Friday, August 19, 2011

CalPERS; organizing your email; concert stage collapse

CalPERS has often been looked at as one of the leaders that many other pension funds follow.  just this past week they announced plans to launch a new emerging manager program.  in a world that likes labels, the definition of 'emerging manager' has been somewhat of a moving target but the CalPERs definition is one that i personally subscribe to:  "managers with (a) less than $1Bn of assets under management and (b) no more than three prior commingled funds or separate account investment vehicles."  like with anything, there will be objection to this definition from some managers who think of themselves as still emerging. as stated in the public record of the recent investment committee meeting, the proposed five-year program will not exceed $200MM and will focus on investment in managers and assets located in urban California markets.  CalPERS retained Crosswater Realty Advisors (aka ted leary and his posse) to present a report to the investment committee on this subject.  while a number of public pension funds already have an emerging manager program in place, it'll be interesting to see if others follow.

i apologize for overloading your inbox with three OTRs this week.  without boring you, after two weeks of failing to deliver OTR to you, i finally found out what the problem was (i hope).

update on my new email management system.  a few months ago i wrote you about a new way to manage emails that i read about.  i decided to implement it immediately.  i'm here to tell you that it is working for me.  simply, it's the same idea that was suggested years ago when all we had was paper.  when something lands on your desk or in your in box, do one of three things with it:  act on it, delegate it or toss it.  this email system is similar but with a couple of extra wrinkles.  yes, every day, i do use that system (although i don't have many situations where i can delegate stuff) but i also created email folders with the following labels:  tickler (which i check first thing every day and which contains items that need attention soon); reference (for stuff that i want to 'file' that could be research stuff or things i feel i will be able to use somewhere down the line); waiting for (as it says, for things that i'm waiting for from somebody); future meetings (where i want to remember to schedule a meeting with someone at a future date); someday/maybe (needs no explanation).  i also have labels for each month where i do save a number of emails from that month but then, at the end of each month, i purge those files wondering, "why the heck did i save this one or that one?"  anyway, it's working for me although we all have different ways of keeping our lives organized and, it's whatever works for you that counts, right?

as the media tends to behave, when one disaster, natural or otherwise happens, they scour the world looking for other things that resemble the first disaster.  but, i can't let this week pass without mentioning the horrible stage collapse at the music venue in indiana.  watching the one video on you-tube which captured the horrific scene brought tears to my eyes and chills to my body.  i haven't read anything in the past couple of days but as you would expect, there is finger pointing and stuff that comes along with it, looking to place blame.  and, just from going by what has been reported, some are suggesting that there were advance warnings of very high winds approaching.  should they have been heeded immediately?  were they even communicated to the stage manager and audience?

looking at the size and elaborateness of the stage/sound/lighting and everything that goes along with producing a big, live music event, i was thinking about how it's all grown, so big, from the good old days when the beatles played shea stadium in ny with their vox amplifiers and simple stage arrangement (of course, no one could hear them due to all the screaming!).  and, as ticket prices for live shows have soared, promoters and the bands themselves have escalated the elaborateness of the delivery (i saw the stones in germany a few years ago when their stage recreated an ocean liner and U2 and bon jovi and pink floyd which also had huge set ups).  this tragedy won't change things but i think that given the great advances of technology, especially in sound engineering, music can be delivered to certain size crowds with less gigantic structures (although a lot of what's on those structures is lighting related).  i remember when MTV first launched.  my reaction was, "this is music, it's an audio sensory thing, not a visual sensory thing." of course, history has shown that that has all changed.  but in my simple way of looking at things, it's still all about the music, the sound, the human beings performing rather than the ancillary entertainment that almost serves as a distraction from the music.  but (big sigh), i'm probably exposing the fact that i yearn for some of the simpler things and yet, i know that they will most likely never return.  those killed and hurt in indiana could have (and may actually be) our sons or daughters or our friends who had just gone there to groove on the music.  what happened is just so, so sad but just like lots of things.  it seemed like it was mother nature, once again flexing her muscles, perhaps warning us in some ways that she's concerned about the direction society is moving.  who knows?

who said “size matters”?  there are two published pieces i receive that are in an interesting format (is it a trend?).  they’re about half the size of an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper and are very cute.  one, called the decisive eye is published by Internos Real Investors and the other called the property perspective is published by Frogmore.  I like the “kindle” size as it makes it easy to take with you.  Nice to see some people thinking differently.

restaurants of the week (first time at both):
1.  fig & olive, several manhattan locations.  i ate at the one on 52nd street between madison and fifth.  thanks zoe.
2.  fresco by scotto, also on 52nd between park and madison.  thanks jerry (my accountant for longer than we both want to admit) who published a periodic blog called, achieve great things!

OTR was listed as #7 in the best real estate/finance blogs in a just published survey in The Institutional Real Estate Letter-North America.  thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years.

 photo:  nj balloon festival, august 2011. thanks jerry

on the road….

aug. 22-26:  new york
aug. 29-sept. 9:  northern california
sept. 12-16:  new york
sept. 20-21: amsterdam to moderate a panel at the PERE Global Forum (flying aeroflot from jfk-moscow-amsterdam).  first time on aeroflot.  Called them numerous times to try to reserve as seat.  They either don't answer or have no one who speaks English!  Should I be concerned?
oct. 4-6:  las vegas to be a panelist at CBRE’s Americas Summit on “The Commercial Real Estate Industry of the Future: A 5-10 Year Outlook.”  (oh no, that crystal ball thing again!) thanks to asieh mansour, CBRE’s head of research americas for inviting me to join ray torto of CBRE and geof dohrmann of IREI in this discussion.
oct. 17-19:  chicago to attend the PREA fall meeting
nov. 2-5: washington, dc to attend the CRE Annual convention
nov. 9-10: new york to moderate a panel at the PERE forum

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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