Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

The Meta Diagram

Note 017: Crossing the Stream(s)


Long time no speak!

I have so many draft half-written posts, that I will complete for you all, but as you all know very well - and likely part of the reason you signed up :) - I am a practising, dedicated, architect, first.

Have I not posted because I’ve lost interest?

No way! - quite the opposite.

(Sorry Luke! 1 I still have my guide to 1st day of 1st year uni 90% drafted after your question in Feb… lol…)

ADAD (my day job ;), has been growing.

Future posts surrounding this (lets call it, stage 2 practice development - from Sole Trader (Artist / Freelancer / et al) to Real Leader) - will be many… its a totally different game.

Any of my past students, colleagues, mentors, + - = circles… knows that I communicate most naturally and best through drawing. The Diagram. The core DNA building block of all that we do as architects.

I am at an interesting stage (at ADAD in Practice) where the dream team is growing to to the point that I have to rethink my leadership / mentor development, which for the 1st 10 years (hi Marty! Scotty! Anthony! Brendan! Jemima!), I simply naturally continued my final year tutoring relationship (with the best!), into a few day a week practice environment.

To a degree these notes were a COVID experiment to trial this very natural progression to a forum where there wasn’t the pre existing relationship, but harness the power of the internet, help somehow with the despondence amongst youngsters that broke my heart through that time, and my genuine love of teaching and mentoring.

Even when uni budgets meant I had less opportunity as a practising architect to drop in and give what I know, to students that appreciate and crave it, and I LOVE to impart it.

Hence this tentative forum.

The Last 6-12 months have been rocket ship.

I detest excuses - the literal reality is that I have a growing fresh team so all my time, rightfully, is in developing these legends directly (Hi Amber! Sahiba! Brandon! Ben!).

My overlap of developing naturally a 2nd / 2IC / Right hand lady/man/offsider (Scotty…Brendan….Amber…), 1 at a time, then work would run out (for me early days), or life circumstances would change (I support all of your lives 1st, architecture close 2nd), has been complicated by developing more than 1 legend at a time in the practice.

Which leads to todays…. post?… it’s an experiment :)

Yesterday, Brandon (our weapon recent grad!) asked a consultant on boarding question in the car on the way back from site. Ben (our weapon student!) was in the car too. Sahiba (our weapon registered architect!), had the day off - like I said. life 1st. She has a wedding to plan.

I was trying to describe what I ALWAYS diagram out on paper / any surface in the studio (ADAD or Uni), and said we’ll repeat this when back in the warehouse.

Long story short.

I have noticed my staff (and students past) keep all my mad diagrams about how everything fits together - these meta diagrams.

Ben had suggested filming to keep in our in house library, like a FAQ for when this grows impossible to do 1 on 1 with scale.

Great idea!

The it struck me…. I bought a $5 bucket of kids chalk from office works that same day.

We went outside.

Boys, crack a beer. (Friday)

Ben, Grab your phone.

Brandon, repeat your question from this arvo.

If this is valuable to you (Talented Grad, talented undergrad), Let’s see if this works :)

Lets share it with our larger-tribe (You!).

This is my natural environment (drawing, talking, light-hearted, big picture, with scalpel blade real world current detail attached).

i.e. ‘authenticity’ - in every sense. Some may call it purpose.

All previous notes refer to this ‘diagram’, stages, time, fees, hourly or lump, finding clients, partial services, full services, staff, on and on… so take a look.

This is totally unedited and from an iPhone.

If this would be more useful to all of you than written form… let me know - it is much more natural for me… and because we have these talks daily, many times, I would be more than happy to share any useful ones with you legends. (including your questions!).

Share Andrew's Notes

Leave a comment if video with Chalk is useful. I prefer drawing and talking to writing! Nothing off limits. I treat all my staff like my CEOs of the future - they are all on this mailing list. I want you all to succeed.

Life is short. The good fortune to combine passion with work is an absolute privilege. To pass on what I know (little, but something and growing)- knowing you will do the same once I am gone - is our duty.


actually his real name… just seemed the status quo to asterisk and draw attention to a footnote… :)

Andrew's Notes
Andrew's Notes
Andrew Donaldson