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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Best construction blog competition deadline today

Today is the deadline for nominations for the Design and Construction Report 2011 Best Construction Blog Competition.

Within a few days, once we've reviewed the nominations for eligibility, we'll set up the voting polls.  You can vote as many times as you like -- and encourage your friends, colleagues and supporters to vote as well.  However, we'll ensure some balance in the competition by supplementing the popular vote with an panel of independent judges who will review the nominations and select their finalists.

To learn more about last year's finalists, visit the relevant archived issue of the Design and Construction Report.

There is no fee to enter the competition.  Finalists receive free publicity and hyperlinks in The Design and Construction Report.  All successful nominees also receive free hyperlinks.

You can use this form to nominate your own blog or others.

The international perspective and construction marketing

This blog, of course, is read around the world -- and I've received book orders and communications from more than a dozen countries.  Does wisdom and advice about construction marketing written from an English North American perspective have value in other places (and conversely, can we learn something from other areas that we can apply in North America).

The answer of course is there are some universal human truths and one of these truths is we are all different but we tend to gather/clump in more-or-less homogeneous groups.  Outsiders therefore have trouble breaking into foreign cultures but when they can make that entry, they can enjoy spectacular success. 

If you are a marketer exploring expanding to another part of the world, you need to do your research carefully and learn about local nuances and service providers who can be trusted.  The latter can be a challenge because of course, if you aren't able to read the signals correctly, you can be scammed.

Conversely, while you may have your hands full in your local market, think about where you can gain an edge by understanding different cultures.  The obvious place to start would in developing relationships and connections with the immigrant community in your own area. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No money for construction marketing? No problem.

Right now, in looking at the headline for this posting, I think of the used car dealer who advertises the "no money down" deal or (worse) "we'll get you out of your current lease and into the car of your dreams -- and make the payments for you for three months."

Of course, if you buy into that dealer's promise, you'll be stuck in an even greater financial trap with even higher financing costs for a car which will probably be worse than something you own now.  After all, you've got to pay all those credit costs plus, of course, the dealer's marketing expenses (and the dealer rightfully should earn a profit on the transaction.

But is there really a way you can achieve marketing success without spending any money.  Yes, if you have lots of time, resourcefulness, and you use some creativity coupled with common sense.  The key is to start with your current clients, make them so satisfied with your work that they are happy to refer others to you (and request additional work) and then parlay that goodwill into positive publicity, either in the conventional or social media.

Note I am not suggesting you passively "rely" on repeat and referral business.  You need to learn how to encourage it -- to systematically enhance your repeat and referral volume through initiatives where you measure your results. 

Of course, you can also squander money on junky stuff sold to you by telemarketers or by continuing Yellow Pages ads for which you have no measuring or tracking capacity. In this situation, the headline might read: "Too much money for construction marketing?  No results."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Construction Marketing Ideas video experiment -- an update

Yesterday's Construction Marketing Ideas video broadcast again attracted an audience of, well half a person.  One of my company's employees tuned in but he noticed something I've seen at my end -- there are times when you can hear the audio but see only the "book cover" image on the video screen. 

Conversely, for the first time on my own console, I could actually see the video (with a few seconds time delay) live as it should appear.  I'm not sure if, in practice, I would have been the only person who could view the video as the viewership numbers indicate only I and the employee were online.

The experiment continues, of course.  The $100.00 podcast kit which I had ordered last week arrived in time and set up only took a few minutes.  Even though I had part of the video lighting set -- the replacement bulb for the large halogen light hasn't arrived yet -- the lighting seemed quite reasonable.

I found I had, once again, underestimated the time needed to deliver the planned material.  This may be because I haven't thought through the effective use of my video time.  It also speaks to the importance of rehearsing for timing ahead of any live presentation.  You can go short or long if you aren't careful and fail to test out your material properly.

If you visit the Livestream video site you'll see the raw videos from the experimental broadcasts, at least for now.  They'll be removed by the time the experiment reaches the stage when we have real viewers and certainly when the learning progress has reached the stage that I feel confident enough about my skills to encourage you to visit other than through the updates in this blog.

Why am I doing this?  Well, I truly think we are approaching the stage where any marketer in the construction industry needs to be comfortable or at least familiar with the basics of multimedia.  My sense is that video -- and possibly in some circumstances -- live video -- can be a truly effective marketing resource.

Of course you are welcome to bookmark and plan a visit to the next experimental broadcast, at 2 p.m. on February 3.  I'll discuss some of the practical aspects of blogging then.

Relationships and construction marketing -- A livestream video

This week's experimental livestream video broadcast (at 2 pm. est today, January 27, 2011) will focus on the meaning of "relationships" in marketing.  I'll explore some recent postings on the the importance of interpersonal relationships with current and potential clients -- and debunk some of the myths around relationship marketing and communications.

The broadcast continues an experimental series as I seek to master the techniques and technology of video broadcasts -- and even more challenging, live video.  The "podcast kit" arrived yesterday including a "mixer" and some microphones, headphones and cables (and a whole bunch of other little pieces).  Hopefully I'll have all of the pieces together in time for the broadcast.  My goal continues to work on this each week so that in six months the video productions will, indeed, be ready for prime time.

Until then, I am not widely announcing these broadcasts (this is the only place you will see publicity) so if you are ready to tolerate some technical and production glitches combined with presentation errors and goofs, feel free to tune in.  But if you decide you have other things to do during the show, that is fine with me as well.

You can tune into the livecast here:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another clue in the Change Order boat mystery

From the home page of
Yesterday, a reader provided a tantalizing clue that may, for once and all, solve the Change Order boat mystery.

The image of the large yacht marked "change order" moored next to a dinghy named "original contract" has been circulating for several years in architectural, engineering and construction offices.  Individuals who see the image often try to Google the results and almost inevitably arrive at one of my postings on this topic.

Yesterday afternoon, a reader pointed out in an email to me that the image appears in a rotating cycle (number 3 if you click the little buttons) on the home page of 

Certainly the business is relevant to the industry and the people involved in this company conceivably could afford -- and want -- to own a boat named Change Order.

Skire, based in Menlo Park CA, says its executive team started and rose through the ranks at Betchel before establishing Quaser Services Ltd., a design and build construction firm.  The San Jose Business Journal reports that Skire founder and CEO Massy Mehdipour discovered "an opportunity to create software to help companies like ours streamline their business processes" through software and technology.

"Everything we did when we were designing and building, I saw no reason why it couldn’t be managed more efficiently with an application platform," the business newspaper reports Mehdipour as saying.

Skire has grown to a thriving $25+ million business since Mehdipour bought out her original venture capital investors.  The business has discovered its best market is among large scale owners, managing diverse and complex projects.

It seems a business like this would not resort to images "lifted" from the web for its home page.

I called Skire and the receptionist referred me to the company's marketing manager, where I left a voice mail.  Before transferring the call, the receptionist said, "I don't know about the boat, but we own the plane."  Yes, there is a private jet in another image.

Besides the phone message, I have sent an email to the address given for press inquiries to Skire.  Maybe, once and for all, we will resolve this mystery conclusively.  Stay tuned.

Best construction blog competition deadline approaching

The nomination deadline for the 2011 Best Construction Blog is rapidly approaching.

You can find more information through this link.

Construction Blogs

Monday, January 24, 2011

The two worlds of construction marketing

In the past few years I've observed a lot of really good -- and really bad -- marketing for the construction industry.

The really good stuff combines superb client relationships, respect, consistent learning and imaginative yet systematic and highly measurable initiatives to bring in and retain new business.

The really bad stuff is thoughtless, seat-of-your-pants money wasting because the business owner is too lazy to learn what really needs to be done and/or is swayed by telemarketers and spammers pitching junk.

Of course, you need to keep your mind open and eyes alert for what works, and what won't.

Can I wave a magic wand and solve all of your construction marketing challenges in one quick and easy (and "FREE" lesson?) Yes, probably, but if you are like most people looking for the quick-and-easy solution, you won't see it if it is right under your nose.

Here it is:
Look at your most successful competitors, discover their peers in other markets, and learn from them. (I doubt your direct competitors will want to help you too much.)  Then copy the stuff that might be unique in your own market while you adapt the best ideas from several places.
Oh yeah, that is a quick-and-easy answer which requires quite a bit of work to implement.  Sorry.  Things are never that easy.

P.S.  If you want to link to this blog or ReTweet it, I will be truly grateful for your respect and assistance.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The "construction marketer" who really doesn't get it

I never identify inviduals or organizations negatively in this blog, but I found this posting on a is worthy of a little analysis:

Make A Difference

Our company's motto to provide our past, present and future clients "Superior Client Service" in all the services we provide. Check out (engineering practice's name removed). If you have any questions or comments about any of the services that we offer, please feel free to contact me here or at our office. If I don't know the answer, we have a complete and competent staff of personal that will. Hoping for a great year for everyone.
This rather blatant pitch appeared on a LinkedIn group recently "opened" to the public.  And this sort of thing is one reason why I'm keeping our own Construction Marketing Ideas LinkedIn group private.

Of course, periodically, I also receive postings like this -- and either delete them right away, or move them to a slush "promotional" section.  

Look, if you want to be successful in sales and marketing, you will NOT win points by plastering your "elevator pitch" all over public forums, especially when you cannot go beyond the cliche "Superior Client Service".  Read my book.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The big (construction marketing and sales) rock

This image evokes one of the biggest challenges we have in business, especially when we are trying to move a big construction marketing or sales project forward.  It can feel, at times, like you are trying to push a rock up a mountain.  This is especially the case if you are working alone and your assigned task is to get a "yes" from a senior, unknown people outside your scope of authority and responsibility.
Should you ever try to push rocks up mountains, alone?  In most cases, the reward is hardly worth the risk but there are times in life where this sort of super-human force is both possible and necessary.  We've heard stories of  small people lifting cars to save the life of someone they love and there are times in life where, with almost incredible energy and passion, we can break through some major barriers.

But usually, if you see a mountain ahead of you you should find a better way to solve the problem than rock-pushing.  Use your imagination.  There are other ways to get there.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The three dumbest construction marketing mistakes

I've posted at the other Construction Marketing Ideas blog a rather snappy critique of the three things that contractors commonly do wrong, consistently. 

But at this one, I welcome your story of your greatest construction marketing mistake -- or success.  If it is a mistake, unless you give me express permission, I won't publish your name or identity anywhere and will disguise the story sufficiently that, while others can learn from it, you won't experience further embarrassment.  If you've achieved a marketing triumph and want to share it with the world, on the other hand, I'm all ears.

Finally, time is running short to nominate your blog for the Best Construction Blog competition.  There's no entry fee and no cost if you win -- but you'll receive plenty of free publicity and recognition.  You can email me for details if you don't know where to learn about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Live video broadcast today: About public bidding and RFP opportunities

Today's experimental live video feed at 2 p.m. EST will focus on the real world behind bidding and RFP opportunities.  Sure, much work appears to be available this way, but the real world is stacked in favour of insiders.  How do you get on the inside?

You can view the Livestream video at

During the experimental broadcast, I invite you to call in on our special Skype broadcast line at 1 (919) 407-8842.  If I take your call during the show, you'll receive a free copy of my Construction Marketing Ideas book.

This blog entry is the only place I am announcing the broadcast (outside of the actual Livestream site).  This is because I am still learning the video broadcast technologies and the program won't be ready for prime time. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An email exchange to show how construction marketing should be done (especially for renovators)

A few days ago, John Liptak of OakWood Renovation Experts sent me an email to a link of an hour-long local radio broadcast featuring his business.  (Patricia is his daughter and is actively involved in the local renovating contracting business, perhaps the most assertive and effective marketer in the Ottawa area.)
Patricia and I were guests on the CFRA Rabi Bulka Show for 1 hour.

If you wish to hear the podcast…
I enjoyed listening to the podcast in the background as I worked my computer and sent him a note telling him that.  His response:
Thanks Mark, we were also on 88.5 FM and it went really well. Bulka is number 1 in his time slot in the Ottawa area. Not as big as Lowell Green but we got a lot of positive replies about the show so there must have been a lot of people listening.

It’s all part of the continuous drumbeat that OakWood is doing to market ourselves. Last year our company grew 26 per cent again and that is the fourth year of continuous double digit growth (we intentionally manage growth under 30 per cent). This year we are also starting out ahead of last year and it looks like another record year.

Once Barry Hobin has completed the design of our new 18,000 sq. ft. LEED Office – Design Studio facility then we will start construction this spring/summer. Right now we are still gathering information from Showrooms and Design Centers from around the world to ensure we are leading edge. Last fall we visited sites in France (Paris) and Germany to collect ideas and study architecture, we got ideas from across the USA including New York, Chicago, Miami and LA. We will fill you in once we have the final touches down with our building design.

Last year we purchased a large 1 ½ acre parcel in Taylor Creek next to the 174 Highway (Extended Queensway East) across from the new Trade College. Our five year plan is to open a west end Design Studio as well. Lots happening.
Now that is quite an email -- and food for thought for the renovator struggling to make ends meet and find a little new business.

Is this growth rate sustainable?  Well, I think few would mind experiencing this sort of growth and potential.

You certainly don't grow at this rate by passively "relying" on repeat and referral business (though you need to do your job well enough that your clients are indeed satisfied enough to repeat and refer friends and colleagues -- you cannot afford to spend marketing money only to have it undone by less-than-positive client experiences and results.)

The Liptaks and Oakwood embrace, not resist, construction marketing.  They see effective marketing as an investment, not an expense and they take a proactive rather than reactive approach to their marketing decisions.

This, of course, makes their business great clients for publications such as Ottawa Renovates magazine (which requires only a small part of their overall marketing budget). 

You probably would not want to jump into their level of marketing commitment right away, but you should see their approach as an example to review and appreciate.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some worthy construction marketing ideas

Take a look at the forums at and  You'll find a wealth of useful resources and peer-based idea sharing there especially if you are in the residential/consumer markets.

In the business-to-business space, you can of course consider and the many groups there including our own Construction Marketing Ideas group. (It is closed group, so you will either have to be invited or request to participate.)

Finally, of course, you go to the "other" Construction Marketing Ideas blog for some additional resources, blog listings and the like.

Construction marketing: Where should you advertise, now? Where not?

The CMI Facebook page
If you are considering an advertising campaign, consider first Facebook.  Consider last, The Yellow Pages.

These are blunt generalities.  In truth, you should assess your business, its demographics and ideally spend some time face-to-face with your best and most valuable current clients (and those who you think will be the most valuable in the future) to learn which media they follow, which interests they have, and where they hang out.  Then you naturally can co-ordinate your advertising with their interests in mind (and while you are at it, hopefully obtain some testimonials you can use in your own marketing.)

Facebook's power is its ability to link the existing social networks and friendships with some detailed demographic data, allowing you to target your message quite exactly, referencing the traffic to your (free) profile page, where (if you are doing business correctly) you'll have plenty of "likes" and positive testimonials and recommendations.  These of course correlate with the natural word-of-mouth and referral process, but the whole thing is put into hyper-drive.  (Of course, there is a risk here:  If you screw up or deliver crappy service/value, you can expect the worst type of wildfire negative word-of-mouth publicity possible.)

Facebook today is like Google keyword advertising was about five years ago.  Marketers who caught the Google bug in the mid part of the previous decade discovered they had uncovered a golden source of truly inexpensive leads.  Those days have now passed and prices for relevant keywords have skyrocketed to the point that you need to be extremely thoughtful, careful, and targeted when you use AdWords -- or you risk blowing your budget in days.  (Of course, the risk is still much more manageable than conventional print or electronic media; you can test and revise your message with exceptional speed and are not beholden to the media sales reps or contracts for campaigns which simply don't work.)

While consultants can offer to help you with this keyword and Facebook advertising, I recommend you do some testing and evaluation yourself.  Google AdWords has, indeed, become relatively complex and the standard defaults could cause you to waste lots of money, but Facebook is still quite simple and easy to administer.

Compare this to the Yellow Pages where you may need to spend a small fortune on an annual contract with no escape.  Yuck.
Please feel free to visit and "like" our Facebook page.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What really works with Construction Marketing?


If you think I'm going to suggest much beyond encouraging, developing and enhancing your repeat and referral business, you are wrong (and partially right).

Your absolutely best and most effective marketing strategy is to create such a satisfying experience that your clients are happy to repeat and refer their friends -- then you build on this process by encouraging it and systematizing your approaches to building out the repeat and referral interest.

Social media can be especially effective in building your reputation BUT you need to be on the ball, because negative publicity can spread like wildfire and you won't have much time, if any, to recover if you screw up.

You can learn more in my Construction Marketing Ideas book.  (Yes, a bit of unabashed self-promotion here, but you can read the reviews yourself and if you wish, write your own.  The book is as inexpensive as $20.00 in online format.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An invitation for a video broadcast test

Next Thursday, I would like to test the capacity of phone communication by Skype while on a live video broadcast.  As noted yesterday, Chase helped out last week but this time around the ideal test will be with someone outside of our company who would welcome a conversation about construction marketing.  You can ask me questions and I'll ask you some about your business, achievements and challenges.

I don't expect many people will be watching the show -- because this is still at experimental stages and the chances of glitches and miscues are really high.

My plan will be, by pre-arrangement, to phone the selected volunteer(s) by Skype (you don't need a Skype account, we can call you on a regular phone line) just before or during the broadcast at 2 pm. EST on Thursday January 20.

In compensation, I'll send you a free copy of my Construction Marketing Ideas book. 

If you wish to volunteer, please email me at

Friday, January 14, 2011

Old construction marketing ideas blog: New experiments

I've moved most of my material and thinking to the new Construction Marketing Ideas blog, but am reserving this place for experiments and ideas.  It is where I report on the "test bed" of innovations before they are ready, really, for the shining light. 

"Wait", you may wonder.  Why would this blogger use the blog with higher search engine rankings (number one in most of the world) to focus on stuff that isn't "ready, really, for the shining light."

The reason is that this blog is a relatively safe place to explore ideas and invite feedback and reflects my values that sometimes you need to be out front and visible even when things aren't perfect.

That certainly applies to the video broadcast experiment which continued yesterday (and will occur each Thursday at 2 p.m. for at least five more months). 

This week's videocast, only announced here (not on my primary blog) and with a brief Twitter message just minutes before the broadcast, attracted just one visitor -- Chase, of our own organization. 

At least this week, the broadcast could start on time.  I had partial success in setting up the new lighting system.  When I unpacked the lighting kit, I discovered the big, bright, halogen lamp just didn't work -- but actually I only needed one of the two back lights to generate enough light to provide an acceptable image (of course I also worked from a brighter location). 

Chase also helped me test whether we could use Skype to co-ordinate online phone conversations for the videos.  The phone link worked well though of course we didn't have anyone else listening in to the show.

There were problems.  During the broadcast, in fact, just as Chase first visited, the video suddenly cut out and I lost my connection.  I am not sure exactly how long, but I think it took two or three minutes to restore the link.  This is obviously not a problem when you are communicating with one person who understands we are running an experimental broadcast but is hardly suitable if it happens routinely and you want to make great first impressions.

The research continues.  Next broadcast will be Thursday, January 20 at 2 p.m. EST.  Feel free to bookmark your calendar.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Out on a construction marketing journalistic limb

Cole Bartiromo (correct spelling: Cole Bartiromo)
Over on the actively maintained Construction Marketing Ideas blog, I have written a story about the strange stunts of a person in California who has decided fame is worth some risk -- of course he has taken more than his share of (criminal) risk in his life.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The second weekly video Construction Marketing Ideas livecast

The specialized video lighting equipment arrived in our office from California yesterday.  Tomorrow, I'll set it up and turn on the video camera at 2 pm for the second weekly Construction Marketing Ideas livestream broadcast.

Last week, I had trouble connecting with the livestream server -- by the time we were ready to broadcast at 2:07 p.m., the two or three people who had visited the site decided to move on, so my broadcast was for an audience of one -- me, myself and I.  Don't worry.  You didn't miss anything.  I hadn't really prepared a proper show and my stream-of-consciousness ramblings would hardly win a public speaking award.

I expect the content quality won't be that much better this time around.  Instead, the broadcast will be more a technical testing exercise -- and the biggest challenge will before the show in figuring out how to set up the lighting equipment and organize the setting.  This is okay.  If you want to see amateur live video in its purest state, feel free to join me at 2:00 pm. tomorrow EST.  If you want to see a truly professional presentation, allow me a few more months.  I still have much to learn.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fighting Nature book survey results

The survey for the cover of Bill Caswell's new book, How Humans Fight the Laws of Nature and Lose, has resulted in a decision about the cover -- and a realization that we need to add a subtitle:  How to Thrive in Life and Business.

The survey is still open and you can see the results once you complete it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Fighting Nature survey

So far, over the weekend, we've received 55 responses to the survey for the cover design of How Humans Fight Against the Laws of Nature -- and Lose by Bill Caswell.  The survey is giving us a clear idea of which cover readers find is their favorite, even as several readers add useful comments and suggest alternative approaches.

If you are planning a construction marketing campaign, I recommend this type of survey wen you are trying new ideas on for size.  If you keep the question(s) simple and easy to answer (no more than three questions), you will achieve meaningful and highly measurable results and not irritate readers with excessive mental clutter.

You can learn the survey results here.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Fighting Nature -- a new book

We're stretching our business into new markets with the upcoming publication of How Humans Fight the Laws of Nature -- and Lose, by Bill Caswell.  I describe the (marketing) reasoning behind this initiative in the other Construction Marketing Ideas blog, but will use this space as well to encourage you to vote in the survey for the book's cover design.

We've provided five choices.  On the survey form, you can select which one you like the best and that's it.  If you would like to receive a free sample chapter when the book is published (and an offer for a special 25 per cent discount) you can respond -- but you certainly don't need to; and if you decide to participate, you certainly aren't expected to purchase the book.

Your feedback is still truly important as it helps us answer a key question -- since, regardless of the cliche, most people indeed judge a book by its cover!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Roads less travelled -- finding your own way to construction marketing success

Mark Salter, one of my African newspaper colleagues
I bore my family with tales from my two youthful journeys to Africa.  In 1976, after graduating from university in Vancouver, B.C., instead of taking the standard post-graduate trip to Europe, I ended up on an overland truck tour through the Sahara, central Africa (the Congo) and ended up in Nairobi, Kenya.  Then I made one of those decisions that reshaped my life: I carried on, independently, to southern Africa, spending a month in Rhodesia before returning home from South Africa.

In Canada, I discovered a job on the Medicine Hat News in Alberta (the managing editor said he hired me because of my trip to Africa).  There, a year later, I made the decision to return to Africa -- this time with the intent to observe the conclusion of the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe war as a working journalist.

I contacted the foreign news service of the newspaper chain that had employed me, obviously saying I would be paying my own way but asking if they could use some freelance contributions while travelling.  Then I set off to Africa a second time.

The Africa correspondent for the Canadian newspaper organization told me that if I went into Rhodesia as a journalist, I would be put on the next plane out.  So I entered as a student.  Then, I realized I had a major problem -- I would run out of money before the story reached its conclusion.  So I sought work.

I ended up at the Rhodesia Herald in Salisbury seeing if they needed a copy-sub-editor (my job in Medicine Hat.)  I volunteered to work in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city (and a grimy and not terribly appealing place, at least to most outsiders.)  Soon, I had a job offer.  Then I went to the immigration department and told the officials there that I had been lucky to be offered a job as a trainee sub-editor.  Within three days (partly because my skin colour was "correct" under the then rules), I received a work permit with the occupation of "Journalist". 

This led to a rather amazing 18-month experience, where I indeed saw the conclusion of the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe war, discovered my personal identity and experienced some rather amazing moments in learning about how the world works.

Now, the roads I took then in many ways were unconventional, but in many ways (as has been my entire life) followed some basic rules.  Sure, most young people don't go to Africa, but nerdy guys wishing to show the world they are not that nerdy probably should do things like traverse the Sahara or observe the conclusion of an African civil war.  I also responded situationally, separating the fears that cause us to freeze up with rational caution and prudence.  For example, I stayed away from really dangerous places.  (One of the travellers I met along the way proposed a trip to Uganda -- after checking with Canadian consular officials in Nairobi, I decided to pass on that trip.  A few days later, I found myself at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to report my fellow traveller's journey when media reports announced that then-dictator Idi Amin had decided to arrest all Americans.  Embassy officials quickly took me into a back room and told me that indeed he had been picked up but thankfully released.)

I also realized that adventure must be rationally associated with real values and that a lifetime of this type of journeying would be very empty, indeed. 

We should not be afraid to travel, to take risks, to explore and to learn about the world.  These experiences ultimately are helpful in defining our lives and our potential for success.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The video experiment -- broadcasting to an audience of one

Printed OCN

Yesterday, when I tried to sign into at 2:00 p.m., the system continuously bounced off.  At 2:00, I could see a few people (perhaps two or three) briefly visiting the stream site at before leaving.  I achieved the connection at 2:07 p.m. and began broadcasting to an audience of one:  Me, myself and I.

This may be fortunate because the presentation and image quality would hardly meet broadcast standards.  The resulting video is posted (at least for now) on the livestream site.  I'm not sure whether you see what I do when you click on the stored image -- a partial view of my book cover.

The image lighting continues to be terrible.  This in some respects (I think) will be the simplest problem to solve.  A proper video lighting kit is on its way by FedEx to my office and I will hopefully receive delivery in time for next week's practice.

The presentation quality will need much more work, however.  The ums, ashs, and rather imperfect timing (I really ran out of material long before the planned 30 minute show conclusion) would hardly earn me passing grades in a Broadcasting 101 course.

Regardless, I am persevering.  I've scheduled the next broadcast for next Thursday and you are most welcome to attend.  However, frankly, you probably won't be missing much, for now at least.

The contents of the working blog at are probably far more worthy of your attention.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Construction Marketing Ideas video update

The latest issue of Ontario Construction Report.
Yesterday, I ordered a specialized lighting system for the video broadcasts at a cost of a little more than $200 for the set.  Of course, we could have handled the lighting issue less  expensively -- probably some strategically placed lamps purchased at Ikea would do the job -- but the system I'll be using is still extremely low-end by professional standards.  You can spend thousands on this sort of stuff if you want to be truly professional.

While I have no aspirations to be a professional video producer/celebrity, I still need to get the basic capacities in order to achieve my goal of having truly functional and effective video resources within six months.  Once these capacities are in place, we'll be able to effectively embed video in our hybrid print and online publications.

In the meantime, you are welcome to watch the Construction Marketing Ideas half hour show today and each Thursday at 2:00 p.m. (EST).  This blog site is the only place I am promoting the video broadcast, for now.  You can interact with me through text messages and emails -- within a few months, after obtaining the necessary equipment and plenty of off-line practice, we'll add in the ability for live phone and later direct link video communication.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Learning by doing: Construction Marketing Ideas videos

Beginning Thursday, January 6, you will be able to view a free live video Construction Marketing Ideas broadcast at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST, check the world clock for other time zones.) 

The upcoming broadcast -- and those in weeks to follow -- won't meet any technical or production excellence standards but if you choose to visit, you will see the evolution in standards and quality as I obtain experience, equipment and qualified technical support.  I expect within six months, the videos will be of sufficiently high quality that we will be able to include them in a useful resource library and assist others with the process of video production.

You will be able to view the video at  For some observations about our first video production (and some painful lessons I learned), you can go to this Construction Marketing Ideas blog posting.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The free construction marketing ideas blog listing service

You can obtain free enhanced listings for your architectural, engineering or construction industry blog at the new Construction Marketing Ideas blog site -- and, if you wish, enter your blog in the annual Design and Construction Report's Best Construction Blog competition.

The new listing engine allows you to describe your blog in greater detail, include a graphic and enables viewers to communicate directly with you by email.  You don't need to worry about spam, as your email address is hidden.

I will of course moderate all postings carefully.  If you are a "search engine optimizer" trying to manipulate links, your entries will almost inevitably be marked as spam.  

Monday, January 03, 2011

Weekly live Construction Marketing Ideas video broadcasts

We'll, I've decided to start a weekly live video broadcast.  Technical and production quality won't be the greatest at the start but as time progresses, I think you'll see many improvements.  Within a year, I expect the weekly broadcast will have a significant following and will provide substantive library content for this blog and other resources (and help us build our overall business's video capacities).

If you are around at 2 p.m. on Thursday, tune in to

Sunday, January 02, 2011

An enhanced Construction Blog listing resource

Well, after several hours of frustration, I set up the framework for the new blog and directory listing service on the Wordpress version of this blog at

I will need a few days to transfer the existing blog listings to the new service.  As well, publishers will have the opportunity to enhance their listings with detailed descriptions and even a snapshot image.  Readers will be able to click through to the blog or send an email to the blog's owner.

As before, there is no cost for your qualified blogs to be listed.  While I certainly welcome reciprocating links, these are not necessary if you wish to obtain your free listing.  If you wish to pay for your listing, we'll put it first in the category and if you wish, you can include additional images.

However, of course, I have a few ground rules. Your blog must be actively maintained and updated with enough postings to provide real depth and it must relate directly to the architectural, engineering or construction community.  If I sense the blog is "manufactured" primarily for search engine optimization, I will invite you to pay for your listing.  These guidelines mean that all the postings are moderated.

You can present your blog listing at this link.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Preparing for the 2011 Best Construction Blog competition

There are days when everything goes as planned, and then, well, there are the other sorts of days.

I had cleared some free time on New Years Day to set up the framework for a comprehensive new Construction Blogs resource on the new Construction Marketing Ideas blog site.  This initiative will allow bloggers to describe their blogs in much greater detail, include reference listings, and even provide direct feedback from visitors.

This morning I made (some) progress in setting the framework, but it isn't quite ready -- and of course the challenge will be finding the time to complete this work when business resumes full-scale in a couple of days.  The answer may be to contract the work (the rational solution for anyone trying things where we aren't true experts.)

In the meantime, of course, you can register your blog for the competition here and, while we are getting things in order, access the existing blog listings at their "old" page.

Maybe I'll have this solved by the end of the day today. . . maybe not.