By Jim McCloskey
As you might imagine given our plans for AquaticSpacesNetwork (see my last blog entry, “Charting a New Course,” for details), I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reaching out to consumers.
Along the way, it has occurred to me that good information is almost always universally useful — that is, information that helps build the skills and awareness of professionals has much practical value to consumers as well.
A case in point is Scott Cohen’s new book, The Candid Contractor: Lessons Learned from the Construction Defect Expert Witness Files of Scott Cohen. The title’s certainly a mouthful, but those of you who’ve received our WaterShapes EXTRA! newsletter for any length of time saw this text emerge chapter by chapter. Now it has been gathered together as a book (available through Amazon.com). Browsing though its pages, it is clear that the content — a range of cautionary tales for watershapers — is just the sort of guidance and education consumers need to help them work with watershapers and allied professionals.
From the first meetings we held about WaterShapes back in 1998, the plain desire of most of the designers and builders we contacted was to raise the bar in watershaping — to create an environment in which excellence would be expected and achieved. While I think the magazine succeeded in changing the conversation, and while I believe we helped elevate industry performance by several degrees, the missing link in the chain has always been a fully informed, fully aware consumer.
This is why I’m so excited about AquaticSpacesNetwork: It opens up the WaterShapes archive to consumers, introduces them to what it takes to achieve excellence, and gives us the foundation of content we need not only to change the nature of the conversation, but also to raise the bar even further.
As I see it, what’s good for consumers is ultimately good for watershaping professionals who meet their needs and desires. Is this an opinion you share? Or do you have reservations about being so transparent with consumers? Please let me know what you think by commenting below!