September 2nd, 2011

"I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return - but that’s not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

• If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to interruptyourvacation@firstround.com and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.

• If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona (fiona@firstround.com) and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,
Josh”

August 28th, 2011
June 8th, 2011

AIA Diversity & Inclusion Policy Challenge

I have to take a break for a little while, from looking for a full-time job.  I do not even get a hopeful feeling anymore when I send out resumes, which makes the subsequent depression, upon receiving yet another rejection letter, all the more surprising.  So, I have to step away for a bit.  I consider myself a pretty level-headed, even-tempered person, but my inability to “close the deal” and get a job offer is really doing a number on my self-esteem.

I am going to digress from “making lemonade” about my frustrating job search, and clear my head and talk about something a little different.  The AIA has been promoting their Diversity and Inclusion program to promote diversity in the architecture field.  The AIA National Convention has a session on the topic, which I could not attend due to a lack of funds.  I would be curious to know if the session talked about the lack of diversity in general, or took a stance and asked firm leadership to take steps to examine diversity in their own offices.  Talk does not create jobs.  

What I want to know is if the session offered tangible steps?  Did it offer technical assistance and support to encourage diversity?  How did they define diversity?  Did they offer a hiring goal as a challenge to the field?  Or did they just pay lip service to the idea of diversity but not challenge architects to take an advocacy position?

With regards to the diversity question, is diversity measured by race?  Socio-economic status?  Rural representation?  Gender?  Sexual orientation?  Physical abilities?

I look at the faces at different area firms when I am at events or visit company websites.  Without calling out anyone, the firm staff is overwhelmingly homogeneous to a fault.  Many are headed by people very involved in AIA policy development and programs.  Does the disparity between policy and implementation strike them as incongruous, or are they oblivious to the obvious disconnect between policy and practice?

My challenge to firms is to take a good look around your office and ask yourself if your firm truly represents your clients?  If you have a lot of publicly funded projects, does your staff mirror that of your client?  If your focus is education design, I would pose the same question.  It is not about numbers, let me make that clear.  It is about representation.  I do not think anything you say about integrity matters if you cannot be honest about your own inability to consider the added richness that diversity can bring to your staff in terms of talent and unique abilities.

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May 29th, 2011
I finally have gotten up the nerve to put out the link to my own web portfolio.  Let me know what you think…

I finally have gotten up the nerve to put out the link to my own web portfolio.  Let me know what you think…

May 19th, 2011

"My New Orleans," a video discussion by Allen Eskew, about a 1799 Creole plantation home called the Pitot House.  The discussion covers regional design and construction, climate consideration, and features that aid passive ventilation and cooling, such as wrap-around verandas and windows.

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(Source: construction.com)

NCARB news:  If you have a record with NCARB, and have received a renewal notice that you are unable to pay due to financial distress or unemployment, you can pay the renewal fee when you have the funds, without any additional penalty.  If you cannot pay this or the next, your record with still be maintained, but you will have to bring the account up to date for each year you are past due renewing.
Call NCARB (202-879-0520) to discuss your record or any questions you may have about renewal issues.

NCARB news:  If you have a record with NCARB, and have received a renewal notice that you are unable to pay due to financial distress or unemployment, you can pay the renewal fee when you have the funds, without any additional penalty.  If you cannot pay this or the next, your record with still be maintained, but you will have to bring the account up to date for each year you are past due renewing.

Call NCARB (202-879-0520) to discuss your record or any questions you may have about renewal issues.

April 30th, 2011

Wow!  I can’t tell you how lonely the preview for "The Bully Project" made me feel.  I felt lonely because I once knew how these children felt, having been ignored at best, or shunned, scorned, taunted or worse for many years.  I grew up, and decided to find ways to make myself feel happy and worthwhile, DESPITE the derision and contempt from classmates and adults.  I was lucky, because the bullying made me stronger and hopefully kinder, but I also know that others find bullying to be overwhelming and never find the peace I have today.  The trailer has helped me convey to my children how important to me this issue is.  I thank you for viewing this preview on behalf of those of us who grew up feeling helpless and misunderstood, and for those living with this today.

April 26th, 2011
April 25th, 2011

From TEDTalks, a video for women!  ”New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly shares a portfolio of her wise and funny cartoons about modern life — and talks about how humor can empower women to change the rules.”