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Monday, August 03, 2009

Konstructr.com -- Another new online network

Yesterday, I (again almost accidentally) discovered another new and rapidly growing construction industry network, konstructr.com, founded by Vik Duggal, from the Seattle, Washington area.

The new network has some intriguing similarities to the Design and Construction Network, established (it appears) about the same time, in the winter months of 2009, by Tim Klabunde in suburban Washington, D.C.

The near-parallel launches may reflect that when the time is right for a good idea, it will emerge in more than one location, almost simultaneously. The Design and Construction Network, of course traces its roots to a the other side of the continent from konstructr.com, and has distinctive differences, but many similarities.

Editor's note: This is a a very early report -- I only discovered Konstrutr.com through a link from a guest posting to
Matt Handal's Help Everybody Everyday, which has become the official blog of the Design and Construction Network, so my facts are incomplete. I've sent in my registration for konstructr.com but not everyone is expected to be awake and responding to inquiries at 1 a.m. on a summer weekend!)

Similarities:

  • Time of origin;
  • Rate of growth;
  • Multi-media orientation (both networks have online magazine components; the Design and Construction Network is associated with The Design and Construction Report, http://www.dcnreport.com, which we publish);
  • Focus on social networking, and integration of various construction-industry disciplines under a common umbrella.
  • Founders of both networks work in marketing positions in places which use the name "Washington" (though the companies are different and the Washington's are 3,000 miles apart.)
Differences:
  • Routes for personal interaction: The Design and Construction Network has developed member-sponsored "happy hours" (in Washington and soon in Philadelphia) where members can put faces to names in a social setting. Vik Duggal, conversely, has chosen to speak at industry events and symposiums;
  • Private versus Public Network: Although both networks are pretty well open to anyone who qualifies (and screening processes apply to keep out trouble-makers and spammers); the Konstructr.com appears to be built as a totally private and separate organization from other networks, while the Design and Construction Network is founded within Linkedin.com;
I wouldn't be surprised if we see one or two other new substantial industry-focused networks have been established and are thriving, just out of our eyesight.

Could you copy the framework here and create your own network? Possibly, but I sense you will be too late, unless you are focused within a sub-niche which could support this type of resource.
In his 50 minute presentation at the ZweigWhite A/E Marketing Now Summit 2009. Duggal explains how you might want to set up this type of network yourself. He also explains the role the new social networks and resources have in construction industry marketing.

I've set a permalink for Konstructr.com in the sidebar and will report more as I learn more. I've also redesigned the sidebar to create a new links group for construction industry networks with a focus on marketing. I sense this list will grow in the months ahead.

2 comments:

Curtis said...

Mark

We have a similar networking group called Local AEC Network with, as of today (check for yourself)… exactly 200 members (in just 2 weeks mind you). Our group blog is made public in order to access the potential developers and end users who might want to hire a person or company in our network. However the main goal of the group and the blog is to provide resources and tools (leads, events, free as well as low-cost ad space, links etc.) for our members.

I agree with you, that you will see more and more groups like this popping up, but I’d like to add my take as to why. And that’s because gone are the days when work would literally fly through the door. As an industry, architects, engineers and contractors (all types) must now network both on-line and in-person in order to bring in new business. We now have to result to the chaotic nature of ambulance-chasing attorneys, in order to keep billings at least close to what they used to be.

But in the end, who knows, maybe it was a good thing… a sort of leveling of the playing field if you know what I mean. Thanks in advance for the link.

Keep up the good work.

Local AEC Network: http://bit.ly/16IZ7o
Memberships open to anyone in the AEC Industry.
Local AEC Network Blog: http://sustainablecoin.com
As the founder and current editor, you can follow me here: http://twitter.com/thebizdevguy
Or email me, mail@sustainablecoin.com

Mark Buckshon said...

Curtis:

I've set a permalink to the Local Design and Construction Network your blog.

I have a different perspective of why these networks are forming, though of course my view is through the somewhat rose-colored glasses of the capital-city economies in Washington DC and Ottawa, Canada (which to some extent live in a space outside the real recession world.)

If "ambulance chasing" approaches are defined as necessary in the tough economy, I continue to believe that solid and well-connected relationships founded on sharing and mutual respect have the greatest sustainability.

On the other hand, passively waiting for the business to arrive when the wolf is knocking on the door is probably not such a good idea.