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Featured on Dec 24, 2010

David Fano

"Starting small is better than not starting at all."


I’m a co-founder at CASE, a two-year old technology consultancy that focuses on the building and construction industry. I primarily work on our technology implementation and web projects; I also try to do biz dev. I’ve been blogging for about four years on where I post free video tutorials for professionals and my students at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture (I went to school there too). I’ve also been working (with the same co-founders) on WHObyYOU, a platform that leverages your social graph to find and recommend professional services. It’s been a pubic alpha for a while now and the full release will be out in February. Web apps are really hard.

Case’s new website allows users to upload solutions to proposed modeling challenges. What inspired the idea behind the site? How do you see the site developing?

While you’re in design school, you work on a lot of quick exercises in order to explore design concepts. Once you go into practice, the problems tend to become more complex and much longer in duration. We wanted to create a venue where design professionals and students could post and respond to quick design problems, and hopefully spark some innovation by sharing these responses with the rest of the community. We were already seeing this type of interaction on the forum section of our blog,, it just wasn't very structured. So we’ve had the idea for a while, but were recently given the opportunity to build it through a partnership with HP.

With HP’s help, we’re creating a series of "Sponsored Challenges" throughout the year where there will be prizes awarded for the most innovative solutions. We just finished the first sponsored challenge to develop a parametric model of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House. We plan to continue to focus the sponsored challenges on smaller scale prototypes and material-based explorations, which will hopefully lead to some innovation in those areas… or at the very least give some people a creative diversion for a few hours.

If you started your own country, Davidfanostan, would you institute Socialism or Capitalism?

Davidfanostan was recently discovered just west of Aruba. It’s a beautiful island nation with unlimited renewable resources and upon its discovery it immediately overtook Costa Rica to become #1 on the Global Happiness Index. Oh, and it is surrounded by a giant invisible bubble (designed by Buckminster Fuller), to repel invading armies and hurricanes. There is no need for 'isms in Davidfanostan.

Is Building Information Modeling leading to more specialists or generalists?

In the short term it’s leading to more specialists, as does any technology-induced process shift. The building construction industry is just beginning to apply some of the technologies that have been used in manufacturing for decades. Building Information Modeling, which is the process of designing a complete building virtually before the first shovel hits the ground, seems like a no-brainer, but there is still a lot of built-in resistance to change across the industry. Eventually, we see this becoming the standard way of practice and the need for this particular specialization will go away, but by then we’ll be on to whatever is next or we’ll be living out our golden years in Davidfanostan.

What do you want for Christmas?

Socks, I walk a lot.

Business Development, Technical Lead