Long story short
3 years ago, I made a decision
I was fed up with my situation back then,
Managing a traditional local architecture studio,
In an apparently successful situation
employing 7 people and making quite a good business
Customers were fluent, with increasing work, money was flowing
I was only 29 years old
But I was a prisoner of my own trap
Working 6-7 days a week to keep on track every single detail
I couldn’t enjoy my job because I lost my passion to do local or traditional architecture
So many inefficiencies on the system
So much loss on the process, not just about money, but especially Energy!
I was suffering
I needed a change
And that change was called Stoor.
Let’s go to the long story,
Back to the origins
I was born in 1987 in a rural area of the Basque Country,
In a small village called Gatika,
My family was all born and raised in the area,
For several generations.
The family economy was based on the activity of the farmhouse
We used to have animals like cows, chicken, pigs, sheep, dogs, and cats
The typical farm I guess
We all have been very basic,
educated on a scarcity economy model
You might know what that it means
Low resources, low communication, low energy
So I developed some Lean skill since I was young
We all talked in Basque (Euskera), our local language in the Basque Country
I didn’t speak Spanish until I was 3 when I went to school and mixed with other classmates
They showed me the first words in Spanish, not my family.
That was not normal.
That’s how close and traditional we were at home! 😅
The school has never been easy for me,
Well, I was a very good student,
one of the top 5 in class,
But I was the stranger,
the local shy and introvert kid,
The one from the farm that used to play with the animals more than with other kids.
Not the usual urban and friends-making kid
So I sometimes spend my time alone.
Not alone, but with myself.
I spend hundreds of hours talking with myself
Trying to understand this world
Why good and bad things happen to the people
How could I change those things
And of course, who I was, and why I was doing what I was supposed to do.
Those conversations with myself consolidated the foundations of the person I am today
Years went on, and time passed very slowly in our village and life
I used to play football and go cycling with my local rural friends
No GameBoy, no PlayStation, no phones, no internet.
Just a ball, tennis racquet or a bicycle.
I miss the peace from those days.
when the crisis arrived, my mother lost her job
and she decided to open a local business in the main square of our small village
It was a great opportunity to help our community and try to make some earnings
It was a local small newspaper and a basic food shop.
I was 13 when she opened the business.
Helping my mom on her business became my first job.
I continued studying, of course, but on afternoons and weekends I used to help her
Packing and counting newspapers,
checking receipts and documenting everything on the computer,
sometimes also managed the business the whole weekend to give a rest to my mother.
Customer attention was the fun part for me.
I learned a lot from talking to customers that used to come to the shop.
Unfortunately, we closed the business 7 years later, in 2007.
With a bigger crisis about to come…
So, talking with myself for thousands of hours and talking to several customers
developed my curiosity to explore outer territories.
I used to read a lot of books about kids solving mysterious cases, like Tintin, or “Los 5”
I loved documentaries as well.
I used to devour different series about space, the universe, dinosaurs, or history.
I was a very avid student and drawing skills were my best.
And architecture seemed to be the best option to continue my studies
But the Architecture University was 100 km away from where I lived,
in Donostia – San Sebastian,
That was super far for me back then…
So 2005 was the first time I was living abroad, and I was 18
Donostia become my home for the following 5 years
Where I enjoyed most, as much as I could, while I continued studying and working.
I used to have 3-4-5 jobs at the same time
Small jobs, but that gave me enough resources to go on.
Delivery boy, waiter, cleaner, judge, barman, DJ, and many others
Work ethic has always been a pillar in my life.
I also went to Trieste (Italy), on a student exchange program / Erasmus
That was awesome!
I met so many people out there!
Trieste is located on the border with Slovenia and Croatia
So I traveled a lot that year
Ia pritzem malo hrvastky
I also learned some few new words in Croatian 🙂
That was a really crazy year and had a lot of fun.
But not for the rest of the family back at home.
My parents were divorced while I was in Italy
And things were about to change when I was coming back
When I returned from Italy,
I had some few lessons left to finish Architecture
So I needed to go back to Donostia.
But my two bank accounts those days were telling me a bad joke
One account was 0,02€ (literally) and the other one was 10,30€
My happy year in Italy had been so intense that I wasn’t aware of how I was spending my money
I spent it all.
I was bankrupt.
The first time, but not last.
Because I did not learn the lesson,
I and went bankrupt two more times in the near future 🙂
So I started again the cycle of 3-4-5 jobs while studying, and trying to have some fun
Finished my last year in Donostia happily,
I recovered from bankruptcy and was doing some good money while working hard on weekends as a waiter.
Then, was time to come back to my hometown,
where I have been scaping from the last 6 years
Where things were scarce and sad.
I, fortunately, found a job as a Junior Architect in a prestigious firm,
they just had designed a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant!
But kept working on weekends as a waiter to survive
Then, I had an idea (one of many that I didn’t start working)
I read so much about the internet, and digital companies, startups…
I wanted to create my own startup, about local events and personalization
I wanted to create a platform where I was going to cross your social media and interest with the local events.
And everyone was going to have a personalized social agenda.
It was a brilliant idea, but I had no idea of how to build that thing
Neither how or where to start.
I was (am) a super active guy
And used to scout and find all the free workshops, events, and courses that were held in 50 km around
I drove my shitty old Ford Mondeo everywhere,
my cousin gave it to me, for free.
I used to find courses on the internet, banners, newsletters, ads in the newspaper…
And suddenly, an ad from a banner seemed to read my mind:
“Innovation and Entrepreneurship master”.
That was what I was looking for!
Lessons were on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
I could continue with the architecture firm on weekdays,
and working as a waiter on Friday nights and weekends.
I love to travel. Since I came from Italy my heart was asking me to travel
At the same time I was looking for something to learn about entrepreneurship
I found a course also to be a flight attendant.
The conditions were great:
Travel to many places while working,
free-flying tickets with the company,
fewer working days thanks to a special calendar they have,
meet a lot of new people & girls…
And the job was guaranteed the next day you finished the course
It sounded great!
It was the same price as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship master,
But you already know what I finally chose…
What would have happened if I had chosen the other way?
Jump… without parachute
So, my 2012 was quite busy.
Working in the architecture firm on weekdays, and studying the master and working on weekends.
I also had time to spend with my friends
I learned time management the old hard way. Practicing.
I worked so hard that year…
The following year I had the ambition to start my own business
So I left the prestigious firm and started my studio, called Bamboo.
The brand symbolizes the Bamboo plant,
Nothing really happens with the seed for the first seven years,
to such an extent that an inexperienced grower would be convinced to have bought infertile seeds.
However, during the seventh year,
in a period of only six weeks …
the bamboo plant grows more than 30 meters!
That’s my philosophy:
Work hard for some years
Find your nutrients and motivation
And grow fast once you find your place.
I also designed my first business cards
They were square, not rectangular, had my face and a QR code on it, and were purple
They were very strange, so I easily got the attention of the people.
I tried to apply all I learned on the Innovation master
So I was very confident, even if I had no customers,
I was going to find them somewhere
I soon started having my first customers
Some drawings, some blueprints, some sketches
I was trying to get into the market,
so my prices were ridiculously low
I was still an architecture student.
To be legally an Architect, apart from all the lessons,
We needed to spend a whole year designing a final project
A fully documented project about a new building
It was so much work, so much dedication on time and money
And for me, the result was only a Pass or Fail. Nothing else.
A whole year of energy, time and money, thrown down the toilet
So I postponed it, one year, and another, and another…
I finally presented the project in 2016, 3 years after I opened my studio.
So for the first 3 years, I was still a student.
And I wasn’t authorized to sign any kind of project
So I talked with a friend from School and University
He was older than me and had the Architecture license to sign the projects
We split 50/50 the earnings and there it started
Traction and speed
After that, I hired more people to keep up working other projects
And gained traction with Bamboo.
We are now a local architecture firm, in a rural area,
and our customers are local people,
We tried to help them as much as possible.
The kind of help nobody usually gives.
Personalized and very detailed works for low profitability customers.
That’s usually a bad business for everybody else.
Once we learned about the basics of architecture and construction
We decided to also start doing construction works, as a construction company
Always raising the bar.
With new problems and challenges, of course
Hiring more people, facing bigger projects,
But on the other side, as said before,
The inefficiencies on the system were killing my passion
There was so much energy wasted
Even if you gave it all for each client,
Every time you got a new one,
you needed to start from 0, again.
It was ending with my patience.
How the idea of Stoor was born
One day, a new customer came to our office
They wanted a new single-family house project
Was an excellent new for us, but we were overflowed
We had not time to attend them and design the projects
Hiring new employees is hard and you need a long onboarding so they get used to our processes
It was not sustainable
Then I thought, maybe on the internet there’s a similar project for sale
We could buy it, download it, adapt it to the customer’s needs, and deliver it
All that in just 2 weeks!
And no need to hire new employees just for that job.
One less headache
But there was nothing like that.
So 3 years ago, I made a decision
I am gonna build that place
And Stoor was born.
Preparation for Stoor
I knew about architecture and construction,
How the different actors of the construction market played their roles
But I knew little about BIM
Building Information Modeling
So I decided to study an 18-month intensive Global BIM Management Master with Zigurat Institute of Technology, from Barcelona.
The master was worth 10.000€
But was not only for the content
For me, the worth was on the people that contained the master
There were around 40 professors and lecturers that were actually the BIM Leaders at that moment
And +90 ambitious students, from +15 countries that were going to be the BIM leaders of the future
The content was great, but greater were the 130 great guys I was going to meet!
How much would cost to meet them one on one?
Much more than 10.000€
Nowadays we still keep in touch on Social Media, Videocalls,
and some of them created companies together
They’re the greatest asset for me
The first days of Stoor
Okay, so after another 18 months of working & studying simultaneously (again),
I sat down and started figuring out how should Stoor be
That’s where my great cofounder gets in
Taig, a magician of entrepreneurship,
I met Taig 7 years ago.
When I was scouting workshops and events to learn how to build my first startup idea,
I used to find them on Linkedin too.
And the lucky algorithm suggested me a strange name:
Taig Mac Carthy, in Bilbao
From my previous experience in Italy and Donostia,
I’ve always been curious about strange people, strange names,
strange backgrounds, strange stories
And Taig was one of those.
I wrote to him the same way you could write a girl
Shortly: Hey Taig, you seem very interesting, I’d like to meet you. Would you share some beers?
We met each other personally, and we spend 2-3 hours talking.
We both knew we were going to do great things together.
But we needed 7 years for that.
During those 7 years, we kept the contact and encourage its other to push hard
and congratulate each victory or success.
And then we joined.
He has the ability to see things from a different viewpoint
And drives me in the right direction
Together we built what we know today as Stoor.pro
Our mission is to make awesome architecture available for everyone, everywhere
so that any hero architect can use global architectural knowledge
to make a huge impact on his local community.
All the incredible frustrations we suffered in Bamboo
fired my goal to help other architects
So they wouldn’t need to suffer what thousands of other architecture studios as mine suffered previously
We are repeating constantly the same mistakes
Without learning anything
It’s completely stupid.
Today is the day where we are in contact with hundreds of new generations of architects
Global minded amazing and motivated professionals
Even though things are not going well these days…
The world and its circumstances are puttings things harder
2008 economic crisis slowed down the whole construction and architecture industry
There are so many architects in the marketplace, and competition is really hard
Digitalization is disrupting every single sector, from banking to food
2020 Coronavirus has stopped the whole world, my friend.
THE WHOLE FRIKING WORLD!
And I see so many people suffering
Not because of staying at home, or being sick
Their families depend on a single income stream,
their salary as employee architects in a firm,
Or small architecture entrepreneurs,
Everything is about to crash in a few weeks.
My purpose is to help them surf the huge tsunami is about to come
For some, is building an online reputation and presence,
So they can create several income streams
and not depend on just one salary.
What would happen if you’d lose that single income stream?
For others, is getting access to the greatest architecture content
In just a few minutes,
at a very very affordable price,
They can download the best architecture projects
If you’d be in a less developed country,
you could build higher quality buildings
Thanks to accessible and highly detailed projects,
designed and shared by awesome architects
from all over the world.
We live in a very uncertain moment of the history
But it’s the most vibrant and inspiring moment
Knowledge is not an exclusive asset anymore
Youtube is the greatest university
The entry barriers are super low, nearly to 0
And we are more connected than ever
We can collectively find the solution to the greatest problems of our era
Housing and Construction, Urban Development, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, Waste Management, Smart Cities…
I fully believe that the greatest moments are yet to come.
Everything is going to change in the following years
And we are the ones that are gonna change the history.
That’s my story. Part of it.
I did so many mistakes on the way
Sometimes I learned, others I didn’t
But I lost the fear of making new mistakes
Are part of the learning curve
And I am very conscious many more are waiting for me down the road
They are more than welcome!
I am 32, still a kid in this world,
But my purpose is clear,
Helping other architects becoming free.
And I am willing to fight for it.
Would you join us?
Tell me about you
I’d love to know your story as well.
Tell me about yourself.
Where do you come from?
Where would you like to be?
What drives you crazy?
What motivates you?
Who would you like to be?
Share it not only with me,
but with others like you as well.
They and I will really appreciate it!
I hope that someday we will meet each other personally
And we will talk about our stories and dreams
And hopefully, we will build new inspiring and amazing new stories together
Looking forward to that day!
See you soon,