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Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2012’

  • APJ Morning Links 9.27.12

    The Tenant Advisor shows what we can learn from the NFL and replacement referees.

    Downtown’s are growing again and the US Census Bureau confirms it, according to The Atlantic Cities.

    Urban Times shares how human growth affects urban growth.

    According to Costar, Retailers are preparing for the upswing with new and innovative thinking.

    Another top 10 list from Llenrock. This week, the list is the Top 10 Most Transparent Real Estate Markets.

  • AWNM

    Book Review: A Whole New Mind

    A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

     Image Courtesy DanPink.com
     

    As I have mentioned before, I think the age of the American analyst is ending. Daniel Pink agrees with me. Sort of. His book, A Whole New Mind, argues that creativity and innovation are the American exports of the future and right-brain thinking will be the key to our future. He says that we are leaving the Information Age and entering the Conceptual Age.

    Pink’s book is an intriguing (and well-written) argument that the proliferation of MBAs and “Quants” in recent American business has run its course. The ability to analyze and quantify are skills that can be replicated more cheaply abroad.

    Pink uses the terms Asia, Abundance, and Automation to explain why our left-brained, analytic business model is headed overseas. They are each pretty self-explanatory, but I like the way he argues for abundance.

    My favorite example is the toilet brush. He claims that because of the recent astronomical rise in standards of living across the planet, most people can afford the necessities to survive. Most people even have enough income to have a choice in how to allocate their disposable income.

    Enter the toilet brush. Pink describes his recent trip to Target where he headed to pick up a few things and noticed the bathroom aisle. He saw no fewer that twenty different toilet brushes. Martha Stewart had one. Allen + Roth had one. Some were sleek and sexy. Yep. Sexy toilet brushes. Think about that . . .

    Because the toilet brushes were all less than $10 and all did the EXACT same thing, Pink had to choose the toilet brush that appealed most to him aesthetically. He went with the coolest toilet brush and Allen + Roth got his hard-earned dollars. Or, put another way, the most creative company earned the sale.

    And that, I think, is the entire premise of the book. If we have all we will ever need to survive, then we make our decisions based on taste. And taste is a very right-brained, creative activity and has very little to do with our analytical skills.

    I wouldn’t do it justice to describe all of the examples and analogies that Pink uses to prove his point, but I will say that he is very thorough and convincing. He goes as far as scanning his brain, exploring labyrinths, learning to see the world differently through painting, attending laughing classes, and about a half dozen other exercises that flex the creative muscle of the mind.

    Through Pink’s eyes, you can see how the truly innovative and inspirational companies in the world really put a premium on creativity and R-directed thinking.

    One of the most important keys of the book is what I will leave you with. Pink argues that, with the impending end of the Information Age, the vast majority of American jobs in the future will be held by people who create something. There will be no need for data interpretation or management, and no need for the ability to organize or present information. That will be done for pennies in Pakistan.

    The American job of the future will be creation.

    So, what I recommend you ask yourself is: What am I creating?

    If it can be done cheaper by someone else . . . watch out.

     

    Whole New Mind in Two Sentences: Analytical skills, data processing, and data management can all be replicated abroad. The future of our country will depend on our ability to create and innovate rather than our ability to analyze and interpret.

    Pros: Interesting analogies, well-reasoned examples of creativity trumping analytics

    Cons: Perhaps overly simplistic or generalizing (but not offensively so)

    Target Audience: Anyone under the age of 80 and over the age of 10

    This book is best for: The reader looking for an interesting introduction into the world of creativity and how the right side of our brains will become our economic engine

    Overall Rating: ♦♦♦♦ (out of 5)

    Here is the Amazon link to buy this book:

     

    Ratings Guide

    ♦ = Not worth your time

    ♦♦ = May be worth your time if it is specific to your industry or interests

    ♦♦♦ = A decent book and worthy addition to your library depending on your interests

    ♦♦♦♦ = A great book and an excellent addition to your library.

    ♦♦♦♦♦ = One of the all time classics. A must-read for anyone and everyone.

     

  • APJ Morning Links 9.27.12

    According to Housing Wire, the Urban Land Institute shows that the market is improving.

    Duke Long defines the User Experience (UX) and what it means for your company.

    What are the criteria for smart cities? The Urban Technologist gives us three things to look for.

    The economy is recovering, but our mindsets are stuck in recession. Costar.com discusses this dilemma.

    Urban Times goes rural. What can cities learn from the way the country handles land management?

  • APJ Morning Links 9.26.12

    Globe St. discusses formal program investing between private equity and CRE.

    The Atlanta Cities teaches us about a great new search engine to find landscapes in your area.

    The old GM site in Doraville is about to get the “Smartcode” Treatment, according to Atlanta.Curbed.Com

    How much will Fannie and Freddie cost the US? The NY Times Dealbook breaks it down.

    30 years from now, CRE will look a lot different. The CRE Outsider comments on a USA Today article looking into the future.

  • APJ Morning Links 9.25.12

    Globe St. asks a very relevant question, “Should the CRE industry get its hopes up?”

    The Tenant Advisor shares how technology has changed CRE.

    The Wall Street Journal blog on the book “The Fateful History of Fannie Mae”.

    Many cities develop according to the transit options and approaches. The Sustainable Cities Collective shows how this development can differ.

    Alex Steffen offers a note on Strategic Urbanism.

  • APJ Guide to Careers in Commercial Real Estate

    New to the business? Considering a career in commercial real estate? Or, have you been in for a while and you are considering shifting to another niche?

    Well, start here for all of the resources and opinions you will need to launch a successful career in Atlanta commercial real estate.

    Below is the collection of articles and resources we have complied to help educate and guide you through a fulfilling career.

    If there is something you would like to learn more about or an article you’d like to have published, send an email to admin(at)atlantapropertyjournal.com and we will see what we can do!
     

     

    Best Practices

    Primer

    Know Yourself (Part I)

    Know Yourself (Part II)

    Know Yourself (Part III)

    Know Yourself (Part IV)

    Anchoring and Priming

    Innovate – Coming Soon

    Ethics is Not a Choice

    Limit Your Weaknesses

    Run

    Networking – Coming Soon

    Goal Setting (Part I)

    Goal Setting (Part II)

    Goal Setting: The Ideal Day

    Stop Projecting

    Don’t Complain About the Market

    Hand-Written Notes

    Email Etiquette

    Five Free(ish) Tools for Increased Efficiency and Agility

     

     

    Info and Musings on Careers

    An Ode to Running

    Lessons I Must Learn from the Great Recession

    Impending Demise of the American Analyst

    Perfection vs Greatness

    The Lost Generation

    Five Things Our British Brothers Do Better than We Do

    When I grow up, I want to be Jordyn Wieber

    5 Lessons I’ve Learned After 5 Years in Commercial Real Estate

    What Ayn Rand can Teach You about Careers in CRE

    Five Free Tips for Increasing Efficiency

    Black Swans in CRE, Part I

    Why You Should Write About CRE

     

  • An Ode to Running

     

    Enjoying the journey

    You wouldn’t think it to look at me, but I really love running. At 6’7″ and every ounce of 235 lbs, I come across more like a linebacker than a runner. Nonetheless, I love to run.

    It started in college when, as a pitcher on the baseball team, I only had the option of throwing, lifting, or running. You can only throw and lift so much before you fatigue and injure yourself, so I learned to run for distance (as opposed to running for speed).

    Now, running is how I wake up in the morning and unwind on the weekend. I love lacing up my Mizunos and hitting the streets of Brookhaven for 30 minutes or an hour of peace.

    To be precise, I really jog more than I run. I don’t keep time and I don’t track my distance. I just go until I am tired of going.

    Are there days that I don’t feel great? Yes.

    Are there days when I would rather stay in bed? Often.

    Sometimes I even have enough pain that I need to walk for a while.

    Some days I can barely go 2 miles before I get tired.

    Some days I look back and realize I probably just ran 6 miles without really noticing.

    It all depends on how I am feeling that day and I am always careful not to set expectations for myself.

    That part is key.

    I cannot set expectations. I just take the road as it rises up in front of me one stride at a time.

    I never get too focused on the end goal or how quickly I am approaching it. If I focus too much on where I am going, I will forget to notice the joy of where I am.

    I guess that is part of why I find running so fulfilling. I just like looking around at my neighborhood and my city. I ran through Capital City Country Club on Sunday and just enjoyed watching the houses go by in the early Fall sunshine. On my best runs, I never want them to end.

    I get so entrenched in enjoying the journey that I reach my goal without even focusing on it directly.

    I always have a goal, but there is a difference between having a goal and obsessing over a goal. If I were to maintain laser focus and really obsess over reaching my end goal, then I wouldn’t enjoy the trip. It would be a chore. It would be a way to stay in shape or to prove how athletic I am or something. Running is only great when I can enjoy the time it takes to get there and back.

    Some athletes call that “flow” – where you perform without thinking about the task at hand. Your body and its habits take over and your mind is free to focus on other things.

    I’m not going to go as far as calling it transcendental, but there is a moment in my run where my breathing hits perfect rhythm with my feet, a great song comes on my iPod, and I hit a flat stretch where I can just glide. At that moment, I am deeply happy and enjoying every inch.

    So I suppose the point of all this is that I love to get out, have the sun on my face, the wind across my chest, go places, and see things.

    It doesn’t matter how fast I go as long as I keep moving forward.

    I can slow down, but I never go backwards.

    I almost always reach my goal, but I am careful not to expect how quickly I will get there and I always try to focus on enjoying the journey.

    That, my friend, is the beauty and gift of running.

    – Duke

  • APJ Morning Links 9.21.12

    According to CoStar Group, QE 3 looks to be more promising, hopefully, for the CRE industry.

    JD Supra gives us some knowledge on CRE transactions terms.

    Patrick Braswell talks about CRE life before CoStar.

    Georgia Bikes shares their excitement on the GDOT approval of a complete streets policy.

    CRE-APPS gives us insight into Google Maps, which now includes indoor imagery.

  • Lessons I MUST Learn From the Great Recession

    A new dawn in our city and business

    Let me be the first to say, congratulations!

    You made it. (Or you have almost made it.)

    The Great Recession is slowly grinding to an end. It isn’t happening quickly and it certainly still isn’t easy, but it is ending. And you are still here. You made it through. You stayed in commercial real estate through the greatest downturn anyone alive has ever seen.

    Well done.

    Now what? I think we need to learn from where we went wrong and how we can prevent a recurrence of the carnage (or at least plan for it).

    So here is what I think I should take away from the toughest 5 years in Atlanta CRE history:

     

    1. Understand the difference between “can” and “should”

    Can you get a loan on an office building in Buckhead? Yep. Can you get an apartment development started? Sure. Can you borrower 90% LTV at interest-only? Uh-huh.

    But . . . should you? We in CRE like to talk about our feasibility studies and thorough demographic reports. We throw around these fancy trends and numbers to show why we “should” build this new condo project or apartment building or spec warehouse or whatever. Somewhere along the way we confused “can” with “should.” We need to take a deep, long look at our assumptions going into our big projects.

    Foreign investors will throw money at you. Bankers may beg you to take their debt. A tenant may even be pushing for you to build some new space for her. But you, Mr. Dealmaker, need to know when to hit the brakes. It can be one of the most difficult decisions for a leader to make. But those who can slow down and avoid growth-for-growth’s-sake will be the legends in the long run. Hopefully the scars from all these foreclosures, bankruptcies, and early retirements are deep enough that we remember where the brakes are on our runaway train.

     

    2. Prepare for the Worst

    Remember 2006? Rents never decline. Tenants never back out of LOIs. Students always need a place to live. Right?

    Nope.

    Stuff happens. It happened before. It happened big this time. It will happen again.

    Plan for it. Write out a worst case-scenario. Have a rainy day fund. What happens if all that deal flow dries up? What happens if you lose your revolving line of credit? What happens if your bank fails?

    Plan for it. Write it down. And you will find that you always have your umbrella when it starts to rain.

     

    3. Debt structure matters

    So about all that debt you got in 2005 . . . how did that work out? How many of those 10-year notes are still in good standing? Remember how you rushed through the diligence and didn’t negotiate the terms of the debt? Let’s not do that again.

    If they bank offers you 80% LTV, make it work at 75%. Stay the heck away from interest only. (Take it from a creditor: amortization can be your friend just as much as it is your banker’s). Personal guarantees are serious and should be treated as such. Default interest and provisions are also important (see point 2).

    Basically, just be cautious about the way you structure your debt. Negotiate the terms and be sure to have your attorney and accountant present. The adage in Proverbs about the borrower being slave to the lender is absolutely true. As long as you recognize that you are entering into that type of relationship you will not be as inclined to stretch and squeeze every dime out of your lender.

     

    4. Who are the truly great men and women?

    Tough times have the way of bringing out the true faces of the people around us. Pay attention to how the people around you behaved when they defaulted on their debt or had major tenants leave.

    What did they do when threatened with bankruptcy? How did they treat their lenders? What did they do to their tenants when the building was in trouble?

    Pay attention to the men and women who handled the strife with patience and grace. Stick close to them and trust them. They are the people you want to spend your career with.

    Anyone can be kind and forgiving when they are making $1,000,000 in income per year. Who showed the same grace while losing $1,000,000 per year?

     

    5. Enjoy it

    Life is short and so is your career. I can’t tell you how many retirees or industry veterans have told me that their career seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It will be over before you know it.

    So have fun with it. Enjoy something about your career every day. Even when times are tough and everyone around you is losing money, you should still be able to find some fulfillment from you career. If not, you’re in the wrong place.

     

     

    Notice that I didn’t title this article as “Lessons that YOU Should Learn”. These are lessons for me that I thought I would share with you. I have no idea what you learned and how it will affect you. But I do know that you should have learned something.

    What do you think are the most important lessons to take away from the Great Recession?

    – Duke

  • APJ Morning Links 9.20.12

    Creative Loafing looks back on 40 years of Urban Atlanta.

    Property Management Insider discusses how to use software in asset performance.

    Urban Times lists 10 ways to use public space in improving your city.

    What is a smart city? Fastcoexist.com has some ideas.

    FXstreet.com breaks the CRE market into segments and discusses the trends.

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