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Monday, August 03, 2009

Local AEC Network (Design & Construction Professionals)

Yesterday, I reported on the apparent almost simultaneous development of the Design and Construction Network (roots in Washington DC area), and Konstructr.com (whose founder is in the Seattle, Washington, region.) That posting resulted in a comment from Curtis Lewis, based in Orlando, Florida, to tell me about the Local AEC Network (Design and Construction Professionals) and its related blog, sustainablecoin.com.

Like the Design and Construction Network (which has set up sub-groups in Philadelphia and New York), Curtis's group is seeking to reach beyond Florida. Curtis also appears to be creating the community events similar to the Design and Construction Network Happy Hours.

I'll set a permalink to this group and include the sustainablecoin.com blog within the blogroll.

Obviously, the space is new here and the sprouting of regional groups will continue as clearly we are into a new era of social networking within the architectural, engineering and construction community.

Which, if any, of the groups I know about will achieve national prominence and leadership going forward?

The jury is still out on that question, much as things were in (market leadership) flux in the very early years of the automotive industry, or more recently, in the space of Internet search engines and social networking sites.

My own biases creep into the assessment here. I tend to think the Design and Construction Network has the best chance of maintaining leadership because, while there are strong and competent personalities behind the scene at mydcn.com, the focus is on longer range relationships rather than short-term "hits", the leadership is humble and recognizes the members, not the "owners' determine its course, and at least in chronology of the start-up, it was first, or at least tied for first. (First to market is important in virtually any marketing initiative).

Of course, these biases are shaped by perspectives that go beyond the social networking space. I will keep an open mind. To explain, I know that canvassing in the residential contracting space can be effective in some situations, but prefer inbound marketing and intensive service and respect approaches (the origin of this blog two years ago!). And I respect that while "ambulance chasing" may describe a successful approach to finding new business, I would much prefer to develop relationships based on generosity and long-term mutual respect. (But I respect professional canvassers and ambulance chasers enough to know there is a place in the marketing spectrum for their approaches.)

It is quite possible the various groups will meld into a form of a super-network in time and of course other groups and initiatives are still outside of radar range here.

4 comments:

Mark Buckshon said...

oh, if "Stehanie" hadn't tried to sneak a hidden hyperlink behind her user id in her comment we would have published it uncensored. as it is, I'll take the credit -- and post it without the sneaky link.

Great blog, good info here, very informative.Take care!

Curtis said...

Mark,

From what I read from Tim K. and what his group is doing (great new publication, well attended events, cofebuz.com) I actually agree with you when you speak of which group might reach "national prominence". I'd only like to add that it’s also quite possible that these groups will not need to become as large as some of these other national industry organizations out there in order to be effective. Unless, (and I have no idea) that's their intention.

In my case, I can tell you that what you see is what you get. A grassroots group with a Blog that collects (hopefully) meaningful resources in an industry where thousands are struggling to find new projects. Hence, to keep their jobs. As the name SustainableCoin suggests, I’m for anything that helps to keep the work coming in… even ambulance chasing.

Who knows? Maybe these groups will inspire others to create their own like-minded AEC networking network of their own (which coincidentally is what Local AEC Network is all about). I would be the first support them. LAN was started out of what I saw to be a missing puzzle piece as opposed for a quest for "prominence". AEC networking functions in my area are few and far between so rather then complain about it I started one, (originally I had a group called just The Florida AEC Network). That being said I'm glad others reached out to me (from other areas) asking to join… which got me to thinking that I needed to cast a wider net. Hence, the Local AEC Network was born.

Maybe, as you say we are on to some new era as far as AEC social networking goes but then again... as I tend to suspect... maybe the market comes back and we are so busy that social networking becomes a much lower priority then it is today... and a lot less “mission critical”. But until that time, if anyone else sees that networking opportunities are rare in their area... I highly encourage you join Local AEC Network or EITHER of these others. (I myself am a member of the Design & Construction Network and plan to check out konstructr over the weekend.)

Thanks again for the article… I was only hoping for a link in your sidebar!

Curtis
Editor of SustainableCoin.com
One (of many) Blogs for Design & Construction Professionals.

Mark Buckshon said...

Curtis, thanks for your comments.

Indeed I think some of the new social networking initiatives are related to the economy, though the business environment in Florida is much more challenging now than in the metro Washington DC area as capital cities traditionally get a 'break' in recessions with all the government money.

Networking and business relationship development really don't stop in good times -- obviously there is less pressure when there is much work around, but I sense that successful marketers achieve even higher and more profitable results because of their connections and skills.

No one can be sure where these changes will take us; I sense the online resources are indeed hyperfast extensions of existing and traditional networking models; and work best when they combine with these approaches.

Curtis said...

Mark
Thanks for the insight. Marketing is something I am always studying, observing and thus, improving. Keep up the good work.

And let me apologize. I did not realize that my previous comment was soooo long! (I guess that's why there's a preview button on Blogger.)