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My identity crisis

If you’re a regular reader of Architect This City, there are many things that you might know about me

You might know that I was initially trained as an architect, but that I immediately transitioned into real estate development after grad school (where I studied both architecture and real estate).

After becoming a real estate developer, you might know that I completed an MBA with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship (which happened by default as a result of the electives I ended up being interested in).

And finally, you might know, given the content of this blog and my startup history, that I have a significant interest in technology. More specifically though, you might know that my interest is in figuring out how technology will continue to infiltrate and impact “non-tech” industries such as real estate.

But what you might not know is how I even ended up in architecture and real estate in the first place. Unlike a lot of people who seem to have grown up wanting to be an architect – perhaps because they had a relative who was one – I didn’t decide to study architecture until a bit later on.

Growing up my primary interests were: art and computers.

During high school, my art teachers used to tell my parents that I was going to be an artist. And my computer teachers used to tell my parents that I was going to be a computer geek – or maybe they said computer scientist.

Maybe it had to do with timing and the emergence of the commercial internet in the 1990s, but computers sort of won out during that point in my life. I spent a lot of time building them from scratch, playing with software, and asking my mom not to pick up the phone because I was literally dialed-in to the internet.

So when it came time to enrol in university, I fairly effortlessly decided on computer science. It just seemed to make sense. But after about a year I realized that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t love programming like my classmates did and the thought of doing it for a living scared me.

At the same time, I felt like I needed to feed the artist in me. I wanted something both artistic and technical. So I decided to drop out of computer science and give architecture a try. It just seemed like the perfect marriage of my interests.

I immediately fell in love with architecture. And I spent the next 7 years studying it across 2 degrees.

But during that time, two things hit me. First, I came to the realization that real estate developers are the ones who really have the most say in terms of how our cities are built. And second, that technology was having a massive impact on business and life.

This told me that design alone wasn’t going to be enough. I also needed to engross myself in real estate, finance, business, and technology. So that’s what I set out to do. And I really enjoyed it. On the technology side, it felt like I was coming full circle in a way.

But today, I feel a bit like a 3 legged stool. There’s the design leg. The real estate/business leg. And the technology leg. And oftentimes I feel like life would be a lot simpler if I could just balance on one of those legs – instead of trying to stand on all three. But that’s simply not me.

These are my passions and I need all of them to stand-up.

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