Friday, March 2, 2012

NCREIF/Presentation Coaching/Davy Jones

This week, I was one of more than 200 people who attended the NCREIF (National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was a diverse group made up of portfolio managers, research people, performance reporting people and more.  NCREIF, as many of you know, is the longest standing provider of benchmarking indices (and other products and services) for the institutional real estate industry.  Some of my takeaways:
  • Many investors focus more on the multiple of the return on their investment rather than the IRR
  • Supply creates its own demand
  • Deals are taking forever to close
  • Big office buyers use the 'capital stack' more than in other property types
  • The savior of the financial markets is equity replacing debt
  • Foreign capital is buying U.S. properties all cash in many cases...but that will change
  • Real estate people like talking about the level of returns vs. the variability of returns (risk)
  • Remember that credit risk is a partial exposure to the firm's equity
  • Sustainability is like an annoying house guest that won't go away
  • The name of the game in sustainability is in building retrofitting and not new development...but you need to understand what features pay off

Given available technology why are we still paying attention to surveys that have been conducted and compiled six months ago?  Things evolve more quickly than ever before, even in our old-fashioned real estate industry.  Who is going to take the lead in publishing either real-time survey results or really recent responses? 

Tip:  Many years ago, the head of events for a law firm taught me the following:  Put your name badge on your right lapel (as in right when you have your jacket on).  Why?  When people shake hands it's with their right hand.  When you extend your right hand your eyes naturally can see the right lapel easier than the left lapel.  As for women, I believe it depends on the outfit they're wearing but also good to think about badge on right.

Presentation Coaching:  There is a dire need in the industry to improve both people's presentations and presentation skills.  Abuse of PowerPoint must be curtailed!  It's the obligation of any company that has any of its' people speak publicly, to make sure that those people, have good presentation/public speaking skills.  They are representing your company.  They could be the first exposure that someone in the audience has to your firm.  Those people in that audience could be potential clients/customers of your firm.  First impressions are powerful.  What first impression do you want people to take away from seeing/listening to someone from your company present or be on a panel?  One of the services offered by Solutions by Steve Felix is Presentation Coaching.  Reply to this email if you'd like to talk about how I can help you present a better image and protect your brand.

I continue to learn:  When things are going a certain way, don't fight them, don't try to steer them in a way you think they should be going.  The energy of the universe is mysterious.  There are reasons that things happen (and don't happen).  I've been vividly reminded of this phenomenon recently regarding my career. Funny, most times, friends have a more objective view of you than you have of yourself.  But, if there's one things I've learned and continue to remember is to listen to people who care about me and I'm very fortunate to have a number of people in my life who do care about me and are open with their thoughts.  That is what helped me decide to launch Solutions by Steve Felix.  

Davy Jones of The Monkees died the other day.  When I was younger, 66, looked really old.  Now it looks pretty young.  Funny how perspective changes how we see things.  Isn't it.  And, now that we have the perspective and can look back at that time of The Monkees it was more than a period of innocence, it may represent the end of the innocence given what had begun happening in the U.S. and in Southeast Asia.  We were all about to lose our virginity in more than one way. The original band I played in called The Better Half (after a one panel newspaper cartoon).  In addition to playing some original songs we did some very interesting covers which included, I believe, one Monkees song.  It also included "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" by Paul Revere & The Raiders, "When Blue Turns To Grey" (Jagger/Richards), "96 Tears" (? & The Mysterians).  We rehearsed in someone's basement (some things never change although basements evolved into garages) and played the local community center dances on Friday nights.  They were jammed with kids.  We wanted to be rock stars and one of the members of that band, a very talented musician named Larry Ripley went on to find a little piece of fame touring with one of those 'Bubble Gum' bands called "The 1910 Fruitgum Company."  That band, which I just discovered has a website, and still tours (although Larry was only with them for a couple of tours and it not in this version of the band).  It was a safe time, a happy time.  But soon the world turned dark.  Davy Jones lived the dream.  Rock bands are fragile entities.  Egos get in the way.  Disagreements lead to people walking out (many or most times to their own detriment) due to 'artistic differences.'  But mostly it's immaturity.  The Monkees were a fun part of growing up, just like the Soupy Sales Show and others.  Other generations had their own experiences that contributed to them growing up but when some of the things that represent your youth start disappearing it's a rude wake-up call.  Cherish every day.  "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today", etc, etc, etc.  When you're young you don't think of time running out.  Davy Jones died suddenly.  Sometimes there is no warning and today is ours for the taking.

Craps coach of the week:  During NCREIF's "Casino Night" I found a guy at the craps table who is very knowledgeable (helped me turn $200 into $4200-fake money) and gives private lessons.  David Medansky, Walk Away Craps (

On the road....
March 6-9:  Cannes, France to attend the MIPIM Conference
March 13-15:  Boston to attend the PREA Spring Conference
March 18-20:  Miami (South Beach) to attend the NAREIM Executive Conference
March 26-28:  New York
March 26:  Please join me in celebrating the launch of Solutions by Steve Felix at Joe G Restaurant, 244 W. 56th Street (bet. B'way & 8th), downstairs in the DaVinci Hotel.  6-9ish p.m.  I'll provide the Joe G pizza made famous on the David Letterman Show.  You provide the drinks!
March 29-30:  Philadelphia to be a judge at the DiLella Center for Real Estate, Villanova Real Estate Challenge 
April 24-25:  Los Angeles for the PERE Global Investors Forum
May 17-20:  North Palm Beach, FL to attend the annual meeting of the Homer Hoyt Fellows


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