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Monthly Archive for: ‘January, 2012’

  • What Ayn Rand Can Teach You About CRE

    Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

    Ayn Rand is long-winded.

    She tends toward beating a concept into her reader and relentlessly emphasizing the stances of both the heroes and antagonists in her stories. She tells you almost every thought of every character in every section of the story. She tells you about character posture, facial expressions, and un-felt emotions. Can you see why each of her masterworks easily eclipse 1000 pages?

    Having said that, Rand was probably one of the most brilliant authors of the past hundred years. She had the unnerving ability to take a concept at it’s most basic and follow that thought to its most extreme and ultimate consequence. For example, she takes the idea that “man should live to serve other men” and takes it to its furthest and most damaging consequences. It really is astounding.

    She also had a talent for describing the inner thought lives of brilliant men and women. In her pages, she will describe the most secret thoughts of her antagonists and protagonists without making them appear as caricatures. She makes both sides of the argument seem believable while making the heroes out as obviously correct.

    She had an amazing grasp for the inner workings of high-industry and an economist’s grasp of the consequences of capitalistic ventures. She convincingly describes the fundamental trials of the architecture, railroad, and steel industries in the early twentieth century American economy.

    She was a master philosopher who chose fictional stories as her argumentative medium.

    All that, and English was her second language. She was born in Russia and migrated to the US in her adolescence. One of her first jobs was as an extra in a Cecil B DeMille movie.

    Anyway, that’s who Ayn Rand was and what she wrote about was objectivism and individualism. Objectivism is the idea that there is an objective morality for humanity to discover. One need only discover it. Individualism has several different extensions, but for our purposes we will take individualism to mean that people put supreme importance in the individual and individual accomplishment rather than societal good or societal accomplishment.

    On the surface, these may seem extremely selfish or self-centered themes of philosophy, but Rand has the skilled hand of an artist when it comes to illustrating these philosophies and their most stark consequences. In chapter after chapter she shows the heroes acting “selfishly” when they refuse to compromise or apologize for their achievements. The antagonists are continuously whining about “the greater good” and the “greatest social benefit.” She shows the absurdity of acting based on social obligation or guilt rather than ambition and achievement.

    Frankly, its a bit disturbing how similar these social complaints are to today’s political world. This is not a political site, but I would challenge you to read Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead and not be reminded of our current political system.

    Anyway, what does all this have to do with commercial real estate in Atlanta, GA?

    Everything.

    Rand believed in unadulterated capitalism. She was an extreme capitalist who believed that the only truly free economy was the laissez-faire free market economy. Anyone coerced through guilt to produce or create something different than what they would produce in a totally free market has been cheated by the system and should therefore reject the system. She has a remarkable story in Atlas Shrugged about what would happen if all the beggars in the world got to rule all the producers and achievers. It’s actually quite terrifying.

    So, for commercial real estate, what would Ms. Rand suggest?

    I think she would say “Do what you think is best for yourself and your family. No matter what.”

    Now, be careful not to confuse this stance with Hedonism. Hedonism is a philosphy that espouses doing whatever brings you the most pleasure at that moment. That is not what Rand is suggesting. She simply thinks that ambition and accomplishment can only TRULY be driven by striving toward self-advancement.

    You could summarize her sentiments as follows:

    “I want my family to have wonderful things. Therefore I will create create widgets in order to make money and provide for them.”

    Rand would say that you can’t guilt people into greatness. Henry Ford didn’t invent the production line in order to serve a greater good. He did it to improve his company and gain wealth for himself and his family. Ayn would probably argue that every great invention in history stemmed from ambition and accomplishment-for-accomplishment’s-sake, rather than social or moral duty. Your duty is to yourself and your family first, not society.

    So, back to CRE, I think Rand would tell you that you should do whatever you think is best for your career and your family. Advance yourself as much as possible and try to achieve extraordinary results. Don’t depend on others to help you or to push you into greatness. Do it on your own merits by pulling yourself up to greatness by whatever means are appropriate. Achievement and accomplishment are noble goals worth reaching for and no one ever became extraordinary because of their social duty.

    She would tell you to ignore and even pity all of those people who would make you feel guilty for your success or who would call you greedy because of your drive toward achievement. They will call you selfish or greedy and their opinions are worth next-to-nothing. They are the freeloaders who want the help of the achievers. They cannot achieve anything great for themselves and will therefore try and make you feel guilty for your accomplishments. They want to bring you down to their level. Ms. Rand would tell you to ignore them.

    While I do not agree with everything that Rand argues in her two major novels, I do agree with her point on achievement.  “Socially conscious” individuals try to make achievers feel guilty for their accomplishments and I can’t help but think of John Galt and Howard Roark (the two novels’ heroes). Galt and Roark wouldn’t care about the guilt-mongers and their psychological abuse. They wouldn’t care about what anyone said about them or did to them. They would keep going and keep achieving. So should you. Aspire to greatness and ignore anyone who tries to get in your way.

    I will leave you with one a parallel quote from late philosopher Dr. Suess. He doesn’t summarize all of Rand’s philosophies, but he does eloquently summarize the mentality to beat the guilt-mongers.

    “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

    So here’s a toast to Howard Roark, John Galt, and you. Achievers who were not deterred or even slowed by naysayers, doubters, or the “socially conscious.”

    Cheers,

    -Duke

  • Clean Slate Project: The Rules

    russell-reno

    You should know that I hate rules.

    As soon as someone gives me a set of rules to follow I immediately set out to see instances in which it would be appropriate to break each of them. The worst feeling in the world is the feeling of chains.

    Now that we’ve dipped a toe into my psyche, let me give you some rules.

    In all seriousness, the Clean Slate Project is such a wide and far-reaching project that we could be tempted to take it in any direction. In order for the experiment to have any meaning or purpose, we need to have some general guidelines. And that is probably a better description of what these are. We don’t have to stick to these rules. I just wanted to give a few basic assumptions and generalizations on the project so that the shared vision is clear.

    You’ll see more clearly what I mean below, but I wanted to give you a heads up that there will be a few constraints on this project and they are open for discussion. Feel free to argue and debate these in the comments below.

    Without further ado, here is what we are working with:

    1. Every town has to have a town center. For the CSP, let’s assume that City Hall is the center of town.

    2. For Atlanta to still be Atlanta, I think downtown needs to be within 10 miles of the current location of downtown. That is, you can’t come in and assert that downtown should be where Macon is today because that would be a Clean Slate project for Macon, not Atlanta. So, the new city hall needs to be within a 10 mile radius of the current city hall.

    3. Let’s assume that we have today’s technology. As fun as it would be to have Jetson-style flying cars and floating buildings, it isn’t really feasible with current technology and therefore isn’t projectable. This project should be something we can realistically project and quantify. I think it will be fine to use rare technology that has crept into the market (geothermal heating, solar power, etc), but let’s be careful how far we reach into developing technology.

    4. With every decision, let’s balance past experience, current constraints, and our future hopes for the city. That way we acknowledge our past, present, and future in every decision. So you can’t just make a decision based on what is best for today. You have to consider past examples that have failed and succeeded as well as the impact of this decision on Atlanta in 50 of 100 years. What if lawmakers thought that way?

    5. Let’s always respect the experts. The experts that will be interviewed for this project will have spent lifetimes learning and honing their respective crafts. Whether it is land-use planning, shopping center development, or traffic engineering, they know their stuff. So we should trust their widsom. That doesn’t mean their opinions of this hypothetical city are unequivocally correct or beyond reproach. But let’s commit right now to respecting and trusting the opinions of experts. They wouldn’t be “experts” if they didn’t know what they were talking about.

    6. Let’s make it look cool. Let’s find a way to present and demonstrate the progress of the project online in an attractive way. That is not my expertise, so I will have to ask for help on that but it is certainly doable.

    7. Let’s remain open to change. If we screw something up, then we’ll fix it. We can’t possibly know or anticipate all of the problems or issues facing an entire metro area. No one can (sorry, Kasim Reed). So let’s just stay flexible and open to change as we build from scratch.

    8. Let’s set the bar high. While we are shooting for the best possible version of the city, let’s shoot a little higher. What would the greatest city in the world look like? How would they handle transportation issues? Where would their airport be?

    9. We need to take our time. This is a massive project with hundreds of variables and moving pieces. Let’s not rush through it and try to get to a single answer. If it takes 20 years, so be it. Let’s do it right or not at all. And doing something right usually means slowly and methodically. trying to cram all that work and thought into a single year would simply yield sloppy results.

    10. Have fun. Think of it as a journey and not a destination. Yes, we are shooting to learn something about our city and our region, but the simple process of thinking through all these projects should be fun and interesting. Seeing a blank sheet of paper through an urban planner’s eyes is fascinating to me.

     

    I’m sure we can figure out the rest as we go along, but that’s a start for now. Let’s use those 10 rules/assumptions/objectives to start the charge. If we need to pivot and change course as we learn, no problem (See #7).

    Have a lovely weekend.

    – Duke

    If you want to read about what the Clean Slate Project is, click here.

  • Millenial Manifesto: Loyalty

    Even with my relatively healthy level of self-confidence, I would never presume to speak for or represent an entire generation of people. I cannot possibly know or articulate the sentiments of millions of people.

    On the other hand, I have been reading more and more articles and opinions about the trends in the Millenial Generation (a.k.a. MY generation).

    The talking heads seem to make blanket statements and proffer stark opinions about the penchants and preferences of my generation. We are “Entitled.” We are “Socially-Conscious.” We are “Transient.”

    OK.

    Honestly, I can see where many of these stereotypes originate. I have noticed trends in the behavior of my friends and classmates that echo these generalizations. So, I am not here to discredit or disagree with any label given to us Millenials.

    What I can do is tell you what I notice about us. This is sort of an “Us. – by Us” type of post. But, as I said above, I don’t speak for “us”. I speak for me. Anything labelled as “Millenial Manifesto” is simply my observations on myself, my friends, and my acquaintances in our generation. These are inherently subjective and therefore open to argument, but I feel obligated to clarify a few misconceptions about my generation since I have a forum in which to do so.

    So, without further delay, let’s discuss . . . loyalty.

    One of the common observations I hear about the Millenials is our transience. We tend to move jobs, switch careers, change cities, and generally shift major aspects of our lives on a dime. We can discuss the benefits and costs of this constant change later, but for now I would like to discuss one aspect of that ever-shifting life: employer loyalty.

    Maybe the biggest knock on our generation of young workers is the perceived lack of loyalty or “staying power’ that we have as potential employees. If a potential employer sees us a wild card employees who may up-and-leave or switch careers suddenly or jump ship for a better opportunity, I can understand a hesitation in hiring. I have heard that employees from our generation will have as many as 10 employers before we turn 40 years old whereas employees of our grandparents generation may have had 2 employers by 40 years old.

    On the surface, the statistics seem to favor the stereotype. But let’s dig into the assumptions of that type of statistic for a moment.

    Employers seem to assume that employee retention of 45-year-olds and employee retention of 25-year-olds is roughly the same concept. It’s not. Not even close. If I need to explain to you how a 25-year-old employee and a 45-year-old employee have different motivations and vastly different lifestyles, then you should stop reading now because we are about to go deep.

    I would also like to point out that a 25-year-old in 2012 is VASTLY different than a 25-year-old in 1992. That 25-year-old in 1992 probably didn’t have internet access, didn’t have a cell phone, and had never heard of email. Think about that. How much of our business today is conducted through one of those three mediums? The business world of 1992 and the business world of 2012 are so astronomically different that it is almost laughable to compare the two. So why to potential employers try to do so? Why are they comparing the way you compensated, trained, and retained employees from before the internet was integrated into business to after? How can you possibly compare those two business environments and their respective employer-employee relationships?

    Thinking about it intuitively, wouldn’t you expect staggering different business structures and practices from the days of (snail) mail to the days of Email? I would.

    So, all I am trying to point out is that we are not comparing apples-to-apples here. To say that employees today behave differently than employees of past generations is absurdly obvious. Business changes. So do employees. Comparing the non-interent generation to the interent generation is a pointless exercise because none of us can accurately predict how Gen Y or The Greatest Gen or The Hippies or whoever would have reacted to instant information.

    I am a couple Google searches, LinkedIn conversations, and cell phone calls away from figuring out the compensation and benefits package of an acquisition position in Kuala Lumpur. I could make an informed business decision about my career in another position in another country in less than 1 day. Does it surprise you that people move, shift, and change so much these days? They do because they can. Can anyone say that other generations would have behaved differently?

    If our grandparents could have had instant access to infinite information all over the planet, don’t you think they may have considered more than two employers before 40 came calling?

    Maybe. Maybe not. The point is: I don’t know. And neither do you. So let’s stop wasting time by comparing apple-to-oranges. The constraints of our business environment are so vastly different than their business environment that it is a nonsensical comparison to relate the two career paths because none of us can say with certainty what Brokaw’s Greatest Generation would have done with infinite information.

    And let me further turn this argument on its head.

    Simply put, if you motivate workers to stay, they will stay. It’s a simple as that. If I am convinced that the best course of action for my family and my career is to stay with my current employer, why would I leave? I’m not going to switch and change just for change’s sake. I will leave when I feel there is a better opportunity elsewhere. That’s it. That’s the only reason I can think of to leave a company.

    So, as employers put the blame on Millenial employees for their “whimsy” or “moodiness,” I will offer a piece of the blame right back at them. Our generation has a different set of needs, a different lifestyle, and different values than our parents, their parents, or any previous generation. We have shifted from our predecessors and if you haven’t shifted with us, then don’t be surprised when we leave for greener pastures. if you convince us we should stay, we’ll stay. Why wouldn’t we?

    The trick is, what do we want?

    (I want to reiterate that I speak only for myself and my friends here.) It’s rarely money. Money DOES matter as most of us cling onto whatever paycheck we can get our hands on in this dismal job market, but once a paycheck is more assured I find that the company that offers the most money is rarely the best option.

    This topic about what motivates Millenials has been well-discussed and argued in other forums and we can certainly discuss it here. But that is an article for another date. For now, I just want to leave you with this parting thought:

    We Millenails aren’t as different from other generations as you might think. We have our unique issues and desires, but at our core we are very similar to the preceding generations that have made this country into what it is today. And as far as loyalty goes, the trick is the same with us as it was with every generation before us. Figure out what it takes to make us stay and we will stay. That may be easier said than done, but isn’t that exactly what was done for every other generation?

    Food for thought.

    – Duke

     

  • 2012 Goals: APJ Edition

    Hello, my name is Duke, and I’m a goal-aholic.

    I love making goals. I make them in the morning when I wake up. I make them before bed at night. I make them when I am happy. I make them when I am lonely. I’m not sure when my life became dependent on goals, but it certainly is now. I have trouble facing any day in which I have no defined goals or objectives.

    Now, all of that is not to say that I achieve all of my goals. I just set them. Some I hit. Some I miss. It doesn’t really matter. Goals just give me direction and purpose. As I have mentioned before, charging off in ANY specific direction is better than aimlessly wandering in NO direction.

    I have found that goal-making is as much art as it is science. It isn’t all about numbers. Numbers are a big part of goals, but they aren’t everything. There are tips, tricks, shortcuts, and hacks that will help you create aggressive but achievable goals.

    For instance, every goal should be quantifiable. If you can’t count it, it isn’t a goal. Goals that can’t be counted are just hopes and hopes don’t put food on the table.

    Also, every goal should be aggressive. There are few things worse than assessing the accomplishments of a year and realizing that you set the bar far too low. Achieving mediocrity is an oxymoron. Mediocrity is NOT an achievement. To paraphrase the cliche: Shoot for the stars. Worst case is that you land in the clouds. (Some cliches are worth perpetuating.)

    We will certainly get into more on goals in later posts, but for now let’s look at the goals for the APJ for 2012.

    1. At least 100 new posts. That is roughly 2 posts per week. It should be fairly easy, but with a new job and several different ventures demanding my time I think I will be satisfied with 100.

    2. Integrate all social media. We have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but they are cumbersome and time-consuming. I want to be able to post once and have all social media outlets updated automatically. To quantify this goal, I should be able to have updates on all SM outlets within 2 minutes of finishing a post.

    3. Build lunch generator. I want to have a functional power lunch generator built on the site by December. I know this goal has a binary outcome (yes = 1, no = 0), but it is simple and straight-forward. My new programmer should be able to build this quickly.

    4. Increase SEO campaign. Previously I have been working to create enough content on the site that readers will want to stay and read a while. Now that I have enough posts to justify that, it’s time to start getting in front of people. To quantify this, I will submit to all major search engines and spend no less than one hour per week learning about and implementing SEO techniques.

    5. Interview at least 10 professionals for the Clean Slate Project. This should be fun. The Clean slate Project is both broad and deep. There are hundreds of qualified people to talk to about this project and selecting 10 should be a small challenge.

    6. Interview potential contributors. There seem to be plenty of young men and women with opinions and ideas in our business. I need to find the ones who can write about it with some regularity. I want to talk to at least 4 people in depth about the possibility of becoming a regular contributor to the APJ. If the right candidate emerges, then I will gladly welcome them as a full-time contributor, but I do not want to force that relationship. I never want an aggressive goal to force a bad business decision. So let’s start with in depth interviews.

    7. Create Photo Gallery. I love creative images of our city and its buildings and green spaces. I’m particularly fond of sunrise images. Ideally I would like for readers to have access to these striking images for cheap through our site. I am working with a photographer to collect images and present them in a gallery. By December I want users to be able to download those images for themselves.

    8. Create Newsletter. The easiest way for readers to get our content is through passively receiving an email. An email newsletter would be a great way for readers to get our content without having to work for it. So, whether it’s MailChimp or some other newsletter medium, I will create a weekly newsletter by December 31st.

    9. Find at least 5 similar blogs and guest-post on them. There has to be some great blog on CRE in NYC. Or LA. Or Chicago. Or Boise. Wherever. I haven’t found them yet through Technorati or other blog searches, but when I do I will start trying to post on them. That way I will refine my posting skills and increase visibility for the site. The goal is for 5 guest posts.

    10. Streamline Google Analytics to monitor site traffic. The best way to track readers and viewers of my site is through Google Analytics. While I already have a GA account set up, I haven’t optimized it. I need to spend no less than 1 hour per month on optimizing my use of Google Analytics to analyze the functionality and appeal of the site.

    So, there it is. I like to keep goals to 10 or fewer. Any more and I tend to forget or the goals get jumbled in my subconscious.

    Also, the simple act of writing (or typing in this case) your goals will tend to make them stick.

    Feel free to comment or give feedback on the above goals and I would love to read any goals you have for yourself for 2012.

    – Duke

  • A Letter from the Bad Guy

    Dear Borrower,

    My name is Asset Manager and I work for the private equity company that has acquired your commercial mortgage. I know that you have worked in the past with your originating bank (First Bank of East Bumble), and have worked with the FDIC ever since that bank’s collapse.

    I am sure it has been frustrating to work with the FDIC and you may have been contacted by one of the firms selected to service your loan. I apologize for any delay in contacting you and any frustration we may have caused as I am sure you are eager to resolve this outstanding debt.

    This letter is to let you know that I will be handling the disposition of your loan henceforth. We are not planning to sell your note to another party at this time, so I should be your last point of contact for your creditors on this loan.

    Please call or email me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss a strategy for resolving this loan. I’m sure you are as eager to resolve this as I am!

    Before our discussion, I’d like to offer you some insight into our company.

    We are not a bank. We are a private equity company. I mention that to point out that we are not looking to “fire-sale” any of our assets. We always look for fair market value on the commercial properties we encumber and we often infuriate “vulture investors” who are looking to buy assets for 5 cents on the dollar. We do not operate that way.

    As a private equity company, we do not have any pressure from stockholders or investment bankers to liquidate any of our assets. Unlike most commercial banks, we do not need to clean up our balance sheet as quickly as possible. We can wait, own assets, and take multi-year strategies on resolving each loan.

    I say all that to warn you that low-ball offers will not be accepted or even seriously discussed. Please strive to present us with fair-market offers on your deal. Otherwise, we will have to pursue more litigious options.

    I would also like to point out the dual-asset nature of your outstanding debt. As a creditor on this instrument, we have two claims. Our first claim is on the property that is pledged as collateral for the loan. Our second, and more important claim, is on the personal guaranty you signed to guaranty this loan at origination. So, please understand that even if you were to bring us an offer on the property that represented fair market value, we would still need to satisfy the shortfall from the loan amount by collecting on your personal guaranty.

    In your case, your outstanding balance (including late fees and default interest) is $10 Million. I would estimate that the property is currently worth $5 Million. So, even if we were to agree to a short sale of the collateral, we will still require you to cover the $5 Million shortfall to your outstanding balance.

    So, please bear in mind the two claims we have on the loan.

    If you do not wish to discuss resolving this loan, please indicate that wish and we will begin the non-judicial foreclosure process and will acquire title to the property. Afterwards we will begin pursuing the deficiency between the foreclosure price and the outstanding balance through a legal suit. Our attorneys at Smith, Smith, and Smith will be contacting you shortly, if that is the case.

    If you do not reply to this letter within 2 weeks, I will consider you non-compliant and will begin the foreclosure process mentioned above.

    As I mentioned before, I would like to come to an arrangement that satisfies all parties as quickly as possible. So, please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email as soon as possible and we can start working toward that end.

    Thanks,

     

    Asset Manager

    555-555-5555

    Duke@VampireFund.com

  • Institutionalizing Entrepreneurship

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    I’m currently reading Keepers of The Castle. It’s basically just about about leadership in real estate.

    And while it commits the cardinal sin of combining commercial and residential real estate (if you don’t know what a cap rate is, then we aren’t in the same business), it does hit on an interesting point that merits discussion.

    In the introduction, William Ferguson (the author), argues that while the vast majority of real estate used to be owned and managed by high net worth individuals, the current trend shows more institutional buyers and owners are crowding out the “mom-and-pop” shops of the world. he refers to the phenomenon as the “Institutionalization of Entrepreneurship.” He claims that the entrepreneurial spirit of the small company has been gobbled up and adapted by the big, institutional players in the market.

    While I generally agree with that concept, allow me to offer a grain of salt.

    Many of the largest and sexiest properties are trading hands among the institutional capital. REITs are selling to pension funds. Hedge funds are selling to private equity funds. Sovereign funds are buying anything shiny and new. All of these players are vying and jockeying for the best and brightest commercial property in each market. They are leading the race down Cap Rate Mountain.

    One tier down from those properties, you have the solid B-class, semi-aged properties that tend to draw local institutional capital and private funds. These can be B-class buildings that are well-leased or older A-class buildings that are a little long in the tooth for some of the institutions. These properties are bought, sold, and managed by the local players in any given market. For Atlanta, think Selig and Goddard. These are still nice properties with highly-sophisticated owners that can easily obtain financing.

    The lowest tier is where mom and pop live. This is the local liquor store that was built in 1978 or the apartment complex from the 50s that has been owned by the same family since it was built. These are difficult to finance and tend to have leasing or structural issues.

    I haven’t finished Keepers of the Castle yet, but I think Ferguson may be referencing the ever-increasing interest of the institutions below thee top-tier of properties and what that may mean for smaller owners. As many of the institutional players have become comfortable with the risks of lower-quality properties and financing for the properties has become more readily available, we are seeing these funds buying B class properties all over town. Hence the perceived “crowding-out” of the smaller, local shops.

    To a degree, the argument seems intuitive and almost obvious, but here comes the salt.

    Properties age. Tenants leave. Submarkets deteriorate. It has happened and always will happen. There will always be C properties.

    And the market isn’t bifurcated into home-runs and strike-outs. There is a plethora of doubles, singles, walks, HBPs, sac flys, and bunts in between. Some owners will always be satisfied with these higher risk properties and their inherent risks. And I don’t envision Calpers wanting to own a liquor store on Briarcliff. There will always be space for Mom and Pop.

    So, while I do agree that THAT space is shrinking to a certain degree, there must be a tipping point. There is metaphorical line in the sand that the institutions dare not cross. There is a certain combination of market risk, leasing risk, and property condition that every REIT and fund in the country would cringe about having to justify in its quarterly statement to shareholders. The $1 Billion question is: Where is that line?

    How far down the hole will the institutions go?

    It remains to be seen, but for now I sense that the line has drawn back up the property food chain. The lack of funding and profound damage caused by the lower-tier properties has given the institutions the bloody nose of their life. They have been knocked down by these losses and are just beginning to get back up. My guess is that they will adhere to the one-bitten-twice-shy rule and try and avoid the lower-tier properties for longer than you might guess.

    So, while I agree that there has been a trend toward consolidation of companies and the down-tiering of investment grade capital, I would argue that there will always be a place and need for small-time, local owners.

    You may see more nimble, flexible, and aggressive whales, but there will always be minnows. And the ocean is all the better because of it.

    – Duke

  • Random Thoughts for 2012

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    Happy New Year!

    Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday. I have a few articles coming your way in the next week, but for now let’s start the year off right . . . let’s be a little random.

    1. If you aren’t setting your goals for this year, then I won’t feel sorry for you when your peers pass you by. Plan to go somewhere and do something. Whatever it is, just shoot for SOMETHING.

    2. Being social is expensive. If I were to rejoin ULI, NAIOP, ICSC. AYREP, and CCIM, my dues would be well over $1000 for the year. Doesn’t that seem excessive?

    3. You know who could potentially make decent money in this market? A head-hunter. Submitting resumes on SelectLeaders is a waste of time. Most hiring managers are so inundated with resumes that a new hire is almost more work than it is worth. I’m telling you, a good headhunter is worth the fee all day every day.

    4. I didn’t really learn anything new from Dave Ramsey (because I am a finance dork and didn’t need to be told what a “mutual fund” was), but I am glad I took Financial Peace University with my wife before we were married. It was good to get us both on the same page financially and it helped facilitate our necessary conversations about money. Check it out here.

    5. I just plain don’t like working out at LA Fitness. Am I the only guy who is there to actually workout? I don’t want to flirt. I don’t want to flex in front of the mirror. I don’t want to watch the scantily-clad girls do copious amounts of lunges. Just lift. You know what I need? I need the gym from Rocky. The worse it smells, the better.

    6. I’m pretty much done with Mike Bobo. He’s a nice guy and all, but how many teams have come and tried to recruit him away from the Dawgs? Thinks about that . . .

    7. This is an interesting article about an unexpected byproduct of the tepid office leasing market.

    8. Katy Perry and Russell Brand are splitting up. What a total and complete shock that is . .

    9. Ayn Rand can teach you a lot about CRE. I don’t agree with everything she says or proposes, but she and I both dig unadulterated capitalism in a big way. If you behave, then I’ll write an article about it.

    10. As a real estate guy, I love density. I think the merging of uses into a single property may be the greatest trend of our (CRE) generation. But I will never give up my car. There is something freeing about knowing I can hop in my car and go anywhere anytime I please. And driving through the city on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Fall is just a few steps away from heaven. I don’t care how dense it gets around here. You’re going to have to pry that steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

    Happy January and Roll Tigers!

    – Duke

     

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