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Construction Genius

Jul 13, 2021

We hear all the time that the Construction Industry is broken. People then try to innovate to fix it. But what kind of innovations have the most impact? What happens when an organization wants to take on the challenge of shifting the entire construction industry? Is there a chance for it to thrive, or will it collapse? 

This is the core of my discussion with Brian Potter in this week’s Construction Genius podcast episode. Brian worked for Katerra, a billion-dollar construction startup which recently filed bankruptcy. We explore what Katerra did right and where they’ve gone wrong, ultimately leading to its fall. Brian also shares why it’s challenging to integrate the construction industry from top to bottom and how things could have been done differently. 

This is an interesting episode that you can learn from. Tune in to this episode today! 

Discussion Points:

0:00 Introduction

2:21 Brian shares his experience with Katerra 

3:02 What Brian thought of the different thoughts towards Katerra 

6:04 The car analogy and how Katerra envisioned their company to be 

7:36 Brian’s time in Katerra and why he describes it as bittersweet 

8:55 Fatal flaws from its birth that haunted Katerra 

10:43 Brian’s perspective of the ‘construction industry is broken’ 

12:36 Does everything need to be changed all at once? 

13:59 Did the CEO’s lack of construction experience contribute to Katerra’s failure?

15:09 Conflicts between construction insiders and the outsiders

18:02 What did Katerra get right?

19:17 Brian’s approach to those who want to start something like Katerra 

20:38 Who should be the driving force behind changes in the construction industry?

21:38 One product Brian would choose to go after 

22:42 Why Katerra was successful in attracting talented people

23:35 Brian shares his favorite part in working with Katerra 

24:04 Scaling too quickly 

About the Guest: 

Brian Potter is a structural engineer and formerly worked at the construction startup Katerra. He is the author of the "Construction Physics" newsletter.


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