Friday, August 22, 2008

Close to the Edge

Well, the summer is rapidly slipping away from us and another quick one it was. But vacations and holidays have not slowed down one bit the business machines all over the world. Used to be that people would say, “oh, it’s slow over the summer, we won’t be able to get that deal done until early September.” But as we all know, while vacations do slow some things down, it’s really business as usual in most of the world. Sadly, and I know I’ve written about this before, too many people are working on their vacations but I’ve done enough preaching about work/life balance and it took me a long time to find if for myself so I’ll just leave it at that.

A couple of months ago I started reaching out to people via suggesting they register. I got a number of replies and some asking me to let them know when I figure out what the value proposition is. I’m here to report that even though I have not made much progress in mining this service I keep getting updates about who that’s in my network is connecting with whom. It’s pretty interesting for a guy who has spent his whole life connecting people, for years in the old fashioned way and for the past 12 years or so through “eTroductions.” Anyway, I wish that there was just one of these services that we all could join and be connected but as in a free economy (couldn’t anything be freer than the Internet?) there is never just one of anything. So we have and Plaxo. Those are the two that I see most. It would be interesting if someone could come up with a similar service just for the global commercial real estate industry. Actually, in a garage somewhere in the world someone is working on just this and it may be closer to leaving the garage than you may think. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.

People Stuff:
1. Glen Esnard has joined Grubb-Ellis as President, Capital Markets and is their capital markets capabilities (
2. Adelaide Polsinelli has joined Marcus & Millichap in their New York office. Adelaide is considered one of the top investment sales brokers in that market (
3. Ione Permisson has joined Quilvest Group, a global private equity/wealth management office to grow their global real estate fund of funds business (
4. Jim Valente has joined Kennedy Associates (and moved from NJ to Chicago) as SVP of Research (
5. Mark Rose has joined Riisnet as Chairman of the Board ( and also been named CEO of Avison Young, a pan-Canada real estate services company.
6. Peter Slatin has joined Real Capital Analytics as Editorial Director and Associate Publisher (
7. Doug Harper has joined UBS Global Asset Management-Real Estate in a senior marketing/client relations role (
8. John Ross, former Appraisal Institute CEO has joined the RICS Americas team as Senior Advisor. Ross will work with RICS Americas to expand membership in diverse real estate industry segments, develop research programs, and implement training programs for real estate professionals affiliated with RICS Americas member firms. As a FRICS (Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) I welcome John to the group.

I picked up a bookmark somewhere and may have written about this to you before but while unpacking stuff in our new house I found it and felt that I wanted to share it with you (again?):

Eight Matters of the Heart

1. Take time for repose: It is the germ of creation
2. Take time to read: It is the foundation of wisdom.
3. Take time to think: It is the source of strength.
4. Take time to work: It is the path to patience and success.
5. Take time to play: It is the secret to youth and constancy.
6. Take time to be cheerful: It is the appreciation of life that brings happiness.
7. Take time to share: It is in fellowship and sound relationships one finds meaning.
8. Take time to rejoice for joy is the music of the soul.

Eight Matters of the Heart was the inspiration for the book Voices of the Heart written and illustrated by Ed Young in 1997.

Some stuff I heard or read this week:

1. “Every Manhattan office investment can be considered value-add because the difference between the rents in place and market rents have been so wide.” Commercial Real Estate Direct Weekly (

2. CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women) have two excellent publications available for downloading on their website ( One is called “Introduction to Compensation” and the other “Minding the Gap”. If you’re a woman in commercial real estate or thinking of joining this great industry I suggest you check these out.

3. Funds continue to be launched and I would guess that this fall we’ll see more of them. European money is still quietly watching the U.S. property markets. Actually, the fact that many people take holidays over the summer is a good thing as when you return from a holiday or in the case of someone who has taken the whole summer off, the “Back to School” time, they tend to look at things a little differently. And maybe that’s just what we need; is just to look at things a little differently and just maybe we’ll be surprised at what we see.

For those of you who are SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund) followers, here are some interesting stats from the April 2008 issue of Morley’s Investor Journal ( which credits the following sources: IMF, World Factbook and Morley estimates:

Sovereign Wealth Funds (Assets)

1. U.S. (Various): $3 trillion
2. Japan: $1.093 trillion
3. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority: $875 billion
4. China: two each with $200 billion
5. Norway: Government Pension fund: $328 billion
6. Saudia Arabia (Various): $$250-300 billion
7. The Netherlands: ABP: $274 billion
8. South Korea: National Pension: $203 billion

The rest are all less than $200 billion so why even mention them, right? ☺ It is staggering to me when I can remember as a kid talking with my friends about what comes after a million. Now we know, it’s a billion and then a trillion but what’s after that? I cheated and looked it up; it’s ‘quadrillion’ but I think we have some time for that one don’t we?

With so many real estate events in New York the week of September 8th I expect to bump into more than the usual number of real estate friends both at the conferences and, well, on the street. If any of you are planning to be in the city that week maybe we can meet up for a little celebration. Of what, you ask? Who needs any reason to celebrate. We’ll celebrate life!

Where will I be?

Sept. 10: New York for RealShares Investment & Finance Conference ( where I’ll moderate a panel called “The Influence of Foreign Banks on Today’s Market.”

Sept. 10-11: New York to attend CityScape USA (

Sept. 11: New York for FIABCI-USA UN Luncheon ( where Bob White, Founder of Real Capital Analytics will be the keynote speaker (

Oct. 1-3: Chicago for PREA’s 18th Annual Plan Sponsor Real Estate Conference (

Oct. 6-8: Munich for Expo Real (

Oct. 31-Nov.3: Boston to attend the CRE Annual Convention (

Feb. 19-20, 2009: Chapel Hill, NC to attend the Kenan-Flagler Center for Real Estate Development’s Annual Conference and Real Estate Challenge Case Competition. ( and if the weather cooperates play some golf.

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