Sunday, April 8, 2012

E.T.A. in Placemaking

I was browsing a website that talks about urban planning. While reading a recent blog post to this website, which you can find Here. I couldn't help but compare some of the arguments they were making for the benefits of place-centered approach to developing a piece of real estate and the lessons taught in a Babson MBA. The article gave some points about a place-centered approach involves:

  1. "…starts by looking for partners from the community that can provide a basic knowledge of how the site is already used in order to ensure that the design is inclusive and accessible to the people around it." 
  2.  "starts small and builds up through an iterative process. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper strategies are deployed to test ideas out before they’re writ large in stone and steel."
  3. "…accepts that the design of a successful place is never really finished. Communities change, uses shift, and places need constant attention in order to stay useful, relevant, and attractive to the people who use them. Remember that Placemaking is 80-90% about good management
If I had not stated that I pulled this from a blog about real estate, you could easily confuse the above recommendations with any number of business blogs. To compare the above statements with some of the facts I have learned in my first year of business school.
Point 1 is really a fundamental part of any start-up. It is always important to make the right partners both when it comes to your internal team as well as external partners to help make your business successful.
Point 2 is the basics lean start-up and really the basis on E.T.A. (Entrepreneurial Thought in Action). Start with a small step, learn from it and take another step.
Point 3 is exactly what we discuss in strategy classes on our cases about Blockbuster. Just because you may have the right product for today, does not mean you are still going to be the right product for tomorrow.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recent events

I am currently in mod (quarter) 3 of my MBA. Here is some of my last week.

On a personal note over this weekend my wife and I purchased a love-seat for the twins bedroom. We are replacing a blue recliner that Emily has had for 8 years. Though larger than most rockers you find in a nursery it has fit perfectly in our life and budget as a young family. It has been falling apart for a couple months now, and I have been hesitant to replace it. The reasons for my delay are 1. Financial - We are living on a tight budget 2. Sentimental - Emily had the chair for quite some before I met her, but my primary experience with the recliner is reading my first born son, Lincoln, to sleep while he sits in my lap. We made the choice to go for a larger seat to accommodate our growing family and give us a place to read with all of our children. Emily found an amazing deal for the new seat on craigslist, just like our sectional where I am currently lounging. Emily also found a pretty great deal on a highchair as well, and talked them down to an even better deal.

And back at school. I have been quite busy with class and pursuing a summer internship. Last week I was talked into joining a friend at school for a VC competition. I said I would join her if I had some say in the other people on the team. We ended up with a group of Shubs, Rio, Rashi, Andy and myself. We had very little VC experience in the room, and really just planned to have fun. But we came together and we created a team that equaled more than the sum of its parts. We won! And really never thought we had a chance. It was a pretty tough competition and there was very little time given for the work. I cannot explain how we won, but I had one theory: The men in our group arrived all wearing pink ties without any prior planning. The other crazy thing about the competition, besides our victory, was how my teammate Andy had his phone lost/stolen. The entire day we tracked his phone location with some app online, and joked about all the sites and experiences the phone was having.

I work quite hard at both school and home. This week it feels like all the gears were lined up and everything came together better than expected. I hope everyone gets this feeling of accomplishment from time to time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's been a long time.

I have not posted in some time. I justify my lack of posts by saying I am too busy, and I am quite busy. But I have decided to put some priority on writing.

So quick recap on what has been keeping me so busy - since my last post in May:
  • Emily was placed on bed rest for what felt like 2-3 months, but I guess it was 6 weeks. It was pretty tough not having Em at 100%. The best analogy I can think of is that it was like having my right hand tied.
  • We (Em, Linc and myself) moved in with Em's parent's for a couple months while Em was on bed rest and for the first couple weeks of the twins life.
  • Oh yeah and we had Twins! We welcomed Ezra and Hazel to the world on July 9th 2011.
  • We moved to Mass. I drove with my mother, father and brother Nick. While Emily and her Mom flew with Lincoln, Ezra and Hazel.
  • I started my MBA at Babson. It is a two year program, and I cannot believe I am nearly a quarter through it.
That is the shortened four bullet points of the last 6 months. I am going to try to post a bit more to give a bit more in depth picture of my fast moving life, but I will finish with some pictures. 

I have recently purchased a new phone. I went for a Samsung Galaxy s2, which I know sounds crazy since I am currently typing on my macbook pro and I thoroughly enjoy my Apple products, but I was able to get a much better discount on this phone and I like how well it works with all my google products i.e. Email, Calendar, Picasa, etc. And to get to the point I moved the pictures off my old phone and I am going to share some of my favorites, In no particular order - just the way that blogger decided. I do not have all the dates on these pictures, but if I am able to figure it out I will add the date to each.


Lincoln in his highchair

When Kaitlyn chopped her hair

An early picture of Linc modified and sent to my by my Mom

Very first picture of Linc in my phone. Taken on the day he was born by Lizzy Smith

My phone has a horrible shutter lag, so I took a lot of sleeping photos

This is a before Lincoln picture. Em and I walking through Anthony's in SLC

One of the few pictures of Lincoln with a binky

Mom just wants some more sleep

One of our favorite outfits. Ezra currently wears it.

When we were three, walking through Liberty Park

Mustache with cereal

When Katiebug got a new bedroom set

Couple free plants we picked up. Sadly they later died in our house.

Em at Anthropologie

I think this was when Em had her hair darker

Awesome day with Linc. We walked from our house and all around downtown.

We stuck him in this outfit when it just barely fit, he can almost wear it a year later.

Running in the grass

Our old stroller and Linc's making sure his golf bag is rolling too.

Just my personal shopping assistant


Helping to sort and place everything

Usually this is where Linc prefers to be at the grocery store

Linc used to love Roomba, and still recognized it even though we got rid of it when he was tiny

This was taken at the tiny (2 swings and a slide) park near our old apartment

Linc and I went here every day while I was unemployed

This was a cat we found along our way to the park


The cheesy smile

I believe he is yelling at me in the picture, but still adorable

Norwood Fire Dept had an open house. Linc would only sit in the driver seat.

Awesome pic Em once sent with the caption, "What happens when I take him to the park"

This is much more recent. Em send this when Lizzy visited us here on the east coast.

Lincoln on the balcony. He had strait hair?

This was at Discovery Gateway. Snapped by Em and sent to me.

Sleeping Linc

Yogurt beard

All ready to go!

Em sent this one. Both wearing their shades.

Trucks, trucks and trucks!

Drawing with chalk

Hanging out at the downtown SLC library

Em sent this one with the caption, "I leave the room for 1 minute"

Working on his modeling campaign

Em sent this to show off the new boots.

There is the post.
I will try to make another within the next 6 months.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unemployed

Well it happened. I honestly did not expect it to happen for a bit longer. I do not think there was much I could do to keep it from happening, and yet it still feels odd.

For the first time in my short life, I have been laid off.

Now before you start feeling bad for me, let me run down some of the perks.

I have been able to spend all day with my son, which includes taking a nice long nap today. I get to spend a lot of time with my beautiful wife during the last couple months of carrying our twins. I get to spend a lot of time with all of my family before moving across the country. I was given severance from my company, and I will be able to collect unemployment.

So the phrase some might use for this situation is "Blessing in disguise", but it really did not disguise itself very well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

IF

Below is one of my favorite poems for many reasons but one is that Emily can recite it from memory any time I ask.


IF
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Success?

Success:
–noun
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful  performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
Pulled from Dictionary.com

I like the first definition, it allows more flexibility. Favorable termination could mean a lot of things. When people think of a start-up company there are usually three possible outcomes - 1.The company grows quickly and gains revenues/profits and everyone is happy 2. company fails quickly and although you may not be rich, you were happy to learn from this experience 3. company just meanders along without growing or dieing and no one is happy. I would consider the first two outcomes a success. But if you use the 2nd definition of success (posted above) only growing quickly and attaining profits is a success.

The second definition of success discounts any action that does not result in wealth or honors. I think this definition of success leads people to appreciate their actions less than they should. I spent an afternoon  with my son just walking around the block and talking about the city around us. It was my favorite part of my day, and yet I did not achieve success in something measurable like wealth or position. If I use the first definition for success, I would say it was very favorable termination to that part of my day. Always remember that there are multiple definitions of success.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take action

I had a conversation with a lady the other day. She will remain anonymous.

She was talking to me about her plans to get into real estate management. I asked a simple question that started an hour long chat about starting a business. The question was, "Why do you want to work in real estate?" She stated that she had always been interested in real estate, but that she had no experience in the industry. She thought it would be a good way to make money, and I agreed, there is money to be made in real estate. But there is money to be made in almost any idea. What I wanted her to do and what we eventually moved the conversation around to, was finding what was her real goal. Was it that she really wanted to start a real estate business, or was it that she really wanted to work for herself and saw real estate as a possible path? We talked about what she enjoys doing. Turns out she just recently helped her friend organize her house and she had a good time doing that. She really did not think that was something people would pay for. Just a basic google search and I showed her how there were multiple business out there, that do exactly what she liked.

This lady I was talking to was in a troubled financial state. She was currently working with creditors to set up payment plans. I talked about how she can start experimenting with her future business, for FREE. Just like she helped the one friend organize her home, find one more friend or family member. Then another, after she shows that she can perform that job at a high level for free with friends, start charging. So maybe she still has to keep her day job for the time being, but she can can take steps toward her goals, with very little cost. And if she really wants to start working for herself, the only thing holding her back was herself and the first step of trying.

We returned the conversation to her real estate management idea. And I talked with her about why she first started talking to me. She came to me because she thought she needed 100k to start her real estate dreams. What we decided was that she did not need 100k right now. She needed to take action at a very low cost to help make the real decisions. She had no experience with real estate. She needed to try it out at a low cost. We discussed calling a real estate management company and asking to shadow their workplace on a weekend, or get a part-time job in that industry.

I do not know if our conversation changed her life. I do not know if she will go on to fame and glory in the organizing or real estate. But I hope she starts taking action on her dreams! I talk to a lot of burgeoning and established entrepreneurs daily. And I think a lot of them are sitting back waiting for a bank or an investor to step in and push them to the next level. I hope these entrepreneurs realize they have the potential, and it is time to step up and take action.