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A little bit personal.
I case you have not noticed; I am no longer practicing. See the Read Me section. I do stay in touch with clients and friends and have occasionally been known to help people. This section has some answers that were more applicable when we were operational. Since they may be useful and are part of the original website content, they remain. This website is updated from time to time and is not abandoned, far from it. No, there is no RSS feed, and the email updates are for clients and friends only. You cannot subscribe so do not ask, thank you.
Questions and Answers:
Getting to know the founder and associates. Read on if you would like to develop a better understanding of what we do, save yourself time and get to know me a little better. I update this section based on questions and what mood I am in.
We encourage you to read all of this section before engaging us or asking questions.
Perhaps this can enhance your perspective before you read on. Here is the head fake: who was this written for?
I discovered your website.
That's ok, you can still leave. We would prefer it if you did. Damn it Google, stop indexing our site.
You have a very nice website. Thank you! You have a terrible website. Thank you!
Can I link to your website or reference something from it? No.
I could build you a better website. No, thank you. Could you build my website? No, I do help friends on occasion.
I would like you to refer clients to me or partner with me or somehow cross promote each other. Ok, stand back; we can do this easy or hard. Some of my fellow professionals give out a list of people when they are asked for an attorney, engineer, accountant, contractor, etc. Usually it is a list of five or more names. The reason for this is so that they are not liable for the actions of a referral. My policy is to only refer people based on the following criteria. I am familiar with their business practices. I trust them. They fit the needs of the client. They do not smell bad. They are not dirt-bags. My clients will not hate me for it. They will do a good job. Get the idea. It takes a lot of time to check someone out. Many will not submit to this. I have already done the work and rejection makes someone dislike me. My reputation is on the line when I say that this is the person or company to use. Has this come back to bite me, yes. It is not legal to accept referral fees in most cases, and it just sucks to work that way. Consequently, the only benefit that I can accept from you is doing your job properly. I have found that there are varying degrees of this. Here is another angle. My profession tends to generate the referrals for other professionals, but it is not a two way street for logical reasons. I have tried to illustrate this in many ways. Let's say that I send to you ten clients, and you do profitable business with them. You will then refer to me one (1) profitable client. You know that this cannot happen in the vast majority of cases due to math and the vast numbers of people like me that you work with. How about thanking me by not annoying me or wasting my time.
Can I quote you? I would prefer it if you did not.
We are having problems; can you help us? It has been my experience that people who need help are least able to pay me. Maybe you can get the bank to pay you or get a commission on the short sale. I have relations with many bankers, and I will tell you one thing. Short sales are not commonly offered since the lenders do not want to realize losses on their books. This means that they will have to admit that the mortgage you gave to them (This is not incorrectly written, BTW.) is worth less as an asset on their books. In addition, it will damage the market. I will have to do hours of uncompensated work, remember you are broke, before I find out if I have a chance to get paid. There are also major implications for you that will survive a bankruptcy in many cases. This is where I have an obligation to tell you that you need other professional help. I will tell you how to get it which is very important. Do as I say. You beg, borrow and steal to get a couple hundred dollars together. You are going to split this between an attorney and a CPA who are in the same room and are qualified to handle your situation. They MUST be in the same room! The reason that I say this is that forgiveness of debt is a taxable event. The tax code says that you realized (earned and took possession of) income when you actually did not get anything. Yes, you could owe tax on money that you never received. Owning more taxes when you are broke is a bad thing as this is a self-reinforcing, adverse event, a downward spiral, something that gets worse on its own. Do you get me here? There are legal implications to your situation and what you should do that can't be answered here or in a general sense. Whatever solution you think that you have should involve the aforesaid two professionals working in concert. Sometimes I get brought in as a third member of the team where there is something that I can contribute and someone is willing to pay me. However, I will not do anything for you unless you are willing to hire the two other professionals first. It has been my experience that some people like to stick their heads in the sand. In addition, many people started looking me up years after they made bad decisions that I warned them about. Some even went to work with my competitors since they talked them into something that seemed so easy. Not being the uncompassionate I am always willing to help. There is a standard retainer agreement and non-refundable fee for me to attempt to fix this. I think that you see where this is going. You did it to yourself.
You seem to like boats and have some nice pictures on your website. Would you prefer that I have pictures of open restaurant dumpsters, war, slaughterhouses and other disgusting things? Yes, I like boats and own them.
Your homepage has a picture of a pretty girl; not what I would have expected. It makes me smile. My website my rules.
I am a young man and would like you to mentor me. This will not work for a variety of reasons. The best case scenario is that you benefit me in some way within two years before you leave with all of the experience and knowledge that I gave to you for free. It is better for you to crawl into a large corporation where you will get paid from day one. This is what you will seek in most cases after you are done with me. Corporate America has more slop in the system than a small business and can tolerate waste better than a small operation. This is why these entities can layoff hundreds of people when things hit the fan or for other reasons and still miraculously function. I did this business because I had to and built it as a consequence. If you have my mentality you will build something on your own. Free advice, learn to do with less early on. It will help you through the rough spots. Chances are you have no experience with this to the extent that I do and do not have compensatory skills to do it. Think long and hard. If you have the funds to pay me for analysis we could possibly talk, however I will not take your money if I do not think that it will benefit you.
I want to be a real estate investor. Can you help me? I could hit you with something. What do you do now? Do you make money? Why not do more of it? Some people need real estate as a part of their business. I understand. They hire people like me for the same reason that they do not perform dentistry on themselves. What I do hurts more. My read me section does more with this. Suffice to say that a lot of people make money but it is due to external conditions and sometimes luck. And lots of people lose money. Yes, I know that you are doing it for retirement and to grow your money, blah, blah. If you did not lose all of that money in the stock market in the late nineties, you would be ahead of the game. What you make now has to cover that loss before it yields. Now real estate is the big thing. Does this look similar to something that I just mentioned?
How do I know that you know what you are talking about? You were referred by an existing client, ask him. He will probably mention others. I do not solicit business often. Where I do, evidence of my work is apparent. If you discovered me somehow through the web, I do not build my business this way. This is a destination for clients and friends and existing contacts.
I noticed that your Whois data is obscured. For those who do not know, it is the directory listing for ownership of a domain, i.e. this website address. I do not like spam, telephone calls, harassment at my home, junk mail and other assorted annoyances. Any email address associated with the Whois listing is instantly garbage, and no I am not going to use some anti-spam protection. This is the same email that the domain registrar has to use for necessary communication that I will miss due to the spam. I have a distinctive last name, not common. Consequently, I get very little spam. However, if someone gets identifying information through a web crawler from this directory, it will be very easy to impersonate me. Even with a disposable address, I have the issue of volume to deal with. I only get perhaps three pieces of paper junk mail a week and literally no telephone solicitors. If someone wants to do business with me, I show them a deed to one of my properties, my driver's license, other licenses, passports, birth certificates, professional associations. I think that you get the idea.
What can you tell me about your character? I have never been adjudicated a bankrupt, nor sought protection in the bankruptcy courts. I have never abandoned a commercial paper or any debt obligation that I owe. I owe no money personally. I will sign any paper attesting to the fact that I have never been under investigation by any licensing authority, or sanctioned for any misconduct. This also includes my driving record if you are interested. I will sign any paper attesting to the fact that no professional association has ever received a grievance against me for an ethical matter or had as much as a professional standards or other hearing regarding my conduct. I will authorize any records regarding the aforesaid conduct to be opened for inspection by any potential client. I have never been the subject of an arbitration hearing where another has attempted to claim funds owed by me to him. I will attest to this and open up the records for inspection by a potential client. I have never been convicted, indicted, investigated or arrested for any matter. I have never consumed any illegal substance or legal barbiturates. I have never tested positive for any substance during a drug test. I have been subject to drug testing for many years. I seldom if ever drink. I have never abused any substance or anything else. I have never been fired from a job and maintain many past employers as friends. I never smoked. I never committed any offense as a juvenile. When I could have used the benefits of this country's welfare system, I decided not to. Never have I taken even a penny from the public largess, and my occupations have always been free market. There are other examples that are too personal, but I can tell you about them personally if I feel comfortable with you.
You seem boring. Go to hell. You do not know what fun is. I have my pleasures.
Are you licensed to do what you do? I always conduct myself within the letter and spirit of the law. Where licenses are called for, I have them. Sometimes I am liberal with the word advice in some financial contexts. I tell people what I think will happen and why and what is often done in certain situations. The best example is that if I tell you that a rock is about to fall on your head, you should be smart enough to step to one side. There are certain real estate functions that require licensure. There are others that do not. I have any licenses that are needed for the work that I do and hire appropriate professionals when necessary. A lot of what I do is management and education. There are times when I function in an executive capacity.
How do I know that you know what you are doing? The vast majority of my clients are referrals and others who directly observed my work. If you found me by chance, I might arrange something but have learned that it is often not worth it.
You seem to protect your clients and friends. Yes, retaining my services can also be an indicator to others that my clients have some reason to be concerned. It could be their type of work, their assets, their family situation, their investments, etc. Sometimes very wealthy people do not show it for a reason. Why be a painted target. And, famous people have enough issues that I will not further compromise them. In the simplest way, a client looking to purchase something can also raise the price of the asset. Sometimes a client's reputation can raise the price that other service providers will charge for services and assets. Use your imagination. Personally I am very reclusive and private, so I might do more than even my clients want. Perhaps this works to everyone's advantage. My business, my rules.
Some of the stuff you talk about seems a bit horrifying to say the least. You go to a doctor for a diagnosis when you are sick, right. There are other doctors in the world. If not me, then someone else will tell you. I have my opinions that are reasoned and researched and a track record amongst the people who know me.
What are your politics? Fair question, I guess that you could describe me as a Robert Bork conservative. My morality is more personal. I do not have an issue with help for the less fortunate out of the public largess. My own experiences tell me how possible it is to reach the end of one's compensating abilities. The real financial issues of this country are little affected by the welfare state even if it should be evaluated. We will never face reality until it visits us.
What are your fees? When doing hourly consulting I have a non-refundable retainer fee plus an advance for expenses and the first few hours of work. I bill in half-hour increments. I am also generous with my time and do not run a clock. You get more than you paid for, but I can document when asked. Other work is contractual, commission, etc. depending upon the type of work.
I am not sure if you are obnoxious or weird? Yes. It is ok as long as you do not say creepy. That gets to me. Want to understand better? There is a book written by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko that you might find helpful.
Do you have a Facebook page? A personal one merely to claim my name; it is private and unused. We don't do Facebook or Twitter here. There is nothing per se wrong with them. They might be useful for some businesses. The Facebook thing is too junior high for my tastes. The whole liking thing reminds me of when I was a pre-teen. Last I checked I am not a pre-teen anymore nor are the adults who frequent it. If you violate some undisclosed understanding you are chided as if by the guidance counselor, remember them. I have nothing to tweet, perhaps more if I was a professional blogger. You can read here (I seldom include hyperlinks within texts; it leads to ADD. You should finish one page before going to another.) my take on that.
Have you ever been compared to someone. I have been called the Mutt Lange of real estate, whatever that means. I will have to make an offering to the Google gods and find out one day.
What are your extracurricular interests? I really like to read history, especially as it relates to municipal governance and planning, also history of business. I like to study organizations and how they implement their strategies. It is fun to look at a final product and wonder why they do this and whether it could be better. Lately media has caught my attention. It reminds me of my work with non-profits and other businesses where I would dissect the operation to make it better. I guess that I am a systems guy. I am curious about social trends and where they eventually lead.
I like the way that you write. Thank you. You made a spelling or grammatical error. The first person that notifies me of one gets a crispy fifty dollar bill. This does not include client comments as they are copied and pasted.
You should be on TV or a news commentator. I saw you in person and you really know your stuff and can explain it very well. No. I would rather beg. I am not that smart, correct. Consequently I am sure that others think like I do. In fact, I know this. She is much prettier than me; she knows who she is. If my very pretty friend who knows what I know and has the position to say what I do does not do so, why should I?
Would you be willing to donate to this charity? I have been told that it is effective to say that I give through the Rotary. It actually works. No I am not a member of this group. My brotherhood goes by a different name. There are charities that I support. One example is my involvement in an organization for abused women and children that provides safe and secret housing to keep them away from their abusers. I am an executive director. There is another similar organization that I am a trustee for. You hurt a child, and I get my hands on you, you are done.
Do you have children? No, it pains me, sometimes a lot. I am by nature a caregiver. I cared for elderly relatives personally. I consider it to have been an honor and the sum total of my life's work.
I would like to bring you into my business as a partner. We could do great things together. Translation: Your business is failing, you do not have adequate capital or knowledge or cash-flow, and I will be some sort of walking wallet.
Would you like to work with me? Translation: Develop a business with you based on my knowledge and contacts without compensation in the hopes of some unlikely payoff. I did this, minus you.
I have a job for you. Show me the terms and your ability to deliver, and we can speak.
I have a building or development project that I would like to bring you in on. Another one, walking wallet syndrome. Apply for financing, save your money, get a job and then get back to me.
Note on the above four paragraphs: There is only one person to whom I would give my funds to bail her out. Her name starts with D. Enough said.
Would you consider volunteering at a boys mentoring program. No, actually I already do this. Would you consider volunteering at a girls mentoring program. No. Note on mentoring: A child's mentors are supposed to be his parents. Yes, some are missing through little fault of their own and other reasons. It bothers me, but we will not speak openly and frankly as a society as to why, and I am not offering myself up as the sacrifice.
There is this networking group that I am a part of or some other business social group that I would like you to join. Here we go. Let's describe it. After a long day a nice dark, crowded, noisy, confining place, with people being SERVED ALCOHOL and annoying me, I get it Chuck E. Cheese for adults. Look really good networking groups limit their memberships to one representative from each profession. I am sure that yours already has a few of mine. Mixers and other business socials tend not to interest me. If you have something worthwhile, it will be during daylight, and people will make arrangements with their employers to be there because it is worthwhile, a type of limiting factor. I have had my share of association junkies, networking groups and the after-hours crowd, and I am not a night person. I rise very early and live according to my clock.
You seem to like sailboats; I am a sailor too. Perhaps we have something in common. I have been sailing since I was twelve. We should go sailing together. I can crew for you. You can come on my boat. Answer: Whether we have compatible personalities or not is subject to other variables. I have two very good friends in life. If you have even one, you are a rich man. I only started sailing personally in 2002, and was on sailboats for three seasons during the race seasons in the mid 1990's. That is three years of about three race seasons per year, once a week race. I did not grow up sailing or in a yacht club or participate in school sports or activities. When the academic year was over, I worked more than full-time in labor and construction type work. When I reached high school I worked full-time in the evenings during the academic year and summers doing more construction type work until I eventually became the construction manager of a health spa that was continually under construction. This work was out of necessity. I may like you and connect with you, but will not relate to your experience. I don't judge, but will feel uncomfortable in some ways that are hard to put to words. When I decided that the one last thing that I always wanted was to own a sailboat I acquired knowledge very quickly and became quite competitive. I was even offered a paid position as race crew which I declined. I stopped racing as it is competition without profit. I am naturally driven and did not want to make this into that. I have a small and a large boat that are immaculate, not necessarily very expensive. I use them one day every other week in nice weather, sometimes more. I do not want people on my boat who do not follow my rules. A major factor is that I can single-hand sail them so that I have choice over who I socialize with. My boats, including the small one have full working heads and other amenities within reason. It has been my experience that going on other people's boats is not enjoyable as they cannot reciprocate in quality of experience. Ten or more years old sails, twenty year old rigging, broken this and that, no head, dirty decks, crummy engine, hot-as-hell day on a crowded weekend or evening, sailing out of a dumpy neighborhood just does not do it for me. I would say that if you are a young guy starting off in life, you should make your money and then buy a modest boat that can be in good condition and professionally maintained. Networking with me is not recreating with me. I already have sailing buddies, and we keep it at that.
You sometimes sound like a prima donna. I really like it when people get me, not. I come from people who believed in good manners, decency and proper appearance and behavior no matter what your station in life. My experience required me to spend many formative years working in absolute filth and grime under hot, tiring and other nasty conditions. There are a few personal factors that enhanced the difficulty. Sympathy not desired. Consequently, things like camping, roughing it, recreation that involves dirt, most physical recreation, dirty work, sports, staying up late at night, temperature extremes, did I mention dirt?, and doing something allegedly for fun that reminds me of previous work are not really for me. I also intensely dislike filth. My three most despised things are lying, filth and laziness.
There was a time when trades people, even in New York City, dressed like gentlemen and ladies. I have the photographs to prove it, books from the Henry Ford trades schools, knew these people personally and their families. Ever see concrete finishers working in leather shoes, wool pants with collared shirts and hats! They had protectors for their knees and shoes. How about the pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge painters? People look like hell today when we have better fabrics, climate control and many other advancements. If you look like shit, then you are shit.
The above is a nice link from the New York Times describing the efforts to preserve some old structures from the golden age of beach recreation in the New York Metro area. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The bathhouses, including another battered structure at Jacob Riis Park, in Queens, which is run by the National Park Service, were erected at a time when people dressed up for a day at the beach. Instead of grabbing a tuna sandwich from the cooler, beachgoers supped in the bathhouses’ dining rooms, with their white tablecloths and glassware, and donned their suits in changing rooms.
“It was very formal in the 1930s,” Mr. Krawchuk said. “You would never come to the beach in your beach clothes. You’d rent a suit and a towel and check your clothes.”
Even other areas such as Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York City had a certain decorum and elegance, before the fall of dignity. Look at the disgusting slobs that you see in warm weather recreation areas. It should be noted that the beachwear that people rented as mentioned in the article above or owned and changed into maintained respectability regardless of physique. Revealing beachwear only works if you have the body of an Adonis or Venus, although public nudity has been pushed way too far under these circumstances too.
In the Preface to Brave New World, (1932) Aldous Huxley wrote:
"As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends correspondingly to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate."
Do you have a mobile website or is your current site optimized for mobile. Get a life.
Remind me not to work for you. That is the difference between us. I was willing to do anything that I had to to survive. I hear that my philosophy and work experiences are considered negatively in corporate job interviews.
Are you actually capable of getting alone with people? Ask the clients that really like me personally who referred you. Most people think that I am very nice, a pushover, not much to look at, probably not very successful, eager to please and hard working (These two factors are actually considered to demonstrate lower value in many situations.), reliable (demonstrating lower value again) and humble. These are true, and serve as a type of useful camouflage. They allow me to get a reading on people and organizations. Once people see me in action, they realize that being demanding and driven does not have to exclude good manners, decency and good will. Oh, and I do not tolerate a**holes, and often surprise people when I demonstrate the resources to dish it and negate and consequences, see a few lines above. My mother had a simple warning and guidance, "Never hurt anyone or take advantage of anyone no matter how small he appears. First of all, it is not nice or good. Secondly, you never know if you are dealing with the wrong person. Finally, be that wrong person." I avoid conflict like the plague, but if you screw around with me, I will spend any amount of money, focus an amazing amount of effort and even risk publicly embarrassing myself to take you out no matter how long it takes. I let most stuff go. Don't find yourself in the wrong category.
In your character statement you left out if a client or someone else ever sued you in the course of business. Never. And, I never needed to settle something out of court or make a claim with my errors and omissions insurance carrier or any other liability insurance carrier. It takes a lot of effort and accountability to run a business this way. I have never had a fair housing or discrimination claim, complaint or investigation. I always carried a first-dollar defense policy. This means that even though there was a deductible, I always had insurance carrier representation. Never needed it though. I am done doing things that carry unbelievable liability. We all eventually learn.
Do you live by the water or have a water view? I like to visit the water not have the water visit me. This has been my advice to people for more than twenty years. Yes, there is a premium on stupidity, but that means that I get a safer location for lower cost. This same philosophy applies to unstable hills, fire zones, low lands and other known and documented risks. It is a basic tenet of our beliefs to be prudent with life decisions.
I have this problem with a tenant. Can you help me? Let me guess. You made the broker collect his fee from the tenant, right. You did not want to pay a dime out of pocket, correct. The tenant had to come up with first month's rent, security and broker fee, right. For working class people who are responsible this is still a good chunk of change. Chances are you went for the one who pays in cash as in dollar bills. People who have cash seem exciting but tend to work transiently. They also show little income and it is overall hard to collect debts from them. It will take you six to nine months to get them out while they live for free on your dime. How much money did you save? The rental business is horrid. If you do not have a real property as I define it, then you are going to fail. Even if everything is done correctly there will always be a vacancy rate that you must calculate into your planning. The only way to check out a potential tenant is to visit where he lives, meet his employer, etc., real leg work that costs money. I have found that the credit report is not a good predictor since small time landlords do not report to the credit bureaus and seldom seek judgments. Tenants will pay their credit cards and car payments before you. Checking the housing court records is an option, but the lease could be under a different name. Either way, there is no good answer. If you want to own investments, you need to strongly consider profit and loss. I will not say what my opinions are here as this is too complicated for this forum. Watch the movie Pacific Heights. We had a family friend that had this exact thing happen to her.
Can you do my hiring? Here is a first bit of advice by example. A major organization solicited individuals to email their resumes to a Gmail address. First step does not feel right to me. They were looking for young people. They could not setup a real email address? Sometimes the people emailing you and sending in resumes are the last ones that you want to hire. In addition this is no different than when I used to receive stacks of paper resumes. How the hell do you sort through something like that. Answer: you don't. Throughout the years and more recently I have seen top graduates working as baristas and advertising on backpage. Go to the schools and training facilities that you respect and talk to faculty about their best students. Go to your competition and inquire if they are making any changes or have some good people that cannot move in the organization due to the organization, not themselves. They are going to leave anyway; you should get them. When you have a list together, solicit them. State what the dress code is for the group interview and that this will be the dress code for their term of employment, a novel idea if I do not say so. Do not even look at the resume until you look into their eyes. Ask for representative writing samples or other appropriate work. You know that you can do anything to people in this job market. Cut the pay in half and hire two people instead of one. Don't necessarily hire people who studied or worked in the field that you are hiring for. Did you know that some of the most financially and business astute people that I know of studied a particular hard science. Historically this is observed. You would never think to look here. They tend to have great people, leadership, writing and conceptualization skills. A major financial consulting firm comes to mind. The founder studied the same science as me, interesting.
Do you like to watch a particular sport? No. One, I never had the time to waste at the age when people develop this habit. Second, have you ever seen how people attended baseball games in the past. They looked like they were going to religious services. They did not just look different; they were different. Early in the twentieth century we were an ascending society; now we are a descending society. Finally, the way that the players live their lives offends my sensibilities.
What is your basic philosophy regarding money? What is money, but something that can purchase many of the things around us. Money does not buy happiness, but it is easier to be happy if you have money. There are things that are more important than making money such as people's futures and people's lives.
Do you have any pets? Yes.
These kids today, blah, blah, blah. I actually see so many positives in the generation coming of age today. They are very nice, polite and will gladly cleanup a lot of the messes that the generation in power will leave for them. They are nice to be around. Every previous generation that is in power has negative things to say about the subsequent generations that prove not to be true. They said that mine was sarcastic, obnoxious, aggressive, uncouth, selfish, would not amount to much amongst other things, and it proved to be . . . true. Well you get the point anyway.
What is your favorite ecommerce website? eBay, it is proof that the gods love us and want us to be happy.
What was the determining factor in the layout of your webpages? How easy it was to do. Actually, I optimized the viewing for the screen size of a small laptop or netbook which roughly approximates an iPad (The absolute worst name for a product ever.). On larger screens the pictures are of course more predominant, but this is a necessary trade off. I am not concerned with smartphone display as nothing serious or in depth is ever done on a smartphone. There will be a major change in the computing world and I was contracted to do one of my prediction/analysis pieces regarding this. You will be shocked at how cool the future is. You will also be shocked at how much money that you are going to lose being invested in the wrong companies.
It seems like you do a lot of stuff outside of what people in your profession traditionally do, why? How do you find time for this? It seems hard to believe. Ok, fair question, I can tell that you have not been in business, in business or employed in anything other than an inflationary environment (Translation: Easy dirty money freely available.), had to struggle against really bad odds or in an environment of hyper competition in an industry with low standards. In a nutshell my secret was to find things that my competition absolutely could not do so that I would not have to compete on their level which was to undercut and engage in some of the most unethical behavior I have ever seen. When I was so broke that I could not even pay attention the ability to earn extra money was always taken. It is a mentality of always trying to do more. Plus I like to constantly improve myself. Another angle is that keeping clients happy means that their investments are not a net loss. Most of what you see as extras are actually directly related to the success of the real property since in many cases real business occurs in them and as a function of owning them. Whereas clients have very good attorneys who really understand their businesses and offer invaluable insights, I can bring these attorneys additional data and insight that further enhances the decision making for reason of different skill set and ability to do certain hands-on things that the attorneys do not have time or inclination to do. This is just one example but illustrative. Think of the doing more angle this way also. Professionals may earn say 37, 45, 60, even 100 dollars per hour. Whatever it is, I have observed them jump through all sorts of hoops with employers, unions, HR managers, etc. to get paid an extra dollar or two per hour, get a percentage raise, etc., you get the idea. Why is it so odd that I would take on an additional project to make more myself? I know very good, successful lawyers who teach night classes at the local university because they need extra money. I have observed this for over two decades. Some even mow lawns for people. You do what you have to do using the talents and drives that you have. When I made some major changes I took on a job that I like to call the joke. I get paid to amuse myself, and I do some good work that is appreciated. I really like some of the people that I work for and plan to give their organization a nice present one day. Even clients who are now friends wonder, but we both end up smiling. Your original question tells me that you might not have lived in the same reality as a lot of professionals like me.
Do you do any type of real estate work now? Yes, I work for people and organizations on my terms, however I do reject a lot of work outright. The vast majority are existing relationships. Since I have a lot more free time and energy, I can do more for these people at the same price. Everybody wins. There is no on-call work, cellphone worship, don't even think about making me speak to most real estate brokers and I do not take on any liability personally.
How can I get people like you to work for me? How can I get you to work for me? I understand this question. Much of being employed in a given place is knowing its language as if it is a country. Whether you realize this or not the people looking to you for employment spent a major amount of time learning the vocabulary of your world. They may not have the skills yet or ever, but they know how to talk to you. They also spend an inordinate amount of time learning how to present, do and say exactly what they think you want to see until it gets to be internalized. They mix in the culture of organizations like yours and become a part of it. This culture is a social group from which you hire. I am not a part of this. I look at your operations as a customer of your product or service from a functional standpoint as opposed to a structural standpoint. When you ask me what skills I have, they will be hard science and math, certain technology, my so called profession, etc. I have never studied management or this or that. Yet, I know many of the basic principles and have success with them. They are learned functionally. You might want to see other sections of this website namely the first about section where I write about being qualified or entitled. The former is functional; the latter structural. Maybe this is not fair to say as I know many good people who cross the line well, but they agree with me about the severe risks and how difficult it is to operate outside of defined parameters. The structural culture self-selects and causes people to stop thinking as they seek safety. An outside perspective is lost and many critical issues are not only ignored, but not even noticed. A very recent example is a company that did something very inconsiderate to some very long term customers including me. I called them on it and nicely told them that I think that they could have handled it better. I was very nice and told the representative that I was not displeased with the years of good service and would not force her to listen to a speech from me. She of course said that they debated this change for a long time, blah, blah. Then I said that they did not give customers of over twenty years that kind of warning about the change. I simply said that there is nothing that I could or would do, but that I respectfully thought that it could have been handled better. A very nice, short follow-up of similar tone went to the corporate offices. They are now handling it better. If you knew the actual action, you would wonder how a multimillion dollar company could be so clueless. They and others for the reasons that I described above. I can learn your language on the job, no problem. Are you willing to hire me, give me the authority and back me up. People really do like working with and for me. Another thing, would you have hired the most clean-cut and professional and mannerly and well spoken and hard working and dedicated, no excuses young man that I was years ago who would have appreciated the opportunity? Chances are no due to all of the corporate and other BS that guides your hiring decisions, and if you did, I am not sure if I would have been rewarded for my work or tormented by pelicans. What does good judgment come from? Experience. What does experience come from? Bad judgment. Yours and others' loss, not mine. Still feel free to forward to me a proposed employment contract.
What do you mean by pelicans? It is a term for certain types of managers and supervisors and fellow employees. What it is is what it does. All it does is eat, shit and squawk. The term originated with the West Coast fishermen who used to kill them; these birds would eat like crazy. The early environmentalists were trying to convince the fishermen that pelicans had a purpose in nature. The fishermen told them what that was from their point of view.
Are you in any way bitter or resentful? If I give that impression to you, it is far from the truth. Bitterness and resentment are like taking poison and hoping that someone else dies. I get frustrated; now I avoid situations that frustrate me. Sometimes I am really tired as in from working to exhaustion because I am too stupid to stop. I wish that things could have been different, but I am grateful for my experiences as what I am is partly a function of them. I know nothing else. Personally I know a man who was born without feet, legs and most of his arms. He and his attitude would amaze you. I do not complain or ever feel sorry for myself or anyone else.
What do you do now? I only do those things that I want to do. This is not to be construed with some sort of retirement or going galt. Having options only means that it has to be consistent with my vision and desires before I will light the candle. Even now if you have me working with or for you, it would feel like you had a running chainsaw attached to your waist. However, it has to be what I want. Never before in my life did I do this. I would do whatever I could and make it work. It is a dangerous type of pretense to think that you like it or let it define you. No is a powerful word.
This is almost like a blog. You should use that format. This is not a blog but a chance to answer questions and concerns that are actually asked over and over again before people email me, and for you to have a chance to get to know my associates and me better.
I don't want to know you after reading this. Good, now leave.
If this is not your blog, can I have access to your blog section. Sure, write me a check.
You should write a book. I did, two to be exact. One was published anonymously and did what I wanted it to. I think that it was reasonably successful. The other was about the industry, and I decided that I did not want to make any enemies or draw attention to myself. I may give the entire manuscript to someone else who likes to sleep with his eyes open and have other people open his mail.
Why don't you ever answer your telephone? I do, eventually. Do you have a secretary? Why doesn't she answer the telephone? Because she works for me, not you. I check my messages every two hours or less and call people personally. That means same day, and usually day half. Even during my highest volume I was personally in touch and could be reached by leaving a message. Telephones and other distractions agitate me. I think that it is rude for a telephone to ring when you are with others, and IT WILL AFFECT PRESENTATIONS AND YOUR FLOW OF WORK. Constant interruptions destroy productivity and effectiveness, and I was saying this twenty years ago. Cell, excuse me, smartphone abuse is the best way to be terminated from your relationship with me personally or professionally.
What is a good general piece of advice that you would give to anyone? I have been asked this question by startups, clients, everyone in some way or another. Same answer: a good attorney is worth his weight in gold. Get one, employ him and thank me later. You should have a relationship with an attorney where he knows you and you meet at least once a year, twice if you are in business, period. In my experience, I like attorneys who worked in the criminal system before they entered business and corporate law. I like the way that their minds work, they are disciplined and sharp. They really practiced law in an adversarial environment. They think on their feet. A good option is also an attorney who mastered another discipline prior to law such as the CPA attorney that I am thinking about. He is unbelievable along with being a great person. Another very good option that I am beginning to appreciate is a person who had a working life and then entered law in middle age. This is a very well rounded person with a lot of common sense. I like attorneys and understand how they think and what they need. We work well together. My best advice is to not cheap out when hiring. If you are paying too little, you are in great danger as your work is being treated as routine. Pay for the right to email someone with a simple question. A good attorney will not burden you with all sorts of unlikely possibilities or gobbledygook. In fact I see an untapped business angle for a new model of attorney client services.
Did you ever consider becoming an attorney especially now? Yes, actually, three reasons no. I am an aggressive and highly competitive person. Anything that involves conflict will feed too much of that for me. I would rather be constructive not destructive with my drive. I am speaking of myself only. Secondly, I don't care if the money is no issue for me. Law schools and other universities crank out graduates for very low unit cost and charge too damn much for this. My reward for paying too much for the degree should not be hyper competition because the mills in Jamaica, Queens and elsewhere have a license to print money. And, related to the previous point, there is too much competition, been there, done that. Where does good judgment come from? Experience. Where does experience come from? Bad Judgment. This is actually unfair to their previous graduates and the profession itself. You know when it will change. The year that they have a graduating class of ZERO. Until then other people's stupidity will not cause me to overpay.
What is wrong with society and where are we going economically? This is a loaded question, has been dealt with before in my previous writings, see blog and elsewhere, and easy to answer here now that I think about it. Many segments of our society live too high for their respective skills, maturity, discipline and work ethic, occupations and expectations. Wow that's a long one even for me. It elegantly sums up my point. Let us reason by analogy. Take any given occupation back to a time prior to about 1970 and look at how they lived. Did they own cars, houses, take vacations, if so how often, quality of life during retirement, quality of life while working, family size, could they afford to send their children to college? I think that you get the idea. I am using items that were available then and excluding crApple products and other similar things. There have always been occupations and professions that kind of had a sweet deal, but even then they might not have lived so high or at least had to show a lot of dedication usually paired with hard work. Overall the tide has raised many, if not all, higher than ever in history. Some get left behind, but their example and the reasons for said do not negate my arguments. They are a separate issue. A couple of things did not rise in concert with the tide, correlational or causational. They are discipline, skillset, work ethic, increase in GDP less GDP increase due to debt greater than the increase in GDP due to debt. Ever drive by a housing project of sorts and wonder if it was always that way. Housing projects used to have middle-class people living in them. Some were municipal and other government workers and others worked in professions and trades. Yes, there was a suburban growth phase after the wars, but the house was inexpensive and there was the tradeoff of the commute to work, etc. I personally know white collar professionals who raised families in projects, apartments and very modest houses. And, the expansion of the sixties which allowed some of the suburban growth was real in that we blew up the world competition twice and had the manufacturing GDP growth. Even then many people had only one car if any, and what was air-conditioning but for movie theaters. Some areas of the country had more wealth and middle class prosperity, but they were economically surging such as California. Fast forward to today and irresponsible monetary policy and using the undeveloped world as our slaves means that people who would have lived in apartments and usually purchased used cars if any now live in 4000+ sq. ft. houses and have two or three new cars. Are they smarter, more disciplined, harder working, more productive? Some maybe have a few factors better; most are less in all. This is not economically sustainable or culturally sustainable. The latter is more important as it violates a feedback loop that always existed. Knowing your station in life is not always a putdown, but rather an indicator of the efforts others took to get where they are above you. If your genetic line is to be upwardly mobile or at least maintain good cultural functioning, you instill values in the next generations that represent this understanding. Something began to get seriously wrong when occupations requiring high discipline and achievement lost ground to more mundane occupations that while good and necessary cannot compete. To put it in layman's terms, some pretty mundane people are rather full of themselves and what they think that they are worth. I see how they work and the hours that they do not put in and they live lifestyles that mangers and professionals only used to live at the high end. Before you start, things such as banking were lower middle class occupations, not the excess that you see presently. Getting something without equivalent effort breeds spoiled, narcissistic people. Before you start that things such as mortgages and other financial innovations made this possible, understand that these things helped make the problem. Saving to improve yourself is a form of self-regulating discipline at the individual and macro level. Forget about the consequences as a country. In addition, how many people are capable of or have an equivalent skill to developing the technology that we are blessed with today. This whole unsustainable model is being replaced with something new.
We are entering a slow grind down. There will be a bifurcation and elimination if not reclassification of economic class levels. There is a common refrain that the middle class is being destroyed. No it is not. People are about to be ejected from the club to which they never should have belonged. This is the reorganization of the economic class levels. A person who works in some current middle class occupation will now be considered working class and live in an apartment and take the bus to work. Their two or three weeks of vacation will be spent locally. I hope that you have nice parks around you. Notice how in many cities and communities there has been a movement to make nice parks. People will go from having three children to one or a very different miserable lifestyle if they still decide to have three. Multiple generations will live under one roof. People will mow their own lawns. No low level municipal worker ever used to have a lawn service or central air-conditioning. There will be no vacation houses for the former middle class, let alone weekend recreation other than parks and museums. Retire on a used house that increased multiple times in value, forget it. Investing in the stock market for the masses, done deal over. Buy or lease a new car, over. Retire and have executive level care if you were in a labor union; how about the clinic model. This is how it was; there were union doctors and group doctor's offices where the municipal workers under the same plan all went. You will take three vacations in your whole life, honeymoon, Disney World for the kids once and your retirement trip. Your children are working their way through college for a variety of reasons or not going at all, probably the latter. Son is going to do the same type of work that daddy did unless he is truly special and can break through the barrier like it was for most in the past. Think that people will get their priorities in order. Mom and especially Dad will not be so full of themselves if they know that they are on the lower end of the stick and are not so spoiled. Men who today never grow up and act like buffoons for their whole lives while acting like they are retired executives once they retire will look in the mirror differently every day. If they do not feel like they are nothing, they will at least know that are not something special. The financial vehicles that make the false situation possible will not survive in their current form in a deflationary environment nor will your ego. This is going to come upon us slowly like you cook a lobster. It will probably affect the 45 and younger crowd and not the older ones much. If your kids find people like me to explain this to them or figure it out on their own, you will be lucky if all they do is abandon you. Let's just say that if you ever find yourself physically vulnerable and were a bit too full of yourself and they did not appreciate it, your children could decide to hang you out to dry at best. The changing economic situation will reduce what you can actually give to them or leave to them to inherit to build good will. Why don't you decide to warn them and undo some of the damage before they decide to put you in the worst nursing home that they can find. I have seen a lot of things, and a lot of elderly people mistakenly think that when they are helpless and broke the children will interrupt their lives to care for them. Think twice if they have it much worse than you did. I call it abuse by neglect, and it works for unwanted landmarks and old people. The older ones will be lucky if they die before their descendants figure out who left what and what wrong lessons to them. How do you know if your kids are in for it or you and your profession are in for it. Go back forty or more years and read about how people in comparable professions, work habits and ability lived. You will still be allowed to have an iPhone. We have to give you something.
The narcissist is obsessed with the attention of others; the individualist would prefer that others leave him alone. The narcissist is a slave; the individualist is free.
You certainly expect someone to read a lot of material in this section. Or, I don't have time to read all of this. I am a busy person. I don't have time to read this. Answer, and we will not be obnoxious about this right now: A large component of the decision to engage a professional in a long term and/or other serious relationship is getting to know the person's philosophy or personal way of thinking. A relationship is not going to be productive unless values are shared in common and don't forget about the underlying morals. Everything written here is in response to numerous repetitive questions. Why not save some time? In person people forget things, do not have as much time to speak, are nervous, think of things later, etc.; you understand. This format allows one to revisit sections and writings, ponder things and at times indirectly contribute. We are not speaking about small sums of money here. In addition although we try to be thorough something is occasionally lost or misunderstood in the written form. It is better for you to formulate an individual set of questions based upon your reaction to what is written here rather than blindly start the process from scratch. This is also part give and take. It is as much a test as it is answering the tests of others. A person should be willing to spend fifteen minutes reading this content when compared to the time commitments of business. The people reading this information are what we in sales call warm contacts. The relationship is not one of a cold calling solicitation. People want to do business with someone who they know, like and trust. It is better for you to figure this out early in a relationship. The act of writing is as reflective as reading this somewhat personal philosophical section. It requires that thoughts be developed and that the perception of meaning be considered while honesty and integrity are maintained. Perhaps part of the problem today is that we do not take the time to really get to know the character of the individuals and organizations that we employ. Deep down we really do know that something is not right with a situation but choose not to acknowledge the power of conscience. Even if there is no perceived character deficit, there is the issue of selecting the right organization for the job. A person's story, especially when he is the leader of an organization, gives a reliable predictive model for client expectations. A professional's attitudes towards money, success and industry are important as well as knowledge of the mechanics of acquiring them. The wealthiest and most successful people that we work with are masters at this art and look for signs in the most unexpected places. The founder strongly believes that this is a major shortcoming in the corporate world. It is an inefficiency at best and always proves to be a liability. The new business model which is really a partial return to an old model will look at life factors again outside of the variables monitored over the past thirty years.
Continuing from the above paragraph and answering the questions asked about the website content we will say that over the years some of the items were published in the blog section or other restricted sections. These items were relocated to the public sections by choice or even sometimes by client suggestion. Sometimes items are temporarily deleted or edited. The public face of an organization is oftentimes more general than what an insider such as a client or partner will experience. In some cases writings from this section will be moved to another section as they are more appropriate there. Please understand that we are very different in that the internet is not an avenue for solicitation of business or its development. Word of mouth and reputation built us and this digital destination reflects the need to serve people who arrived here based on those parameters. It is a different style, perhaps an old one. We are not looking to create an image to get attention from the web, to use the vernacular, but to serve people individually and live by our reputation.
BTW: There is significance to the picture on this page. Perhaps we will tell you someday.