158: ‘AEC is an Adhocracy’, with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry

A conversation with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carricuiry.

158: ‘AEC is an Adhocracy’, with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry

Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry join the podcast to talk about their focus on technology, parametric architecture, and BIM, the transformative 'a-ha moments' that defined their company /slantis, their mission, the importance of collaboration, knowledge management, company culture, and their ambitious goal of changing the architectural industry for the better. We also chat about obstacles they’ve faced, especially the industry's entrenched hourly billing systems, and the need for innovation and better project management.

About Andy Robert:

Andy Robert is a professional architect from ORT University in Uruguay. She lived in Germany and pursued graduate studies in Dessau, where the former Bauhaus was located.

Today she is CEO of /slantis, co-founded in 2016 with her lifelong friend Mercedes Carriquiry.

Very energetic, curious, and entrepreneurial, she is actively involved in events that advocate for women as leaders.

She’s Beltrán and Jaime’s mum, a vegan and a life-long learner.

About Mercedes Carriquiry:

Mercedes Carriquiry is a licensed architect and entrepreneur specializing in innovation and technology. She received her degree from the Faculty of Architecture UDELAR in Uruguay and also studied at the ENSAG in Grenoble, France. Additionally, she graduated in digital fabrication from MIT Fabacademy.

After working at Jean Nouvel's studio in Paris and leading multiple developments in Montevideo, she co-founded /slantis in 2016 with her lifelong friend Andy.

When she's not working, she enjoys art, skating, and spending time with her family.

Connect with Evan:

Watch this episode on YouTube:

158: ‘AEC is an Adhocracy’, with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry
Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry join the podcast to talk about their focus on technology, parametric architecture, and BIM, the transformative ’a-ha mome…

Episode Transcript:

158: ‘AEC is an Adhocracy’, with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry

Evan Troxel: [00:00:00] Welcome to the TRXL podcast. My name's Evan Troxel. In this episode, I am joined by architects, entrepreneurs, and technologists, Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry. Andy is a professional architect from ORT University in Uruguay, and she lived in Germany and pursued graduate studies in Dessau, where the former Bauhaus was located.

Today, she is the CEO of Slantis, co founded in 2016 with her lifelong friend Mercedes Carriquiry. Mercedes is a licensed architect and entrepreneur specializing in innovation and technology. She received her degree from the Faculty of Architecture, UDELAR, in Uruguay, and she studied at the ENSAG in Grenoble, France. Additionally, she graduated specializing in digital fabrication from MIT's Fab Academy. After working at Jean Nouvel's studio in Paris [00:01:00] and leading multiple developments in Montevideo, she co founded Slantis in 2016 with her lifelong friend, Andy Robert.

Today we discussed their journey that led to the inception of Slantis, their focus on technology, parametric architecture, and BIM, the transformative aha moments that define their company, their mission, the importance of collaboration, company culture, knowledge management, and their ambitious goal of changing the architectural industry for the better.

We also chat about career obstacles, the challenges with the industry's entrenched hourly billing system, and the need for innovation and better project management.

Before we jump into today's conversation, please do me a favor. If you have not already done so, if you are a regular listener and are enjoying these episodes, please subscribe both on YouTube and in your preferred podcast app to let me know that you're a fan. It really, really helps. Go ahead and do that now so that you don't forget, [00:02:00] because this episode will be waiting right here until you get back.

So now, without further ado, I bring you my wide ranging conversation with Andy Robert and Mercedes Carriquiry.

Evan Troxel: Today I am joined by the co founders of Slantis, Andy Robert and Mercedes. How do you say your last name, Mercedes? I do not want to mess it up, and I know I will, so you say it before I do.

Mercedes + Andy: gonna say it in Spanish

and in English. So in Spanish it would be Carriquiri. And in English, it would be Carry Query, which is much more

Evan Troxel: that is, that, that just feels like a, like a, yeah, like a sine

Mercedes + Andy: It's wavier.

Evan Troxel: I don't, I don't,

even know if I could repeat that, but we, we had a conversation before we have, are having this conversation about how we can't remember names, and I said, When somebody tells me their name, it just, it's gone, just gone.[00:03:00]

And so your last name, it's gone. It's gone.

Mercedes + Andy: fine, you can call it Mercedes, it's

Evan Troxel: All right. Well, welcome to the show. Both of you. It's great to have you here today.

Mercedes + Andy: Thanks for

the invite. Thank you for

having us.

Evan Troxel: Well, let's, let's start off with just kind of the origin story of Slantis. And I mean, you, you guys have been friends for a very long time. Right. And so Andy, maybe you can, you can start off and just tell us the origin story of your relationship and how that came to become. Slantis.

Mercedes + Andy: so the origin story goes, uh, back to 2005, I think, something like that. Um, so, uh, one of my friends from childhood, she was at my school and then, uh, for the two last years of high school, she changes. and went to Mare's high school. So [00:04:00] at some point those two groups kind of merged and we created like a larger friends group, which is still rolling today.

Uh, so we are parts of the same, uh, friends group since teenagehood,

let's say. Um, so at that point we already connected because of the larger group. We were the only ones studying architecture. early on different schools that, uh, both really interested in art and both really interested in kind of like a global perspective.

Um, when we entered architecture school, we were talking a lot about the different perspectives on how architecture was being studied and taught and else. And at some point we both, uh, went abroad to Europe to study and continue our studies there. So Mary went to France and I went to Germany. Um, to the former Bauhaus and Mare went to Grenoble, which it's impossible for me to pronounce in French, but [00:05:00] she can say it.

Um, and at the same time, so we were both in Europe at the same time and kind of figuring out what, what was the buzz talk of architecture back then. This was like 2010. Uh, and there was a lot of conversation about parametric architecture and, uh, how to use. some certain tools to bend geometry, um, tools like grasshopper and else.

Um, so then we returned to Uruguay a few years afterwards. We returned to Uruguay and then we kind of both, um, started working in different career paths. Umair became like a senior project manager, uh, developing really complex projects at a very early age. Um, in a very, uh, well known architectural firm, international architectural firm here in Uruguay.

And I worked for a while, uh, on site. So I was leading on site work again, like a very early, [00:06:00] uh, Age, uh, which was definitely challenging being a woman and, uh, being on site and just leading the, uh, construction efforts. And then I decided I didn't want to be at the construction site anymore. Uh, so I, uh, got a job in, uh, an American company here in Uruguay that was doing master planning and design of multifamily residential buildings.

Um, So at that point we were all the time talking, like again, we were still friends and we had a blast in those years. It was fun, but at some point it wasn't. Like we were coming from Europe and we had all this knowledge acquired and then the market here is really small. So we would figure out, okay, let's do something to kind of expand our horizons and the tagline at that point.

So we got together at a coffee shop and the tagline there was. Let's work for the United States.

[00:07:00] That was the Yeah. All of it. Hmm.

Uh, we were both coming from Europe again. Mira is like, she's trilingual, but bilingual first in French and then in English. I'm bilingual, uh, in English as a second language.

So. Why, uh, United States? Because I had acquired some of the knowledge working for the American company. And then we figured out that it would be the place where it would be, uh, open enough to receive us. And it was a bit more exposed to what we had to offer, which at the beginning was really very basic, uh, drafting services.

And it was a big market. And it was a big market. It was, um, uh, a language with both. Uh, it was, it was pretty logical, like, within the context of working for the U. S., whatever that means. Uh, but it was [00:08:00] pretty logical, a pretty logical next step. So, like, time zone

wise, um, language

wise, um, Andy had a lot of, of knowledge acquired on the, uh, multifamily sector, um, so,

Evan Troxel: So, well,

so Mercedes, what was that kind of aha moment that, that Slantis came out of? I mean, why did you guys get together in the coffee shop that day and decide to start a consulting business?

Mercedes + Andy: Slantis is a continuous rollercoaster of

aha moments. Uh, I'll try to pick a couple of aha moments along our story. Um, so I think the first one was, the first aha moment was, um, getting together in a coffee shop and understanding we wanted to do something else. Uh, as Annie mentioned, we both had, like, pretty interesting paths.

Uh, but we both agree like from different perspective and different edges that we wanted to do something else, uh, than [00:09:00] what we were doing. Um, so the first aha moment was let's do something international, uh, from Uruguay, or at least let's start from Uruguay doing something international, um, in relation with architecture.

That then the another aha moment, um, Timely, organized, would be, would be understanding that we started doing, um, anything, or everything, um, CAD, um, SketchUp, I, I don't like SketchUp,

um, In design, for presentations. I don't like presentations. Just like, whatever you need, we're here and ready to work for U. S.

So basically, whatever was U. S. and architecture related, and architecture is kind of vast, we're doing. Uh, so another aha moment was, um, saying, we're not going to do anything, um, that is not [00:10:00] Revit based or BIM based. So it was first Revit based. Um, there was a client, so we got introduced to Revit and, and technology in general from many edges.

One of them was a client, wanted to do Revit, uh, and we decided to jump in, and after that first project, we decided we were not going to do things, um, in, in other software. Uh, so, so that was another aha moment that paid off a little bit later. Then another aha moment was understanding that our former name, Uh, was horrible, and we decided to become Slantis, because, uh, it was more representative of what we wanted to build and what we were building, uh, so former name was Arch Sourcing, Arch Sourcing, Arch Sourcing, uh, and there's, there's infinite

ways to pronounce it, and it's infinitely horrible, uh, so that was another moment, um, and then, and then, uh, [00:11:00] I would, I would say like the current aha moment is, um, maybe, maybe understanding that, um, our biggest competitors somehow, uh, this is going to be strong, but, uh, but I believe it, um, is, is that our biggest competitor right now is apathy, um, and, and, um, understanding that we really are in a position.

The journey we've been, we've been through and the point in which we are today, um, it's, it's a very influential one and one that will allow us and allows us like to keep changing our industry for the better. Um, so I think, I think our current aha moment is understanding that what we thought about Uh, at that coffee shop, which back then was just like, let's do something else.

We're not getting paid enough. Uh, turn, turn into the vision [00:12:00] of really changing the industry for the better and, and, and helping our community to make that push and make that shift. Um, there's, there's a lot of things like in, in, in between that, that, that got us closer to technology, closer to a more, um, forward thinking mindset.

Uh, but I think like where we are right now is, oh, we really have the power to change the industry and, and we're here to do it.

Evan Troxel: That's really interesting that

you say that the, the biggest competitor is apathy. And, and so I definitely want to dig into that. What, what do you have, Andy? Do you want to, do you want to mention something there?

Mercedes + Andy: I, I wanted to say that, um, kind of the, um, uh, what kind of like shows the whole a ha moment are, um, How we position in front of certain situations and that is replicated towards like our whole journey And I would say there are like three or [00:13:00] four ingredients that we always talk about one is a boldness We are kind of really bold in How we position in front of certain?

just like saying we're gonna be working for the United States and We are six states Thousand miles away. Um, and it's just like imagining you being from like right now sitting in the United States and saying, okay, I'm going to work for South Africa, and you basically don't know anyone. So, so that first at some point we, uh, we started working with certain friends from the industry and at some point we, uh, understood that we needed to learn how to sell.

Which is a whole different skill set than architecture itself and kind of building a business and That was that was even a conversation and we said okay to in order to understand this We need to take a plane and go to LA which we've never been [00:14:00] and we were already doing doing work there And that was a Wednesday conversation and on Thursday.

We were Uh, of the plane towards

L. A. where we've never been before. Um, so, so boldness, I would say, is one of the, of the things that kind of sows the whole, the whole aha moment. Uh, another thing is kind of risk taking, which is very hand in hand. with bold and really understanding risk as an opportunity and a way of growing.

And then we are obsessed. And I think this is applied to us. And I don't know if you call it nerd or whatever. Like we are obsessed with learning and, uh, understanding new stuff and talking to a lot of people and to whoever we can talk, um, or if we can reach out to as many people as we can and then learn and extract that information that is like precious gold for us.

So we've been from the very beginning, really obsessing, really [00:15:00] understanding in depth everything that we are working on. And I think that kind of, um, It's the constant between all the aha moments over time. Which is a horrible obsession to have because you never, you know, you never know enough. So, we're just like, give me everything you know, right

Evan Troxel: My wife is, my wife

constantly is saying she just wants to know everything She wants to know everything about everything. And it's, it's just like what you're talking about. It's like this insatiable drive

to learn as much as possible and experience as many things as you possibly can. during the life that you're given and the conversations that you're having.

And you're always trying to get more, try to go deeper, try to get more out of that. And that really does lead to a in depth understanding, I think of the things that you're, you're going after.

Mercedes + Andy: Yes, there was a time like I have a [00:16:00] personal moment. There was a time in which I got mad at architecture. Um, not because I don't like architecture. I'm really passionate about architecture. Like I wouldn't be able to do something that has not to do with architecture and art and creating. Uh, but, but there was a time in which I got mad.

And, and, and I understood that I was mad, not at architecture, but at the way of doing things. Um, in architecture, so I kind of step aside, um, studied digital fabrication at MIT, and my constant reaction was like, How are these people doing this, things like this, and

we're not, and, and again, and again, and again, so like,

Evan Troxel: Yeah, yeah. That, I mean,

and so that gets back to your apathy comment, I think, right. Which is, and it, and it's not that people, everybody in that I've, that I've talked with on this podcast, people that I've worked with for years and years and years, everybody wants to do a great job. They don't even want to just do a good job.

They want to do a great job.

[00:17:00] And yet you still

see like the approach to doing a great job is often very broken. Right? And I think that's where that

apathy that you're talking about comes in, which is just kind of like accepting the way things are and not striving for a better way of doing things. A lot of the people who come on this show, it's, it's all about the how, how do we do this better?

What are the workflows? What are

the tools? There's a lot of focus on tools. The fundamental problems are, are not the tools. Right? And, and the

tool adoption is just a symptom of these larger apathetic problems, right? And so I'm curious from your guys's point of view, I mean, you're talking with firms all over the place, and I'm sure that there are themes and trends that you see. And, and Mercedes, your, your whole getting mad at architecture, I, I, Join the club, right? Like this is you, you feel like you're, you feel [00:18:00] like you're pushing boulders uphill because like change is so difficult. And I know a lot of people listening to the show. They feel that, they feel that deeply, right, and everybody's looking for ways in which they can affect a better outcome in a positive way. They're not doing it just because they want to use technology. They're doing it because, like, we are the designers of the built environment that affects everybody 90 percent of their day. everywhere, right?

And so like, that's why. And so to kind of steer the conversation or the ideas around this conversation around why we do what we do, and then you kind of work backwards and you figure out how you're going to get there with the tools and with the workflows and with the workforce and this, the staffing and the scheduling and all of those things. Like you really have to set those values, those, the vision for why you do what you do.

And, and you guys have an amazing culture at Slantis too. And I, I, it seems like that permeates through everything that you're talking [00:19:00] about, this, this insatiable curiosity, the drive for risk taking

you, you're, you're, you're striving to, to hit home runs.

Like you have these audacious goals and and it sounds to me like this is all kind of weaving together in, in your story.

Mercedes + Andy: Yes. Um, so I would add there that maybe it's from our kind of entrepreneurial background that and from not only being architects, but building a company, which is curious, that is the same word. Um, that. We realized very early on that people are the foundations of any successful organization. And the systems and processes and even tools that you put to the service of creating an organizational culture that helps push to the next level, whatever you're trying to change, is what sets The ground for [00:20:00] success or not.

And we've experienced this firsthand from improving our, and us being obsessed in reading. I don't know how many books about hiring and how you get the best talent. And the interesting thing is you don't have to reinvent the wheel for this. There are a lot of, uh, literature and information

around there, to architects, architects, want to, want to start with a blank page and, and to our detriment, to our

Evan Troxel: detriment, we take on too much and we don't look at other models and other examples to apply. But what you're saying, I think is, is completely true.

Mercedes + Andy: That you, you took the words out of my mouth, like, it's exactly that. All buildings and all pieces of architecture, like, even if you start from a blank page, you do have a certain amount of available materials to build to build with. So, like, it's fundamentally, like, wrong, like, the, the, the, [00:21:00] Basement is fundamentally wrong.

I'm not talking about like very artistic and custom made pieces of architecture. Uh, but just like, like the majority of the vast majority of what's built, like you never start from the components you have, whether if it's a brick, a gyp board or whatever, like you forget completely about the reality of the world and start with an abstract exercise, which is fascinating and very fun to do.

Uh, but, but very inefficient. Um, so like, and, and, and we see that like everybody starting from a blank canvas at every single project, uh, no matter if there's a template somewhere in place, at some corner or drawer of a firm, uh, we really are, um, dissipating a lot of energy. Um, every, every time we start a new project and, and, and, and nobody think it's alarming.

Um, so that's what really, that's what really [00:22:00] impressed me. Like nobody think it's alarming and like culturally, if you, you take a look at other industries, I, I, I just imagine like a team of engineers trying to start a bunch of code without any library in place or without any function in place. Like they would say like, no,

I'm not going to

do this.

I'm not They just wouldn't put up with

Evan Troxel: it. Right. this. Um, But, but, but like, you would, you will get to know, like, if you hang out a little bit with a couple of engineers, they would say, like, I'm not, I'm not going to call this, like, no. So, and it won't happen in architecture because, because we're okay with it. And if we're okay with it, like, why people won't be okay with it if the person you're looking up to is okay with it.

Mercedes + Andy: Yeah.

Evan Troxel: Right.

Mercedes + Andy: Through our journey, what we've seen is, this is on the right side. I'm like a true, too optimistic of a person, but, um, architecture is one, for me, one of the most [00:23:00] amazing careers. And we are through like our entrepreneurial journey. talking to a lot of other people from the technology industry and engineering and chemistry and just so many other industries that we're exposed to through friends and other, other, other business, uh, business owners and, and founders and Uh, what we would encounter, and I was talking to our, to Maddie, our marketing manager about this because she, her background is in industrial engineer.

I do think that careers that have the power of imagining things that don't exist in the real world and then materializing that are going to be the true game changers moving forward because all the rest is going to be done through. Chat, GPT, NAI, NELS. So, architecture for me is kind of misutilized. I don't know how [00:24:00] you pronounce that correctly.

Um, we were, we were having this conversation when we were designing our, Uh, organizational structure on how we organize ourselves. And we said, okay, we have this skill set coming from architecture. We know how to, we know the process of creating something from scratch and really understanding what's already in place and talking to other people.

So let's use the same process of creating a building, but then apply that to organizational structure. Um, and that's why I think architecture is amazing. Like, you can really apply the skills that you learn through school and then through your career life in other realms, where I think architects are not actually seeing that or are not using that to their advantage.

And usually it's what Mary's saying. Like, they try to reinvent and, and, instead of seeing that as a superpower. Yeah. And there's a little bit within, within our personal mission too, I would say of claiming back the profession. Uh, [00:25:00] and, oh, you're an architect. Like instead of you must draw pretty sketches.

Oh, you must really have a, a, a, a

Evan Troxel: an Instagram video going around where somebody was just out on the street with a microphone asking different people what architects do and the answers were just like that. It was like, they draw pretty pictures, they, they draw pretty little sketches. There was nothing about, like, shaping the built environment.

There was nothing about there was nothing even about the buildings that people inhabit, right? It was just like they draw.

Yeah, yeah.

So claiming it. I think that's a really interesting. It's like staking your claim and taking architecture back and really talking about the value that it provides to society.

And Everybody uses these things all the time. They're, and they, they have the biggest impact on global economies and every, all the businesses, everything operates out of these things that, that we have dedicated our lives to producing. And, and so it's, [00:26:00] it's kind of, sad to say that we have to take this back, that we have to claim this.


Mercedes + Andy: It's an incredibly complex profession, uh, and train of thought that you need to build a building. And, and if you see, if you see, like, if you see people that build machines, um, it's the, it's the same. Reasonable logic you have, you need to have in place like all the components and all the electronics and to make it work and what so it's exactly the same like a building.

It's a machine or like the human body or like what, whatever that that functions on its own under different circumstances and context

and whatever. Uh, so, so the, the abstract capacity, like it's. I know you're almost a mathematician, you

know, like on the geometry side of things, on the simulation side of things.

Um, so, so I think our, our mission also has to do a little, a little bit with [00:27:00] that, um, and just help or or push rather than help like the world to reshape and, and rewrap our heads around our profession and how things need to

be done and staying, staying really far from, um, that doesn't work in the real world, or we have always done it like this, so like that's the worst thing you can take for, for


Evan Troxel: The, the idea that, that you talked about earlier about applying your design skills to the organization or the business model, or, you know, like all of these things are design problems, but there is kind of a

blind spot to that. And I'm sure working with a lot of different companies all over the place, again, you're, you're seeing that over and over again. How are you starting to

change? Well, you're having conversations with them and I assume best case scenario, you are changing their perspective on that. And so I'm just curious kind of how, how you guys are doing that. Like [00:28:00] what kinds of communi what kinds of words are you using? What kinds of stories are you telling to break through that barrier?

Mercedes + Andy: So even how we set up our, so, uh, let me tell you a brief story that happened to me yesterday. Uh, so we were having a conversation, uh, kick of meeting with a client, like new client, right? And, um, there was, so we are a service. Business. So LAN is the services, but then architecture in general or architects is a professional service business?

Right. Um, so we had this kick of meeting where on our end there was a, what we call two teams. One is the client partnership team, and then the other one is the production and architectural. development team. Um, so on the partnership team, there was, we have a client success, and collaboration manager that is helping through the whole process of collaboration.

And she's an architect. She used to be on [00:29:00] the production team, and now she's on the client success end. And, uh, and then you have a, on, on the architectural team, you have a project manager, project architects, and all there are going to help through the, uh, client success construction document set of our client.

And, um, at the end of the, of the Keycap meeting, they were in shock. They were like, I've never heard about a client success person and being an architect, how does this go? And we brought that from the technology world, like we had a conversation and the technology people are also providing services at a much higher level than we are, what can we learn from the organization system that we can bring into architecture.

And at the beginning, we were really scared because we thought architects are not going to be. Um, receiving this property or they won't understand how this goes and actually through rolling it, we figured out that they were really [00:30:00] grateful for it and it's basically someone that is taking care of, of your whole process of the service all the time that we are collaborating and that small shifts are major compounded

over time.

Uh, so we are trying to do that and figure out how to do it differently in everything that we do. Um, so from that story for me was like kind of eye opening or how they were even telling us like, Oh my God, like you're so much more organized than we are. You're so much like, uh, um, yes, just like you, uh, we want to do this with our own clients and that there is when change happens.

Um, yeah, so, so, sorry, sorry, go, go, go ahead. So, um, I was, um, you, you made me think and, and Evan questions made me think about like little things that I [00:31:00] think we bring to the table and, and generate a doubt at first. And then. a need to understand and then an action. So like our, our services, we have two main lanes.

So one targets the project and the production of a project. Uh, so our focus there is the project and the other one, which is a consulting one targets

the firm um, and the firm as a whole, like more in a system processes and workflow level. Uh, and things that we've been bringing to the table on, on those lanes are one merging architecture and technology.

So, um, I think it was our first Autodesk University that we attended that we realized that a PA at Slantis would have the same level as a BIM manager in the US, let's say, market. And, and we did it that way because we just needed to do it that way and we understood it was our way to go. We were, like, lean and [00:32:00] needed to have, like, versatile people

and stuff. Uh, but, like, There was no division for us, just like, oh, you need to understand the whole thing as a whole, and then build expertise as a subject matter expert in different areas, but like, something we bring to the table a lot is bringing architecture and technology to the table

together, as we understand, like, technology is not Revit or BIM, it's just like any new and better way of doing things, and if you don't And if you don't address our profession from a technological perspective, like no matter what tool you're thinking, like you got to understand how the world works.

And today you cannot do that without understanding the basics of AI. So if you don't, if you don't approach it, approach it that way as a, as part of the discipline itself, then it's very hard to stay up to speed.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Mercedes + Andy: Uh, so like, just like putting that as a, as a part of the agenda, not a, Not like for the [00:33:00] CIOs or not for the technology people and bright minds.

So like, if we don't embrace that as architects, then, and people tend to do that. Oh, like she's in the technology side. Oh, she's

the technology brain. And it's like, well, I think we're all pretty much technology savvy nowadays. Um, so, so it's really our, our duty to understand how things work. Um, not necessarily technically, but in an abstract mode.

Um, as, as we do with architecture. Um, so, so that's definitely one thing and, and a couple of, of more things that I think we, we really help our clients to address differently, um, is like the management of knowledge. So, as a service company, your people are the most important thing, um, and, and on a second level is the knowledge you have, which, which can not only live on people's brains, uh, because if not your You're not as strong as you should be.

So like, managing knowledge [00:34:00] of a firm on, on different planes, like not only from the detail library you have, but from the documentation. So we have a very, um, strong obsession with documenting. We stole that from the software industry, of course. So just like, um, trying to materialize what we know and to generate a culture around.

getting tangible knowledge, not only harvesting after every project, but committing to improve that to every workflow in the company. So I think, so I think, um, architectural firms are not really focused on that, and, and they don't create

the room, uh, that, that it

that it needs to have. Like, I'm speaking on a general rule, as a general level, that, like, there's very bright people tackling this, but Um, but that's something we really bring to the table, and, and, and it has proven for our clients to be a game changer because you don't need to invest a lot of money.

Uh, you just need to, [00:35:00] to tweak, let's say, some, some ways of doing things to start harvesting what you know and materializing it. And, and it's part of your intellectual property as

a company, too. Um, yeah.

Evan Troxel: the time after a project to do the debrief and capture it to make it available to everybody else. But the mindset is next project. That's the mindset, right? That's the, that's the current flow that you're trying to swim against, which is this project is done.

We have another project we need to go do now. We don't have time. To use that intellectual property that we have built throughout the life of this project with the individuals who are on the team who worked on it and capitalize on that on

the next project we, if, and, and architecture is, is, a bit different than other industries in that, [00:36:00] at least in large offices, teams disperse and a new team forms.

It's not the same people, right, who move from one project to the next, typically. And so, if you, You might get bits of progress that move forward in very different ways because that you have a new accumulation of people on a new team, and you have new dynamics, and you have a new scope for a project, and you have all these new constraints. which everybody's constantly trying to understand as they ramp up on a new project. And so, they're, like, you're talking about, like, this wastefulness that happens because you cannot capitalize on what happened before as well because you're not taking the time, making the room, as you said, right, to cap to capture that information and put it somewhere to then gain insight from at a, at an organizational level.

And that is intellectual property and we squander it.

Mercedes + Andy: And I think like, we usually, so here, [00:37:00] here's an interesting conversation I've been having with myself for a while, which is, which is, I think part of the problem is the way we measure, um, the success of a project or the production of a project. Because if you reuse a lot of stuff, like, it's like the footprint of the production of a project, like, even when you buy clothing and you just, like, take a look at the linen for it to be recycled, at least, or just, like, understand, like, the thing as a whole, like, if we could measure, um, the time we gain recycling stuff from other projects, from online, from whatever, then you could or you should be able to charge more, you know.

Because, like, you've created something you've used for the project, then, I mean, you're going to, to charge it for it, like, even if you

haven't built it for that project. Um, so, like, instead of measuring, like, the amount of hours a project took, or, [00:38:00] or, or the, the, the amount of time a project took, or manpower, or whatever, then what if you could measure the amount of recycling you did for a specific project?

Uh, because that That would change, that would change the equation and it would change like what you're measuring. Uh, and instead of focusing on what you produce from scratch, well try to focus the amount of hours

you've gained. Because that would give you at least a sense of if you're, if you're doing part of your job right or not.

And on a different vein and going back to what you were saying Evan, um, about, Uh, the team's kind of being reorganized every time a project starts and then every time a project, um, stops and then starts, um, something that I think we should, uh, be doing more is, uh, and going back to our conversation about culture and the people aspect of our business, which is usually [00:39:00] not, uh, at the center of the conversation, uh, is building like real collaboration tools, uh, I think this has kind of accelerated through, uh, the remote work that we are all doing right now.

Um, but like, every time you start out, uh, working with a new podcast, Project or even team, you should be able to set the grounds on how that team is going to be operating, how that team should be counterbalancing strengths and weaknesses from each one of their members, really understanding how to communicate efficiently and properly, really understanding what is expected from everyone.

And usually there are different things and it's not, uh, Because of different levels of seniority, you're expecting different, different things from different people. So all of that kind of like, um, let's start a team, let's start a project where we are starting a new team and setting those grounds to make it successful is [00:40:00] usually not being addressed at


Let's just start working in the project and we need to deliver and deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, but then the success of those deadlines is. measure than to what Mira was saying should be measured also on how successful the team is collaborating between them. Um, yeah. And we're not used to do work about the work.

We just go and do work on the production side, but like there, there's a time in which you do work about the

work that will be carried on.

Evan Troxel: I mean,

the, the, the way you say that is going slow to go fast, right? The going slow part is the important part that comes first. And because

then you're all on the same

page and you have the right tools and you're doing it the way that has been decided, then you can go fast, right? Like that's the idea behind that.

Mercedes + Andy: Yeah. Yeah. So, internally we have, so we have several projects [00:41:00] that go like, On the tangent, is that an actual word

in English? Yes,

it is like that. The tangent, okay. I was spanglishing it. Uh, on the tangent that go, uh, besides the work that we are doing for our clients, and, um, we have, we name them like on a funny way.

Uh, so we have one sorts of projects that are called, Uh, and what they would be the infrastructure projects, which we call them the pool projects and, uh, we say we are building

the pool and then the other set of projects are the diving, uh, projects. So, you need to dive, or you can dive once you already have the pool built.

Uh, so the bigger projects infrastructure wise projects, uh, mid long term projects, slower but smarter projects. are, are those pool projects, but then they are, they are allowing you to jump safely when you [00:42:00] are diving. When there's

water. Yeah. When there's water in it. I thought you were going to talk about our support projects, which need to be renamed to a more fancy name, but we do have, so something we, we stole from the software industry and just technology industries having not only our client projects.

which are projects on the production side or the consulting side, but support projects that are internal projects that help us to do things better. And they involve people from all cells. Um, so like every time, so there, there's, when you do have capacity to produce things that are not necessarily client projects, then we make sure there's things to do.

that help us to be a better company, or have a better infrastructure, or, and, and those are open for everyone, and, and some of them end up, um, in our, in our client's side, or in our client's place, [00:43:00] because we, we just, like, capture problems from real projects, or we've captured, captured problems from real firms, and then, like, preciously in our support projects, uh, queue.

And then address them, uh, and, and some of them come to life, and we do have one that will hopefully come to life in, in a month or so, uh, which is an open source detail library, um, that will allow at least people to start from an existing detail, um, instead of, I don't know, looking into older projects or into a detail library, and details that are, you know, like common to pretty much everyone that builds in the United States.

Um, so like why having separate details in separate firms that all

look the same, that all try to comply with certain codes, um, and just have having a small portion of that, like kind of as a GitHub repository, uh, and [00:44:00] have them upload one time and have everyone In the world, uh, that needs that and like it would be a major gain of efficiency, uh, worldwide.

So like, no, that is something that we definitely need to learn also as an industry is sharing more, which is being much more

open. We had this conversation. This is for the people before we engaged into this podcast episode, like really, really being open and

sharing. Uh, we had a talk.

Evan Troxel: Overflow for architects, right? Like something like that.

Mercedes + Andy: know. Yeah. Yeah.

Like we, we do have that internally, like as a, as a blog, I think we use the same platform as, as Dynamo and Rhino. Uh, it's called, um, Discorps.

Uh, we do have that internally and have thought about just like open sourcing it, but we haven't decided yet, but just like having a place in which. We can [00:45:00] chat about real challenges and have people chime in and share what they've experienced.

And, and the magic there is that the real added value for architects comes to play, because you're not focusing anymore on the detailing or the, the repetitive tasks, but whether how you design better your building because you have more time and room. Created for the real val value added of our profession.

Yeah. So

Evan Troxel: I think one of the things that's come up so

many times on this show and in my own experience, and I, I would love to hear what your experience in this as well, but the idea of standards and. protocols and workflows that are predefined. A lot of people see those as handcuffs. They don't see that as freedom, right?

And so you, and it's a perception thing. It's just, it's just, how do you perceive that? Do you see those things as. Handcuffs, like, oh, now they're forcing me to do it this way. [00:46:00] Because I think one of, one of the things that you have to recognize in the type of work that we do, which you could put under the category, the broad category of knowledge work, right?

We're, we're sitting at computers. I mean, you're, you're thinking in abstract ways, you're connecting dots, you're building things, you're, you're building things. I'm putting up

my air quotes, like you're drawing, you're building models, you're, you're creating drawings and, but you're doing knowledge work. And everybody who is doing not like the big shift from blue collar to white collar work is that now everybody's responsible to figure it out as they go. There's no, there, gone are the workflows, gone are the protocols, gone are the standards. There's like this factor that we have to deal with, which is that everybody is basically forced to figure things as, as they go along, figure things out as they go along. So they're turning to the internet, [00:47:00] they're, you know, and, and, Internet's fantastic.

And it's

also a big problem, right? Because you can learn 18 different ways to do a thing

and you don't have time for 18 different ways. You have time for one. How do you know it's the right one? And so now we're picking and choosing and. Putting all of these things together in really weird ways, right?

Because people are under pressure to get things done. And so, and, and they don't have the tools to do it. So they go looking for them on their own because they are incentivized. It's like the only option, right? Is to figure this out yourself, because I don't want to let anybody know that I don't know what I'm doing.

So I'm not going to call the person who's the expert and reveal my Myself, my, my lack of skills to them. No, I'm going to

show up with, like, I figured it out. And so

we take shortcuts and we're incentivized

to go down the wrong pathways. Right. And, and these are the things that. Like every firm [00:48:00] is dealing with this stuff.

And you're talking about a repository of knowledge and you're talking about capturing knowledge and you're talking about sharing it. And it's like, we're all of this knowledge is so decentralized already, right? There's forums all over the place. There's email newsletters all over the place. There's YouTube videos.

There's, there's all of these different pockets of little tiny bits of information, and there's no like architectural profession repository. And that's kind of what you need. You need something at scale that

is the single source of truth. And it's like a detail library that's open source. Great. And does it work where you have to,

it's like the disclaimer we see on all the AI stuff.

It's like, sometimes it hallucinates. So you need to verify this. Like, it's going to be the same with your detail library, right? Even though AI is not drawing your details. But you need

to verify that it's, you still need to do your due diligence as a licensed professional to protect the health, safety, and welfare of [00:49:00] people to verify that it's actually going to work there.

But, but, and yet this thing doesn't exist that you're talking about. There's no like national or, you know, worldwide global organization for us to do this stuff. And we're fighting against these

incentives to figure it every single day,

Mercedes + Andy: true. Um, what I think and going back to the beginning of our conversation is it's always a people problem rather than or a mindset people problem rather than a, um, the tool itself as we were talking at

the beginning. Um, and I think the first big step that we need to take as, as, as a group, uh, or as an industry is.

being much more open about our misses and about our wins, and then sharing them. Um, I, I think there's a lot of, of, of people being scared of what you, what you're [00:50:00] saying, of, of, of, This fear of, I don't know what I should be knowing and what Mare was saying is absolutely true, like building buildings is incredibly complex and it's totally right if you don't know, even if you have 20 and 30 years of experience, it's totally okay to not know.

Um, and by the way, probably you won't, you, you still won't know everything because that go back to the beginning of our conversation where it's impossible to know

everything. Um, But there is, I believe there is some things that should be given, um, and going back even to your standards question, um, which, I mean, it's a fascinating, it's a fascinating topic.

and it's a very delicate balancing act because you want to provide some clarity on some things, but you don't want to overstander it, overstanderize it, because [00:51:00] every time you change one thing there's a new standard

and you don't want to end up with thousands. Um, but, but you, you just made a point which is the AEC is an adhocracy and we do things

Evan Troxel: I've never heard that term before. That's great.

It is.

Mercedes + Andy: But it is, so every time we need to, and, and there is, there is some, something good about that, which is you are flexible, you're versatile, and you can just like create things on the go. Um, and I think that, that, that's, that's, um, an essence, very representative of slanty somehow. But there is a, there is a downside, which is you're too emphatic.

you're spending time on things that you shouldn't be spending on. And even if you know how to do them and, and, and you do have a skill set, you're, you're not spending time on other things and other initiatives, which will [00:52:00] have a bigger impact. So like low, like high complexity, low impact, you shouldn't be spending much time on those.

And we should try to like to find a way to, create a base for you to work on

top of that. Like, I'm not saying, um, go get a detail library and don't think and talk to the chat GPT library and let her or him, I don't know her gender, the gender, um, give you the proper detail. But, but rather than like build your critical thinking and spirit, And, and, like, even understand that you don't have to create some things from scratch, because if you are, you're not spending your precious time on other things, which could have a bigger impact on the project.

So like, I think, like, building, so building open source projects or, or [00:53:00] common data sources of truth is definitely one thing we need to embrace as an industry. And on the other hand, just like building the critical mindset or spirit of people, uh, to question things that do work right now, but may not work with a new generation, more, um, software re oriented or tech technologically oriented saying like, I'm not going to do this.

Um, so like, I think it's both things on the same time because you don't want to have a single source of truth and people using it without critically

thinking about it. Totally. And, and you don't want to have people critically thinking about things that everybody's doing at the same time in different desks.

Yes. And, and something else about the standards is, um, that it's, it's, um, really connected to what we are talking about is if, [00:54:00] um, what you are saying is so true that there are online 18 different options for doing something. Uh, a single thing, and then someone, uh, your organization maybe took the time to really study and understand those 18 options and then figuring out, okay, this one is the best one.

And, uh, if we are not, and we use this, uh, metaphor, metaphor a lot in slantises, if we are not learning at the pace of everyone, then. No one is learning, meaning that if you did that research and you share it, and we have the commitment as an organization to create the systems for people to reach out to that information on an easy way, even easier than Googling it, which is a challenge, uh, but having the systems really available so people can figure out faster which one of those 18 options is the best one because [00:55:00] somebody else already did it and then you don't have to go through that, uh, yourself and you are learning on the pace of others doing their research before.

So it's kind of like stepping on other, other people's shoulders of knowledge already and, and using that to build your own as you go. And I think we, we are. We are at a lack in of that in our industry. Like we are not putting knowledge and information at the center, and that is causing us to reinvent the, the wheel every time.

For sure. Yeah. And on the standards vein, so, um, our, our BIM strategy team, I'm gonna say hi to our beam strategy team from here, . And, and they do, so they do, they call themselves, uh, the Marie Kondos of

Evan Troxel: Ooh.

Mercedes + Andy: And I find that hilarious and I found and I love it. And, and um, like I think [00:56:00] they've created a very, um, useful like thumb rule for standards on, on Marie Kondo's.

Inspiration. Like, if it doesn't spark joy, just

like throw it. away, .So I think that's a bit like center, something like very complex to create then that you need to revisit very frequently and it takes a lot

Evan Troxel: There's, there's, we, there's been so much time and attention put into things that are bad that we feel like we

have to use

those because of that, that all of the resources that we've sunk into that thing. And to your point, like, I

mean, it takes a, it takes some critical thinking to really weigh whether that is useful or not,

valuable or not.

Productive or not. And if it's not just get rid of it, like just throw it out. Don't

worry about your sunk costs anymore. It's actually costing you more and more and more. It's not helping you more and more

and more, which is what it should be doing.

Mercedes + Andy: [00:57:00] Yeah. Totally. Totally.

Evan Troxel: of, of, I mean, this, this is coming up time and time again in this conversation, but you know, because of what I was talking about earlier, where everybody's kind of left to their own devices to figure things out and the lack of. quality information sitting at the center. We cannot

measure productivity in these businesses. It is impossible to, to actually measure productivity, right? Because if

it's left to everybody to figure this out as they go, and they're looking at 18 different ways, or they can only find a couple and they, they, they slam these concoctions together to, just to solve today's problem, not, um, And it, and I'm sure as people who are deep, deep, deep in technology and bim like you are, you see this all the time where we, what, what's the

way that people say this, they sacrifice the future for today, right?

They scra, they, they build incredible technical debt today [00:58:00] and not thinking about tomorrow or next week or two years from now, because it solves the problem of today. With the things that you're

talking about putting in place and having a dedication to, that really changes the game, and I'm, and I, I can totally understand that when you talk to firms about this, they would get excited about that, but when the rubber meets the road, It takes a dedication from everybody on that team to

live that in perpetuity. And that's when things get really hard, right? Because it's like, this sounds great. And I can practice meditation for a week, but in a month I won't be doing meditation anymore because it's hard. Like in, and I mean, just, just to use that as an analogy, right? You're talking about doing this in perpetuity.

You're talking about getting serious about it and sticking with it. And that is. is a really hard part because architects are all trained to do it on their own. And I

think that learned [00:59:00] behavior is so rooted in our, in our wiring, that that is really hard to


Mercedes + Andy: I think we are, we are, Fighting a very, very long tradition of how buildings are being made, like since the pyramids, like there's a lot of things that still remain in the way we do things that we need to rethink. You were talking about the knowledge or a knowledge based business and we are on the knowledge age, but we still operate as a revolution or industrial revolution age in our business.

Yeah. So, meaning that we are, uh, through, like, we are moving our project through different stages on a linear 4T

system rather than a fully integrated system, and that is a great part of the dysfunction of what we are seeing. Uh, through a [01:00:00] profession. Um, the other thing that you were talking about is, and we've been over and over this discussion, and it's related to the model that we're using, Industrial Revolution versus Knowledge Based Era, um, the hours, how are we measuring hours, and how we're charging hours, and actually we're trying to do things smarter, smarter and faster, and that should take less



Evan Troxel: Yeah. You, you get paid by the hour. It's really hard to, I mean, so,

so projects. The less time you spend on a project, the better. That's not better for the project. It's, it's better for the bottom line. Right. But at the same time, like hours are not there. You can't measure productivity by, by people being busy because hours, it equates to busyness. Right? And so

again, like the Model T example, you measure output of cars on the assembly line. That's

what you're measuring. And you're trying to figure out ways to get more cars out faster, if that's [01:01:00] the business model, right? With us, it's, it, it isn't like that, right? It, you, you, we can't measure productivity by how many emails you send.

That doesn't make any sense at all. If you're spending all day fielding emails and Slack messages and teams messages and video calls and doing, you're actually not working at all, right? You're just, you're talking, you're coordinating, you're doing, and you're spending hours, valuable, like super, super high value hours. doing things you abs, that are absolutely not contributing, mostly not contributing to the bottom line. And, and this whole idea of misalignment between the work we do and the business, the health of the business, like that, those two things are not in alignment at all. We just equate busy to productive and that's not the case.

Mercedes + Andy: And, and like from a mindset, mindset standpoint, like what we've seen through a lot of the clients that we [01:02:00] work with is the hours just constrains your mind into thinking in hours, which is a whole problem because it's, um, it's, um, Like, it's, it's not being as productive as it should be in the end for, uh, crazy as it sounds, because, uh, if you're only thinking hours, your head is really being narrowed down into those hours instead of thinking, okay, what if I release myself from this hour mindset and figure out, I need to invest my time in harvesting knowledge that it's going to end up Recycling all the information that we created, but as you were saying before, we're sacrificing that because our, our mindset, it's only seeing a really small portion and thinking, uh, in, in smaller pieces rather than

zooming out and seeing the macro.

Yeah, and then it's also, [01:03:00] so this is something we, we struggle with and a big challenge. Um, Because we do develop projects, but we do charge by the hour for some clients. So you have a whole structure working on an hourly basis, and like, I've, I've went into this battle thousands of times, and it's my daily battle, and I will keep going, but, but you do have, uh, 500, 700, 000 people company, that Count hours and then you got to adapt to whatever the system they have and and and it's hard to To go back and then

if you go on an hourly basis and you decrease the amount of hours that takes Your team to produce something Then it is unfair and it's and it's the wrong incentive like not only for for the people but for the firm too because you're you're thinking on a on a commoditization mindset Rather than an [01:04:00] added value and our profession should be about added value.

So, So, so, it is a huge challenge and a mindset that I think it would take ages to change. Um, and to really understand like what, what measurement units are we going to pick to measure productivity on developing a project. And it's not only going to be the amount of hours it takes you to produce a project.

Um, That may be a factor, or a variable, but then what about the amount of RFIs you get a year later because of producing fast and stealing happiness from the future? So like, that's not being


And, and so, so it is a complex problem, like a really wicked problem to solve and, and no one has solved it yet.

And we'll give it a shot. We had this conversation, like, we have a few people that do advisory for us on a board level. We are the major, like, we are [01:05:00] the only and major owners of Slantis, but then we have a few people that help us on a board level. Uh, just to think better about the business, and we started Slanzys very early on in our career, so it's been rolling for almost a decade now, but we started when we were like 25, so we were very young.

And, um, key thing there is surrounding yourself with people that know more. that you do? Um, and, um, from the very early days we were fighting against this hour thing. And I would say that that was certainly one of the, um, meres a ha moments. Like we're not counting hours at all. This is limiting our ability to see beyond.

And we rolled until we were, we were almost like 20 employees there and we were fighting every board meeting that we were having, like our advisors having a lot of experience, a lot of these people from, coming from the, um, uh, US, uh, AC industries, like you need to start [01:06:00] counting hours because this is going to go bananas on your, uh, business, business wise.

And we're like, we're not doing this. But at a certain point, like the scale. Um, like, kind of constrains you of figuring out how to do it in a better way, and we are really aware that this is not the correct way, but if you're a service business, you're usually replicating the structure of your partner. So, what, what happened was, We were saying we're not counting hours You just see the end product of our projects and how fast we are producing this and then our clients were like, okay And where's your our time sheet because we need to charge this to our own clients

and at some point like it was It was yeah, like different roads from what we try to accomplish to what we were seeing on the

market I'm not against I'm against counting hours.

I'm against measuring productivity with, with that variable [01:07:00] as, as the

only one. And guess that, that's a

standard in a, in a, in our

industry. It is. So, so, like, I think, like, it's not, it's not about the hour count. Um, it's not about the hour count. It's about, it's about siloing your capacity to think on a broader spectrum on, on what it takes to build a project.

So, like, it's very narrow minded to think that the productivity of a project can be measured only by counting the hour of people that produced that or worked on that. Um, and it's not representative of the level of work that a project

Evan Troxel: Especially when technology

gets involved, right? Because the whole point, the whole point,

of these tools is to, I mean, just take automation as an example, right? Automation is to take something that used to take X number of amount of time and squash it down into a very tiny fraction of that. So [01:08:00] what, If you charge by the hour, then what do you do?

I mean, and this starts, I mean, this really points out the value of these things and what they encapsulate, right? So if you've, if you've been able to codify your knowledge into an algorithm that can automate something away. There's value there, right? I mean, this is the,

everybody listening to this podcast totally gets this. And, and yet

there's still this, they're scared that architects, architects aren't going to be around because AI is going to do everything in a fraction of the time and who would ever go to an architect and it's like the value, like we are encoding the value into that. into the, the,

what comes back, what we're receiving out of these systems, whatever they are.

I mean, if even talking about your knowledge management and talking about your repository of information, like that's your knowledge encapsulated and codified to help the next generation or the next team do something better and hopefully faster and with [01:09:00] less pain where they, where they can shift that, their, their new time to even better value so that they can

deliver an exceptional.

product at the end of the day, right? And it's just like that. Those shifts is what we're actually talking about. We're not talking about taking everything and compressing it down to nothing. We're not talking about productivity. We're not talking about efficiency. We're talking about doing this so that we can deliver value, which is.

Like, if architecture can change the world, if we really can have a huge impact, that has to happen. Right? Like,

dull buildings, boring buildings, repetitive, literal

crap that gets built every single day is not adding value to people's lives. And if we want, like, that's the commodity argument that you were making earlier, right?

It's just in the physical form of it. It's the physical form of the commodity. It's like, Bill, we don't

want to commoditize. [01:10:00] our value into commodity buildings. We want to produce architecture. Not, not every building needs to be architecture, capital A architecture, but. We do have the ability to affect the daily lives of

everybody on the planet. And that's where our value needs to shift away. So stop doing the, the, the literal crap that you're doing because it's valueless, right? That you're, you're doing that over and over again. These are, these are the same, same conversations. I mean, it's, it, it, and to your point, like talking about it to a firm that is M has a history of. This is the way we've always done it. This is, it's so difficult to change. I mean, I, I do have. and affection for people who try to start their own thing and try to do a different business model because they can. It's a clean slate, right? It's a design problem that

deserves some attention, but to hear that it gets pulled back because you're trying to swim [01:11:00] against a really strong current is, I mean, that, that's heartbreaking. I'll just say it. It's hard. It's heartbreaking.

Mercedes + Andy: You have strong arms to

keep swimming. So,

Evan Troxel: Right.

Mercedes + Andy: um, I, I do believe also, and, and, and also to your point, like this is an incredibly complex problem.

Like every time we. how conversations with a lot of people that are like minded and really understand certain aspects of the problem. Uh, the conclusion for us, it's, it's, it's an incredibly complex problem that tackles a lot of different fronts that are usually open and, and, and open ended, let's say, and, and don't have a straight answer.

Um, what, what I think, um, we can contribute at least is doing this type of things and, uh, raising awareness [01:12:00] and, uh, just being part of the buzz on the conversation that something needs to change. I think that there's still a lot of people that haven't realized that things need to change and that makes a current stronger.

Um, so if we can at least. Um, raise awareness of there's a different way of doing things or, um, and that could be

better for you and for everyone and in the end for the community. That's a major step. Um, and the other thing that I was thinking while you, while you were talking is, um, there's, there's, and I continue to stress on this because there is so a lot we need to learn.

Thank you. from the people side and just call it soft skills. I think it's much bigger than just soft skills, uh, in order to be better at what we do and our profession is incredibly collaborative. Like there's no [01:13:00] way you can produce in a building with a capital A architecture if that team was not composed by amazing talented architects and how they collaborated is incredible.

like the architect, the architectural piece is the end product of that collaboration. Um, I think that starts from leadership and that starts from being open minded and just being aware that, uh, people are the center of it all. Like there's no way You can deliver amazing things if you don't have amazing people on your team and you teach them how to collaborate in the most efficient way.

And then kind of like even the hourly conversation goes into a second plane because the power of the team is so much bigger. So people, people are the center of it all. For us, it's kind of like even a motto for us. [01:14:00] Uh, and we've invested and we continue to invest like crazy amounts of money in, uh, learning and teaching and collaboration.

And this morning we had like a two hour feedback, uh, workshop on how to give and how to receive feedback properly. And those things are critical in order to understand how you do

things better. Um, And it's, it's so, it's so obvious and it's at plain sight, but, but just project deadlines and, uh, the focus is not there.

And we're, so at this stage, we're thinking, so we internally have a pretty unique way of collaborating. Um, not only, uh, developing a specific project for a client, but developing a internal project for a client. slant is, or just like collaboration, like inter cell collaborations, inter cellular collaboration among our different cells or [01:15:00] different teams.

Um, what we're thinking right now is how to extend that collaboration through the whole

community and how to help other people, um, embrace collaboration the way we do. So kind of trying to decode the principles that got us here and allow us to collaborate and allow us to. Do things that are impossible to be done alone, but possible to be done within a perfect, let's say, like plasticity of collaboration and how we can, um, extend that outside what's our Slantis team and what's outside our Slantis community and like hopefully get everyone in the AEC just embrace collaboration on a deeper level.


Evan Troxel: and I don't say that lightly, because one, one thing that I think I see as a, I don't want to say it's a trend, but I see this trait, this character trait in a lot of [01:16:00] people who come on this show, which, and you said it early on, Andy, you had this global perspective, this global interest. And I don't think of that just as

like the globe. I think of that as our profession as it spans the globe. And what you're talking about here is bringing those people closer together, right? And because that's where the, the talent truly is. And, and so what you're talking about is truly inspiring because you really are thinking stepping back and having that very wide perspective of how can we help this all get better where a lot of firms are in the position of it's all about us and us meaning the firm, right? And when you say it's all about us, you're thinking of like the global profession. The global industry, right? And, and so this to me is, it truly is inspirational because you have this perspective that is so different than, firms have a really hard time going [01:17:00] from working on projects to working on the profession.

And, and I think consulting firms like yourselves, like service firms, there's several out there, right? Where you, you just get this bigger picture. and you want to help

it all get better. And that to me is, is, uh, I mean, it's noteworthy. It's remarkable actually. So I, I appreciate what you're doing and, and I appreciate that you Put yourselves out there.

And I hope that being on this show will just help that happen even more for you because you guys are, I mean, you truly are walking the talk, you know, you're not just talking about it, you're actually walking the talk.

Mercedes + Andy: Thank you. Um, I heard once, I don't, I don't remember exactly where, but, um, when, when, um, people that start companies talk about purpose and, um, I heard once they said like a hint to know what your purpose is. It's, it's never about, it's never about [01:18:00] you. It's always about helping others and true greatness or true success comes from the impact and the true change you generate, uh, on those around you and those who are impacted by what you're doing.

So, um, we are really, really aware of that and try to do it from every possible perspective that the company allows us to. Um, so thank you also for, uh, bringing us into the show and just, uh, helping us spread a bit more of our impact. Yeah. And hope we can help you too.

Evan Troxel: Wonderful. Wonderful. Well. Give everybody, uh, a place where they can go online to learn more about you, get in touch with you, things like that.

Mercedes + Andy: Uh, so slantis. com, uh, you can check our website there or, uh, our LinkedIn page, a company page, Slantis. It's really active and you can, um, just share, see what we [01:19:00] share from a cultural perspective and lessons learned. We share a lot. Um, so website slantis. com and LinkedIn page, uh, slantis.

Evan Troxel: Great. Well, I

will have links to that and

to connect with you both on LinkedIn as well in the show notes for this episode. So thank you. It's been a great conversation.

Mercedes + Andy: Thanks, Yvonne. It was fun. Totally.