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Architosh Editor as Guest on TRXL Podcast—107: ‘Quasi-Irreversibility of Investment’

Anthony Frausto-Robledo is a featured guest on TRXL Podcast — Anthony and Evan Troxel discuss recent features on Architosh on the Revit Open Letter and Autodesk Forma.


Architect and famed industry podcaster Evan Troxel, has Architosh’s Anthony Frausto-Robledo, back on the TRXL podcast series, talking about two recent feature articles dealing with Autodesk Forma and the Nordic Revit Open Letter.

The 90-minute segment dives deep into two big recent articles on Architosh (see: Architosh, “Autodesk Begins New Era of Future of Architecture,” 27 Sep 22 and “The Revit Open Letter Through the Lens of QWERTY-Nomics,” 20 Oct 22). The second feature has been widely praised and even picked up by other media in an Italian architectural podcast (see: Architettura Imperfetta, Ep. 192 – Sindrome di Superman), where the Italian architect focuses a bit of attention on the Superman Syndrome segment in QWERTY-Nomics feature. (see segment link here).

TRXL Podcast

In Ep. 107, ‘Quasi-Irreversibility of Investment’ with Anthony Frausto-Robledo,” the conversation runs through important issues about the future of digital tools in architecture, as covered in both articles.

Here is a time-stamped summary of key points in the episode:

The Snowball Effect 

  • 12:21 — Anagnost says everyone in architecture, including tool providers, must “reimagine themselves for the industry to survive….” (Evan)
  • 16:25 — Other ways to survive; digital tool skill-spectrum calculus unknown in the industry… (Anthony)
  • 23:56 — It’s kind of silly to have colleges of architecture have robots but not equipment students of architecture with the skillsets to optimize the economics of their industry…(Anthony)
  • 24:50 — Academia and the perpetuation of the snowball effect or the contribution to Network Effects. (Anthony)

Encoded Knowledge and Power

  • 28:00 — Change and Change Management: Autodesk has disrupted itself before… (Evan)
  • 29:35 — Encoded knowledge in the workforce, as resistance to change… (Evan)
  • 34:03 — Andrew [Anagnost – Autodesk CEO] recognizes that the center of computing has moved to the cloud...And Revit comes from the previous [desktop] era… (Anthony)
  • 42:00 — Autodesk has real power in AEC…Benedict Evans on what is power? (Anthony)

Network Effects and Academia

  • 45:22 — Network Effects. VCs say 70 percent of the value of a platform is in network effects rather than in the product itself… (Anthony)
  • 48:50 — Academia should not be contributing to network effects. What you want schools to do is give students the ability to interrogate the terrain of digital tools… (Anthony)
  • 49:20 — students should approach tools with an entrepreneurial mindset, not an end-user mindset… (Anthony)
  •  54:51 — Iain Godwin (former Fosters + Partners) says that technology instruction is not reflective of how firms actually work in teams and at the scale of practice… (Anthony)

Industrial Economic Analogies (market failure)

  • 56:02 — the Revit Open Letter from the Lens of QWERTY-Nomics… (Evan)
  • 56:30 — Paul A. David’s famed article on the history of the QWERTY keyboard…as it represents market failure… trained typists were like the first software compatibility issue… (Anthony)
  •  63:03 — BART trains in San Francisco as an example of localized optimization versus a path-dependent technology standard… (Anthony)
  • 65:40 — The BART story is similar to the European Letters and their notes on the optimization of technologies for local European markets and not having the fluidity to address localized optimization… (Anthony)
  • 66:10 — BIG: From Revit to Archicad to Revit… (Evan)
  • 66:45 — BIG: Dealing with negative externalities, not about product… (Anthony)

The Value of Specialization vs. Industry Concentration

  • 68:16 — The value of specialization, the history of technology. The real limit to industry optimization in AEC may be industry concentration itselfSteve Jobs used to say if you want to change the world, you just need 25 people… (Anthony)
  • 69:30 — It’s better to let capital go after all these problems [to solve]… (Anthony)
  • 72:44 — Is the AEC best served by one company that is sort of a super monopoly?… (Anthony)
  • 73:15 — What are the four reasons why monopolies are bad?… (Anthony)
  • 75:48 — A way to look at the change to the subscription model is a form of cost-push inflation... (Anthony)
  • 76:00 — If you give companies a lot of power, you are going to deal with the negative end of that power... (Anthony)

Architects Need to be Bold with Technology: It’s an Investment

  • 78:26 — Firms need to vote with their feet with their dollars, and it is an investment, not an expense… (Evan)
  • 79:28 — I think the Open Letter Movement and the Unionization Movement are connected… (Anthony)
  • 80:47 — ‘Quasi-irreversibility of investment’ and the sunk-cost fallacy… (Anthony)
  • 82:12 — Superman syndrome…how architects act like Clark Kent regarding technology but Superman with design… (Anthony)
  • 82:45 — Nobody gets fired for buying IBM, but why shouldn’t they? … (Anthony)

To listen to the complete episode, go here:  Ep. 107, ‘Quasi-Irreversibility of Investment’ with Anthony Frausto-Robledo,

To see the full index of all of Evan Troxel’s TRXL podcast series (we highly recommend it), go here.


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