Author Archive


April 16th, 2014 by Betty

Jason Cox's Many Titles (or lack thereof)

In a small company, or any place with a small number of staff, you often have to wear a lot of hats.  When I look back at our start up days, I’m surprised at the many roles I played.  I could have done accounting, cast an artifact replica, and designed exhibits all in one day.  Those were the days when design was completed at the kitchen table, accounting and marketing in the spare bedroom, and a lot of production in the garage.  One of the advantages of growing a company is each individual can eventually concentrate on their strengths.  Unfortunately, this did take us a long time to learn.  Even after having a larger staff, I would assign an artistic person to project management.  The logic was, “well, they know our business and can explain it well to our clients.”  They were never happy in these roles and what fun is that?  Yet, my mantra was we all have to do what we have to do.  Jason reminded me at one point I even got rid of everyone’s titles.  I didn’t want to hear “that’s not my job.”  Well, in reality, I still don’t want to hear that.  To a degree we still have to jump in where needed.  Yet, mostly we focus on what our individual strengths are.

In the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath it talks of a world revolving around fixing people’s weaknesses.  What they discovered after much research is people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths.  If you do not focus on what you do best in your job it is likely you are not emotionally engaged.  If you have the opportunity to grow your natural talent adding skills, knowledge, and practice to the mix you are more likely to be very successful.

Many people don’t really know what their natural talent is and we do have certain stereotypes we believe fit certain roles best.  I would generally think that a sales related role would best be filled by an outgoing highly social person.  This is not true at Taylor Studios.  Drew can be reserved and quiet spoken, yet is awesome at solving potential client problems and making recommendations.  He is also detailed oriented and enjoys creating the best spreadsheets we have ever known.  Additionally, we do have artists that run departments as they have leadership traits that help them do that well.

It may not be good to spend your time fixated on improving your weaknesses as the time is better spent on your strengths.  However, it is good to be aware of your weaknesses and to find work arounds.  You may still be expected to perform in your weak areas.  Maybe you can delegate, create systems, or rely on others to help you perform better in your weak areas.

Have you ever been in a job that did not play to your strengths?  Have you assigned staff to a job that wasn’t their strength?


April 8th, 2014 by Betty

Three Essential Ingredients to Run an Exhibit Design/Build Company…

…or any team for that matter.  These ingredients may seem self evident, yet I find them rare in many organizations.  If you can focus on these three elements, you will be on your way to a successful company or project.  Of course, none of these matter if you do not have clients or visitors.  You must have a great product/experience/service and marketing and sales effectiveness first. (more…)


April 1st, 2014 by Betty

Designing a home has similar considerations to designing a museum exhibit. I recently met with a Timberframe constructor and he gave me some pointers to get started. He drew a triangle, at the peak was the budget, the two sides are size and level of finish. Work with these in mind as you envision your dream home or dream exhibit. In a museum exhibit I would switch level of finish with level of interactivity or immersion.

In a home, the kitchen is almost always the most expensive room in the house. Raising the quality of lighting, appliances, countertops or furniture can raise the overall square foot price of the home. It’s also the most interactive room in the house. In the museum world interactives cost more than most other types of exhibits. Before you start with drawing the design of your home it is best to think of these three parameters and your preferences. I personally prefer a smaller home with a somewhat higher level of finish. Yet, I can also do a hybrid approach. The level of finishes may be high in the great room and kitchen and less in the other rooms. (more…)


March 18th, 2014 by Betty

Exhibit Planning/Strategic Planning

Exhibit planning is like strategic planning:

  • sets priorities
  • ensures that the team is moving towards common goals
  • outlines the intended outcomes/results
  • sets timelines and budgets
  • describes who you serve and why
  • describes tactics/actions needed to get there

Effective planning articulates where you are going, how you are going to get there, and what it will look like when you get there.  It’s a disciplined effort that guides the team and stakeholders to move in a defined direction. (more…)


March 11th, 2014 by Betty

Copywriting costsDifferent Tastes and Perspectives

Part of the exhibit design process is writing copy for graphic panels. This is a difficult process to control costs. Time is money and it is difficult to forecast and control the amount of hours for research and copywriting. This is the same on the client’s end. Often different experts are brought in to review copy. Unfortunately, it is rare that everyone will like the same copywriting style. (more…)

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