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Interview Part Deux with Eric Bobrow - June 2011

< < Check out
the first full interview of the ArchiCAD Jedi Master

eric bobrow interview

So, we last spoke in March just before you reopened the Best Practices Course and the videos have seemed to have got raving reviews from the course members. How have  the past few months been for you? Are you enjoying directing the course?

This is an amazing journey that we're having together. I'm digging deep to find ways to communicate the essence of ArchiCAD's structure and principles of workflow. Many course members tell me that things in ArchiCAD are making more sense, that I'm connecting the dots, and that they are really enjoying the program far more. 

I'm finding the community process very satisfying, as I interact directly with frequent coaching calls - we had been doing one per month, but since March, it's been three times each month. The questions people ask have really stretched me - while frequently I know "the answer" because I've explained it to others many times before, on other occasions I need to work hard to come up with a short and elegant solution to a challenging real-world design challenge, right on the fly, while explaining each step along the way. I explore solutions right in front of the group, trying different options until I reach something fairly satisfying.

One of the course members wrote:

"I really enjoy your fearlessly exploratory style as you work through various solutions to a problem. You make it seem as though anything is possible.  It is a pleasure to be taking your course.  It has been literally life changing."

Wow! This gives me great joy, as I know that I'm not only teaching, I'm empowering course members to master ArchiCAD and use it creatively without fear.

I remember you mentioning that your videos are useful to users using mostly ArchiCAD 10 and up, and as Graphisoft recently announced ArchiCAD 15, we are all amazed by the great new features, especially the new Shell tool. What do you think of the changes and how do you think they’ll help our workflow? Are they all revolutionary or merely evolutionary? Will you be covering some of the new features in future videos?

I’ve only started to look at the new feature set of ArchiCAD 15, since I have not yet received a copy to work with. The shell tool opens up new shapes and forms, enabling much more complex curved surfaces. In conjunction with the new 3D working planes and guidelines, this expands the ability to work fluidly in non-orthogonal axes and study more complex design options.

However, the bigger change for many users will be the new framework for working on renovations, additions and remodels. Graphisoft has created what appears to be an elegant, easy to learn system that will make this so much simpler. 

Ironically, these two new technologies pose rather different scenarios in terms of teaching. Most people will really need and want to use the renovation tools immediately, and fortunately they look like they're going to be quick to demonstrate and straightforward to teach. The new 3D tools and methods will take much longer to explain and explore for me in the course, but I have some concern that many people will not find as much use for them. Ultimately, time will tell, and I'll know much more after I've gotten my hands on ArchiCAD 15.

Do you think users will find the transition to AC15 smoother than in previous releases? 

It’s a bit hard to say, but I am encouraged by the steps that Graphisoft has taken to ease the migration of library parts, which has always been one of the confusing parts of transitioning projects from one version to another. It also appears that both of the revolutionary changes - the renovation framework and the richer 3D tools and environment - are based solidly on previous interface patterns. For this reason, perhaps we may find them, although powerfully transformative, also intuitively easy to grasp and just start working with right away.

And you recently started a few special Webinars to share the best bits of the course, what was your experience with the people that signed up? How were they different to the coaching calls? 

Webiner How to unleash ArchiCAD's hidden power webinar

I designed the content of the webinar through an interesting process. I asked course members by email to tell me what were the most important and useful things they have learned so far in the course. There were some interesting patterns, and of course a lot of them pointed to similar ideas and methods that made the most difference in their speed, finesse and quality of results. I spent some more time interviewing selected members by phone, and dug deeper until I felt like I had a good understanding of the keys to unleashing ArchiCAD's power.  The webinar is very different from a coaching call, or one of the video lessons in the course. It is a high-level overview of the most potent ideas and techniques that transform people's workflow using ArchiCAD. I've been working hard to add in graphic examples and find precisely the right way to explain each point quickly. I believe that many attendees will be able to take the ideas from this webinar and explore them and develop them on their own, and see really dramatic results. It feels a bit audacious as I tell people that these methods can improve productivity by 25% - 50%, but those numbers are actually based on the feedback reported by course members, rather than something I'm claiming myself.

Now what can we expect from you in the next few months?

I’m still working on finishing up all the lessons. We've only covered part of the Best Practices Course material, and it's been amazing to see the results people have achieved when we're only part-way through it. One person wrote: "Your program is an extraordinary value. The benefits and applications have been much more than anticipated, and we're only part way thru." His comments are actually pretty typical - I've heard similar ones from other members.

This inspires me and scares me a bit - as one of the other members wrote:

"It is a stroke of genius for you to offer this course, well maybe a stroke of insanity considering the amount of work involved."

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me to finish this out as strongly as it has begun. I'm aiming to finish up the planned curriculum over the next two to three months, and then I'll have a chance to regroup. 

One idea is to start creating some more advanced materials - perhaps I might do a course on object creation including some GDL; another might focus on quantity takeoffs; a third might look at presentations, rendering and animation from a Best Practices perspective. There are so many areas that people want and need to know about - there are a lot of possibilities and the challenge will be picking which one(s) to focus on!

Great, so when is the deadline for prospective course members?

The course will remain open after June 15th, but the $200 discount offer will end.
So act NOW and save BIG.

Thanks Eric, good luck with the rest of the course!


Eric Bobrow is an internationally recognized ArchiCAD expert and author of more than 20 Tips and Tricks articles and video tips published on the ArchiCAD Wiki, AECbytes, Cadalyst, etc. A former Graphisoft Platinum VAR and U.S. Reseller of the Year, Bobrow was a Graphisoft authorized reseller for 21 years.

His product
MasterTemplate is the office standard for over 400 ArchiCAD firms worldwide. Bobrow launched the online Best Practices Course in November 2010; it now serves a community of over 200 members.

It’s also worth checking out Eric’s :

> “
The Seven Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCAD

Youtube channel with lots of FREE videos

> “Unleash the Power of ArchiCAD”
Webinar series

> bunch of other
free ArchiCAD tutorials

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