Last week I went to my first tweet up, organised by Building Design and held at the offices of Feilden Clegg Bradley. I'm not sure that I came away able to tell the difference between a tweet up and a booze up, but it was certainly a good evening. I guess the difference is that it is a self-selecting group of common interest, rather than an invitation list that somebody had decided to compile. So more democratic - in the spirit of Twitter.
I was there specifically to give a brief talk about the white paper How to Win Work which I wrote for BD (with case studies written by staff members). This looks at everything an architect should do from determining their business plan and marketing strategy, to appraising competitions and deciding which to enter, right through the PQQ process and presentations to how to make the most out of a near miss.
It isn't the sexiest subject but really important and fascinating once you delve into it. So much of it seems like commonsense, but so few architects apply this commonsense. Interviews showed that many submit 'last minute' CGIs, don't research potential clients properly, and even seem bored at interview. I was shocked to learn from a survey BD carried out as part of the research that a third of practices employing more than 15 architects don't even know how much they spend on entering competitions.
The best lessons for me? That it is vital to get to know potential clients before entering a competitive situation, and that not publicising the work for which you don't want to be known is as important as publicising the jobs you do want to be known for.