March 21, 2023

🏀 March Madness contest sign-ups! (yes there's an iPad)

This image appearing on your TV screen was a sneaky giant leap for construction tech. (source: Maximum Effort)

If you'd like to enter The SLAB's third annual March Madness Contest, [sign ups are now closed].

Please name your bracket after your actual name so we can easily keep track of who's winning (and possibly reference you, with your blessing, when we mention the ongoing contest in our regularly scheduled newsletters). 

The NCAA tourney begins this Thursday, March 16th, (that's tomorrow morning) so you'll have until then to fill out your bracket. We'll be using ESPN—you'll be redirected to the league as soon as you submit the form above.

Prizes are as follows:

1st: iPad + $65 voucher to the Buildr shop (enough for a hoodie, t-shirt, and mug)

2nd: $65 voucher to the Buildr shop (enough for a hoodie, t-shirt, and mug)

3rd: $50 voucher to the Buildr shop (enough for a combination of 2 out of the 3)

4th: $20 voucher to the Buildr shop (enough for a t-shirt or mug)

If you're not interested in entering, feel free to print this email, scrunch it up, and shoot it toward your waste basket while shouting "Kobe!"

That sort of behavior would imply this contest is actually right up your alley. We beg you to reconsider.

Good luck!


🏙️ NYC office and hotel sectors still breathing...

From Construction Dive, a panel discussion during the 2023 New York Build Conference revealed that office and hotel activity is showing signs of recovery in New York City to even pre-pandemic proportions. This is not unlike a Joel recuperating with Ellie's help in episodes 7-8 type of situation.  

*However* (sorry)... new construction starts are expected to remain limited due to those pesky economic hurdles we're always bringing up. The hybrid work environment is here to stay—which implies the office part of "hybrid" isn't going anywhere—and companies are adopting flexible work policies. The hotel sector is beginning to see an uptick in activity, but financing remains a challenge for the industry. Notable points from the article include:

  • New office construction remains muted due to tenants' fear of building, including cost and supply chain delays.

  • Hotel business is busy, although it's unclear whether it's due to business or leisure travel.

  • Financing remains a challenge for the industry and may continue to dim the outlook for contractors later this year as the cost of project financing rises.

🏆 RIP Otto Desć

During the Oscars this past Sunday, Autodesk aired its own commercial mentioning a fictional film pioneer "Otto Desć." The ad was produced by Ryan Reynolds and Jimmy Kimmel. 

Autodesk does much more than construction but this still technically marks easily the largest scale construction technology advertisement to date, aside from Buildr's Super Bowl ad that aired two years ago.

Here's the Autodesk ad. (video)

⚡️ Punch List

  • Procore: Construction project execution software—4 key reasons to invest.

  • Complex: Get you a coworker that supports your dreams. (video)

  • Buildr: The "unbiased" picks for the 8 best general contractor software.

  • Construction Dive: Be deliberate, set goals—tips for recruiting women.

  • Construction Business Owner: 5 industry trends & how you can take action.

  • The B1M: Engineering the world's most complex office building. (video)


"Falling Tool Zone" was our 2nd place name choice behind "The SLAB."

  • This is us: Here's the moment we referenced last week that proves Pedro Pascal's character in The Last of Us is the embodiment of HBO's long-awaited acknowledgement that construction is a trillion dollar industry. (video)

  • Loan Groans: For a 6-minute Silicon Valley Bank collapse explanation that'll empower you to correctly use the word 'fiduciary' at your next water cooler visit, here's a recap. (video)

  • Banksy: The Simpsons' take on what happened at Silicon Valley Bank. That pesky family predicts just about everything.

  • Luck of the Irish: Here are the best St. Patrick's Day parades in the US. If you can guess which city is number one you'll win a slice of Lou Malnati's.

  • Everything Everywhere won everything: In case you weren't one of the 18.7 million people who watched the Oscars, here are some highlights. Good luck predicting this very wacky best picture winner in 1995, Simpsons!

  • March is hare: Going into March Madness ice cold without any preconceived hunches inexplicably helps us fare better in the tourney. Which is why we're deviously throwing you a region-by-region March Madness breakdown.

  • Weird AI: OpenAI has announced GPT-4, the language model that powers ChatGPT and Bing. We'll start worrying about being in a simulation sometime around GPT-6.

  • Pi in the sky: Happy belated Pi Day (better late than never). According to Yelp, this is the best pie shop in California. You guessed it: we're floating in the air like a 50s cartoon animal as a sensual apple pie fragrance coaxes us toward a windowsill. 

Until next time, The SLAB

P.S. If you saw the recent film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, you might remember that the award for solving the murder was [spoiler] an iPad Pro. This was clearly inspired by all our various iPad giveaways over the years. We're very honored to have influenced an Oscar-nominated screenplay.

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