Learning for a Living

Weird, random, and wonderful things we know

One of the things we love about our job is that we get to learn about all kinds of topics we’d never come across in everyday life. And we’re not just scratching the surface—we dive deep. We know stuff about everything from Norwegian hydropower projects to Mexican banking. Here are just a few of the random (yet fascinating) things we learned last year, which, as writers, we really have no business knowing. The neck of a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar has to withstand 250lbs of torque exerted by the strings. And plain old corrugated cardboard, the very same stuff Amazon delivers your coffee pods and yoga straps in, when layered together with just the right amount of glue, can be made strong enough to replace the standard maple core Fender usually uses to make the neck. It’s true. We learned all about Formula One drafting and slipstreams—you know, like Ricky Bobby’s “shake ‘n bake” maneuver in Talladega Nights… Except these guys do it in Ferraris, not Fords. (Bonus points if you can figure out how this was related to IT infrastructure analytics, the project we researched it for.) Did you know that open workspaces reduce productivity? (Think: Office Space.) Better yet—did you know that adding “brown” or “pink” background noise (like the sounds of falling rain or rushing water) helps block out the regular background noise (ringing phones, chatty co-workers, annoying bosses, etc.) so you can focus? Yep, it’s called “noise-masking.” It’s a thing. You wanna talk architecture, infrastructure, energy efficiency, energy bars, generative design, impact design, corporate IT, IoT, social engineering, structural engineering, medical platform management, janitorial supplies, or even beaming fuel to rockets in space? Let’s go. We will talk you under the […]

Content marketing: A smarter way to connect

In the rapid-fire world of digital, on-demand everything, advertising has lost some of its punch. We are simply over-saturated. Businesses need to find new ways to engage customers and drive them to take action. And so, content marketing was born. Think of it as a great way to connect with your target audience and position yourself as the go-to brand and a thought leader (without waving your logo in their faces). Content marketing is about creating and curating valuable content that’s packed with the kind of information your audience is looking for, and delivering it to the places where they are looking. You can gain new customers, and also compel existing customers to act—whether you want them to visit your website, buy your product, or sign up for your newsletter. It’s all about crafting thoughtful, useful content and buttoning it up with a smart call-to-action that serves your audience, while also serving your brand. It’s not about thinly veiled self-promotion. So how does content marketing differ from traditional advertising? Think of it like this: When you advertise, you tell the world you’re awesome. When you use content marketing, you show them. It’s the anti-advertising way to promote your brand, your value, and your expertise. It’s about sharing ideas, instead of pushing products. As big fans of “show, don’t tell” (a golden rule of writing), we’re huge proponents of this strategy. And we’ve enjoyed dipping our toes into it lately, with some great results for our clients.     Creating Real-time Navigable 3D Infrastructure Models A piece we wrote about design visualization and civil engineering for the online magazine Informed Infrastructure.           CAD Manager’s Guide to the Galaxy This one for AEC […]