Um, you're going to give them a lot of equity or you're going to give them a big salary, probably as much salary as your team of three or four people just for that one person. And then, You know, I'll get on a plane and fly coach to show customers a product.

So you

can't afford, they can't afford employees, but we will go to BAT for a company.

Evan Troxel: And

Phil Read: and

help them go to market in return for revenue share and a very small percentage of equity, which protects us in the event of an acquisition, because it's probably going to be a five year mission to help a company become profitable. And if they're acquired before profitability occurs, you don't recover your revenue investment.

So we'll do it at risk, and we know all the customers. I could pick up a phone and call these companies directly and probably won't get voicemail and say, I have something interesting. I'll be in Singapore in two weeks. Can I show you something? And so going to market, it's not a, uh, we're not an [00:49:00] equity partner where we just give companies money and let them spend it.

With guidance, we'll give them actual assistance, and that is I'll write well, I'll create marketing stories, I'll create success stories, I'll go to the customer, I'll go to the user groups, and for someone with a skill set like that, they probably couldn't afford them as an employee, so that's why we do it at risk and do it with an equity stake.

Because the equity stake helps, as I said, it helps recover the investment in the event of an acquisition. Otherwise, you're cashing out Apple stock to break even. And that's no


Evan Troxel: No. There's opportunity risk there.

Phil Read: if you're going to do it to break even, you might want not want to do it.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Phil Read: Do something else.

Evan Troxel: So this is an amazing story of

this. It's all accidental.

Phil Read: we talk about that at the beginning? Yeah. Okay. So stay curious. That's the hard part.

Evan Troxel: Why is that hard?

Phil Read: Uh, well, in practical terms, what tends to happen is people get a job and then they borrow money to pay for things that they need. You know, a house and a car and stuff. And then, [00:50:00] if they're good at it, they get elevated and get more money to do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.

But if you're not careful and you keep borrowing money to buy things as you work your way up, um, you no longer can say no to things that aren't interesting and you, you actually have to stop being curious.

Because you can't afford to be curious. You have to stay laser focused on the thing that, that pays the bills, that pays the, uh, borrowed money back.

So you can't be

curious. It's a, it's a terrible trap.

Evan Troxel: So if you are advising a 20 something year old person today, I mean, that's a great message.

But what beyond, like if you were to lay some, like a, a light agenda out in front of them about how to do that because, and maybe this is the wrong audience to pick because they may, they likely have debt already from going to

Phil Read: Well, but if they have kids that want to go and study

Evan Troxel: architecture.

There you go. Okay. So, Because the value of staying [00:51:00] curious means you get to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, you get to scratch that itch, when, if it, everything is appropriate, right? You, you have the luxury of being able to do that. That is a luxurious position, because I think it's a scarce position,

Phil Read: the luxury of being able to say no,


Evan Troxel: Hmm.

Phil Read: Um, 'cause when you say yes, you really, really, really have to focus. You have to say yes carefully for a young person. I would say start early college. Learn to use your tools. If you, if you, if you aspire to become an architect or study architecture, go to early college, do your architectural technology course.

It's like two years. Graduate with no debt from high school, probably early, and start college, studying something else, and then get a job part time in an architecture firm, so that you have enough time, but not too much time, free, right? If too much free time, it's, uh, you end up getting into

trouble. so yeah, so work for a firm, [00:52:00] learn how to show up, and then after you graduate, go get your master's degree in architecture.

And it's, I think it, architecture school, you know, the five year path, it's five years of It's, it's too much. They don't start, you know, every design starts in a spreadsheet. And they don't teach that at architecture school. There's a budget, there's constraints, there's a site. Um, there's constraints. And knowing what's, the metaphor for me is like, look in the fridge before you make dinner.

You should probably know what your client's constraints are before you start designing. They're gonna have a program, they have a, and that's a spreadsheet, it's not even a sketch.

Um. So, learning how to do that as early as possible sets you up for being able to say no. You don't have to borrow, if you haven't borrowed money, when you graduate, you don't have to take the job with a company that, for the person that you, that, that is maybe a terrible boss, and the, and the company that you don't like showing up for.

You can go lean. when you, when a student [00:53:00] borrows a year for five years, that's an irrecoverable debt. You can never even pay off the interest. Right. That kind of crazy money, if you didn't, if you, it, I don't know that there's any job that you, there's, you could work any job and not go to college, and live at home, work in a coffee shop, 15 bucks an hour, 30, 000 a year, put as much away as you can, in 5 years, you graduate, in 5 years you have 100K.

invest that money at the age of 22, 24,

I don't know how you could do better borrowing money to go to architecture school and then having to pay a thousand dollars a month in interest for the rest of your life.

Evan Troxel: so, when I think about architecture, capital A architecture, working in a firm, and how long it takes to work your way up a ladder, and how long it takes just to become a good architect, do you think a lot of that has to do with not doing what you just talked about? Because, because so, myself included, went into it at such a young age, you are [00:54:00] learning by doing the whole time, and I don't even feel like, like I got licensed at 40.

Right. I did not get licensed right out of school, which made it a lot harder to get licensed with four kids. And,


at the same time, uh, and this has been a conversation on my other Archispeak podcast, right? My, my partner on that podcast also got licensed, I think at 45 and it was just, we never felt ready.

There was definitely like this this this thing in our brain that was saying you're not good enough to be an architect

Phil Read: yet

Evan Troxel: because it takes there's there's there's definitely a deliberate part of that in corporate architecture Which is like just keep doing what you're doing Just keep chugging along pay your dues do all the things just like I did back in the day But then there's This alternative that you just proposed, which was learn the business, then learn what are,

Phil Read: yeah, be that.

Evan Troxel: are, and because most people don't do that, and I feel like, like this, because most people don't do that, we're in this [00:55:00] situation.

Phil Read: So part of learning how to do something at university, and this was at seminary, this was at architecture school, which actually I thought architecture school would be more rigorous in terms of intellectual rigor, and


both have their

bot It's time wise hard, like by Monday, I want three scale models.

I want nine drawings. I want this many

parties. Seminary was more rigorous from a, from


Evan Troxel: studying

Phil Read: a paper writing

standpoint. We would have 50 page thought papers due at the end of semesters in philosophy courses and things. And then when I get to architecture school, I thought, Oh my gosh, this is like, uh, This is going to be so much more rigorous. And we had five page thought papers due. And, I mean, a lot of technical drawing. There's, there's technical things that you have to do.


Evan Troxel: have to do, but, uh, If you have a good


Phil Read: drawings with a good presentation. You probably would

do better.

Evan Troxel: [00:56:00] had

Phil Read: I, we had a project, so I was working for this engineering firm, learning the value of how you are helping the customer solve the problem in a way that gives them an interesting journey.

Carlton Burton, Burton Engineering, Charlotte, North Carolina. I'll still have dinner with Carlton at Christmas this year, and I'll still tell him, no, you get next year, I'm getting this

year. And,

uh, we'll catch up. He taps me on the shoulder one day in South Park and says, Uh, I need that drawing for that project.

And I said, what are you talking about? And he rattled it off again. I said, you didn't ask me to do that.

And he went, what? And I was like, oh shit. He goes, okay, grab that roll of drawings, come with me. So I just grabbed a random roll of drawings and a roll of trace, and I'm following Carlton. We went all the way up to the top of the nation's bank building, and Carlton said something like, oh, you're gonna love it.

This is great. It was some site project. I don't know what he's doing. I opened the roll of drawings and he's like, Phil, this isn't the right project. I'm [00:57:00] like, I'm so sorry. And he goes, all right, look, anyway, here's what we're going to do. And he takes a roll of trace over the site plan. He starts sketching it up and the client went, that's going to be great.

Let's do that.

And we

walked out and Carlton kind of punched me in the arm. He goes, ah, there you go. And I learned in the moment, it's like you can give the customer a polite experience. You can communicate them. The drawing is just the artifact. For the bureaucracy, but actually showing the customer what you're going to do and why is the journey and that's what they want.

They want to understand why you make certain decisions, and that's what he did and Also being able to think on your feet because you can't not show up so you can't call the customer and say oh, yeah We forgot to do that. I'll see you next week because you'll lose your you'll lose your client real fast

Evan Troxel: One of my favorite people ever to work with was a lighting designer, John Lomeli.

He's 85 now, 90 maybe. Uh, I mean, and this was, this was not that long ago. He was probably 80 [00:58:00] when he would do this. And he would show up in, in the office. He would open it. He always had his shoulder bag and he would open it up and he would pull out a blank stack of, you know, ten pieces of eight and a half by eleven and he would pull out his little pencil case and he'd have a couple of highlighters like yellow pencils and because he's a lighting designer so he would always, you know, shade his drawings and he would, he'd pull out his lead holder Right?

Because he always drew with a lead holder. And the whole time we were having a conversation about the project, and about the lighting, he was just sketching it right in front of you. That was the communication. And

why is he my favorite person to work with on a project? That's why. And it was, it was just that experience for me as a professional, the client never even got to experience that, it was just me and him, sitting at a conference room table

and figuring it out, and he was a lefty, and I was, I just loved to watch him draw, you know, [00:59:00] and because he drew differently than I did, being a lefty, he's always concerned about You know, smudging the, the pencil lead on the paper.

And, and so you would hold, he never drew in a notebook. It was always on these sheets. Why? Because he just slid them over at the end. He said, those are yours. And I have this stack of John Lomeli drawings that were just, and it was just the thought process. It was the conversation. And I felt like those were gold.

Phil Read: Yeah, I think for the customer, it's an imposition to say this is the design. There's lots of ways you can do things.

And if you just impose the design on them, they're going to go, Well, why can't this go here and why doesn't this go here? It's all product of function.

Evan Troxel: Well then you have to explain it

Phil Read: have to explain it. But if you take them along on the

journey, at those key moments, I think it's more interesting for them and ultimately buildings are kind of like, buildings are commodity.

But that journey, that experience, knowing why certain things are a certain way, why decisions were made, [01:00:00] that's what the customer wants.

Evan Troxel: I agree. And I think it goes beyond the project at some point where the story that they have in their mind lives on because they get to tell it to other people that go into that space with them later on.

And that becomes the story of that project as it, after it leaves me and just goes to them. By creating those memories throughout the design process, they live on beyond. handing over the keys, right? And people come into the lobby or they pointed a thing. Hey, you know why that's like that? And to me, that's some of the most successful parts of architecture.

And no one ever gets to see that you actually have to

Phil Read: It's how, why certain decisions were

made along the

Evan Troxel: Yeah, And they get to tell that story and they get to proliferate it beyond, time period that we had together. It continues to live beyond that

I love that about architecture

Phil Read: a young person and you start becoming exposed to that early on, it'll probably make architecture school more difficult later. [01:01:00] You know, if you're too, um, if design becomes too much a product of function. If you get into your graduate program and you're, yeah,

you know,

Evan Troxel: practical.

Phil Read: maybe too practical and you might be frustrated by the, you know, the first year grad students who are still making blobs and you're trying to make decisions.

But, um, other thing is small firms, you'll have to do

everything. I need you to update the webpage. I need you to figure out why this network isn't responding. I need you to mix this



Evan Troxel: do it all.

Phil Read: But that puts you on a track of success that's, you're not gonna get that, I don't know, if you graduate from the regular program and you go to work for a firm that's a large firm, they have people that drive things, they have people

that do post production on renderings, there's people that do specific things, and you're just not gonna get, um, Scott Adams, uh, the guy that did Dilbert, he calls it a talent stack, there's [01:02:00] a great book, um, called, uh, Win Bigly.

It's like how to fail at everything but still succeed. And the idea is that if you have a talent stack where you can do a lot of things pretty


you'll have an advantage over all of the people that can do one thing really great. And so, you know, accidentally going to seminary meant reading a lot of philosophy and reading a lot of ideas of how people are motivated.

Um, in the communications department we were still mixing physical media so it was videotape and audiotape. But then you learn this.

Analog process that transfers to digital. So now I'm like, I use Camtasia because it's a pretty easy tool when I have to mix video. but then nothing's unfamiliar. It's not a surprise.

If I, at seminary you had to do a lot of dissertations, you had to do a lot of discussions, debates. So now, As much as I got out of seminary and said, I don't want to tell people how to live, um, that's way beyond me. But then you get in the software space and you realize, Oh, you're trying to convince people on why they should change behavior and live a certain way.

[01:03:00] Right? If the irony doesn't escape. Yeah, but the psychology of, of why people want to change behavior and trying to find what is the, where's the critical mass and why this is better for you in terms of, Like I saw, I wasn't sure if Revit as a company would survive and the first big trip we took, uh, it was probably either Singapore or, it was probably Auckland, New Zealand, and there was a builder's show.

This would have been early 2001, and everybody had their wares out. It was a, yeah, it was a builder construction software thing at the, at the, uh, at And, um,

there was a row of people, I think ARCHICAD was there, probably Autodesk was there, a row of technologies. And two university students were looking at Revit, and I was just So happy and probably way naive about this whole industry and software space, you know, I just wanted Revit to succeed I didn't know a Revit was gonna get acquired and now it's like I [01:04:00] wanted to use Revit at the time because why do I Have to use AutoCAD.

Why do I have to use microstation? I want to use the tool that I like and now I hear people say, you know, I have to use Revit

Evan Troxel: I can't

Phil Read: I can't use this other thing Yeah, it's full circle and these two students were looking at Revit and one said why do we want to learn how to use this? We graduate people are going to pass to use AutoCAD, because they were still in school.

And his associate said, if we learn how to use Revit, we can drink beer on Fridays.

Evan Troxel: drink beer on Fridays.

Phil Read: Evan, I thought, you know what? It's not about the architecture. It's about the life afforded. Can you have a drink with an evening with a friend after work? Can you have an interesting discussion? It really affords you.

An interesting life, and so if you have tools that allow you the time to enjoy the things that you do with your tools, that's a pretty good gig. it's not about Revit, it's about the time that you have left over having used Revit, or whatever tool it is.

Evan Troxel: I've [01:05:00] talked with Roderick Bates at Enscape

about just the idea of a rendering tool, which used to be post production.

That was what people got at the end of DD, to now using it as a decision making tool in the design process.

And it's crazy, and to think about it from, you know, somebody who's lived through the various, It's a great way for people in those stages of technology to say, you know, we talked about this inclusion in the process from a client's perspective and the experience that they want


of that.

A tool like that gives, just brings joy to a client. When you can hand them the mouse, you can say it works like this and then they can actually do it. They don't have to be a technical operator at the highest level to navigate their way through a project, or they don't have to just be, uh, the, the victim of a presentation either, right?

They actually can drive it and look where they want. It's transformative. Is that something that [01:06:00] you saw in a product like that early or was it more of just like wow This is saving me a ton of time I downloaded

Phil Read: Yeah, so I, I downloaded Enscape, opened it up, was blown away by its immediacy, right? So they say you can have pick two or three, fast, easy, and


Enscape was fast, it was inexpensive, it was easy to use, and the results were really compelling. So I think there's an artifact that occurs in architecture or, or maybe in art in general. Um, at the point of performance, there has to be an emotional response. And if you just show the, if you show the client sheet music, all the way, all the way, all


way, and they keep approving sheet music, and then at the end you perform it, and they go, did I pay for this?

It's like, oh no, I showed you the sheet music. So there's, I showed, uh, I showed Enscape to the youngest. Jasper was probably 14 at the time. And I said, what do you think? And he said, I guess it's okay. Like, I was like, are you kidding? Like, this is so much better than rendering, and he said, what's rendering?

Evan Troxel: rendering?

Phil Read: And it occurred to me that he'd grown up playing Minecraft. There's [01:07:00] this idea of stopping to do another thing, you just always experience it in 3D. So here I am, you know, in this little Revit sample project inside of Enscape, and I said, well, let me show you. Open up the render window, medium, probably medium quality, hit the render button.

And you know, the window goes black, and it says, Estimating Time Remaining. And after 10 seconds, he said, Well, this sucks. Why are you doing it? And I said, This is rendering. And he goes, Like, Why would anyone do this? And I said, Because that's how you have to do it. And the idea of being able to see it concurrently, that was a kind of a very Revit thing.

The idea that information in Revit was always concurrent. I could take something out of a schedule, and it would come out of an elevation.

Evan Troxel: of an

Phil Read: So, with Enscape Rendering was for people that could model. Actually, rendering was for people that could render. It was highly specialized. And it was typically an artifact after you'd come through some

Evan Troxel: It was a completely separate channel of expertise. It

Phil Read: person, probably. And so the, the, the dysfunction or the disconnect I saw was that the client would sign off emotionally [01:08:00] on plan sections and elevations. And then when you would take all of those and create an artifact, you know, then at that point from all of these 2D drawings, you would do effectively projection hand drafting to create a rendering.

And they would go, I don't know.


with Revit, you could show them at least a perspective right at the beginning, because that the perspective was concurrent to the plan sections and elevations. With Enscape, you can show them a rendering from the very beginning. Um, and the emotional impact, even though the design at that stage is very lightweight geometrically, there's not a lot of detail, but there's an emotional impact with regard to lighting.

Ambient light and artificial lighting, it's like key.

It's, and so I think. What Enscape also did, and this is typically any, any technology that kind of becomes viral, is rendering tools were built for people that render. Enscape was designed for people that don't render.

Evan Troxel: render.

Phil Read: So early on, there were a couple of large firms that I [01:09:00] showed Enscape tool that came back with, Oh, we showed it to our, our Max team and we can't use it, it doesn't work with Max.

And then I realized,

Evan Troxel: that's not the

Phil Read: Yeah. So, because I could also do marketing stories, I would seed Enscape in companies that I knew they competed with, and then do a success story, and then I would get a phone call that said, you know, you bastard, I need a quote for ten seats.

Evan Troxel: You're a workaround.

Phil Read: Because, yeah, the workaround is show your competition. because, The rendering team and maybe at first the rendering team is kind of threatened that this other democratizing tool comes along But then they realize oh my goodness. Thank goodness. I don't have to do all of these



Evan Troxel: more challenging


Phil Read: cuz they're not going away if you're doing big projects if

you're doing

Evan Troxel: to work on better


Phil Read: You're the guy that's created the visualizations for the billion dollar football stadium And now you can focus on that and not

doing the renderings that I just need for

today So where I think it's going to get interesting is, if Enscape had created another rendering tool [01:10:00] for people that render, they would be fighting within an existing kind of market.

But they created a tool for people that don't render, however, it's for people that model. And what the transition, where the transition is occurring now, is there are rendering tools for people that don't even model. There's rendering tools that, for people that can draw and describe.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Phil Read: And in the past, I don't think the transition is really that different.

I call it AI, uh, there's two kinds. There's the carbon based AI, which is the architectural intern, and there's the silicon based

Evan Troxel: I wanted to talk to you about this because you wrote a LinkedIn post about this. Is AI the next architectural intern? I think was the

Phil Read: of it. I think they'll use in conjunction. You know, the two hour long conversation that you'd have with the design team, And with the client, to create a kind of visual proforma and some, some design artifacts to get on a vector that's going to be worked on for two weeks.

I'm seeing evidence of this, you know, the two hour conversation is [01:11:00] distilled into a, into a language model. It's a text description. And it doesn't create geometry, and probably for good, I don't want it to create geometry, I want it to create an emotional metaphor.

Evan Troxel: metaphor.

Phil Read: And

in some, and, and in some ways actually the way it deviates at times can create opportunities that you wouldn't have thought of.

I don't know, do you play any

instruments? You know when you, okay, so when you're noodling around on the guitar and all of a sudden you go,

Oh my gosh, that is an amazing chord progression. And it was an accident. And so AI has this kind of flexibility of where it creates these accidents. So I don't know that I need geometry, I just need a metaphor.

But the AI is the, is the silicon based architectural intern.

And, uh, I think Enscape will do a good job of addressing this. I think the, the Veras team, uh, well, not Veras, what's the bigger company there, um, with Bill and

those guys? Yeah, Evolve. I think they've done something so elegant. Cause originally,

Verus was for people that model.

It was a plug in for SketchUp, Revit, Rhino. But with the web version [01:12:00] It's for people that just sketch, and


Evan Troxel: yeah.

Phil Read: and I've taken photos of gin bottles and coffee cups, and gotten emotional feedback from that that went, Wow, I wouldn't have thought of


Evan Troxel: son and I, there, there's one, I don't, I don't have a Verus license, but, uh, there's one called viscom. ai, and it's, it's, it's very similar in that way, where it's like, he, he has given me these very rudimentary drawings that he's, he, he, sorry, if he listened to this, he would not agree,

but these very detailed, highly stylized drawings of, like, supercars and

Phil Read: Right.

Evan Troxel: and, I take a photo of it with my iPhone, I throw it into this interface, and he writes a description, and I've talked about this on recent episodes, just, just in that, the pure joy


Phil Read: me.

Evan Troxel: he experiences when that car shows up on the screen as a fully rendered, two dimensional, granted, right, image,[01:13:00]

Phil Read: Right.

Evan Troxel: I designed that, is what he says.

I designed, Mom, look, I

Phil Read: this. When you look close, it's smudgy. But so is an early sketch. You haven't resolved all of that. There's smudginess. The smudginess is

Evan Troxel: okay.

It's, it totally, and to me, that excitement that I see in him, I wish I could have more people in our industry experience that on a day to day basis in the tools that they use.

Professional tools. These are professional tools. This is the next generation of professional tools. And I think it's, it's really, it's fun to watch because it reminds me of the first time I used whatever app that I, I experienced that with, right? Maybe it was Bryce3D back in the day and generating a landscape or some crazy Kai's Power Tools Photoshop plugin or something like that where it was just like, you can bevel this text and make, have shiny highlights and all that stuff.

Like that to me was just like, I loved that kind of stuff, or the first time I blew something up in 3D Studio back in the day, right?

Phil Read: [01:14:00] The AI renderings, if I had to model that, or find someone who could model that, I think it's probably two weeks of full time

work to get to that level of emotional feedback.

And then it's a throwaway. It's like, okay, well that's one, but I need about 20 of

Evan Troxel: 20 of these.

Phil Read: So I was working on

Evan Troxel: percent of the architectural

Phil Read: just want to get on vector with the client, like, what Where are we? What do you like? Uh,

Evan Troxel: a

Phil Read: if it's a, if it, if it's a commercial project, I think it's one level of an emotional spon response.

But if it's a, if it's where they're going to live, it's another level of emotional response like, this is. It's something that appeals to them at a, at a subconscious level. And this engineering, no, no, uh, it was an interiors firm, and they would talk with the customer, and then they would start to think in terms of metaphor of like, well, what kind of architect already works that way?

And they would just do Google, Pinterest image searches based on this architect, in order to then reiterate this in the context of this customer's project. And so we did that, [01:15:00] we did an experiment. Basically, uh, we were probably using MidJourney at the time, and the text description was referencing the kind of architects that

would, or the kinds of designers that would create, and they were like, well this is better for us because we're getting something closer without having to do image searches that already exist.


I think from that standpoint, and the amount of set dressing that automatically occurs based on your text prompt, that's a lot of manual effort to put.

The flowers on the table in the right spot, like all of these little things that emotional, that you can emotionally respond to. Mid journey, I think mid journey is a good one, that's the one I see getting used a lot.

Stable diffusion, but Veras seems to be a little viral, it's so approachable. It's for people that don't model. Just sketch, take a photograph, and it gets you on a vector. And then you're gonna have to be deliberate about the next step. But, uh, That, that inflection point, I think it's already here. [01:16:00] People are just going to expect that.

And it's a faster way to search for images, effectively. You know, you could look for images that

do that but

Evan Troxel: don't know

Phil Read: how it's going to go away.

Evan Troxel: I don't either. Well, yeah, the toothpaste is out of the tube, as they say. It's not going back in.

Phil Read: So I would hire an intern that could take a dis I'll still have a discussion. If I was, if, if I was an architect now, I would just hire an intern that could take a longer discussion and distill it into a text prompt.

Evan Troxel: The value of an architect at those early stages. is about that experience, but it's also about curating a level of taste for a lot of, you know, right? And, and to me, like, that's what makes the difference between somebody who types in something they want to see the image generator generate, versus actually curating the output and becoming really good at that.

And I think that that is probably the shift in the education of an intern who could then drive that technology is, we're going to use this tool to drive and develop Our taste with our client and get good at [01:17:00] that. Like actually get really good at getting stuff out of it that is what you're actually looking for.

Not just whatever the first response is based on a really simple prompt. But, like this whole idea of prompt engineering, right? It's kind of a dumb name for something that's actually really

Phil Read: necessary.

If you talk to someone in this for two hours about a project and, and then ask them, what did I just say? Give me a one minute



hard for some people to do


But if you had someone who could distill a long conversation, or take notes and then distill that note, I use Siri on the

Mac to distill notes in order to create a text prompt.

And, uh, I work, uh, work and am personal friends with an architect in Charlotte, studied at State, now he's gone into the construction space, he owns a contracting firm, but he does earnest design with a client.

before the architect gets


Evan Troxel: Hmm.

Phil Read: And then he'll do sketches, he'll get to the point, he'll probably, actually, he'll take his sketches, put them into SketchUp,

and then give it to someone else [01:18:00] to do some renderings, and then get that back to the customer to get on a vector. And, uh, I said, let me show you something, this thing called Veras.

I said, give me one of your

Evan Troxel: one of

Phil Read: this

project to me. What's it gonna be made of? Where is it? So,

via Siri, put that into a text prompt, and from my phone, created four renderings, and he was just blown away. He was like And it actually, it actually did the thing where it didn't exactly do what the sketch imposed, it kind of

Evan Troxel: deviated.

Phil Read: He's like, oh, I like this one, I hadn't thought


that. Yeah, because

Evan Troxel: there's that slider in there for, like, geometry retention, right? Like, respect my geometry or not. And, and you can, I like how that, It's a metaphor for, where are you in the design process? It's like, it's

like, yeah, at the beginning, it's like, no, like, let's just, let's just go, go crazy.

And then the farther along you get, it's like, respect it some more, respect it more. Now, respect mostly,

Phil Read: But at that point, he can take something that is on vector with the [01:19:00] customer's fiscal and emotional response, and then begin in earnestness with, I think, way more confidence.


So this guy's an architect who has his own construction firm who designs with a client. Like that's, that's a lot of value.

That hard, you know, otherwise, if you have to hire people to do each of these

Evan Troxel: do these a new game, right? I, I feel like if you, knowing what you know now, we're going to start a firm. So we've given advice to the students about how to maybe. Plan their career, but if you're going to give advice to someone who's interested in starting a

Phil Read: You're ready to fire the

firm that you work

for and go into business

Evan Troxel: you are sick and tired of the way that they do things and you're gonna do it your way

Phil Read: So, yeah, the grass is going to look really green. You probably want to transition. You don't just want to, unless you get

Evan Troxel: go. You're not gonna cut, yeah, cut it off.

Phil Read: You're

not going to cut it

Evan Troxel: these two, you're gonna side hustle. You're gonna

Phil Read: you're gonna do what Frank [01:20:00] Wright did, right? A couple of client projects on the

side until you get fired by Lou Sullivan. Yeah, that you're gonna have to get to know yourself in some, I think you're gonna, you should subject yourself to some, uh, Personality tests, because part of being in business is chasing the customer for money, and I don't know that artists, I think, I don't know that they're good at that, yeah, I don't think, I think some artists are conflict avoidant,

I don't think it's a coincidence there's so many acronym firms with three or four letters in them, because somebody was probably a great

designer, somebody's probably managing the business, and someone's probably chasing the money, You, should probably partner with somebody who's comfortable being half asshole sometimes, to like saying I'm gonna have to put a lock on your project until you pay me.

that's part of it. If, if,

yeah. I'm

Evan Troxel: glad you brought that up actually because I was thinking the other, I'm thinking the other part of that equation. Which is like, wow the tools are way different nowadays. If I was going to start something now, I would approach it [01:21:00] very differently. But what you're talking about is actually way more fundamental to this, to the business.

Phil Read: It's like someone who will pick up the phone and go, you owe us money. Do I have to come by? Hey, let's chat. You owe us money. I need to check today. Because if you don't do that, you're cashing out your own funds to pay your staff. A team of, I don't know that you need that many people. If you had, or one of the business partners, somebody who's happily chased the money, and somebody who's happy to chase the customer to do the next project, and then maybe one or two technical people.

But even now,


can almost hire them on demand. There's, I mean, the technology allows, imagine not having to kick the project off and then hand it to people to do the documentation. We will actually do work, we get designs from architects. They love the design process, but then getting it from that preliminary stage to starting construction documents, or something that's late design development, where it's a really good, a really [01:22:00] fit Revit model.

They're just not good at that, doing it quickly and well. And so they'll hand us, in some cases, hand sketches, or photographs of hand sketches with a scale, and we'll mock that up in Revit, and then they get it back. So they're focused on Getting the project secure with the customer, and then the last mile of design documentation and instructions based on what their local city or municipality requires from them.

And the piece in the middle, which is get it to the point where I can start coordinating the design and find out where the gotchas are. Because we'll find lots of design problems, um, in sketches where things don't align, and we don't change it. We just point them out and go, where would you like the core to go?

Should we move the upstairs core over or move the downstairs core over? And we get to work with designers who do just extraordinary work and their teams of one or two. It's, it's, I think it's probably harder for the young people who if they want to get to that stage of completion of being able to sign, seal and deliver drawings, [01:23:00] you almost have to go to work for a larger firm at that point because they have the overhead to absorb.

Uh, your lack of return on investment early on, right? They're going to work with you to get to that three to five year period to where you're paying back the investment. yeah, you could go to lunch and decide I'm going to start a firm with someone and you need a laptop and some

software. I don't know that you even need office space.

If you have a customer who said, if you have a customer who goes, look, I love working with you guys. If you ever went out on your own, call me,

you're probably golden at that point. The hard part that I've seen is a firm would, they'll get that first project, and then they start hiring people, and then it starts to get quiet, and there's a moral obligation with artists that, you know, this person's starting a family, and this person's trying to buy a house, and you have all of, you know that these people have lives, and you can't just let them go, but you don't have another project coming in, and something comes in that you really don't care about that

project type, but you say yes to keep everybody fed.

And, uh, it'll [01:24:00] never happen again, but then it happens again and again and again. And the next thing


doing, site adapts for car

Evan Troxel: It's not normally like this, is what they say when the new person shows up.

It's not normally,

Phil Read: I know, you know, you don't like doing transportation hubs and, and warehouses, but we have this

warehouse project.

Evan Troxel: like this, yeah.

Phil Read: Well, if you're only one or two people, three people, and you can stay lean between projects you don't care about, it's

okay. Because you've

done really well with a few people, and you've got, you've got a bit of a fund set up to then go and find the next project that you care about. And now you've, now you've defined yourself by that kind of project, and you've done really exquisite work, and now the customers start finding you.

They want to know, who designed that? I want one of those.

Evan Troxel: It's interesting to me is the

Phil Read: If you can wait and say no, that's the hard part. The

Evan Troxel: you just wrap that up completely aligns with the advice we gave earlier. You gave earlier about


to make it so that you have that luxury later in life by not being in debt, [01:25:00] right?

Because you, these two things actually work really well together, but, but you, one does come before the other. Right? You, you have to be set up to be in a position where you, again, have the ability to say no to things so that you can really do the things you care about with the ones that you say

Phil Read: Everyone below the king says yes. The king gets to say no. And, um,


you don't want to be Man, if you got You know, I mean, simple things. We as artists and architects, we like to have nice things, but don't buy a new car. Not out of college. Um, as soon as you can stop renting, if it makes sense.


soon as you can not live in the big expensive city, but live on the outskirts, where things aren't as expensive.

It just gives you so much fReadom and flexibility. as much money as you spend on the things that you like. Buy the stock of the company that makes the thing that

you like.

So, had you bought the 400 iPod when they [01:26:00] first came out, and you bought 400 in Apple stock. If you spend 3, 000 a year on Apple, on Autodesk software, buy 3, 000 a year in Autodesk stock.

If you buy 3, 000 in Adobe software, buy 3, 000 in Adobe stock. And your portfolio


technologies that you use as tools to make things will become more valuable. Than the tool that you bought to make the thing like it'll, it would,

I think

the example I, I like to give is the, mentioned this before, the $400 iPod.

Uh, if you had $400 in, in effectively $400 in Apple stock in 2001, it would be worth well over a hundred grand now. And that gives you a lot of ability to say no. You've got a buffer there. So, yeah, always, I'm not a, I don't think, I've done well investing in technology markets, but the basic rule was buy things that I understand and things from companies that make products that I buy. [01:27:00] So, Autodesk, Apple, Adobe, Google, NVIDIA,

If you buy computers with NVIDIA graphic cards because you like that computer, you probably want to go out and buy as much, you know, your 2, workstation. Buy that much in NVIDIA stock.

Evan Troxel: I like that. That's a good rule of thumb, and it's easy to, could be easy to track that. It'd be hard to do, I think, for a lot of people. Like, it's basically doubling your spending every year. But, but if you're resourceful, That pays dividends.

Phil Read: It might be hard the first time, but if you haven't bought


new car, you got


left over.

yeah, I don't know.

Evan Troxel: Yep. I don't have a car with less than 150, 000 miles on it. Because

Phil Read: The fReadom of not having a car


I shouldn't even talk about this because I'm on the cusp of buying a new car right now, which I've never bought a new car in,

Evan Troxel: never bought

Phil Read: jeez, 20, 30 years. But I'm about to buy a new car. Um, but I wouldn't, if you're going to buy the new iPhone, put 1, 000 in Apple stock.

Because what you're [01:28:00] buying is a,

it's kind of a consumable in a way. You're buying something that's going to run out of goodness in three to five

years. But the company that makes it

It's an, it's an enormously useful ecosystem, and it's hard to compete with ecosystems, so that's why I like Autodesk, that's why I like Apple, that's why I like NVIDIA.

NVIDIA has a huge ecosystem of developers that, that design things that run on their graphic cards. And I mean, it kind of took off with, uh,

currency mining, and now it seems to be transitioning to language models,

and, yeah.

Evan Troxel: know who

Phil Read: But I don't know who else has a better ecosystem. so if you don't,


if you just keep buying the thing, it's easy for artists to spend money on things that are consumables.

I actually, so Autodesk, Adobe, NVIDIA, Google, Apple, if you put,


could be another one, particularly when you can't go out and shop, right? If you looked at those four or five companies and said, Okay, just 1, 000 in those companies 10 years [01:29:00] ago,

what it would be worth now?

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

But I think the


Phil Read: gives you The

fReadom to say no and to be curious.

Evan Troxel: The thinking now is, well, they're so expensive, they can't possibly do that again. And yet, they do.

Phil Read: Are we going to go away from

screens? Right.

is technology going to continue to


Evan Troxel: Media delivery,

Phil Read: if screens go away, we have bigger problems.

But, um, I think the ability for, the ability we have right now to find out information on demand has its pluses and minuses. I mean, you know, it's a way to keep yourself anxious all the time if you keep scrolling through media and scrolling through news. But if you need to find out something quickly and get an answer, a context specific answer, it's trivial now.

So I don't think that's going away. The desire, if I want to know something quickly or at least get on a


And those companies seem to make tools that are ecosystems around finding out things quickly. Or, or I would put it this way, Evan. I

invest in companies that make, uh, tools, not toys.

So [01:30:00] if I'm buying a thing to then use it to make something else, that's a tool. It's not just a, it's not just a, something that's being consumed

as a game or an entertainment. But if I'm buying it to make a movie, or if I'm buying it to make a building, yeah, then it's a toy. Then it's a tool. There's the other thing is, you know, because architecture school,

I don't even think professional practice, it's, it's more about the bureaucracy of practice.

It's not about like, how do you manage your personal finances? You need a good accountant. What's, if you buy a phone for yourself as a private person and you save 10 percent of what you make, you have to make 10 grand to buy a phone for a thousand dollars. If you buy a phone for yourself and you've got a side hustle as a designer, that's now an expense to the business. Why would you ever buy a, why would you ever not have a business?

otherwise things are too expensive. The mile that you drive to meet with a customer versus the mile you drive to, [01:31:00] yeah, for your own use. You just want to be able to deduct those things properly. The laptop that you buy, all of those advantages.

So if you're in business now, You probably want to have a side hustle.

Evan Troxel: And

there's a certain amount of discipline that comes along with that to track those things so that you can legitimize all that at the end of the

Phil Read: the year,

Evan Troxel: is an is another area of overhead that some people are just not willing to

Phil Read: Okay, so architecture school should teach you to do that. Like, if I have an expense, I take a photograph of it, I upload it to a Dropbox folder, and they stay in that folder until I put it in a spreadsheet, and then it goes into a different folder. So there's a way of tracking


Like, just practical, practical advice on, like, you don't have to buy expensive accounting software, you probably have, in my business we use something called Harvest, which is a way of tracking time and expenses, and then we give it to an accountant.

We don't try to become accountant. Adam has his MBA, and he's probably smart enough to know not to be the accountant, I mean, he's an accountant to the point, but then we give it to [01:32:00] the

tax person, and let them take it over. They don't teach this at architecture school. Again, it's that focus on when you go to school, you're thinking about it in terms of how will I use this as an employee versus how will I use this as an


and they don't want you to go fast at architecture school, right? It's, every year you're there, you're gonna spend more money, so they, I think in a way, university is incentivized to drag things out.

Evan Troxel: Hmm. I feel like this whole idea of Systematizing things to make it easy to do these tracking along the way is a key component.

And, and I, this is what project managers do really well in architecture firms, right? It's like you take care of it right then. And a designer on the, like that mindset, you know, in the quote unquote capital D designer world is like. It's messy, it's loose, we live in the chaos of it and it's fine. And those are very different mindsets, as a, somebody who's doing this podcast as a

business, when you talked about upload, it's like, I have a Notion database, and I get the [01:33:00] receipt, I take a picture of it, it goes right into the cell, and it's automatically calculating in the right category.

Why? Because if I don't do it like that, I won't do it at all. It has to

Phil Read: Yeah, but you, by doing it, you can forget about it.

It frees you


Evan Troxel: and, and so, and this goes back to running digital practice in a firm where you're trying to convince the, the audience at large in the firm to do things systematically or based on a standard, and they see that as handcuffs. And it's like, no, it's fReadom.

Phil Read: It's freeing you up.

Evan Troxel: It is fReadom because you don't ever have to think about that again. You get to do better things. You get to do more


things, more valuable

Phil Read: you have to delegate, you don't have to

hire. And

Evan Troxel: if you accrue the debt along the way and then you have to do it all at the end,

Phil Read: Oh no, it's too, complex. it's

too You'll forget.

Evan Troxel: do it.

Phil Read: You can't do it.

So the end is where I think where the industry has gone now is a lot of specialists that can work together on demand. Team comes [01:34:00] together. It's happened in the film and stage space,

uh, where

major motion picture or even better TV shows now.

They put teams together to do art direction, set design, set construction. After the project, they go away. They're not employees. And I can see architecture. It's certainly happened in the construction space where they've stopped employing people that do things and they hire them as subcontractors when the project comes together.

And they get the people that play well together. And then they go away. But if you do good work, you come back together when the band's ready to play. So that's where the, uh, that's the process. If you want to start your own business now, you don't go and rent office space. It's like three year lease. No, forget that. Go lean,and if the client has an office, you go there and you present the work.

Evan Troxel: This is a great place to pause because at this point in the conversation, We really needed a break. So we'll pick back up right here in the next episode for part two. [01:35:00] And remember, you can support what I'm doing here by subscribing to the show, both on YouTube and in your favorite podcast app. And don't forget to check out the show notes for this episode at TRXL.

co. Talk to you again soon.