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Dear Designer: Red Light, Green Light Problems

This morning, as I was getting walked by my dog Daisy (it’s bunny season and she likes to flex her inner hunter!) I was listening to a newly launched podcast produced by OnPlace called Smith Lane.

More specifically, I was listening to their first episode featuring Lesley Deutch of JBRE.

During the interview she unknowingly gave me a solution to a problem I’ve been struggling with for quite some time.

Here’s the deal – I love to write about industry topics that I think are important. Alone in my office – what I write makes a lot of sense. I am not – not producing valuable content, it’s just that nobody really wants to read it.

My marketing team sees this as a big problem. Until today, I haven’t figured out an effective way to write consumable content about commercial housing design topics that are interesting to – anyone other than me.

Although my mother always gives my posts an enthusiastic thumbs-up (thanks Mom!), my true desire is to share knowledge that impacts those engaging design firms, as well as the end user – experiencing the design decisions we painstakingly make.

Today – I heard Lesley say something that I know intellectually – and I practice in other areas of my business – and that is to simply ask people what questions they have – and answer those specific questions in a blog or social post.

Please reserve judgment or any sounds like “Duh!” until you read the next two sentences.

Basically – ask people what they want to know – instead of deciding what they should want to know.

Have you ever had a problem so big – that the obvious answer eludes you?

Me too! For me – knowing I have a problem isn’t enough to solve the problem. As smart and as capable as I am, I often don’t see the answer – until the moment I see the answer. Maybe you can relate?

I don’t seem to have a yellow light in problem solving. I have a red light, red light, red light until the moment it turns green. Today – with Daisy on a leash, the bunnies running for their lives, and Lesley in my ear – my problem lightbulb turned green. Hallelujah!

So here I am – posting about my red light, green light moment – alone on social media because I imagine most people are celebrating Memorial Day (don’t forget to have a moment of silence at 3PM local time), eating barbecue, swimming, or maybe rewatching the final lap of the Indy 500 (wow!).

Regardless, starting today, I humbly, eagerly, curiously invite you to ask a commercial housing, design-related question in the comments or send me a private message if you prefer. My design team and I will review and anonymously address your questions – in a blog post or a live Q&A on some social platform.

My hope is to help your red lights turn green faster than mine. Maybe even as fast as Newgarden took that last turn – I mean wow!