Friday, April 1, 2011

TEXpers, IMN Consultant Congress, Glioblastoma Multiforme

I've never been a fan of April Fool's stuff (I know, I'm a stick in the mud) so you won't find anything like that here today.

This past week I attended two industry conference so I have some real content (actually too much) as opposed to those weeks when I'm struggling...

TEXpers (The Association of Texas Public Employees Retirement Systems).  About 500 people in Austin, Texas.  There were many trustees of public pension plans. Individual presentations were limited to 20 minutes which I think is a great idea although panels, out of need, should be no more than 45 minutes (which they were here).  There was a lot of talk about protecting the principal while achieving the all-mighty 8% return.  And, there was a lot of talk about some funds looking at allocating to real estate for the first time (and not just in REITs).  

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know that I love hearing good keynote speakers, particularly those that are outside of our industry.  This week, I got to hear an interesting guy named Garrison Wynn is a motivational speaker (The Truth About Success) and a former stand-up comedian.  He was both entertaining and insightful as he conveyed some of the things he's learned from interviewing thousands of successful people:

  • People don't choose the best ideas; they choose the ones they're comfortable with.
  • The truth about trust.
    • If people feel listened to they will quickly trust you.
  • We're more likely to agree with someone who agrees with us first.
  • We trust people who we know are being who they are)
  • There is more than one way to do everything
  • It's important to help people look good to whom they want to look good to.
  •  It doesn’t matter how smart you are if no one understands what you’re talking about.
  • Spend time with your best people.  They have options; they’ll leave.
  • If you believe in your own value it's easier to show your value to others.

I like stuff like this.  It’s suggestions about self-awareness and what I’ve found is the first step in making changes is that you need to be aware of  and honest about what you feel you want to change about yourself.  Change is not easy.  It takes time to break old habits and embrace new ones but the mere fact that you recognize that there are things you’d like to change about yourself is a victory.

Now a few words about IMN's Consultant Congress.  It was a huge success; huge in the number of people who attended (about 100) but in the value people took away.  There was an excellent turnout of consultants (aka "The Gatekeepers") and many in the audience attended just to get a chance to say hello and exchange a business card with them.  There is clearly more money being allocated to real estate by pension funds, endowments and foundations and while a lot of it is headed into the very competitive 'core' space, talk was of value-add and even opportunistic money starting to flow.  Good news for those of us on the want-to-be-a-recipient side.

For those of you who either are emerging managers or are thinking of emerging, here is some good stuff that came from one of the presenters at IMN:

Emerging Managers:

 *   "People say this is a personality business; I say it's a story-telling business."
 *   "Track record doesn't lie."
 *   "What brought these people together? Where's the bond?"
 *   "How committed are they personally?  How committed were they personally to their last organization?
 *   "A lot of great operating partners are crummy managers."
 *   "You have to understand the dynamics of the management team."
 *   "Is there a dominant person in a meeting?"
 *   "Have they worked together in the past?"
 *   "Reference checks and background checks are very important."
 *   "Emerging managers should emphasize their track record."

Finally....a long-time and close friend of ours has Glioblastoma Multiforme. It's a very aggressive brain tumor and it's inoperable.  Only one out of four survives two years. While from Montreal, she lived in Guatemala for many years and has, over the past four years or so, lived and worked in Geneva.  She loves music.  She's one of the most talented writers I've ever known and she is at a very high level of Scrabble can't beat her!  My wife is over there visiting her now and I hope to get there this spring.  She has been reading my column for many years and while I don't know if she is able to use a computer, I just wanted to mention in my column how sad, I am; how sad we both are.  Friends of hers have been trekking to Geneva from all over the world to visit her.  How does one measure the impact of one's life if not for the love that overflows, especially in difficult times.  We have a problem in the world and we seem more intent on spending money on wars than on medical research but I don't want to slip into politics here or now.  Anyway, if you do get to read this D.C. I want you to know that Jay and I will be together this weekend and we will toast to you and talk about you (your ears will be burning for sure!) with great love.  Our energy is directed to you.  Tenir le coup.

Photo:  World Trade Center, New York taken March 30, 2011.  Tower steel is now above floor 60.

New York Car Service Recommendation:  LR Transportation.  718-737-5898 (  Mention my name and you won't be 'taken for a ride!"

On the road....

Apr. 7-8:  Villanova, PA to serve as a judge for the DiLella Center for Real Estate, Villanova Real Estate Challenge.

Apr. 13-15: Venice, Italy to attend the INREV Annual General Meeting.

Apr. 20-29:  New York

May 1-4:  San Diego to attend the CRE (Counselors of Real Estate) Conference

May 9-10:  New York

May 12-14: North Palm Beach, FL for the annual meeting of the Homer Hoyt Fellows.

May 16-17: New York

May 22-25:  Miami Beach, FL to attend the NCPERS (National Council of Public Employees Retirement Systems) Conference.

June 6-10: London to moderate a panel at the PERE Forum-Europe.

These are my views and not that of my employer. 

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