148: ‘Universal Language’, with Petr Mitev

A conversation with Petr Mitev.

148: ‘Universal Language’, with Petr Mitev

Petr Mitev joins the podcast to talk about his journey from working in architecture to focusing on technology in the AEC industry, his move to Germany as his role has evolved at Enscape, some of his philosophy about AI and its potential for architects, the democratization of tools and the superpowers they provide to users, and the release of Enscape for the Mac.

About Petr Mitev:

Petr thrives on diverse problems and solving them through an agile and experimental application of technology. He’s currently working with Chaos as the Vice President of Solutions for Designers to create software products and technologies that empower and improve the design and delivery of the built environment. Although his education was in traditional design & Architecture, his work with the Research Group at KieranTimberlake and his experience as the Head of Application Development and Design Computation at NBBJ allowed him to merge his background in formal design with his passion for empowering technology. Petr’s main focus now is leveraging his product experience and knowledge of the AECO industry to create solutions that effectively improve the environment and answer the most pressing questions faced today as builders of tomorrow.

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148: ‘Universal Language’, with Petr Mitev
Petr Mitev joins the podcast to talk about his journey from working in architecture to focusing on technology in the AEC industry, his move to Germany as his…

Episode Transcript:

TRXL Member 148: ‘Universal Language’, with Petr Mitev
Evan Troxel: [00:00:00] Welcome to the TRXL podcast. I'm Evan Troxel. Before we begin, if you are a regular listener and enjoy these episodes, please use the subscribe button on YouTube and in your preferred podcast app, to let me know that you're a fan of the show. Your subscription is incredibly valuable in supporting my efforts.
And I genuinely hope that you're finding the conversations published here, enriching for yourself and valuable for the AEC industry. Being a subscriber, which is completely free, directly influences two things. My ability to attract sponsors and help keep the show going. And my ability to attract high profile guests, which is great for you.
My goal is to provide value to you and the industry as a whole. So if you haven't subscribed, I encourage you to do so. As I mentioned, it is completely free and a great way to [00:01:00] support the show.
Okay. In this episode, I welcome Petr Mitev back to the podcast. Petr is the vice president of solutions for designers at Chaos Enscape. In this episode, we discuss his journey from working in architecture to focusing on technology in the AEC industry, his move to Germany as his role has evolved at Enscape some of his philosophy about AI and its potential for architects, the democratization of tools and the super powers they provide to users and the release of Enscape for the Mac, which I am really happy to see because I love working on my Mac. And I'm particularly excited that Enscape is indeed working in Rhino version eight on the Mac.
Can't believe I'm saying those words all at the same time with the latest preview release of Enscape. I don't even think that this is currently an option in the windows version of Rhino eight, much too many users dismay, [00:02:00] but it only seems fair to me as a Mac user who has waited oh, so long for these apps to come to the Mac. I say that jokingly, of course, or maybe not.
Anyway, I've read on the Enscape forums that support for version eight of rhino on windows, maybe coming in mid February. Anyway, this was a fantastic conversation with Petr and I hope you'll not only find value in it for yourself, but that you'll help add value to the profession by sharing it with your network. And now without further ado, I bring you Petr Mitev. .

Evan Troxel: Well, Petr, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you.
Petr Mitev: Yeah, thank you for having me again. I'm excited.
Evan Troxel: it's been, uh, let's see. It was end of March, 2021 that we last talked. I'm checking my notes here. So it's been a couple of years almost. I mean, a lot has happened and, and I was looking back through the show notes for that episode. [00:03:00] And just to remind myself about what we talked about, and then we've seen each other in person a couple of times since then at various trade shows, but You were, let's see, in that episode, you talked about leaving practice, going to work in tech.
You were going to move overseas, and Enscape 3. 0 had just come out, right? So, that was kind of, that was the state of the, of, of Petr's union back then. So, where, what, what's happened? Catch us up over the last couple years.
Petr Mitev: Yeah, sure thing. I mean, it, it feels like just yesterday we had that conversation, but it's, it's crazy to hear that date come out of your mouth because it really was that, that long ago. Uh, so what's, what's the state of the union today? Well, uh, Enscape 4. 0 is about to come out, which is another really, really big milestone for us.
It's, it's something that we've been working towards for, for a long time. It's exciting that we get to bring our, our, our product to a lot of people that, I mean, before just haven't had a [00:04:00] chance to interact with it, namely, namely the Mac users. Um, so that's been really, really special. And on my side of things, I mean, I did, I did complete the move to overseas.
I get to, I actually live about 15 minutes from headquarters. I'm just walking, really. I don't even drive or need to ride a bike. So that's super exciting just to be able to interact with everybody super frequently. And of course, being here also allows me to. Fly to our other offices, you know, Sophia Copenhagen.
So, uh, very exciting to be surrounded by a lot of really, really passionate and very cool people. Like that's, that's really the best part of, of chaos now that we're together. And, um, I dunno, I'm looking forward to a lot more of that.
Evan Troxel: So, the chaos Acquisition merger happened since we've talked last as well officially on the podcast and It seems like a really nice compliment and maybe you could talk a little bit about that just to set up What why did that happen catch us up on that part of the story as well?
Petr Mitev: Yeah, sure thing. So [00:05:00] it was a merger between Chaos and Enscape. And like you said, uh, completely complimentary, not just from a product perspective, but I think also from a, from a people perspective. I mean, uh, historically people have always. Ask me before the merger, I mean, you know, like, what, what are you going to do about a VRay or Corona?
And my answer was maybe not the one they wanted to hear, but my answer was always like, I'm not even competing with those people. We're doing completely different things, uh, which is perfectly fine. And, and we are, you know, they've, they've historically always focused on, Uh, super high quality, you know, things that are ready to be put into, uh, an Avengers movie or a Star Wars movie, Game of Thrones, right?
Just the absolute bleeding edge of, of graphics and technology, which is awesome. Uh, but it's, it's, you know, for, for some people it's, it's, uh, not accessible just because it, it requires such a huge body of knowledge to, to use. Whereas our priority, uh, at Enscape has always been. To actually serve the other side of the [00:06:00] industry is the people that don't have time to learn this immense body of knowledge, whether it's an architect, interior designer, landscape designer, doesn't matter.
But, you know, people whose day to day job is building buildings or parks or infrastructure. So, yeah, it's been completely complimentary from, from that side of things. There's very little, um, conflict or overlap, whatever you want to call it between the different products. And, and honestly, the only other exciting part that I want to highlight is.
It's the people, uh, because we work on different things, but we're all very motivated and everybody's, uh, super positive and, and they're, they're thinking about the right things. You know, we, we don't get distracted by, um, some of these other kind of little niggling problems that I think plague bigger organizations.
So it's, yeah, it's been awesome and we've got a lot to figure out still. Don't get me wrong. This is never an easy process, but it's, I think it's one absolutely worth doing and I'm super glad we did it.
Evan Troxel: It seems like there are the kinds of Mergers and acquisitions where we've seen this happen play out [00:07:00] in AEC tech plenty of times with a big company buying a small company and just making it go away, right? And then there's what, what we're seeing here, which is like no pump. money into that product line so that it can grow and meet more users where they are.
And I think, you know, one thing that you brought up in that was, was that when I think about V Ray, when I think about the high end visualization products, and I think about operating that product. I think about somebody sitting behind a cockpit dashboard, right? I, I, that's what I, I visualize that. It's like, there are so many switches and so many variables, and you have to know what all of those different, it's a very different vocabulary than what an architect is trained.
under and so it's like you've got diffuse this and you've got specular that and you've got normals and you've got all these you've got all these global illumination variables and you know you've got all this bounce number and it's like [00:08:00] to to an architect none of that makes sense unless you really do a deep dive and become a specialist and V Ray already had a foothold definitely in the architectural in the AEC space.
in high end visualization. But that meant there were very few users in firms who actually knew how to use it. A lot of times they came from a visual effects background or were now moving into architecture, um, and, and vice versa. I've also seen People who are working in visualization at firms go on to work at high end visual of visualization houses that take that even farther, right?
Like Jason Addy at Neoscape has been on the podcast before and a couple of the other Neoscape guys too where they're doing super high end. Stuff where it's like they're doing that to win work at the highest level. They're helping firms win work at the highest level. And then there's firms who have that one or two visualization specialists if they're lucky to have that [00:09:00] position.
And Enscape was like everybody else who actually just needed to pump out high quality enough and super high quality images. day to day basis. And I think one thing that, you know, Roderick Bates has been on the show before, you've been on the show before, and I know this topic has come up with other people as well, which is, now we're using the tools.
as a design aid. We're using it to make decisions along the way. Now it's not the end of the process, which it used to be. Anytime it was V Ray, it was the end of the process, right? It was, because it had to be. It was so technical. And now we're using it way earlier along the path of design to help make decisions along the way because we've also seen the shift to basically renderings are free now.
Right? It's like, it's like with, with BIM, drawings became quote unquote free because we had, we built the model, we automatically got the sections, we got the plans, we got the RCPs, all those things. And now with real time rendering It's [00:10:00] like, we're always visualizing in 3D. We're always visualizing in a shaded, beautiful environment with a tool like this.
It really helps just crank out images, and we're constantly, because as an architect, clients were always asking for rent, updated renderings, and it was like, no, you only get those at the end of DD. That was when you got them, because that was when the design had settled down enough for us to spend the time to do it.
And now, wanted to give them more renderings. We would have, as a designer, I want my building to always be evolving. I want the imagery of that. And, and I couldn't even provide that to myself, let alone to them. Right. So now it's free. And so the landscape has really shifted over the last, I don't know, five or.
Plus years, but man, what a difference it's it's so, so that. That merger really does make sense. And for Enscape to grow in the way that it's grown and provide the tools to designers that it does, it's just been one of those things that's been really fun to [00:11:00] watch because people really enjoy using that tool.
It's not a tool that they feel like, They tolerate and they have to put up with using, like they really enjoy using it, they want to spend their time there and because of that they're plugging it in earlier and earlier and earlier and using it to make design decisions along the way. I, I'm curious what you think about all that.
Petr Mitev: I think that's, that's really, really spot on. And honestly, when I, when I talk about, uh, Enscape, whether it's internally or externally, the, the positioning that we always aim for is that it's exactly that it's, it's a design tool. I mean, if, of course, if you want to use that to generate some, uh, renderings for a presentation, you know, we're not here to stop you doing that.
But when we, when we think about. You know, what we call a product strategy or product principles when we, uh, basically build the foundation that allows us to decide and prioritize on features at the heart of it is, is being a design tool and helping people reach a decision, you know, and, and the quote that people have heard me, uh, Um, you [00:12:00] know, parrot around the office like a broken record is that Enscape is supposed to enable design decisions, not design artifacts, right?
And design artifact meaning a pretty picture, a pretty video. Again, it's not to say that you can't and shouldn't do that. Absolutely. But, uh, when we think about really prioritizing things and, and it's a hard thing, right? Because we have no shortage of, of options to build. Things that people want, but we have to make tough decisions and say, Hey, we're gonna do this, but we're not gonna do that.
And when it comes to those tough decisions, that's always what we think about is prioritizing the decision making process and making sure that we put in things that help that process. And yeah. Are there a ton of. Things we could do to make it prettier and more realistic. Absolutely, yes, but then again, we're also lucky enough that we've got a lot of other things in the portfolio that can do that, frankly, better.
And it's our job then to connect those workflows and to make that as easy as possible. But absolutely, we want to enable design decisions. That's, that's the [00:13:00] absolute goal of the product.
Evan Troxel: Yeah. And you come from a background in practice, so you know what it's like. You were on the tech side, and you were, when, when you were working in the practice, can you, do you, like, think back, and what was it actually like back then versus the kind of ideal scenario now?
Petr Mitev: Yeah, it was, it was quite different. I mean, I was, I was very lucky that I, my, my education, my master's and my bachelor's were set up a little bit differently in, in the sense that, you know, we got to, basically it was alternating one semester of, of studies and one semester of, uh, professional practice, which was super challenging, but it also exposed me from a very, very early point to practice.
And I got to see that evolve over, uh, Oh jeez, it's hard, it's hard to say that it's over a decade now, like I feel old, um,
Evan Troxel: You're hurting me. You're hurting me even worse by saying that.
Petr Mitev: Oh no, uh, let's stray away from that, but
Evan Troxel: Ten whole years.
Petr Mitev: [00:14:00] It's, it's been a heck of a, but look, even in 10 years, it's been a heck of an evolution. I, I remember my first job, I was, I was drawing 2D in AutoCAD and you know what? That was more than good enough. But, um, when I think about what could have been right, I mean, I look at how people are working today when I talk to clients and it's, it's, it's so different.
I mean, as soon as. You move a window or, or delete a wall, you can absolutely in literally in real time, show your client the implications of that, uh, show your coworkers, make a decision and ideally make a better decision, right? And again, I contrast to that, to that first job where I was just living in AutoCAD and I had no idea what it meant if you delete, you know, a set of lines that comprise a window.
Um. What does it mean to the actual space? The quality, the experience, right? The, the natural light there. There's so many criteria that, um, you can try and interrogate in your head. And if you're a really good and experienced architect, maybe you're successful. But me, I was a complete [00:15:00] beginner and a junior back then I was still learning.
Uh, that was way beyond my, my computational means of, of my head to, to analyze that and to make the best decision possible. So, um, it's, it's come a long way and it's, it's exciting. And it's exciting when I hear people that actually use the tool, talk about it too, because it's always one thing when we plan in house, but then to hear real stories about real projects that, that really live that, um, it's super inspiring, honestly, and it helps us know whether we're on the right track or not.
Evan Troxel: So, I'm thinking as you're speaking about deleting walls or what do the lines mean? I mean, that's been a big shift, I think, when you think about people who operate. BIM, like we had CAD operators, now we have BIM operators. And back, back in the day, when we drew graphite on paper, or then switched to CAD, there was still this, this big leap that we had to make, which was, what does this line mean?
What does it [00:16:00] represent? Why are we drawing it? I think that that gap has shortened quite a bit. in moving into 3D modeling as a basis of the design. And then we derive all of the elevations and the plans and the sections from that. Because we can look at it in 3D and understand it. But I would love it if you could explain, I mean let's do a mini word based workshop right here.
We're not showing anything, but I would love it if you could explain kind of what a design process could be like when you incorporate real time rendering into that. And I'm just kind of thinking of Moving walls around while having this synced 3D rendered window up and actually, you know, moving the sun around while it's happening and understanding what's going on with the light in that room.
Maybe you can just paint a picture for somebody.
Petr Mitev: yeah, I think the, I certainly can, and what I'll say is that I think it also looks a little bit different based on the phase of design that you're on. So, you know, in the earliest stages, we're, we're thinking here, pre design or schematic design. I think [00:17:00] the, the real power is that it, it, it lets you move very quickly.
I mean, those are the shortest and the cheapest phases, right? So it means that we, we typically don't have a lot of time to spend there. Which is unfortunate because a lot of the big moves and the big decisions also kind of get made there. I mean, the form, the massing that you build at that stage is nine times out of ten what ends up being the final thing, or at least close enough.
So, in those stages, I think it allows you to very quickly test a lot of different options. Because you can basically be playing around and just periodically take a screenshot, you know, at the end. Show all that to your coworkers or your client and you've evaluated a lot more options. And then, like you said, you also have a lot of different data points available to you, right?
You could play with the sun. You can play with the natural surroundings. You can interrogate this design from a lot of different perspectives that before, um, would have taken so much time. I mean, you know, imagine [00:18:00] what, uh, doing sun studies without. Um, real time rendering or, or some kind of graphical computational means it's, uh, it's just not something you can do for a lot of options.
Um, and then I think as you, as you move and add more detail, or again, talking, I don't know, uh, design development, construction documents, then I think it also allows you to think more critically about the, the layers of specificity that you're, you're putting on a project. You know, if it's a flooring material, wall material, whatever it might be, glazing.
Uh, again, I think it, it lets you have a much more accurate picture of what that thing's going to look like when it's actually put up on site, because I remember when I was working at, uh, Cure in Timberlake in, in Philadelphia, we used to do a lot of physical mock ups in order to have that sureness and that security.
That this thing is going to look like the way we intended to when it's built. Right. And, and that's a great process. Don't get me wrong. I'm, I'm not bashing the process, but it's also very expensive and [00:19:00] time consuming, which makes it prohibitive for a lot of projects. And that's unfortunate where with real time rendering.
Okay. You're not going to be a hundred percent photo real, but you're going to be close enough that you can have a lot more certainty when you go in front of a client or an engineer or whoever it might be in terms of a stakeholder and say, Hey, this is what it's going to look like when we actually spend money on real materials and physical labor to install this thing.
So, um, it's, I don't know, for me, workflow completely. If, if people do use it as a, as a design tool, which more and more are. Um, it gives you a lot more power, I think, as, as the designer and the, the, the master builder of, of the project gives you a lot more, uh, confidence as well.
Evan Troxel: There's a couple of different things that I, I want to just zero in on here. And one of those things is, yeah, you can move around your project and you can look at sun angles and the things that. You would typically do, even with traditional rendering, rendering being, you know, 3D [00:20:00] rendering, uh, where it's like, yeah, move the camera around, change the angle, change the field of view, move the sun, get the shadows where you want them, even if it's not the right side of the building.
You know, a lot of times when we did visualization, we did that because we wanted to show off that side of the building and it would just look really bad if it was dark in the shadow, right? But now, it's like It's so easy just to move the sun by using keyboard shortcuts. As you're looking at a scene to get that right where you want, you can actually move the sun along its path and you can position your project wherever it is in the world to get realistic, but then you can just move it around and actually study it.
But I think what's so interesting about real time rendering is actually that you can have that window up When you're building the model as well, and you're getting near real time, if not real time, depending on the hardware, and maybe you can I'm going to elaborate on this a little bit, but updates as you are moving walls around, as you are extruding walls, as you are making openings bigger or [00:21:00] smaller.
And so, kind of really just zeroing in on this, making decisions during design. Because you're getting that visual feedback, it's not like you're just still building the model in plan view or in section view, and then you're looking at it, or then you're going to go explore it, but you can actually be in a space, you could set your camera down in a space, and then you can go over to this view over here, and whatever tool you're using, I'll be, you know, it could be Revit, it could be SketchUp, it could be Rhino, it could be whatever, whatever.
And you can actually move that wall and watch the implications in real time of what that's doing to the space. I mean, is, is that, am I painting an accurate picture there?
Petr Mitev: Yeah, very accurate. Very accurate. And it's, it's, I guess, I don't, for, for me, it's, it's hard to really Verbalize and quantify the impact for somebody that hasn't worked in the field. I think for those of us that have worked in design field, we can imagine the power that that gives you, but, you know, for people that haven't been involved in that process, I think it's kind of hard to [00:22:00] quantify how important that is.
Because there are so many different factors, you know, and when I give talks here and there, especially to crowds that. are not using this kind of technology. The example I always use is, is moving around, uh, something as simple as a window or changing its size, right? Because I mean, on one hand there's the aesthetic criteria, right?
Like how does this look, which very important, very valid. But you can really dive deeper and deeper into that, that simple or seemingly simple question and say, okay, well, if I make the windows smaller, what does that also mean for my electrical lighting? Do I need to introduce more electrical lighting? Do those fixtures clog up the ceiling?
Does that mean the engineers have to come up with a new electrical plan? So, and, and these seemingly small and simple things really snowball into complex things, potentially expensive things. And, and the, the power of real time rendering is that you can. You can, uh, really evaluate those a lot quicker and engage other people, right?
Because it's never a solo process. We, we know that [00:23:00] architecture is not a solo process and, and it, it helps you communicate to people, which again, may or may not have your training and your background, but the beauty of a picture is it's kind of like a universal language. Anybody can look at that and say, okay, well, I understand what you mean.
Uh, because if you just saw the show them a 2d plate or a section, I mean, you know how it goes with people that aren't trained the way that we are. They're like, uh, It's tough for them to engage. It's completely, completely makes sense.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, I think, uh, . So, okay. So you keep opening up like different pathways for me to go down. Um, the, I'll just tell a quick little story before I get to the, the other point because I, I do want to talk about, uh, the client's reaction or the potential in, in the process right there, and which I've, I've also talked about, I think with Roderick, uh, Bates on the podcast before, but, but before we get there, I just wanted, I was teaching a.
course at Cal Poly with on emerging technology and this week's curriculum was about real time rendering and we had talked about [00:24:00] Enscape because I had some visualization pros come in and show what you can do with VR, what you can do with rendering and it was kind of the state of the art of where things were headed and I think at that time the students were all, this is maybe 2017, 2018, 2018.
Everybody was, was very much embedded in whatever their professors knew, right? And so their professors knew Rhino and V Ray. That's what they were saying. You all should be using this. Imagine telling a student you need to learn V Ray in the last two weeks of the course, right? It would just be Like the renderings would probably look bad and, and it would just be completely overwhelming on top of an already un overwhelming task to just finish your design by the, the end of the, the quarter at that point.
Right. So I introduced realtime rendering to them, and it was Inscape at that point as well. And so I don't know what version it was, it was probably in the twos or whatever, but it was like, this was one of those things where. [00:25:00] It was literally weeks away from the end of the course, and I had students come up at the end and they say, I, I learned Enscape, and, and just to give people an idea, if they're not using this technology, What it's like to actually pick up a new tool, because oftentimes that can feel overwhelming.
That can feel like what those students felt when their teachers told them, their professors said, use V Ray. It would just be like, what? No, right? We're not doing that. Or, I only know this way, which was another tool that I've used, and I know how difficult that and time consuming that is. If you could just, maybe, before we jump into the other part about clients, talk about, What is the learning curve for a tool like this?
Because my students picked it up in literally a couple of weeks, and they were doing their final presentations in it.
Petr Mitev: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's, that's great to hear. I mean, we, we like to, one of our product principles again, and one of our product philosophies is to try and flatten that learning curve as much as possible. I mean, [00:26:00] the, and it all kind of starts with, with the first experience, right? The first point of contact. So one thing that we really try to, Um, prioritize is the experience when you first hit that render button, because right out of, out of the box, it should look good enough.
We, we, we shouldn't expect people to, to invest a lot of time and energy. And out of the box, I think if, if today, anybody listening, if you just download the software, download a free trial version and just click render, I think you would be more than pleasantly surprised about how, how good it looks. And, you know, it sounds simple enough, but it's actually quite complex.
And our, our engineers. Uh, work with our, with our customer support folks closely, and they spend a lot of time on this to, to fine tune those settings that are most likely to work out of the box because every project's different and we've learned that the hard way, right? But, um, it's, it's important to make sure that out of the box.
It's gonna, it's gonna meet your needs. And of course, if you want to invest more time in and get better and better results, you absolutely [00:27:00] can. And, and we encourage that. We've got a lot of learning resources, but, um, the learning curve should be. I mean, ideally non existent because again, uh, you and I that have been in professional practice, we know that there's enough things going on in your day, in your week, in your month that you, most of us don't have the luxury of time or resources to invest in learning something completely new.
So this kind of has to be, um, it almost has to come for free with the work that we're already getting paid to do because. You know, at least in, in, in the United States where most of my professional practices, you get paid for, for drawings, you don't get paid for renderings, you need to do them to facilitate the process of getting the drawings, but realistically, an architect gets paid for drawings and, you know, with a couple of firms that I've worked at, we've done this, uh, profitability analysis in terms of measuring billings, And kind of doing, doing a correlation with what people are spending their time on.
And guess what? Big surprise. Uh, when people spend more time in the tools that actually [00:28:00] generate drawings, the projects and the firms are more profitable. The more time they spend in things like PowerPoint or Photoshop, uh, the margins are, are smaller. And it, it, it has broad implications, not just for the bottom line of the business owner, but also for, for the wellbeing of, of the people that work there and, and the projects that they work on.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, it, I remember, I've used a lot of rendering tools over the years and kind of dating myself, right? It was like first 3D studio in DOS and it was like FormZ, RenderZone, Electric Image, uh, Cinema V Ray, Maxwell Render, never once When you fired up that rendering engine, did it look good immediately?
Never once. And the difference between an amateur and a pro was that. You knew if you got a good looking image, right when you fired it up, a pro was behind the wheel. Either they had done all of the work over probably months if not years to set up a template for that file so that as soon as [00:29:00] you hit the first render, it looked decent, right?
But man, what, what a difference. And, and so I think. Like there's value in that. There's that just the speed in which you can spin up this kind of a value add to your practice is Basically non existent, like there's no, there's no time frame in which you just hit render and boom, it's, it's, it looks decent.
It looks good enough. It's something that you would not be embarrassed to put in front of a client. And, and it's just amazing to watch that transformation happen over the last decade in visualization and bring those tools to mere mortals. And I'm pointing it myself, like, uh, any, any architect who needs to show.
What's going on in that, in the project while it's still being figured out in the computer, um, is, it's kind of a godsend to, to people like us who are just like, no, I don't want to spe Learn how to fly the jet. I just [00:30:00] don't. I don't have time to learn how to fly the jet. So I just want to push this button and and there is value in that and it costs money.
It cost like that. It's not free and it shouldn't be free. I know Enscape's prices have gone up over the years and it's gotten more complicated. But but the value and so maybe you can just speak to this like how do you guys talk about the value? Well, I mean, I think we've probably already covered a lot of it.
Is there anything else that, that you really point at and say, like, what's that worth? Because I think, I think architects are cheap. I think, and I've said that on this podcast before, architects are cheap. They don't want to pay for more tools, right? And so a lot of times they're going to try to bundle these all into one application.
So whether that's SketchUp with just its free. You know, Shaded Views, or Revit with its free Shaded Views, or Rhino, which has kind of upped the game with the latest version by building in the Cycles renderer. It's way better than it used to be, but it's still more flying the jet than not. And so Why would somebody spend [00:31:00] the money to, in addition to their package that they need to get the job done, which you just spoke to, they've got to do the drawings, right?
We've got to do all this stuff. Why spend the money on an additional package? Why Enscape, even?
Petr Mitev: yeah, no, it's, it's a really good question. And honestly, it's, it's a, it's a very responsible question that I think every owner of a professional practice should, should ask themselves, because, um, again, from experience, the, the margins at an architecture practice are not high. The fees are, um, I mean, no, I agree with you.
I think architects have been unfortunately underpricing themselves for a long time, but that's, you know, that could be a whole nother two hour discussion. I think
the, the, the reason why, uh, somebody should invest in something higher quality is, is honestly just, I think, directly proportional to, to, to how they see.
They're standard of care for their clients, you know, and, um, when I was in practice, I wanted to give my clients the best, [00:32:00] the best that I could write the best within my skill set within my abilities, whatever, because, you know, we're also, we're not doing this just for the clients, right? I mean, we're building permanent things on the face of the planet that we all inhabit, and it's worth it that these spaces are good.
I mean, I I forget exactly what the number is, but we spend, as humans, something like 97. 8 percent of our time indoors.
Evan Troxel: Jeez.
Petr Mitev: significant, right? So, I mean, me as an architect, I would rather think that we want to make the best spaces that we could, that we can. If not just for us, for future generations, because these are going to be on the planet for a very long time.
So, why should somebody spend a time, the time and the resources on a good design tool is simply to make better design. And, and to make better design decisions, because I think with, with more information and being able to generate that information a lot quicker and more effectively, then, then that leads to better design.
[00:33:00] So for me, that's really the, the main thing is, is as architects, we all want to make better buildings and these tools help us do that. You can also look at it from a kind of a little bit of a colder or detached point of view, which is simply. To look at the business case. I mean, uh, the time that you would spend to, um, create something compelling for a client or for a presentation, um, is not insignificant if you're not using some kind of, of solution, whether it's real time or not.
But, um, I mean, and in billable hours are, are, I mean, there are the way that you measure an architect's business and value prepositions. So, um, it's very How do I say? Easy is maybe the best word. It's a very easy way to introduce efficiency. In your business, um, from the perspective of a business owner and I, I know it's only an economic perspective, but it's, it's not insignificant, you know, because, um, dollars and cents translate to hours and minutes and hours and minutes that could be invested in, in, [00:34:00] in other things, in, in catching things that might lead to a RFI in the field or a change order or something.
And, and for me, these are the things that architects should be spending their time on because that's where our experience in education, um. makes us valuable. It's not in, in, in making, um, you know, PowerPoint presentations,
Evan Troxel: Yeah, I think a lot of times firms hire interns or emerging professionals and they'll do the visualization because they speak computer language. You know, I say that in a very dumb way, but it's like they're tech. They're the tech people. They're the ones who can prepare the images and they will, then the seniors will art direct, right?
And they'll stand over the shoulder and say, no, a little bit to the left, no, a little bit to the right. Move this up. Move. And, and so I think that So there's, there's that kind of mentality, but I think now the tools have gotten so good and so easy to use if you have the appropriate hardware to run it on to take away the pain of, of running it on an [00:35:00] underpowered machine that anybody, like literally anybody can do this.
And I think that is, is one of the big shifts that we've seen in the evolution of bringing real time rendering to the masses in a much, much bigger scale way, which I assume could only happen with the Enscape merger, or sorry, with the Chaos merger, because that is what's really Yeah. Okay, number one, these products are already out there.
They know how to get a product into AEC at scale. They're, they have the resources for a team to build better tools, and maybe you can just speak. to that a little bit and tell me if that's, if my, my inclination is true there, because it seems to me like because they're complimentary, because there's name recognition out there, there's already trust and relationships in the field when it comes to tool providers for visualization with a group like Chaos to [00:36:00] bring that, you know, Enscape along under that umbrella and really help get it out there.
Has that been significant for Enscape to get into the market in a much better way?
Petr Mitev: there's definitely a lot of things that we've been able to, um, share with one another. Um, uh, and, and, and we can look at this in a lot of different ways. I mean, um, there's of course the opportunity to, um, share technology, right? Which is maybe kind of the, the low hanging fruit. I'll give you Very direct example are, um, we have these procedural clouds in Enscape, which are, well, they're procedural, right?
So they're, they're, they're generated, uh, through an algorithm. You, you don't need to, um, use images or HDRs basically to, to create the scene. And, um, guess what? It turns out that's actually quite exciting for, for film studios, AKA clients of V Ray Advantage. Um, because now they don't have to spend all this time when they shoot a scene and then kind of be Paint, painting in quotes, uh, the [00:37:00] shadows that match these clouds on the actual characters in the scene, because the procedurally generated clouds basically allow you to pull that data and dynamically computationally apply these shadows to, um, to the characters in the scene.
So that's, that's, uh, I think an example of an exchange in the other way. Um, there's been many examples in, in, in, in our direction as well. Not just from a technology standpoint, but from a client standpoint as well. Um, we're able to, I think, yeah, uh, tell our stories to, to clients that previously would not have known either brand, um, and see if they find value in the solutions, which is, which is awesome.
And, and ultimately it's, I think it's about just sharing. Um, you know, share knowledge, experience, um, about how to, to be more effective, right? Because ultimately the goal is to solve real problems for real people. It doesn't matter if they're 3d artists or architects, but as, as a company, you know, as a portfolio of products, we need to make sure that what we're building is solving product, uh, solving problems for, [00:38:00] for real people out there doing, doing real work.
So, um, it's been a great opportunity to share knowledge, I think back and forth. Honestly, there, there's a lot more that, that we can and should and will do. Right. Um, but that's also, like you said, that's one of the benefits of, of having that exposure and, you know, along the way, we also. Acquired a couple of other companies, Selindo, AXIS, um, those bring in a wealth of knowledge from totally different industries.
I mean, Selindo's got the e commerce, um, and furniture side of the business, uh, very well, um, under comprehension. AXIS is, um, They, they really know kind of the, the animation system, the, the state of the art scanning technology for, for people. And again, completely different clients, completely different use cases a lot of the times.
And when we're all together under one, um, entity, we can share that knowledge and experience a lot more and we can work towards a common goal and be faster and more effective at it rather than, you know, trying to pursue the same things alone, [00:39:00] basically.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, let's talk about your audience, because for the longest time, Enscape was not available to a segment of that audience. I don't know how big that audience was, but I, I'm, the Macintosh is near and dear to me. I, I am a tried and true Mac user, and so for the longest time, Enscape was not available to me, but now it is.
So this is another thing that's happened since the last time that we've talked, and I know it has not been the easiest road for you to travel, but I know that this has been something that you've been working really hard on. And so maybe, like, let's just get into that part of the conversation. You can kick us off with Like, what, what that journey has been like since you originally decided to bring Enscape to Mac users, and why you, why you would even go there.
Petr Mitev: Yeah, yeah, that's a, it's, it's, it's a heck of a story. I'll tell you that. Um, maybe I'll start with the why. I mean, why, why do we [00:40:00] want to do it? You know, one of these other phrases that I always repeat like a bit of a broken record internally and externally is that our goal is to democratize this technology to people, to projects, because again, kind of like I mentioned earlier, I mean, the goal is to design better buildings, and we want to make sure that everybody has access to that.
This shouldn't be this like exclusive thing that. You know, the top 1 percent of, of, of architecture firms can, can access. It should be something that anybody and everybody can access. So, you know, we always do this exercise of looking at what are the limiting factors that might prevent somebody from being able to, um, leverage that, that power and yeah, one of them, maybe one of the biggest ones is, is operating system.
So Mac, we identified. Um, honestly, pretty early, I think I had joined shortly after our, our, um, our CEO, Christian Lange, and these discussions were kind of going on, but, but that was something that we identified right off the bat and we didn't have, [00:41:00] um, and of course you can never have like perfect numbers of how many people are using this or not using this, but, uh, we had some assumptions and we decided those are, um, Are worth pursuing and pursue them?
We did. And I think, yeah, it, it's, it's been of a bumpy road. Uh, definitely. I mean, we, we don't regret doing it, of course, because we can reach so many people. But, you know, in, in the beginning we started with this. We started with good intentions and we started with something which was very ambitious, uh, the goal of basically building this thing in parallel to Windows, uh, to
the Windows version and not slowing down the Windows development, which although ambitious, um, and although we had good intentions, it didn't fully work out for us.
We had, um, begun working with an external
partner who was, uh, supposed to take that project and, you know, unfortunately the, um, well, the world underwent some changes, uh, let's put it that way. Economic conditions were, were ebbing and flowing. Uh, at [00:42:00] a certain point, the war in Ukraine started, which affected our partner and, you know, at, at a certain point, we had to make the, the tough decision that due to these challenges, we just need to bring this project, um, in house and, and, and do it a different way.
So we did that and it cost us, I think, some time, but I think that the value that we get in return is something, um, much better and something that's going to allow us to, So basically what we did is rather than, uh, going with the strategy of having these two separate code bases, uh, we came up with a way to have one code base that basically works across the platforms.
And what that means. It's that now after 4. 0, of course, whatever feature we build for windows or for Mac, it's going to be there for everybody. So we build one feature once and, you know, in, in kind of the strategy that we were pursuing before, we would have had to build everything twice, of course. I mean, that's twice the time, twice the people, and it, it, it would have [00:43:00] slowed us down in the longterm.
So. Um, we're, we're really excited to, to bring this thing to, to the market. We're excited to see what the reception is going to be like from the customers. I mean, the, the Mac version that's out there already is seeing some really, really, um, heavy usage for, for a product that's so new. Um, and, and we're excited by that, of course, but we know that the full impact is going to come when we release 4.
0, which is going to have, um, feature parity with our Windows version. And it's, you know, it's going to be the one version kind of for the future. And we're going to, that's the foundation on top of which we'll build the subsequent version. So we're, we're really excited to reach, um, all these new users that are, that are on the Mac platform.
Evan Troxel: And is it now working with Rhino? Rhino
Petr Mitev: So, I believe that's scheduled to release actually tomorrow, on Wednesday the 17th, yes.
Evan Troxel: Well, maybe that's something we could talk about then, too, is So, Enscape is a plugin renderer for several different packages, right? And [00:44:00] so it works on Windows. It works in Revit and Rhino and SketchUp. Am I missing anything there? Are those the main, the main players?
Petr Mitev: ArchiCAD, which are a bit more popular here on this side of the ocean, but yeah.
Evan Troxel: And with small firm architects in the U S I imagine a lot of. People who want to get into BIM don't want to get into full expensive BIM
Petr Mitev: Sure,
yeah, yeah.
Evan Troxel: ArchiCAD. Uh, so there are quite a few small firm architects that I'm aware of using Vectorworks for sure. And so that totally makes sense.
Um, and so, yeah, to your point though, I think it is a much bigger market on, on that side of, of the world. But, um, On the Mac side, we have, we don't have Revit, right, but we have ArchiCAD, and we have Vectorworks, and we have Rhino, and we have SketchUp. And so, maybe talk about how that works, and, and what, what it's like to actually use that.
So, so you, you get, you buy Enscape as a, as [00:45:00] a plugin renderer, and then it just automatically installs plugins for whatever host packages you already have on your machine.
Petr Mitev: That's exactly it, right? So with one Enscape license, you get access to both operating systems, uh, Mac and Windows, and you also get access to all of the CAD plugins that we currently support. So we, I mean, we, we try to make it as easy as possible and, and, you know, not create this confusing process where people have to basically do research and figure out, okay, what do I buy?
What do I not buy? What do I need? What do I not need? So you buy once and it works everywhere. That's the goal and yes, like you said, the only thing that's been missing so far is the, is the Rhino support on Mac, uh, but with our preview release tomorrow on the 17th, that should be out there and yes, there, there will be a subsequent kind of a, a full release, but as you know, as, as you know, and some of our, some of your listeners already know, we, we regularly upload preview releases, um, which kind of give a sneak peek and early access to some [00:46:00] of the features that we're working on.
Evan Troxel: will have passed for sure. So, when you say the 17th, you're talking about January 17th. That, where, so, Rhino 8 support. So Rhino previously worked, uh, Rhino 7 and Enscape worked well together on Windows. Uh, there was no Rhino support on the Mac for Enscape yet.
And so with version eight of Rhino coming out where McNeil's going through a similar thing is what you talked about, right? Which was, was assimilating the code base so that when a feature comes out on, on Windows, it also comes out on Mac at the same time. There's a lot of companies going through this.
And is that, has that really been predicated on the release of Apple Silicon? Is that really where this is coming from? Because this was Apple kind of. Basically forced everybody to move in a different direction when it came to graphics, right? With the, with the Metal instead of, with the Metal APIs instead of OpenGL.
I know that there's been a lot of consternation about that as well, but it also was an [00:47:00] opportunity to say like, Okay, this is a modern graphics system that we are, we can now actually bet on, right? Because I think that was something that, that was always a question mark when it came to developing tools.
For the Mac, not just architectural tools, right, but graphics intensive tools on the Mac was like how long is OpenGL gonna last on the Mac because they're not showing a lot of love for it and that changed a while ago, right, where they, where they completely stopped their love for OpenGL and moved into this new direction.
Was that a big impetus to actually go or was it just like, okay, green light, we need to move in this direction now because they're, they're serious about it.
Petr Mitev: I, I honestly think for us it was, um, let, let's call it a, there were a couple of things that coincided, um, and, and actually weren't necessarily intended to, to so perfectly coincide. So, um, historically Enscape was based on OpenGL, but at one point we kind of. Uh, you know, we, [00:48:00] our engineers, when I say we, our engineers, uh, the smart people looked at this and they said, you know, this, this, this doesn't really have a future.
We, we want to move to, to a new graphics API. And what they did was they chose Vulkan, which conveniently allows us. to run on, uh, Mac as well. And we, it, how do I say it? It doesn't, it doesn't mean we have to write native, uh, metal code. Luckily, um, it, it uses a framework and I'm, I'm kind of, I'm blanking on the name right now, unfortunately, but basically it, it allows the.
Um, the, the software to work on, on Mac as well, not native metal, but, um, good enough, you know, when we did our performance tests, it was about what we expected, uh, initially we, we, we kind of had a little bit of concern that maybe, um, through this, um, through this added step that we would degrade performance a little bit, but it was what we expected.
It was in line with what Apple put out as. Um, expectations when we're comparing M [00:49:00] chips to, you know, NVIDIA GPUs. So that aligned nicely for us. And the last thing that aligned nicely for us was, and this was actually kind of our, our big bottleneck was actually the UI framework, right? Because historically as a windows only product.
Um, Enscape was built with, uh, WPF, Windows Presentation Forms, and the W, the Windows being the key word there. That only works on Windows. And the first time we looked at this project, there wasn't anything that we saw as, as fully fit and ready to, Um, work as a cross platform UI, right? And after that kind of delay happened with working with external partners and these economic conditions, um, there were other things out there that we could use.
And what we're using now is, is a framework called Avalonia, which allows us to, um, yeah, have a cross platform UI. And so these things kind of came together nicely. Um, not, not originally planned. Like the Vulcan decision wasn't solely because we want to get on Mac. It was simply a, um, you know, we, we got to get rid of [00:50:00] technical debt kind of decision.
Evan Troxel: Yeah. Interesting. And, and so how long has that process been for you guys? How painfully long has that process been for you guys?
Petr Mitev: It's been very long. I mean, I, I think we started the discussions when I, when I first joined the company, which was around September, October of 2020. I forget exactly when we kicked off the project, but I mean, you know, I've been with the company roughly around three years, so it's, it's. Been roughly around that much, right?
Um, again, uh, Longer than, than we intended, absolutely, but I, I think that the solution that we're gonna get out of it is gonna be a better version than what we envisioned three years ago and, and for me the, the quality is the more, more important thing.
Evan Troxel: yeah, that's great. Okay, so let's talk about you, and I want to talk about this three years, and the shift that, you know, the decision that you made, all of the regrets that you, you now have, I can clearly see it on your face. Tell me about that for you, like, what was that like? So you, you said you have a [00:51:00] master's and a bachelor's in architecture, and you were working in architecture.
a large firm and you were on the technology side. I don't know how, if, if you got into the practice side at all, I mean, fill us in on those details, but then making the decision to move. Out of, you know, out of the profession into a more peripheral technology provider side of the profession still, still related to AEC for sure, but, you know, in that I make the distinction of working in the profession to working on the profession, the things that you're working on, the thing, the tools that you're trying to bring to.
Make AEC better, to make, to help firms succeed at their goals, I think is, is a valuable decision that a lot of architects not only have made, but, but should continue to make because when we're working in firms, it's so isolated. It's so much just about that one firm. There's a lot of protection. There's a lot of barriers around what's going on in that firm.
And there's not a lot of sharing, although I think I [00:52:00] do see trends in the other direction. I, I see more sharing happening now than, than ever before. But talk about what that's been like for you. Because I, I wonder, you know, I, I know that there's people who have made that decision and they like to hear how other people have done it, but there's people considering making that decision too.
And so what, what's your experience been like?
Petr Mitev: Yeah. I'll, I'll, well, it's, it's been a, definitely a lengthy experience that I'll try and be brief, but informative. I think when, when I was done with my graduate degree, I was very lucky to, to, to get a position offered at, at Karen Timberlake, uh, which has always been kind of one of my, um, you know, shining stars, my, my idols, my heroes in the profession.
Right. So it was like this, this very special moment that I was, that had a chance to work there. And when I started there, I was, Um, I was, I was a staff architect. I, I wasn't really having anything to do with the technology side, but, um, again, Kieran Timberlake very, being the special practice that it is, was, uh, also filled with a lot of [00:53:00] very uniquely talented people.
And they had a dedicated research group, um, with a lot of very, very bright and interested folks that were working on all of these, you know, uh, crazy cool projects. And over time. Um, I, I kind of got, got, got sucked into that, you know, I was, it all started with the problem that I was doing for the University of Washington, actually, we were, we were trying to comply with these local regulations.
Um, I couldn't make it work, I couldn't make it work, so I, I basically buckled down and, and spent some long nights to try and, uh, build this, uh, Python based tool to, to help me optimize, uh, a zoning algorithm to see if we can do it and to finally, you know, put this to rest because, you know, after spending countless nights playing with Excel formulas, I, at one point I realized, hey, you know, I didn't, I spent seven years in architecture school to fiddle, uh, in Excel.
I want to make buildings and make good spaces for people. Right. So, and that was really the starting point. And, and afterwards, again, I w I was lucky that [00:54:00] I had an opportunity to, to work directly in the research team. And I had a lot of, uh, people that supported me along the way. Um, I think they're, they're still at KT, Christopher Connock, um, he's the director of design computation there, Billy Faircloth, she's a partner in the, the director of research.
Um, they, they supported me and supported my curiosity and always. Put projects in front of me that, that would help me grow. And over time, then I think I, it was more of a personal thing, but I wanted to move back closer to my family and, um, and my wife's family in Columbus, Ohio. Um, which is when I started working at NBBJ and again, I was very lucky.
I had some fantastic mentors. Mark Seep, uh, was, was working there at the time. I think he's with Gensler now. Um, yeah, Paul Odsley, our CTO and, and Nate Holland, who was at the time the director of, of, of, um, innovation. So, um, Yeah, and that was a completely different scale of project, right? It was very different, very different [00:55:00] clients, very different opportunities, global team, and it helped me learn more and more.
And at that point, I think I was focused really full time on the technology side of things. And I guess over time, what I what I realized is that, um, I'm, I'm more effective in this role. I mean, there's a lot of people that are better architects than I am, but I am a really good supporter of those people because I understand the problems.
I understand their needs and basically by teaching myself, um, you know, software development, I could articulately respond to those needs in a way that somebody without that industry knowledge. Um, couldn't really, and then basically to bring this all to a close, the pandemic kicked off, there was, you know, economic turmoil everywhere.
And for some reason I made, uh, the, the seemingly crazy decision to leave a very stable job in a firm with 75 years of history to join this, uh, what I thought at the time was basically, uh, a small startup on the other side of the world, but, um, [00:56:00] uh, yeah, uh, it was also a good time because the Enscape was transitioning, the two founders were stepping down, uh, Enscape had hired a new CEO, Christian Lang, um, who turned out, uh, Also, again, to be a fantastic mentor and a fantastic teacher who always put the right opportunities in front of me to, to learn more and challenge myself.
And, and I think looking back on those three years, I have absolutely zero regrets, actually exactly the opposite because there's so much that I've learned along the way, and I really do think that in this role, I can support the profession a lot better than I could, um, just as an architect, because again, there's simply a lot.
Uh, of people that are better at me, uh, in, in design. Um, but I can support them and I'm, I would love to do that. I love doing that. That's what, that's why I'm here.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, yeah. I, I appreciate you telling that story because I think that is something that people want to hear and it isn't always the Cinderella version that you just painted because I think it really has worked out really well. I mean, you've just found a really [00:57:00] great fit and it doesn't always work like that.
But when it does, I do feel like it is an opportunity to serve the profession in a very, in a great way. That the profession really needs, whether the profession sees it or not, whether they understand it from that direction or not, like, we really need more people working on it at a larger scale, like stepping back and surveying the whole.
What's going on? And what are the issues that, what are the problems that need to be solved? What are the tools that need to be made that can apply to a lot bigger of an audience than just one team or one firm? Um, I mean, we've seen it in technology, right? Every firm. For the most part is making very similar tools to solve very similar problems, right?
And they're doing that on their own, and it never gets beyond that, or it gets deprecated or forgotten. You know, uh, I'm, I'm thinking [00:58:00] of, of some, some articles that have been written on, on LinkedIn about technical debt and, uh, tools that have been lost and forgotten about and no longer supported. And every firm deals with this, and they're not set up to deal with that because it's a.
Uh, and so it is kind of an interesting shift that we're seeing because technology has enabled people to move just outside of the traditional role of an architect to work in other ways that, that serve the entire profession. So you've now moved. You've moved your family over there and, and you're working for, you know, out of, out of that office, what, what has that shift been like?
And, and what has that opportunity been like? Because again, like, you know, if you're, it's very hard to find a firm that you can even work remotely for in the US. And if you do, you're going to maybe move to another state. I mean, if you don't, you're going to move to a, [00:59:00] maybe a different state or, you know, practices are very, you know, regionally based to.
Moving across the country and working for a software company that, that serves, you know, international clients,
Petr Mitev: yeah, it's been a, it's been a, well, it's been a good experience, right? But, but definitely not easy. I mean, moving to another country is never easy. Um, I should know cause I did it once upon a time moving to the U. S. I think that was 1999 or so. Um, and it's never easy. It wasn't easy then. It's not easy now.
I have the bit of advantage. Um. Um, that I've worked in Germany before, uh, as an architect, of course, but, um, so, you know, I think a lot of the things weren't so alien to me as they are to other people. And I was also quite lucky in that sense. I am, I mean, I, I was born a European citizen, so I, I didn't have all this other kind of legal and bureaucratic stuff to deal with and moving over here.
But, you know, picking up your life and going somewhere else is, is never easy. [01:00:00] But, again, I, looking at it today, I think it's, it's absolutely worth it because this is where, um, this is where my team is, this is where the bulk of, of Chaos is, Enscape is entirely located here in Karlsruhe. Um, the biggest office of, of chaos is in, is in my hometown, which is Sofia, Bulgaria.
And, yeah, we've got offices in Prague and, and Denmark, um, all over the place. But it, it's all here on this side of the ocean because, you know, it, it got to be, it got to a point where when I was working remotely, I was basically flying across the ocean once or twice a month. And that round trip was, I mean, it wasn't just killing me, but it was also really affecting my, my productivity.
So, um. Yeah, I, I think it's absolutely the right decision. It's, it's nice to be so close to the people and to be able to support them much better than I can, you know, several time zones away. So it's, and, and it's great too that I had that opportunity, right? Because Christian Lang and, and our board could have simply said, yeah, man, sorry, it's, it's cheaper for us if you stay over there.
Um, but, but they did everything in their power to, [01:01:00] to help me do this. And, and I think, yeah, if, if I was to ask them today, I, I don't think they would regret it either.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, yeah, that's cool. I mean, it's really interesting to hear how you've kind of done this big circle, right? You've gone from living in Europe, moving to America in 99, going through the process of school and working in medium and large sized firms and then moving back out of tech and then moving back to close to home, right?
I mean, I think that that's that's really a neat journey. So I appreciate you sharing that. I think it's it's It's interesting to hear other people's experiences and perspectives and, and you, you've never been the guy who doesn't share his opinion. Like you, you've, you're an outspoken guy and, and I appreciate that.
You're, you're, I do miss the beard. I mean, I think, I think I took you a little more seriously when you had the beard, but I don't know if it fits in it, in, in Germany. Thank you for having
Petr Mitev: I got to blend in a little bit. Come on. I got to blend in.[01:02:00]
Evan Troxel: is there anything that we're missing in this conversation that you really feel like the audience needs to hear about?
What am I missing?
Petr Mitev: Um, Oh, missing. I, I don't know. I mean, there, there's so many topics that one could get into. Um, I mean, I, I think we had a lot of interesting points in, in kind of the, the different, the span of time between their last conversation and now I'm looking ahead to the next version of Enscape kind of what's next for us as a portfolio.
Um, we talked about the product positioning. which I think is very, very important and something we're going to continue focusing on, especially now that we're part of a bigger group. Um, I, I don't know. I, I can't think of anything that's, uh, really burning and, and could really add a lot.
Evan Troxel: Well, we're, we're definitely steering clear so far. I'm opening the crack of the door a little bit here about, about AI and visualization. Like, this has been,
everybody's watching this. Um, any, any kind of parting thoughts on that? Because [01:03:00] I, This, this, we could open the floodgates and, and go down the road of, of this, but, but I don't know if that's appropriate right now, but I am interested from your perspective, um, what, what's interesting to you about where visualization is heading with a little bit of a, a tinkling, a twinkling of, of AI, you know, just, just it's looming or all around us.
Petr Mitev: Yeah, it's, it's a hot topic, right? And, and I think, um, everybody's talking about it with good reason. I'll, I think in, in the briefest of terms, what I can say from my perspective is, I actually like to quote our, um, our chief product officer, Cam Star, um, who's, who's been a super, super great addition to our team.
I think his one year anniversary is coming up now. It feels like he just joined yesterday, but he's a great guy. And the sentence that he uses is, uh, when it comes to AI is that, you know, we don't want to replace the artist. We want to make a better paintbrush. And you know, we've got a lot of exciting things that we're developing internally right now.
Nothing's ready for, for a public [01:04:00] showcase, but. It's always with that perspective. It's like, I don't want to take the artist, an artist here is a metaphor, right? An architect, a designer, whatever. It's not about eliminating their power of creativity or taking agency away from them. Um, it's about identifying these tasks that are, um, difficult or time consuming or, or simply not worth the time of an architect.
Because kind of like I mentioned before, our, our biggest value, our experience, our training is in, is in making. Buildings that are, you know, legally compliant, that are good for the people living in them and that are beautiful as well, right? So, um, when it comes to visualization workflow, there's no shortage of, of tasks we can identify that we could, um, really speed up with, with something like AI.
So that's really our, our philosophy for, for looking at this is maximize, retain. creative agency for the people wielding these tools, uh, but make these tools, uh, basically powerful enough to allow them to still express themselves, but [01:05:00] maybe in a quicker or a more effective way. Um, and, and as a company, I think that's, that's, that's the philosophy that, um, we embody and that that's one that I personally agree with as well.
Um, I know there's a lot of other projects here and there across the, the broad tech industry, um, that are kind of thinking in a different direction and that's, that's just. Not what we want to do. It's yeah, not a focus.
Evan Troxel: I feel like Enscape did that. It gave what I would consider superpowers to people who have definitely lived through the transition of the old way of doing it to the, you know, the new way of doing it, where a tool, when a tool can do that, like it, it reinvigorates the user in a way that is kind of indescribable.
It's like, You actually feel like you have superpowers. And when it, I mean, that's what humans are, they use tools for leverage to accomplish a task, right? And software is an absolutely incredible tool to be able to do that. And as architects, uh, [01:06:00] it, it is important to embrace tools that can give you superpowers because everybody else is getting, like, you're, you're talking about democratizing tools for that.
That means available to anyone and everyone at the. It's table stakes. It becomes table stakes, right? These no longer are menu items that a client chooses to pay for, like they are part of the process now. As soon as it becomes like a decision making tool along the way, and you really leverage it for that, you realize The power of that, and it's like, no, this is just how we work now.
This is no longer an add on that comes at some point in the process. And the most successful tools, in my mind, are the ones that give you those superpowers as early as possible. And you get to differentiate yourself through that in the beginning, but only for a short amount of time. Because the whole idea behind democratizing tools is that everybody is eventually going to.
Adopt those. And so [01:07:00] you have kind of a first mover advantage sometimes, you know, when, when you pick the right thing at the right time. I think AI is kind of like that right now, right? There are people who are feeling like they've got the superpowers and they're able to use those. And I think as we see all these tools converge in many different ways, right?
We're seeing it happen all over the place. That's where. That's kind of like a sweet spot for a lot of people. And so it's, it's, it's always fun to kind of keep our eyes on what's going on out there and watching what companies like Enscape are doing with that. I'm at AU going to the booth, talking with Cam and Roderick and Dan, and there's a lot of, uh, there's a lot of neat stuff going on at Enscape.
I'm really, I'm excited about what you guys are working on. And I think, you know, it's like picking and choosing the right ways to implement these. into these, the tools that you already make are, it's a really smart way to move forward. So I'm excited to see where this [01:08:00] goes, um, from, from the Enscape perspective.
And, uh, I just appreciate you taking the time to hang out and tell that story today. Tell your story a little bit more. And, uh, and thank you for bringing Enscape to the Mac. I think I'm very excited about that as well.
Petr Mitev: Oh, we're excited as well. Yeah, and hopefully a lot of, a lot of other people are going to be excited. So, we're very much looking forward to it. Um, happening, happening soon. The sooner the better, honestly. It couldn't come soon enough. It's going to be a huge milestone for us internally as well. Uh, we'll be sure to celebrate in some, some way, but, um, yeah, also thank you for, for the invites.
Always nice to be able to, uh, connect with, with the community that I was a little bit closer to before. But, um, yeah, these days I'm, I'm a little bit, uh, yeah, uh, outside of, outside of the circle as it were. But, um, yeah, I really appreciate the opportunity to share some stories with, with everybody that they might not, uh, get otherwise.
Evan Troxel: All right. Well, hopefully we'll talk again and it won't be two years away and, uh, we'll be, we'll be talking about [01:09:00] what's, what's new at Enscape. So thanks very much, Petr, for taking the time today. Appreciate it.
Petr Mitev: Thank you.