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I don’t build buildings, but a lot of my colleagues and customers do. So I spend a lot of time at building conferences, reading about buildings, and listening to the most knowledgeable people in the industry teach the skills and concepts for buildng better. When my friend Jason Riback sent me an email about the launch of his new business, I thought it was interesting to see a tool for building professionals coming from a group of techies. I was curious why they picked this opportunity and how it might represent something new and interesting for the architects, builders and contractors I work with every day. Below is the transcript of an interview I did with Jason.

First, you need context on the company and what they do:

Can you tell me a real story that illustrates the pain you saw that inspired you to build the Vulume platform?  

The inspiration for Vulume came during the design and construction of a Colorado residence. Tracking the design concepts, redesigns, all discussions, the day to day construction progress and updating all team members was cumbersome and unorganized. Emails would get lost and project site visits were difficult from far away. In addition, sourcing, proposing, and approving the right eco friendly materials and unique products proved to be extremely time consuming. With Vulume everything is centralized. Vulume provides the ability to keep everyone involved during the planning, design and construction of any small or large project with a simple, visually friendly interface. Vulume helps you design smarter while tracking the life of your projects.

Can you describe, in detail, just one most important thing that Vulume does?

Vulume keeps you connected to your work and gives you quick access to social knowledge and inspiration. It keeps you informed and up to date on real projects with in line feedback, which means discussions and decisions are not lost in emails helping you save time and money. Throughout each project you have an archive of all the work that was done and a very visual way to share it with colleagues and clients. This is great for managing ongoing relationships with clients and sharing selected projects publicly helps you get noticed amongst the growing community.

Building software requires balancing simplicity with features – can you talk about a really hard decision you had to make about whether to build a feature into the platform or leave it out? Why did you decide to include it or leave it out?

When it comes to software you never finish building. The decision to add the ‘Capture’ feature was very tough because it needed to touch so many parts of the site. When we took a hard look at the design, planning and execution process from end to end it was necessary to include a feature that really streamlines the research and discovery aspect of construction throughout a project. Today users can start the idea generation and design process quickly by capturing content from all over the web and from other projects they discover on Vulume, moving them away from tearing out magazines, pasting links into emails, and wasting valuable time on research that may have already been done and shared by other members of the community.

If you look at the building industry in five years, what evidence will you look for to prove that Vulume has had the impact you hoped for?

We want to see our users leverage more sustainable materials and smarter design. We want to reduce the time and cost for each project and improve connections between forward thinking designers, developers, clients and other building professionals. By tapping into the human desire to contribute to a common goal, we aim to radically accelerate the process of creative and sustainable development in relation to the built environment.

Here’s the official Vulume pitch

Vulume helps designers, architects, builders, and clients collaborate more efficiently. It is an online community for smarter design and keeps everyone involved in a project on one platform by connecting all project data, discussions, and people in one place.

  • Store images, documents, and discussions on all your projects
  • Share learnings and product information
  • Collaborate privately or showcase your work for the entire community to see and follow.
  • Improve team engagement
  • Save time and money

You can sign up for a free public account by clicking here