Cutting Through the Noise

Micène Fontaine, August 10, 2022

Three times a week, you can find me on a beach in Hawaii, near the pyramids of Giza, or on Mars for a 30-minute virtual reality boxing session with a coach. Instead of gloves, I wear controllers and an Oculus Quest headset. The targets rush toward me often faster than I can dish out jabs, hooks, and uppercuts.

I have one job: Ignore the distractions to stay focused on the target in front of me and the one right behind it. It gives my body a chance to queue up the next two moves. That’s all I can handle. The moment I get distracted by the targets or the score flashing in the background, I start missing more and more targets until I regain my focus.

Screencast of one of my boxing workouts in Supernatural.

I love the physical activity as much as I like the mental exercise. It’s a reminder of the importance of the architecture of choice and of separating the noise (distractions) from the signal (where I need to place my attention). It’s a critical skill to master when running a small business. It’s also a reminder that as small business owners or practitioners, we must keep an eye on what is coming next. In a world where everything is interconnected, it’s a delicate balance between drowning in a sea of irrelevant information and ignoring critical signals of what’s to come.

Based on the onslaught of notifications, emails, and stacks of magazines in my office, change is happening faster that  most of us can keep up with. It’s hard to get work done AND keep up with all that is happening in the industry. Take a look at the list of architecture and design events and trade publications in the slowish month of August, and you’re bound to feel overwhelmed. So what’s a practitioner to do? Well, you could try to do it all, or ignore it all, or let us do some of the heavy lifting for you. We spend a lot of time sorting noise from the signal and packaging what matters into courses so you can prepare your next move or at least not be blind-sided if a client or fellow designer brings up the topic.

Will everything be relevant to what you are working on right now? No, but that’s the point of lifelong learning. It’s about keeping you informed about what is currently shaping the industry - the undercurrents and the threads running through the built environment - with no sweat or punches involved.

Here is to what’s next

:Food for Thought and Action