Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stranded On the Road

I've been stranded for the past two days due to heavy snow on the east coast of the US trying to get back to NY from Mexico . It sounds better than it is as we left the island we were on for holiday and when we got to the airport were only then told of flight cancellations, scrambled to get into an airport hotel and have been just hanging, other than me trying my best to work using a blackberry. Anyway, as I had promised myself, I completely disconnected during the vacation. How? I simply turned the BB off and didn't turn it on again until we were headed back. A long time ago, someone who was an avid watcher of soap operas told me that what made them easy was that it didn't matter if you missed one or a year's worth of episodes, when you tuned in again it was like you were never gone. That's the way it seemed to me in checking in on the news yesterday. Other than the daily unique crises, the deaths, problems with world financial markets and other things are all, well, same old same old. But not really as they're only the same as things were a long time ago, before 24/7 media created crises out of simple events except that they're happening to us, right here, right now and things are not getting any better it seems.

I first learned the meaning of 'bailout' when I was 12 and Billy Gallin, the head of the waterfront at Camp Walden said, 'Stevie, go bailout that rowboat, it's filled with rainwater.' So I got a coffee can and did the job. But the word that the world has latched on to that will save our global rowboat from going under is being totally abused. To continue to give money to companies like AIG or any U.S. car manufacturer or Citigroup is an outrage and an insult to me as a taxpayer. If you and I were in a business together and we couldn't make a go of it, who is there to bail us out? No one, that's who. I know, some say that letting Detroit crash will put too many people out of work. Too bad. I'm sorry. I've been out of work before and no one was there to save my job. How about if we just let things operate in the way that the creator of the modern economy intended for it to? Why do we have to bailout or save everything and everybody everywhere all the time? Anyway, having been through economic ups and downs in the real estate industry since 1973 and having been intimatedly involved in the workout business before the term became fashionable and with the RTC business-which to my knowledge was not considered a 'bailout'-let's just use the skills we've learned instead of making things up all over again. There isn't a coffee can big enough to bail out this boat; we have to be brave, make tough decisions, help people who really need it and realize that the boat has sailed and that the next boat is still in dry dock, being fitted for even rough seas.

I'll be attending my sixth MIPIM next week. It's one of the two global commercial real estate events held in Europe each year and I'll be able to report about it to you next week after having c0-hosted, along with Janice Stanton of Cushman and Wakefield, the second annual MIPIM Summit TV show and also a breakfast of Finnish investors but I have some suspiscions about what I'll see and hear there.

One more thing. I've learned over the years how important it is to decompress but years ago when I went on my typical American one-week vacation I hadn't been as aware, then being a younger typical Type-A versus a Type A in rehabilitation, that it takes two days to decompress from work where you can enjoy three days vacation before starting to think about work again in the last two days of the week....and that was B.I.-Before Internet. The Internet and email and blackberry type things have made disconnecting and thus decompressing that much more difficult. But decompressing is not just for vacations. It's important to keep in mind every day when you're transitioning from your work day to your personal day and while stressful times in the business world sometimes get us even more focused on instantaneous responses at any time on any day to a seemingly urgent email this is the time we need to focus more on protecting ourselves from the results of too much stress which are both physically and mentally debilitating. So, taking another tip from the Type A rehab suggestion box and remember that tomorrow is another day and that not everything has to be completed today but that those things that need to be completed should be as to not complete them will add unnecessary stress to you overnight and may even distract you from watching the world fall apart in front of us on the evening, or should I say, continuous news-God forbid.

Someplace to check out-Holbox Island, Mexico. The off-season, like now when the people who want to swim with the Whalesharks invade, is very, very peaceful and beautiful. Just remember that even though there are few autos/trucks, there are a million gas powered golf carts through off fumes so when you look for a place to stay make sure it's right on the beach and not behind the 'road' where these annoying things drive up and down all day.

Where I'll be:

Mar. 4-5: New York
Mar. 6: Montreal
Mar. 10-13: Cannes to attend MIPIM, host the second annual MIPIM Summit TV show (March 12-Invitation Only) and attend the INREV seminar and moderate a session with Finnish investors.
Mar. 16-19: Philadelphia
Mar.24: New York to moderate a panel at the iGlobal Forum Real Estate Private Equity Summit
Mar. 25-26: Washington DC to attend PREA's Spring Conference
April 23-25: Athens, Greece for INREV’s Annual General Meeting and Conference

These are my personal views and not that of my employer.

No comments:

Blog Archive