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January 18th, 2012 by cathy

As most of you probably know, today many popular websites have gone on strike to protest the anti-piracy legislation moving through congress.

My favorite television program is Chicago Tonight, on Chicagos public television station WTTW. Last night, as I watched an episode on this protest and the discussion of copyright protection vs. free speech, I couldnt help but think of recent APDF Exchanges featuring Joe Hustein of Stanford University and our discussions on intellectual property.

Essentially, as the video clip below points out, its extremely difficult to stop all of the pirates (especially since most of them are in foreign countries that the U.S. does not have jurisdiction over), so this legislation would make the Googles, YouTubes, Facebooks, etc., of the world responsible. One piece of the legislation has already been deleted that the government could literally shut down or block a website such as Google, if pirated information was found. Watch the story below:


A number of prominent websites wrote a public letter in the New York Times, stating:

“We support the bills’ stated goals — providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting,” the letter said. “Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites.”

As design firms, we face similar IP and copyright infringements. A difficult challenge indeed the Internet!

Share your thoughts on ways to combat this ever-growing problem.

Cathy Brownlee, Executive Director
The business resource for design firms

Popularity: 1% [?]

January 16th, 2012 by cathy

Today, I’ve been thinking about the MLK Day of Service. Like many of you, I didn’t choose to make today in particular a day of service; but, instead, I try to make that commitment year-round. Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 1% [?]

November 2nd, 2011 by kbudelmann

Ive been a member of APDF for about 5 years, on the Board for 3 years, and this year, Im proud to serve as APDF President. My involvement in the organization stems from the value APDF offers me and my firm, as it has for countless others over its 25-year history. APDF continues to find new ways of adding value for its members. Over the last few years, the Board has embarked on several new strategic initiatives which are coming to fruition, and I would like to share with you here.

Kevin Budelmann

APDF is the leading entrepreneurial management organization for design firms. We serve growing and established design practices around North America, including product, interaction, brand, communication, interactive, environmental and strategy firms. Our offer today is focused on two key ideas: Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 1% [?]

October 24th, 2011 by cathy

As an APDF Member, I attended by first Exchange over 10 years ago. I can still remember what a relief it was to be in a room with others grappling with the same issues I was. In my day-t0-day world at my firm, I was blinded to the fact that others were making the same mistakes and having similar successes and that the APDF was the place to exchange those experiences!

For over 25 years, APDF has been providing opportunities for design firm leaders to exchange information and learn from each other. Today, we continue to focus on our primary theme of exchange in live events and beyond. We strive to create more and more focused opportunities for meaningful exchange. Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 2% [?]

October 19th, 2011 by cathy

During the past couple of years, creative companies have been forced to focus on a less is more approach to survive a globally-depressed economy where supply far exceeds demand. Reduced operating budgets, layoffs and the like took center stage as overheard expenses such as business development, capital investments and marketing fell to the wayside.

Climbing out of the recession and faced with a new economic climate, business owners are experiencing a renewed interest in business development, considering it a key factor in the difference between failure and long-term success.

For APDFs next Exchange, Friday, December 2 in La Jolla (San Diego), Calif., David C. Baker of ReCourses, Inc. and APDF have worked together to develop an interactive session of key business development topics. We will spend the morning learning from David, and then break into groups in the afternoon to discuss, debate, and develop actionable steps for you to bring back to your firm on Monday! Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 2% [?]

September 1st, 2011 by cathy


The Association of Professional Design Firms (APDF) annual Financial Performance Survey provides specific benchmarks and goal-setting parameters for design firm management not found in any other industry-related survey, including: pricing ratios, salary comparisons, balance sheet, and profit and loss statements; each a valuable benchmark to gauge business performance against the industry.

Originally launched in 1998, with an online version launch in 2002 and updated in 2011 in partnership with Function Point, the APDF Financial Performance Survey represents a substantial base of historical data focused on using industry performance benchmarks to help monitor, analyze and optimize design firm profitability. Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 6% [?]

July 6th, 2011 by cathy

Joe Hustein focuses on the interplay of law, business and intellectual property, and their effects on strategies in the design and commercialization of technology. APDF was thrilled to have Joe present at our recent Exchange in San Francisco, because of his more than three decades of experience as an engineer, industrial designer and business lawyer. He really understands our industry!

Joe Hustein

Joe began by discussing Master Service Agreements. Some of the thoughts he shared included: Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 14% [?]

June 27th, 2011 by cathy

Dr. Naomi Stanford (www.naomistanford.com) is an expert organization design, innovation and culture consultant and adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts. At Naomis presentation at APDFs Exchange in San Francisco, Naomi shared with the membership the importance of your business model.

Naomi Stanford, Organization Design Consultant

Naomi began by sharing that the phrase business model is used a lot, and just like the word culture - it means a lot of different things to different people. The real challenge is getting it right…if that’s possible! Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 13% [?]

June 24th, 2011 by cathy

Hazel Henderson, Founder of Ethical Markets Media and a world-renowned futurist and evolutionary economist shared a different perspective with us at the recent APDF Exchange in San Francisco.

Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets Media

Hazel encouraged us, over the next ten years, to  look at metrics not included in financial and economic information. For example, corporate portfolios and pension funds don’t look at risks that come from the environment and many other trends. Hazel also shared that environmental, social and corporate governance should be bullish for our industry – because of the design revolution from top to bottom. Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 14% [?]

June 23rd, 2011 by cathy

At the recent APDF Exchange in San Francisco, we invited Alan Beaulieu, Economist from ITR (Institute for Trend Research) to share his economic outlook with us. Alan is also the co-author of Make Your Move, a book on how to increase profits through business cycle changes.

Alan began his presentation by sharing that the management that got you here isn’t going to get you there. You can’t get stuck in what you were doing. He also reminded us that we’ve been here before. Despite the naysayers that profess doom and gloom – it’s all a re-cycle. The trends can guide us!

Alan Beaulieu, ITR

While the economy is not as friendly as we would like, ITR predicts that we will like 2012; the economy will flatten in 2013; there will be another recession in 2014 (mild to medium); 2015, 2016 and 2017 are really good years; recession in 2018 and 2019 significant recession. Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 13% [?]

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