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Thursday, February 14, 2008

An interdisciplinary perspective

This blog, and our regional publications, deliberately look at the construction industry from an interdisciplinary perspective. I am interested in the marketing challenges of residential sub-trade contractors serving small communities, and giant international conglomerates bidding on -- and hoping to win -- multi-billion dollar projects. These varying interests are rarely covered under one roof, er, blog. I think, however, the limitations of reporting on matters of interest to only one part of community are more than offset by the cross-fertilization of ideas across sectors and segments within the industry.

The foundation of the approach here relates to the characteristics and objectives of our local publications. Reflecting the community orientation, we are interested in anything that impacts the construction industry within the area. Our approach in fact mirrors that of many general contractors in rural areas. In smaller communities, the successful contractors build out a generalist business; doing work that would normally be only handled by specialist contractors in larger markets. (And these generalists must compete -- and win against -- the specialists, or engage in joint ventures with them, in their local markets.)

I also see how various professions and trades work together and, when things aren't perfect, overcome conflicts. Sometimes the biases and tensions are obvious; sometimes hypocrisy is blatant. Relating to the blog's editorial philosophy, I report here on the "good" but not so much the "bad" and "ugly" -- instead, taking the behind the scenes stories I hear about the less-than-perfect aspects of our industry to find examples of where problems are overcome, and things are done properly.

One important additional element completes the picture. With a local focus, across different markets and circumstances, sometimes I'm able to drill down and find ideas in one place that can be shared elsewhere, such as Mark Parlee's innovative presentation materials. We all are richer by sharing ideas, insights, and observations.

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