Featured Conversations: Mark Carroll

"There literally isn’t another human on this planet with as much background using and teaching the use of Matterport in the field." Mark Carroll is the authority on reality capture. Read his thoughts on some of the greatest challenges in the design technology industry

October 21, 2022

What folks are you following that you feel are positively impacting the built environment in their own way?

The one person I’ve followed for years, after working with him on a project, is Alphonso Peluso, an architecture professor out of Chicago. As a sales engineer, I seek more information about specialized areas in which I am not formally trained, so his content has helped me understand what architecture students learn, and he also covers a wide range of topics, which is valuable.
His youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AlphonsoPeluso/ 

What’s the most common thing you hear from your users or clients?

The most common thing I heard on sales calls was how often large companies do not have the internal institutional knowledge needed to fully understand the use of CAD or design data. For example, a US airline I met with once had a large volume of 2D CAD models of gates in terminals that were collected for years, but they didn’t have a single person on staff who could work in CAD. 

Any advice for a building owner trying to understand digital transformation?

Don’t feel like you have to develop everything CAD related in-house. I’ve met many groups who wasted resources building an internal team of “CAD experts” who got hired because their resume said CAD and the person hiring didn’t know enough to tell that it was a fake-it-till-you-make-it moment for the “expert”. Come time to use the CAD data or to develop workflows to get results, they would always need to find someone to bridge that knowledge gap.

Solution is to partner with awesome technology and proven partners to get the needed results. Focus energy on other internal teams, like sales or tradespeople.

What’s something you believe that no one else seems to believe?

I believe that a company can have loyalty, mutual respect, and universal accountability (especially leaders). Though I have not worked with such a company yet. 

What’s been your biggest issue with design technology to date?

The biggest issue with design technology is the cost of licenses for design programs. The cost is prohibitive for people who do not have the resources to learn a program themselves without a school or professional group to pay. This is a barrier to this industry and is inhibiting natural growth and self-taught designers. Free student licenses don’t count. They’re lures for more sales. Jeers to student licenses and their limited features. 

A book that’s shaped your work or industry philosophy?

I know my attitude toward work and teamwork was unique in a California tech company. The friendly and accommodating Midwestern fellow seemed to be a rarity among self-serving and sometimes duplicitous west-coasters.

The book on Bill Campbell, Trillion Dollar Coach, helped me to reinforce a lot of the things I already knew. I felt like it was a positive shot in the arm, reading the book, because it spoke of qualities that I already had, but also how those qualities come into conflict with others, and how one can synthesize these differences to create a successful team with loyalty and understanding. It taught me about the people I was working with, as an outsider coming into a California tech company. 

How do you describe what you do to a 5 year old?

I teach people how to use cameras and lasers for pictures and to tell how far away things are. The team I work with uses the pictures and how far away things are to make plans and drawings. Those plans and drawings tell construction workers what construction to do in the building.

What's a project that's been keeping you busy?

Biggest recent project for me is getting full-time work again. A lot of side projects have been keeping me busy, but finding my best path forward is my priority. 

Something LinkedIn doesn’t know about you?

I am a rower on an adult masters rowing team, the Chicago Rowing Union, where I’ve re-learned the value of rowing in a boat of eight rowers, the value of patience, and the value of teamwork. CRU is an amazing team of humans and I am enamored by the worldwide rowing community.


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