“I had a conversation a few years ago with a black interior designer who told me if it were not for self-promotion, he would not have caught the attention of national professional journals,” writes Patrick Williams, Assoc. AIA, in a letter to the editor this week. His point, it seems, is that a significant part of getting noticed is to learn how to promote one’s self.
This consideration is valid, even self-evident. There are many, many talented architects, but not so many who are capable—or willing—to shout it from the rooftop. And if you consider that self promotion is critical to successful marketing, shouldn’t it be part of the architecture-school curriculum or intern development?
There is a word touching on this point that is generally misunderstood anymore: serendipity. Most people believe it is synonymous with luck. In fact, serendipity is the ability to capitalize on circumstance.
We all know people who are successful well beyond their apparent ability. And it’s easy to say such overblown success is just a matter of luck. The problem with that logic, though, is that, in the law of large numbers, we all have the same amount of luck. Perhaps, instead, there is another element at work—the not-so-apparent but nevertheless real ability of serendipity: thinking ahead to possibilities and pre-devising self-positive reactions to those possibilities.
To a certain degree, we can teach people the arts of self promotion and serendipity. Should we?
What do you think?