Category Archives for "News"

Two New ArchiCAD Training Series

Almost everyone who uses ArchiCAD would like to use it better, however there are frequently obstacles that get in the way of learning. For a long time, the only ArchiCAD training resources were local; some people were luckier than others in terms of proximity to an experienced teacher. Many had to learn on their own, or got a short introductory training and then were left to their own devices.

There are relatively few printed materials available for learning ArchiCAD. The best known one, in my opinion, is Tom Simmons book Step by Step, which unfortunately hasn’t been updated since ArchiCAD 11. It’s still quite usable, since the basics of ArchiCAD have not changed very much over the past several versions, and remains in print and available from Archvista (Tom’s company), CAD Garage and other online vendors.

With the expansion of computer-based video on the desktop as well as internet resources, there are now many more ways to learn ArchiCAD. Graphisoft has created numerous Interactive Training Guides for their BIM Learning Studio; the Virtual Tutor CD and DVD series by Laszlo Nagy in Australia has 8 or more hours of instruction; many people create videos on YouTube and elsewhere that show little pieces of the puzzle; and there are now several websites and blog sites that provide some online ArchiCAD training and commentary.

The Best Practices Course - ArchiCAD TrainingPersonally, I shifted my focus in October 2010 from selling ArchiCAD to training ArchiCAD users, and have been very busy creating lots of ArchiCAD tutorials, both free and paid. The Best Practices Course was launched in December 2010 to an enthusiastic reception, and has developed a loyal membership of over 280 ArchiCAD users. In the past several months, about 20 hours of training videos (including both curriculum-based lessons and recorded coaching calls) have been created for course members, with much more planned in the near future.

Now I am adding two more training resources intended to fill in some gaps.

I’m creating a mini-training course delivered as a series of emails (and also posted here on this website) that teaches some of the 7 Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCAD in small, convenient “bite-size” pieces.

Sign up for my email list and you’ll get this free mini-course on Best Practices in your Inbox over the next few weeks.

The other new ArchiCAD training is the Best Practices QuickStart Course. This will be a series of 6 modules introducing new users to the tools and methodologies of ArchiCAD with a consciousness of the Best Practices that will serve them over the long term. Each hour-long module will be broken up into three or four smaller video segments to make it very easy to digest.

For a limited time, the QuickStart Course will be included as a free bonus with the Best Practices Course, which reopens registration on May 24. I’m working on it right now, and expect to complete it over the next 6 weeks.

My exclusive interview with archiCADmonkey…

I’m excited to share with you some interesting news: I was interviewed by Apollo Spiliotis, also known as archiCADmonkey. He’s just posted the 42 minute audio clip on his blog at

The interview was pretty wide-ranging, including some bits about the history and evolution of ArchiCAD (you know I go WAY back to almost prehistoric times with ArchiCAD), my thoughts on how to achieve more efficient workflows, my previous career as a professional dancer, and the origins and philosophy of MasterTemplate.

Apollo commented about some of the things he’s learned from my video tutorials, and we discussed my teaching style and approach. In the interview I also talk about the upcoming launch of the Best Practices Course, and the wonders of connecting with people digitally from across the globe.

Apollo is a pretty interesting fellow himself. He’s a young designer based in Greece, but who has lived in the U.S. and the U.K. for much of his life. He’s built up a lively website with articles and podcasts about a lot of technology stuff, mainly built around ArchiCAD and Artlantis but with increasing forays into other realms. HIs podcasts on Youtube and Vimeo have accumulated over 160,000 views, and he’s even created his own iPhone app called archiCADmonkey – search for it on the iTunes store!

His interview with me will be available on his website and also through his archiCADmonkey iPhone app.

Please check out the interview, and tell your friends about it. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

15,962 Fans for ArchiCAD on Facebook!

I’ve been on the periphery of the whole social media revolution. Of course, I am a techie, and have created multiple websites and made lots of email broadcasts over the years, but until recently I hadn’t done much with Facebook or Twitter or even real blogging.

Now my wife is another story. Each day she goes onto Facebook and interacts with lots of friends, watches videos, laughs a lot, shares some of her stories and gives encouragement to anything and anyone that brings beauty, truth and light to the world. It’s a major part of her routine. Occasionally I help her out – I’ve set up a few fan pages for her, and posted some events to promote her yoga and dance workshops.

Our son is very conversant with all of this as well. He’s 21, in his third year at university, and of course he was brought up with this stuff. He’s too busy to spend that much time on it, but I’m sure it’s all second nature.

I’ve been an avid student of internet marketing for the past year or two, and have learned so much. I’m adjusting my style to be more personal, to share my thoughts, to appear prominently as an individual in relation to my professional offerings – rather than hiding behind a company, even my own company. It feels incredibly comfortable, as I stop trying to pretend to be big (e.g. “We’d like to announce…”) and instead share myself – my gifts as a teacher, as an author, as an ArchiCAD expert, and as a caring indivdual.

ArchiCAD on Facebook?!

Which brings me to the title of my blog post. As of today there are now 15,962 individuals who “Like” ArchiCAD’s page on Facebook! How incredible! Not only are there lots of ArchiCAD users out there, these are people who proudly say “I like ArchiCAD”. They don’t need to fit in with the crowd who use Brand X, in fact they’re happy and passionate about their software tool of choice.

What else does this say, beyond the fact that ArchiCAD has a substantial user base? It says that professionals are using Facebook, that it’s no longer just for the college kids and the people who aren’t busy working. It’s becoming THE place to network, with 500 million members and growing.

Of course, LinkedIn and Plaxo and other social networks specifically focused on business and professional connections are growing too. There is a thriving ArchiCAD group on LinkedIn – but it’s got 947 members – a substantial gathering, but nowhere near the number of ArchiCAD fans on Facebook.

However, there is one thing that LinkedIn has that Facebook lacks (at this point) – a discussion board. There are many discussions in the ArchiCAD group, and lots of intelligent discourse. This plays a different role in the ArchiCAD community than ArchiCAD-Talk (also a VERY valuable resource), which tends to be more focused on technical questions rather than the more open-ended and personal discussions I see on LinkedIn.


Another big surprise: recently I connected with a person who goes by the Facebook moniker archicadMonkey, a young man by the name of Apollo Spiliotis. He’s Greek by birth, although he was brought up partially in the U.S. and partly in the UK and he retains a bit of an American accent. He’s made a series of video podcasts on ArchiCAD and Artlantis that you can find on his website and on Youtube and Vimeo. He’s also made his own archicadMonkey App for the iPod, iPhone, iPad and now Android, that showcases his podcasts.

What’s so surprising about this? Apollo told me that his videos have logged over 100,000 views on Youtube and 60,000 views on Vimeo. WOW! And it’s not like he’s made 100 videos each with 1,000 views – I counted a total of 17 so far. One of his videos has 37,792 views. So there’s a real audience for this stuff, after all!

So where does this leave me? Now I’m becoming an avid student of social media, as well as internet marketing, video, website design, and of course…ArchiCAD. I’ve started blogging, Tweeting (@EricBobrow), Facebooking (Eric Bobrow) and posting my video tips on Youtube. I invite you to connect with me!

One can never stop learning, or to put it in a positive way – one can always keep learning. And I’m hungry to learn more. Another world to explore!

The Best Practices Course is Underway!

After several months of planning and preparation the Best Practices Course has launched! It has been an exciting and exhausting process, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

The past few months I’ve researched the best way to set up a robust membership website to host the training materials, and ended up with Digital Access Pass combined with OptimizePress, both of which are built on the open-source WordPress platform. These tools allow me to create pages for members with live videos and graphics viewable on computers and mobile devices such as the iPad. Members have the option to download videos for offline viewing or permanent reference.

I’ve purchased and set up a movable video studio with a backdrop and lights, along with a Kodak ZI-8 digital video camera and several pieces of software including Camtasia and Final Cut Pro. I’ll be able to create “live video” as well as screen capture demonstrations and combine them to create both training and marketing materials.

Just before I opened the course for registration I held a contest at 99 Designs to create a new logo. This was an amazing process: dozens of designers from all over the world submitted ideas, and refined them based on my feedback. Some great concepts came out over 4 days, and it was hard to pick the winner myself. So I invited people to view the top 8 designs and vote – and one design clearly was the favorite – so we have a great visual representation of the Best Practices concept to use for the course. I’m so happy about it, and am thankful for everyone who participated as a designer or who voted to help me choose!

Everything seems to take so much time to figure out, and there’s so much more I want to learn and do with all of this technology. Nonetheless, I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish, and the results have been stunning! There are 94 people who signed up for the Best Practices Course in the past two weeks, so along with 14 who attended my Best Practices classes in L.A. we have 108 enrolled in the course. The comments and feedback from everyone has been very encouraging. I think we’re going to have a great experience together as I create this course over the next 6 months!

BrightBuilt Barn, designed in ArchiCAD, wins LEED award for innovation

BOSTON, Feb. 16, 2010 – The BrightBuilt Barn – an innovative “net zero” home that needs no furnace, is easy to repair/upgrade, and is designed to last for centuries – has won a major innovation award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Designed in ArchiCAD, the highly acclaimed BrightBuilt Barn was selected for the 2009 LEED for Homes Innovative Project Award “because it brings to life a vision of an evolved future for the homebuilding industry, and effectively employs a smaller, replicable, flexible prefabricated design that succeeds in re-imagining the look and feel of ‘home,’ while keeping upfront costs low and long-term operational costs to an absolute minimum,” said the USGBC. The home was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects in ArchiCAD Building Information Modeling (BIM) software from GRAPHISOFT. Bensonwood Homes built the home, and principals of the companies accepted the award recently at GreenBuild, the annual USGBC conference.

Read more here …