Real Capital Analytics Launches Cool New Website
Some of you know of my close relationship to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). I feel a sense of pride, having been introduced to RCA Founder and CEO Bob White four months after he launched the business, as to where they've grown to today. There were three others besides Bob in a small NYC office. When he told me what he was doing I (a) knew the industry needed it and (b) believed in Bob. The rest is history!
Last week, or was it the week before (I have trouble with time) RCA launched it’s new look and feel website. A result of lots of work by the whole team. I was able to get an early view of the site a few months ago and it’s very cool, very user friendly and gives subscribers an easy path to unearthing the treasure trove of data and analytics RCA has become famous for. Here’s the link to the site. Check it out!
While I can’t say or even write the words behind this acronym, those of you in the global commercial real estate world know what it means. Hint: It begs the question, “When are things going to start changing – for the worse?”
Listening to some very smart real estate people debating this question, the conclusion I’ve reached is that while none of us really can peg the day and time that something will happen (unless of course a dramatic and drastic event occurs in the world financial markets). However, some of the conversation has been very stimulating. That relates to a different question: “What will /can we do differently this time vs. the last ‘downturn’?”
The CEO of one commercial real estate firm suggests that in preparing for what’s coming, training should be planned. For example, he talked about how acquisitions people will likely not be as active and, so as to be able to keep them (rather than let them go as happened the last time) why not train them on, say, asset management or another discipline?
This makes sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that some institutional investors (pension funds, endowments, et al) were critical of investment managers who ‘downsized’ during the last down cycle. They didn’t like that those companies behaved like ‘fair-weather firms” when their money was fueling expanding staffs, etc. This might be one of those famous ‘Lessons Learned’ – now all we need to do is remember and respect those lessons in advance of the winds of change striking us.
The past few weeks have been pretty busy (Yeah!). My partner Liz Weiner and I have conducted various workshops in different cities. We’ve worked in-house with one of the well-known institutional real estate investment management firm – prepping them for their upcoming annual investor conference by coaching presenters and internal moderators and panelists.
We’ve also run our 16th Women’s Leadership Workshop in New York City. That same week, we ran our new Open-Enrollment Behavioral Presentation Coaching workshop – a small group of industry professionals from different firms - the feedback has been extremely rewarding.
Attendees have told us that both our presentation coaching and women’s leadership programs are transferable to other industries so, on December 16 in New York City we’re conducting our first Tech Industry Women’s Leadership Workshop. These programs are designed to provide professional development coaching, through interactive exercises, to women in male-dominated industries.
The workshop runs from 12:30 – 4:30pm with wine/cheese networking time immediately following. The registration fee is a very reasonable $479 per person. If you know anyone in either the commercial real estate or broad technology world who may be interested in elevating her professional presence, please pass along this link to them (http://www.eventbrite.com/o/felix-weiner-consulting-group-workshops-7667218447). Thanks!
Music and Movies
Recently I’ve treated myself to a few concerts that I want to mention to you.
My son Kevin and I caught them during their residency at the Beacon Theatre in New York. It was the first time either of us had seen them. In addition to playing each tune from their Aja album, they hit the crowd with some other great songs from their vault. In case you don’t know, Steely Dan is two guys, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker who assemble a band of incredible musicians to form a rock orchestra. The show and the venue were absolutely terrific.
Caught her show at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. She was highly recommended by one of my sons and I was so glad was there. I found this description of her on Wikipedia “an American singer-songwriter. She performs with her musical partner, guitarist David Rawlings. Their sparse and dark musical style, which combines elements of Appalachian music, bluegrass, and America, is described by The New Yorker as "at once innovative and obliquely reminiscent of past rural forms".
Asleep at the Wheel
In the late 1970’s when I was helping a Philadelphia-based home improvement chain liquidate their real estate holdings, I caught their show…by accident. Always remembering what a great Texas swing band they were, I bought a ticket to see them last night in Asheville, NC. While there’s only one original member of the band, Ray Benson, the band I saw was incredible. Standing next to the soundboard in an intimate venue I heard some incredibly talented people playing violin, err, excuse me, fiddle, piano and steel guitar. Their music is infectious and fun. Try to catch them if you can.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week
Ron (Opie) Howard has directed a terrific documentary of The Beatles on the road in the early days which includes never-before-seen footage. Having had my life change when I saw The Beatles first U.S. performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this was a treat. In addition to the movie, there’s an extra 25-minute video of their final concert at New York’s old Shea Stadium (where the baseball Met’s use to play). The sound has been enhanced so you can actually hear the band – the screams were so overpowering and the bands equipment so, well, for those days, not enough that in the original video you couldn’t hardly hear the band. This is a movie to see – not just for those of us who’ve grown up with The Beatles but also for other generations – younger ones, who are into music.
There’s a small theatre in downtown Asheville, NC called Fine Arts Theatre. Like New York’s legendary Paris Cinema, on 59th Street just off Fifth Avenue, Fine Arts shows movies that are not necessarily going to be available in main-stream venues. Denial is a moving story about, well, here’s the professional description I Googled: “When university professor Deborah E. Lipstadt includes World War II historian David Irving in a book about Holocaust deniers, Irving accuses her of libel and sparks a legal battle for historical truth. With the burden of proof placed on the accused, Lipstadt and her legal team fight to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. Based on the book "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier."
Steve’s Annual Pre-Holiday Pizza / Drink Thing – December 12, 2016
I’m hosting my Annual Pre-Holiday Pizza/Drink Thing in New York on Monday, December 12. Those of you who’ve attended in the past know the eclectic make-up of the commercial real estate attendance - pretty much people from all facets of my career. Here are the details. Hope to see you!
When: Monday, December 12
Time: 5pmish to 8:30pmish
Where: Joe G Restaurant, 244 W. 56th Street (Between B’way and 8th Ave) – downstairs from the DaVinci Hotel
What: You buy your own drink (and maybe one for me!) and I supply the famous Joe G pizza.
Two Presidential Elections
I have consciously stayed away from commenting on politics in this column - except for something I probably wrote after my first trip to Liberia in 2006 about the horrible civil war fueled by the former (now in prison for life) president of that great country. Liberia's president since 2006 has been Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has done a wonderful job of moving this country forward. When I visited Liberia, first in 2006 and then again in 2012 it was as a volunteer for The MacDella Cooper Foundation that helps children in need. 'Mackie' is known as "Liberia's Angel" and I'm excited to report that she is being talked about as a contender to be the next President of Liberia! The election will take place in October 2017. Very exciting.
One comment on the U.S. presidential election: Having had a few real estate industry related interactions with Donald Trump over the years I have personally seen how he operates. I've believed that Trump is actually afraid of becoming president - that his behavior is part of an effort to self-destruct. Be that as it may, and while I don't particularly like or trust Hillary Clinton, I will vote for her - if only to participate in the effort to keep Donald Trump from becoming president. It's actually surreal writing this today - the whole thing is like a distorted reality TV show. But it's totally real!