Friday, May 3, 2013

Republishing with WTC Photo: Sound Counsel / World Trade Center-NYC / The Marketing Brilliance of LInkedin

Sound Counsel

Last weekend a bunch of folks who, like me, count music as an important part of their lives, gathered in a rehearsal studio in New York.  All are musicians from varied backgrounds – jazz, school bands, choirs, blues and rock and roll.  The common thread includes love of music and membership in The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE).   

In many bands, the foundation is the rhythm section (Walt on drums, Ray on bass).  The next layer is the guitars (Anthony, Jay and Noah) and keyboard (me).  Add in vocals (Mary, Noah, Jay, Greg, Anthony, John and myself), horns (Buck, Jim and Neil) and harmonica (Greg) and on this day you have Sound Counsel.  Boy did we have fun - playing songs like Moondance, What I Like About You, 25 or 6 to 4, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Stormy Monday and other rock and blues classics.  The key was teamwork. There was no ‘star.’  No one was seeking the spotlight.  It was simply a group of individuals who loved music and wanted it to sound great.  

The concept of teamwork is also critical to business success. While Sound Counsel gets together only twice a year, business teams congregate in one form or another every working day.  Both band and work team members should appreciate each other’s talents and contributions – the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Whether it’s the lead singer or the chief honcho, the importance of teamwork cannot be over-emphasized.  

Rock on Sound Counsel!

World Trade Center-New York

In mid-August 2001, my son Kevin and I took in a live music performance on the plaza between One and Two World Trade Center.  It was a beautiful summer night and I remember us tilting our heads back, looking up at the buildings and commenting on how tall and massive these structures were.  

A few weeks later, on September 11 I was driving to work in California when my wife called me; my father had just called in a panic, “Where is Steve?!?”  She told him I was not flying that day. My Dad was relieved and said that there had been an airplane crash.  I turned on the radio and heard the newscaster say, “A plane has hit the World Trade Center tower.”  I thought this was referring to the radio tower at the top of the building.  A little while later I learned what really happened.  It was simply unfathomable.  And still is today.

Earlier this week I participated in a very special tour of the World Trade Center site in New York thanks to the generous invitation of Clarion Partners.  Walking inside the construction fence was a bit surreal.  I took the picture below from the 43 floor of the under-construction 4 World Trade Center.  The photo shows the almost complete ‘spire’ that will bring the height of One World Trade Center to 1776 feet. (Note:  the spire was topped-off this week).

When the tour was finished, I headed for the subway and noticed how dusty and dirty my shoes had become. Stopping to wipe them off, the ashes of the remains of the buildings flashed through my head. I couldn’t help thinking about the people that innocently went to work that day and never came home.  They just never came home again. But the dust and dirt on my shoes this week represented rebuilding and hope for a more peaceful world.  

The loss of lives on September 11, not only in New York but in Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA was horrific. 2,996 people died that morning.  That number is simply a statistic. The reality is that all of these people were in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time.  Who can figure these things out?

Many have experienced tragedy in their lives.  When it happens, we are turned upside down.  We suffer.  We mourn.  At some point, we do our best to carry on.  This week, walking on that property in Lower Manhattan, the reminder of not taking anybody, or anything, for granted flooded my mind… To cherish every moment we have on earth.  To let those close to us know we love them and are thinking about them.  To be kind to each other.  To hug.  And never forget that the victims of September 11 didn’t have a chance to reflect on such things.  

The Marketing Brilliance of Linkedin

How many of us are on LinkedIn?  Overnight it seems to have become a global, cross-industry standard for making business connections.  As we watch it evolve, some of LinkedIn’s marketing and business development techniques may be helpful to companies looking to bring more traffic to their websites.

Linkedin has mastered the art of increasing visits to their site. First, we were offered an irresistible way to post a profile. Free!  This was coupled with the means to connect with others - those we already knew and those we wanted to know.  Also free! That was pretty cool although I have only recently overcome my resistance to accept invitations from those I don’t know. To increase traffic further - bring on the “Recommendations” – a feature where anyone can ‘recommend’ someone else in a testimonial-type way.  Free. This offers ample opportunity for multiple site visits from the recommender and the person recommended. Then LinkedIn got even smarter and realized that it was taking people too long to complete the Recommendation.  Could they engage more people with a simpler process??  Bring on the “Endorsement.”  Free.  We could then ‘Endorse’ someone for a ‘Skill or Expertise’ simply by clicking a word.  How brilliant is this?? It’s easy and it ‘promotes’ someone else as that person’s network gets to see a new posting announcing the endorsement.  Along with that, the endorser’s photo is posted in the endorsement section, and the endorsee gets to feel good about themselves.  Talk about win-win-win!

The moral of this story is that continues to do a brilliant job of creating an environment that pushes an emotional button and creates an addiction of sorts.  All social media aspires to achieve this.  The more traffic to the site, the more advertisers are willing to pay.  That’s where the money is.  It’ll certainly be interesting to see the next feature that LinkedIn offers.  Until then……


Rob Bilse who joined IPD (Investment Property Databank).

On The Road…

May 16:  Annual meeting of The Hoyt Fellows, North Palm Beach, FL

May 29 – 30:  IMN (Information Management Network) U.S. Real Estate Opportunity Fund and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY 

June 4 – 5:  PERE Summit (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine), London, UK 

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