Sunday, February 25, 2018

Forecasting Volatility

I study a ton of forecasting data.  Some of it I can easily understand and some has me in an utter state of confusion.  Right now we are in one of those times where the forecasting details may not be matching reality- both good and bad.  Some regions in North America are exceeding what was predicted and some are falling short.   So it’s been a tough one to get straight.  Somewhat following that theme, this week I found an interesting release from Dodge Data and Analytics that looked at commercial starts in 2017 vs. what happened in 2016.  The immediate surprise for me was the New York region- so amazingly hot for many in our world, was down again in 2017 vs. 2016 and way off of the 2015 results.  Also down in ’17 vs. ‘16 were Los Angeles, Dallas, DC, and Miami.  All of those markets have been booming.  Among the up in 2017 were San Francisco, Philadelphia, Orlando, Austin, and San Diego.  What does this mean?  Well starts usually do not affect our work until a year later or longer- so possibly could this be a signal of things to come in those markets or a reason why for some folks out there its been very inconsistent business wise.  The whole piece is worth the read….


--  And while we are looking at the forecasts… the month Architectural Billings Index continues to be incredible.  The January performance was the best January showing since 2007.  3 of the 4 regions looked at were very strong with the Northeast lagging behind.  I will admit when I see comparisons to 2007, I do start to sweat some, as it wasn’t too long after those amazing days in 2007 that the bottom fell out.  I am not saying it is happening here, but it surely gives me pause.

--  BEC is kicking off this coming weekend and it looks like more than 500 people will be there.  I am looking forward to catching up with friends, networking, and learning about what’s new, exciting, and hot in streets these days.  Obviously I’ll be reporting back here and posting on twitter.  If you are attending I look forward to seeing you!

--  The GANA-NGA merger is done and I was very impressed by the video message that NGA President and CEO Nicole Harris released recently.  It is a quick piece where she outlined her thoughts on the deal and I love the use of the video medium, it is a great way to continue to reach additional audiences. 

--  Two Amazon related items to end the week…. First I went into a “Whole Foods” for the first time in many many years.  When you have my body and eating habits that is not a place to frequent… in any case I was blown away at the amount of specialty foods available and the costs of them.  Now I know why a buddy of mine calls that place “Whole Paycheck”
Also the news surrounding the new Amazon HQ 2 continues with word that the new betting favorite is Dallas.  From the start I have been on Dallas and Atlanta as the choices, so we’ll see if that happens, but supposedly there was a major spike in housing searches in Dallas from people in Seattle… so that set the rumors on fire…


This is a very interesting article on “forgetting how toread” and quite frankly I fall in to that category.  It’s a struggle now…

For my marketing friends… the sponsorship drain from the Olympics.  I think we all go through the same thing in evaluating spends in our world as well.

I don’t have any idea what to make of this.. so I’ll just leave this link here.


Did you see and hear pop singer Fergie trying to sing the National Anthem at the NBA All Star game last week?  If not here it is….  And its rough.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Architects and Glaziers, Licenses and Certification

A big story that has been working its way through our world is the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification Program (AGMT) and I bring this up again because another movement got me thinking…(and I’ll get to that in a second) 
To recap…  the AGMT program is one that is designed to provide an independent assessment (written and practical) of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the experienced glazing technician.  I am a believer in efforts like this because we need to always be evolving and growing our training and knowledge base and our performance as a whole in the marketplace matters.  The AGMT program continues to be built and hopefully soon will be launched.  Until then we’ll continue to learn more about the way it works and the positive end results that can come from it.  And that brings to me to the action that got me going… many states... at least 25 so far are weakening the licensing requirements for architects.  The AIA is fighting back and obviously and they should.  Believe me I am not one who loves tons of regulations, but the licensing of Architects is one I truly believe is needed- in the same way that advanced training (certification) of glaziers and glazing companies is needed.  I still chuckle that in some states you have to be licensed to cut hair, but not design a massive building or install some of the most important parts?  The end winners of these efforts are the occupants and owners and also the industry as a whole. 


--  There was a really good, quick, and easy piece from Window and Door Magazine on the outlook for the housing side of things.  As many of you know, the fate of the residential side usually runs into the forecast on the commercial side.  When residential starts to falter, we get the warning that commercial will soon follow.  According to this article, the foundations are still strong over on the housing side of things, which is positive news for them and for us.

--  We are coming down the stretch in preparation for BEC… more than 430 people have already signed up- have you?  It’s going to be an excellent event…

--  The new Apple headquarters is having an issue with people walking into glass.  I really am stunned as I thought the glass was going to have digitally printed marks on it to offer enough distraction to avoid this.  I know many of you who read this have been in that structure- any insights?

--  Am I the only the one out there who hates doing Gantt charts?  May be because I have no idea on how to do or struggle with understanding the end usage, but just curious…

--  Do you want your e-mail to be advanced?  I am not sure I want to go down this rabbithole.  Basically your e-mail could eventually act as a specific browser.  From a marketing standpoint this is a game changer- send someone info that has them directly on your site.  On the flip side, I see myself falling deep into it and killing my own personal productivity.

Last this week… I started with a word on architects and so I end with one… the architectural profession was a winner, seemingly at this point, in the new US governmental tax plan.  The new plan gives many architectural firms a deduction they did not get before, so maybe the next time all of you suppliers out there do a lunch n learn you should have the firm pay for it with their tax savings!!!…LOL!


Disney World in Orlando prices keep going up… will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the crowds…

Whoa!  Speaking of Disney… I had no idea there were “social clubs” involved at Disneyland.

McDonalds changing the happy meal… making it more healthy by removing one single piece of cheese… Seriously. 


With the world a not so happy place- I figured I would do something with laughter for this weeks video… funniest 50 movie out-takes of all time…

Sunday, February 11, 2018

This N That

After several weeks of big news stories and crazy articles that led my blog, this week I was left with no lead story but a bunch of industry related items to hit on.  So without further delay, here are a handful of items that I find newsworthy and interesting….

--  Congrats to the fine people at Viracon for 2 reasons.  First they once again made an amazing charitable donation to the United Way.  They done this for a few years now and this year Viracon employees donated an awesome $111, 990.00.  That is simply incredible and impressive and deserves major attention.  Kudos to Carla Kern who led the charge once again…as well as Kelly Schuller and the entire management group there. 
On the product side of things….  Viracon made news this week with word on their new warm edge spacer.  I am always big into technology and when energy performance can be improved with smart moves like this, it’s a big win for our world.  Kudos to all involved in that process and well done!! 

--  What city in the US features the most cranes?  I was really surprised that for the 2nd year in a row it was Seattle…. I was also surprised that Portland was in the top 5.  Obviously the Pacific Northwest is a hot place eh?  Other cities in the top 5 were Chicago, Denver, and LA.

--  The stock market had a very bumpy run of late and so has the Dodge Momentum Index.  Commercial buildings were down almost 8% in January vs. December.  And similar to what is being said about the Dow Jones, the experts feel this drop is a basic correction vs. a very strong 4Q.  Obviously both bear monitoring to see if there are deeper issues than a correction, so no major worry…. yet…

--  Many of you out there are doing some sort of digital marketing and you know it can be an adventure.  Well just imagine if you had the same amount of money for digital marketing that people used on a 30 second Super Bowl ad.   Digiday did a great look at how much you could do online with 5.2 million dollars.  It really is amazing how much more long term value there is vs. one TV ad….

--  So speaking of those TV ads each year I do follow the Super Bowl commercials very closely… this year was no different and I was happy that most ads tried to steer clear of social issues.  I personally prefer my social issue discussions to be separate from my chips, beer, and car commercials.   Winner overall for me was Tide.  Smart use of their time making fun of stereotypical super bowl commercials from the past.  I really enjoyed it and had no idea the lead actor was from “Stanger Things” (I’ve never seen) but that surely had my son appreciating that approach.  I also liked Rocket Mortgage’s translating millennial speak.  Given the way our world is these days, that was cool.  Last I am a loyal M&M guy (unless I get the real chocolate from a good friend in Hawaii) so I thought the Danny DeVito coming alive as the red M&M was awesome.

--  Last this week congrats to all of those Eagles fans out there.  Friends of mine like Chuck Knickerbocker and Ted Bleecker should still be on cloud 9 a week later…. It was a nice win in an exciting game.  I don’t watch much NFL these days but I did enjoy this one and happy for those folks who can finally celebrate a championship!


If you know me, you know I am a dog guy.  This story sickens me.  And the woman who married this monster AFTER he did what he did is beyond belief.

It was the police that robbed the bank!!

This is not surprising- but I also wonder if it’s real.


Folks with serious brains are not usually football fans… and these 3 on Jeopardy surely proved that!

Sunday, February 04, 2018


The big news this week was the announcement that the GANA-NGA merge has become final.  I am very pleased and as someone who has worked for both organizations and knows the strengths and weaknesses on both sides, this really is excellent union.  Congrats to all that made this possible on both sides, folks like Stanley Yee and Doug Schilling among the many at GANA who spent tons of time working through the details and Nicole Harris and the board at NGA who did the same.  This is a great move for our world… I know much more is still to come out on this but days of a unified voice have now begun.  In the meantime, an updated FAQ is now out post deal- it is HERE if you want to check it out.


--  So last week I hit on an article that I did not like… this week I am linking to one I did… this piece on the world of solar windows and glass was really well done.  There’s a long way still to go in that space, and this piece did a nice job of laying it all out.

--  The latest Glass Magazine is out… it is the annual “Outlook” issue and features a strong piece on what may be coming our way in 2018 financially and updates on the code arena too.  In addition it was great to see an article in there from Madeleine MacRae on the world of sales.  I was lucky enough to catch one of her presentations at GlassBuild last year and it was fantastic.  Great to see her now in the magazines! 

--  Ad of the month is always a challenge… this issue was loaded and featured so many good pieces.  The winner though is an odd one for me… I usually don’t care for this style but this time it worked.  The ad for Fold N Slide systems- which was half upside down featuring a Sherlock Holmes character is this months winner.  I normally don’t like the “upside down” gimmick but this look worked- maybe the interesting shot of Sherlock did it for me… in any case congrats to the team at Fold N Slide on a great ad approach!

--  New fun industry follow on Instagram… check out Paragon Architectural’s feed at paragon_architectural.  They have done some fabulous work and those pictures really are perfect for the Instagram format and audience.

--  Congrats to the folks at Innovative Glass and Sage Glass on their arrangement to have Innovative rep the Sage line in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Two good companies working together with cutting edge products- I like the potential this has.  Will be a good combo!

--  Saw this wild stat this week… what the Vegas casinos won in 2017 by game…
Blackjack $1.2 billion
Craps $393.5 million
Roulette $367.3 million
Baccarat $1.1 billion
Sports $248.7 million
Penny slots $3.1 billion

Think about that penny slot number.  3.1 billion.  Absolutely unreal… that is a ton of action to get to that number.

--  Last this week- speaking of Vegas… BEC is coming up in a month… attendance is looking solid but obviously plenty of room to keep adding.  If you have never attended this is a great mix of networking and education over a very quick and efficient time period.  To be able to learn about so many items in a 1-1/2 to 2 day period also while having he ability to pretty much talk with tons of great contacts, I can’t see a better deal right now.   And if you haven’t attended in a while, its time to come back…. You know how good it is.
In any case like I have said before- there’s two events that you need to attend to keep your business up and personal stock trending in the right direction… BEC and GlassBuild America.  So check out the agenda and register today!


Tough, sad, bizarre story about a woman, drugs, and her “trophy” husband.

Love it… dog gets approved for unemployment! I have 4 of them, time to get them to apply!

I guess this proves everyone has a family… even Charles Manson.


I don’t have HBO but may have to get it for this documentary.  The Life and Times of Andre the Giant.  The preview looks amazing!