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The Hypothetical Show


The Hypothetical Show

By Bob Borson, FAIA December 9, 2019

As we head into the final few weeks of 2019, Andrew Hawkins and I have spent some time talking about what happens next and what do we want this podcast to become … if that sounds daunting, it should. While this is not the first Holiday season for the podcast, it does represent the end of the first full calendar year for the podcast, a milestone that I will admit I wasn’t entirely sure was going to happen.

There were a lot of things that happened this year to me professionally and more and more of my time has been eaten up with outside pursuits and interests, and considering the amount of time and effort that goes into making this podcast, there has to be a good reason to continue. So what be a good reason to continue? Well, there is really only one reason and it’s not that hard to figure out …

It has to be fun, which it still is, despite the anxious deadlines and the obscene amount of effort Andrew and I put in to make sure that the final product is something that we can point to with some level of pride. It is in that vein that this will be the final podcast of the year [sad face] and as such, we wanted it to be as fun an episode to listen to as it was to record. We are going to bring some levity into the holiday season and publish an episode with nothing but hypothetical questions in it.

Consider this the “Director’s Cut” of hypothetical questions because we decided to dig back through all of 2019 and pull out our 3 most favorite questions and present them here in all their full-length unedited glory. We also decided to present two new questions because that’s just the sort of extra effort we aim for here on Life of an Architect.


[00:06:52 mark]
From Episode 20 – The Construction Bid Process:

If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and could you avoid using this superpower for evil?

Evil might be a bit much but since demons aren’t involved, I am going to define evil as contrary to the public good. I posit that regardless of either your superpower or your predilections towards good, you will eventually try to leverage your superpower into making a better life for yourself … which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s just the first step to your eventual life of crime.



[00:25:46 mark]
From Episode 023 – The Fun Show:

You wake up one morning to find that you have been secretly whisked away and deposited on a remote and hot yet lushly vegetated deserted island. Pinned to your shirt is a note that tells you that you will be picked up in 5 years and that you can have 3 things to aid you during your island vacation. What three things will you ask for?

Andrew and I are in agreement on the first two things that a person should ask for … but the wheels fly off when it comes to item number three. I should also add that I have never heard Andrew laugh as hard as he did when we recorded this segment. Have you ever heard someone laughing so hard that you start laughing even though you don’t know why they’re laughing? If you can actually listen to this entire hypothetical segment without laughing (especially at the 52:00 mark) I’ll send you an invitation to attend the next BBQ and beer party at my office.



[00:56:26 mark]
From Episode 025 – Architectural Bucket List:

You have just learned from a high-ranking government official that an airborne virus was released by terrorists around the globe and as a result, the zombie apocalypse will begin in 3 days. You have been informed that these are the slow-moving variety of zombies and that 90% of the world’s population will be infected and will ultimately die off over the next 5 years. You are being notified because your DNA, which is conveniently on file, alerted the aforementioned government officials that you will be part of the 10% that is unaffected. How will you use these 3 days to prepare?

Once again, Andrew and I disagree on how effective each others survival tactics will be … and somehow I turn out to be a bad guy for wanting to save the human race AND get credit for doing so. We almost came to blows over this.



[01:15:31 mark]
This is a brand new hypothetical question, curated and saved just for this very special holiday version of the podcast.

If life expectancy changed from 80 years to 400 years, how differently would you live your life?

The thing about this question was that the discussion centered more around the parameters of the question more than the actual answer to the question. How does your body age when compared to your brain? Do you hit puberty at age 50 and stay there for decades? How much time do you spend in school? Money, relationships, having more than one family … everything changes



[01:26:33 mark]
The second new hypothetical for our special Hypothetical episode is a simple one … and in some ways is a recurring theme in many of our conversations.

If you weren’t beholden to making a certain amount of money, how differently would your life look?

This is the sort of question that is pretty easy to answer on the surface but there are so many wrinkles that come along with it. If you are completely honest with yourself, the reality of the question is achievable for all of us if we are willing to shape our thinking into a set of values that are typically universal for most of the people on this planet. However, fair warning, this is the sort of question you should think about at the start of every year as you establish your priorities and goals.

So there you go … 1 hour and 41 minutes of audio gold that literally has nothing to do with actually being an architect, but has everything to do with how architects might go about thinking through and solving absolutely preposterous questions.

Cheers everybody, and Happy Holidays.

bob andrew

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