Friday, May 27, 2011

Last week's OTR

Hi.  Last week, my OTR did not get sent out to you.  I've tried everything, including trying to contact Google (whose Feedburner service is the distribution vehicle) which appears impossible to do.  So, I don't know if this will even get to you (if you have an interest you can read OTR here.  


For those of you in the U.S.  I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Managing Expectations

I published this column last Friday, as usual but there was some problem in getting it delivered to you. I'm trying it again now (Tuesday afternoon CA time).

Many years ago, I decided to lower my expectations about most things in life.  With regard to business, when I attend an industry event, if I leave, having met one person with whom I know I’ll have a long-term connection, I’m happy.  If I leave having met someone where there may be actual business to conduct, I’m ecstatic.  Disappointment is part of life but that doesn’t make it any easier.  This past week, I had to cancel my trip to London in early June where I was going to moderate a panel at the PERE Forum.  It was a decision that I made for reasons that I’d rather not discuss. Regardless, I was disappointed but happy with the logic of my decision.  PERE has recently announced that they will be holding a Global Real Estate Forum in September in Amsterdam and I am going to that one.  In addition to the benefit of moderating a panel there, I have some friends to visit with, notably Marinus Dijkman in The Hague.  When I was working on launching The Institutional Real Estate Letter- Europe, Marinus, after an introduction from Onno Husken, founder of The Ibus Company who left us too soon, was very helpful; I probably would not have been successful with that launch without him.  Marinus is the publisher of a series of beautiful and informative directories such as Europe Real Estate.  He and I have become close friends.

I was sitting alone, outside at a restaurant, at lunch today and couldn’t help hearing other people’s conversations (without trying…honest injun!).  One table of three guys next to me me were talking business; actually it turned into some discussion of real estate; actually it wasn’t a discussion-pretty much one guy doing all the talking…trying to sell is guests on something or the other.  Then there was the couple behind me.  I’m positive that she is a residential  real estate broker and perhaps her husband is also.  She was talking about who bought what house and why she didn’t want to show someone a different house, etc.  Very snooty.  Sorry, but I have never had any tolerance for residential real estate brokers.  Interesting stuff to amuse oneself when you're along.

 I’ve always been open to spending time with someone who is looking for a job.  Recently, I’ve spent more time with people who are in or coming out of graduate real estate programs.  All of these folks are passionate about the industry and a good number went back to graduate school, after working in the industry for some number of years, to hone their skills in finance, etc. so as to make themselves more attractive to developers, investment management firms and the like.   There aren’t a lot of jobs (or internships) available to them right now and in many cases it appears that employers who are looking to hire someone are looking for someone who has exactly the same experience or skills that they believe they need for that job.  I’m not sure whether there’s a right or wrong in this but I feel that some employers may be passing over people who could really add value to their organizations by not looking at people ‘holistically.’  And, as a good friend said to me today,  “I’m not always right but I’m always certain."  It’s been particularly rewarding for me to spend time with those looking to enter or re-enter the industry or change jobs.  I learn something from each person about them and about myself.  I’d encourage you to open your schedule, for just 20 minutes, and meet with people who are looking to learn more about your take on the industry.  You never know, you may meet someone who you want to walk down the hall to meet with one of your colleagues because, even if you weren’t actually looking to add someone, there’s a spark that comes out of a meeting that may light a fire and result in a valuable addition to your firm.  

One of my colleagues attended the ULI conference this week and sent along some interesting notes.  Here are a few things that he took away that I pass along to you:  Old age isn't what it used to be. Rising longevity changes everything.  New living arrangements are waiting to happen.

Some random thoughts on leadership: Learn from other's best ideas; humility and honesty; courage, to stand your ground for the right thing; visionary, relentless, creativity and innovation.

Some random thoughts, period: Don't sell buildings sell experiences (SF note: Read “The Experience Economy." Tenants are rethinking physical space; want flexibility; space per employee dropping by half. Obsolescence is a big risk.  Get people out of their cars; build near transit.  New anchor tenants will be government, education, healthcare.  The most precious commodity is time.  iPad was said 50 times a session on architecture (SF:  What's with that?).

The seventh annual IPE Real Estate Awards, which was held at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam this past week, attracted 220 representatives from 18 countries.   I attended one of the awards programs a few years back and it’s a very impressive event.  Other than an INREV conference, there is no other place where more European pension funds gather.  If you are serious about doing business with European institutional investors, you must attend this event next year.

Expectations and Market Reality in Real Estate:  2011 was recently published by Deloitte, Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC) and Real Capital Analytics (RCA).  It’s a good piece. See if you can get your hands on a copy (if I knew how I’d let you know).

Congratulations to friends:

Rob Bilse who joined Prudential Real Estate Investors
Tiffany Thomas who joined Aviva Investors Real Estate Multi-Manager Group
Zack Streit who has joined Streit Management Corp
Garrett Zdolshek who has joined Investors Diversified Realty 

And, congratulations to the Stanford Women's Water Polo Team who captured the 2011 NCAA Championship this week.  The team, which was started by the class of 1976 has included Megan Edwards, Jacqueline McCook, Wendy Bardet, Kathleen Prior, Nancy Patterson and Nori Gerardo-Leitz.

On the road....

June 1-2: New York to moderate a panel at IMN's Opportunity and Private Funds Forum

June 15-17:  Santa Barbara, CA to attend Opal’s Investment Trends Summit

July 12-13:  Beverly Hills, CA to attend the NMS Roundtable (Endowments & Foundations)

 Photo:  Sean Felix who will be two in a few weeks!

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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