This week, Mark held his first live interview using Facebook live. Alex Gore from F9 Productions discussed his work with Daniel Libeskind, his firm in Longmont, Colorado, his podcast, Inside The Firm, sharing the behind-the-scenes with his partner, Lance Cayko, and his book The Creativity Code.
This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, EntreArchitect Live with Alex Gore of F9 Productions.
Alex Gore grew up drawing wars of ants verses bees, playing backyard baseball, and being obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright. After high school, he joined the national guard as a heavy equipment operator. There, he attended North Dakota State University and received a masters in architecture and construction management. He then worked under the world-famous architect Daniel Libeskind, teamed up with his best friend from college Lance Cayko to start F9 Productions. He’s the cohost of Inside the Firm Podcast and the author of The Creativity Code.
How did you get to work for Daniel Libeskind?
Going into Denver, Alex lined up several different interviews when he had a trip planned to be in town. He was back and forth with Libeskind, and was offered an internship first. Though he turned that down, he eventually was offered a full-time position.
Did you carry any thoughts over from Libeskind to F9 Productions?
Daniel Libeskind always did crazy fun projects, so Alex and Lance have tried to keep doing one fun project a year. They built a tiny house that was sustainable and cooler looking than traditional tiny houses. The goal was to make a commitment to do something cool every year.
What are your thoughts on interning for a star firm?
All of us interns worked a ton and were paid an hourly rate. At F9 Productions, interns are paid. When you’re sacrificing your time and energy in a studio culture environment, you have a lot to learn by doing that if that’s what you want to do.
For F9 Productions, interns are just colleagues and designers who they work side by side with.
How did F9 Productions start?
When Alex got laid off by Libeskind, he called Lance and they made some plans. Eventually, Lance got laid off as well and Alex decided to move to Colorado and figure out how to work together. They worked as a tw0-man shop for a few years until they had consistent business in 2013-2014. Now, they have about ten people and even that feels stretched at times.
The structure is a two-headed beast. They each have people who mainly work for one of them or the other, and in times of big projects they can pull from the other’s side. Depending on the project, they tend to hand off projects that are a better fit for the other person’s skills.
Where did the name for F9 Productions come from?
In college, Alex and Lance didn’t know if they really liked each other. When they finally realized each other had some useful skills, they worked closely together.
They were on their computers all the time, and F9 was the key to render. They would tease their classmates who wanted to go home at the end of the day by saying, “Go ahead! Just hit F9 and the computer will do the work while you get some rest.”
It’s progressed that their different companies now are set up following suit: F10, F11, F12 and F14.
Are you going to sell your development units individually?
We couldn’t separate the parcels, so they’ll be condos with an HOA. We’ll sell 6 on one side as units, and there’s still talk of renting the two on the other side.
Do you think every architect should do development?
Alex thinks the majority of architects should do their own development within their skills. Most people don’t because of the money issue. If there was a course in college that taught how to get a bank loan and find money to put down, more people would do it. It’s not rocket science.
Jump in and mitigate risk. Alex and Lance built the first tiny house using their construction experience. They structured their firm to save money throughout the year and then eventually deciding what they wanted to do with that money.
Can you define architecture?
Narrowly, it’s the design of buildings or built structures. However some people believe the line moves and architecture becomes everything.
Alex wants to pull architecture back to the design of buildings. He believes you can apply architecture thought and design principles to many other things. How are you designing your business? How are you building your life?
What was the deciding factor in designing and building your own development?
It came down to the numbers: could they get the land for under 18% of the valuation.
Why did you start the podcast and what keeps you going?
Alex and Lance started a podcast previous to Inside the Firm Podcast where they kind of talked about nothing, but they wanted to do something where they shared actual useful information.
Their goal was to be two principals talking about what’s really happening inside the firm.
Tell us about why you wrote The Creativity Code.
It goes back to giving and teaching. Alex and Lance were growing, trying to hire people and they found that despite their design skills, they didn’t have particular skills that they were needed. They went to the local design school and asked to teach. Though they were told no to the design side, they were invited to teach the engineers. At the end of their senior year, the engineering students are supposed to do a whole building. They’ve been making really efficient boxes, and they wanted to see more creativity.
How do you teach engineers to be more creative? Give them the tools and see what they can come up with. They were taught sketching techniques, design principles, and Revit. It works amazingly.
After teaching the class, Alex tailored it into a book. The goal is to give the tools that allow people to create.
Lance is slightly taller, but Alex says he works harder to be better.
Tell us about the free bonuses!
If you buy the book, you can choose from one of three options:
- Want to learn Revit? You get 10% off for your firm!
- Have a phone call with Alex to answer any questions!
- Want us to promote your firm? We’ll give you a shoutout on Inside the Firm Podcast!
Choose your favorite online at EntreArchitect.com/F9!
Should we do more Facebook live sessions? Visit EntreArchitect.com/Group and let us know what you think!
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