Friday, September 5, 2008

Indian Summer

Today I’m proud to announce that PERE (Private Equity Real Estate) has published a short piece by me on their website I’m also working with them on their third annual PERE Forum ( which takes place in New York on November 12-13. They have some excellent sessions which dig in to the global private equity real estate world including one-on-one interviews with Apollo’s Lee Neibart and JER’s Michael Pralle.

Reuters Real Estate is offering FREE access to their premium membership through 10/31/08. To check it out log in at There is a lot of news and are some powerful research tools including a social network (Community tab).

Some of you know that in the winter of 2006 I went to Liberia with The MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF) who work with needy children. It was a life changing experience for me. Each year, MCF holds a couple of fund raisers. Their biggest one is coming up soon, October 23 to be exact. It’s in New York and you can find out how to attend or simply how to make a donation here: This group does terrific work for kids who otherwise may never get a chance.

When I read I either highlight, underline or make notes of things that are important to me or that I want to remember. I’ve found that taking those things and writing them in a central place (or typing them and saving them) reinforce them and make them more accessible to me. This past week I found this item and want to share it with you. “The things he stood for were the things for which the new generation stands-a return to the earth and a respect for nature; peace; simplicity; spontaneity; the stripping away of the false values of a materialistic civilization to rediscover the true values of human relationship-relationship with other people and the whole of creation.” This is from a biography of Albert Schweitzer (January 14, 1875 – September 4, 1965, a German theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his philosophy of "reverence for life".

Given all that is going on in the world today, perhaps we need more thinking like Dr. Schweitzer.

This summer, on a small plane from Montreal to New York I sat amongst some guys that I knew were a band. It wasn’t too difficult to guess especially as it was during the Montreal Jazz Festival. Anyway, I learned that they were Tabou Combo, the Worlds # 1 Konpa Band I had never heard of Konpa and found out that it’s heritage is from Haiti. Anyway, they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary so they must be doing something right. Nice guys too.

Sarah Cooper, Director of Real Estate Equities for Merrill Lynch in London sends out an info chocked email to her clients. She also includes some fun stuff from time to time. This week she noted “With so many of us traveling this week to EPRA, we looked at some ''Lost in Translation'', interesting translations of signs found in hotels.”

• Berlin Cloakroom - Please hang yourself here

• Lobby of a Moscow hotel opposite a Russian Orthodox Monastry - You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian & Soviet composers, artists & writers are buried daily except Thursdays.

• Eithiopia - To call room service, please to open dorr and call Room Service. Please call quiet, people may sleep.

• Tokyo - Is forbitten to steal hotle towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is pleasen ot to read notis.

• Seoul - Measles not included in room charge

• Bankkok - Please maintain termperature at 1 degree from 25, any higher or lower will only make the room hotter or colder.

• Qatar - Please do not use the lift when its not working

• France - Please leave your values at the front desk

• Romania - The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

• India - The Old Ladakh Guest House (hospitalising since 1974)

• Italy - This hotel is renowned for its peace & solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

• Tel Aviv - If you wish breakfast, lift the telephone and out waitress will arrive. This will be enough to bring up your food.

• Zurich - Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite s#x in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

• Finland - If you cannot reach a fire exit, close the door and expose yourself at the window.

• Florence - Fire! It is what we can be doing, we hope. No fear. Not ourselves. Say quickly to all people coming up down, everywhere, a prayer always is a clerk. He is assured of safety by expert men who are in the bar for telephone for the fighters of the fire come out.

• Madrid - our wine list leaves you nothing to hope for.

• Ankara - You are invite to visit our restaurant where you can eat Middle East Foods in a European ambulance.

• Spain. There's a beach which has underground springs running underneath it. It is a little unsturdy as a result. The sign says: Beware - beach of irregular bottoms

• Poland - As for the trip served you at the Hotel Monopol, you will be singing its praises to your grandchildren on your deathbed.

• Athens - Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11am daily.

• Mexico - The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

• London - All fire extinguishers must be examined at least five days before any fire.

This is the kind of stuff that you just can’t make up ☺

Whether it’s a real address book or your electronic database it’s always difficult when you have to remove someone’s name. Many years ago I started using a pencil for the address portion of my daily book. Things change. The most difficult ones are removing a name of someone who has died. Over the years I found myself keeping them there maybe not wanting to believe or accept that someone has passed away and I could no longer pick up the phone and call them and would never see them again except in photos. Others, while not as final, are equally difficult like when someone has moved and you don’t know where to find them or someone has changed or left a job and it’s only when you send them an email and get back the dreaded “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently” message that you realize you’re not in contact with them. It happened to me this week and it made me sad, again, knowing that I would not be able to maintain contact while this particular person, who I considered an industry friend, even though they had not passed away. A long time ago I felt that if people didn’t call or write me they weren’t interested in me (B.E.=Before Email). Then I found out that there are certain people who are more gregarious with their outreach and their connectivity and there are those that are less. So when I found out that just because people weren’t calling me, they were happy to hear from me and that regardless of what insecurity I felt, there was nothing wrong. I’ve always appreciated and respected the connectivity I have with friends and acquaintances and technology has made it imminently easier to stay in touch. But one must maintain a respect, a reverence, as it were, for your ‘network’. It’s like having a relationship with one person but hundreds of time over and it takes nurturing and care and respect. Over the summer I’ve gotten into exploring more about the online networks/communities such as, (which someone told me crashed his computer), and now more recently and the community on I’ve even started my own community (so far it’s just me and the friend who told me about the site). I’m finding that they do serve a purpose, each one in its own way but I hope that they don’t become a substitute for people talking and visiting with each other only a vehicle for making those ‘real’ connections (vs. real-time) happen.

P.S. I had signed up for Skype when it first came out but didn’t really use it. I’m starting to use it more and it really works.

Where will I be?

Sept. 9: New York

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 conf_page.cfm?pt=/CustomerFiles_sri/agenda/detailed_agenda.cfm&web_page_id=9491&web_id=1147&instance_id=28&pid=758&iteration_id=854).

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.

Nov. 12-13: New York to attend The PERE Forum (Private Equity Real Estate).

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.

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