Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter from Detroit

Saturday Cup of Joe #116.

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Detroit’s Riverfront

Friends & Colleagues,

Week 116. Saturday Cup of Joe from Detroit. This week included a trip to DC and presentations to the House of Representatives staff and House Financial Services Committee staff. I enjoyed being able to give the “boots on the ground” perspective for the issues facing our industry. My schedule is heating up and there is some travel in the future. I have some strategic planning for my team early next week. A panel in Boston and meetings in DC. After that I’m blessed to have 4 days with my extended family in Ocean City, NJ. We are really looking forward to having my brother and his family with my parents and our family at the beach.

In the meantime, I’ll be at the Big House tomorrow for Man U v. Liverpool. Exhibition game but it should be fun. I’ve been looking forward to it.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “street versus elite” concept that I wrote about last week. How to be gritty and tough while presenting a professional and exceptional service. It’s a daily reminder of what I need to do. Here’s how I think about it — always be looking ahead, working ahead, thinking ahead but never forget to move the needle. Street & Elite. Grind & Elevate. Clouds & Dirt. Never forgetting the speed of the game has changed.

Have a great weekend and a productive week.

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Above the Treasury, Washington D.C., USA

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Homeownership: 68% of millennials are having ‘buyer’s remorse’ according to a new survey by The Bank of the West. About 40% of millennials also believe they made a “poor financial choice” in buying their home. Check out this quote: “When you’re a homeowner, you can’t call your landlord to fix things, so you want to make sure you have a little extra cash in the bank,” [resident millennial] says.

Amazing right?

Whether it’s not the right fit or pressure to pick a place, the millennials that are finding a place are not finding one they are happy with. One question that interests me — is this the result of unreasonable standards or unreasonable expectations?

It matters less as a commentary on millennials and more as a decision point — what are you going to do about it? How will these trends change your marketing or your products?

What’s next?

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Architecture photography. Cool, huh?

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Quick look: Look at 30 years old — then and now.

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If the title — “The Man Who Captures Criminals for the DEA by Playing Them” — doesn’t get you, this line should: “A raconteur with a sharp memory who tells unlikely narratives that prove to be true, he frequently interrupts others, offering profuse apologies while doing so, and takes charge of conversations with the utmost graciousness.”

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On wealth: Here is Robb Report’s list of the 10 most expensive properties in the world. Some come with land with the ranch in Hawai’i that comes with 35% of the acreage on the island. Some come with history like Pierre Cardin’s home in France. Some come with exclusivity like the penthouse of a brand new building in Monaco. Here’s the list.

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Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

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On decision-making: If you’ve ever been in the room with a next level CEO, you’ve seen three dimension chess in action…if three dimensional chess was a billionaire dollar business. CEOs need second and third level thinking. Second level thinking asks what is the result of the result of the decision I am about to make? Farnam Street defines it this way: “First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it (a bad sign for anything involving an attempt at superiority). All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted.”

A second level analysis looks at variables, leverage and what the world will look like because of this decision (not just after this decision).

One challenge with second level thinking is where you stop — third level, nth level? — it can get crazy. This week do not go down the conspiratorial rabbit hole but try to take your key decisions to the next level. Consider more context. Account for more variables. See if your decisions improve.

Farnam Street. Check it out.

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Drone photography. Cool, huh?

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On media training: Here is a quick cheat sheet for advice on communicating effectively outside your team or outside your company.

What not to do:

1. Fake it. Ok for the pitch meeting is not ok in an interview. Don’t try too hard to know the answer.

2. Oversharing. The attention is great but don’t get too excited about your authentic self. Play it close to the vest.

3. Avoid the answer. Be direct. Avoid the negative.

4. Forget your team is number one. Your audience is always your company.

What to do:

1. Know your message.

2. Deliver your message.

3. Put a period on it.

4. Prepare.

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Detroit, MI, USA.

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Why hasn’t Best Buy gone out of business? Circuit City, Borders, Tweeter. All gone. Best Buy remains. Bloomberg profiled the company and the CEO in order to understand what happened in consumer electronics retail. What’s interesting is how Best Buy reacts to Amazon and how the company culture changed outcomes. How is your company culture addressing outcome?

Another valuable lesson was how the CEO set up a “strategic growth office” and approached Best Buy’s shift from products to service. The office was “a safe space for ideas” and operated this new business (the service business) on 3 rules.

1. No job is too small

2. Our service will be free

3. Be comfortable not closing a deal by day’s end (i.e. it might take longer to win the business)

Concierge service. Lifestyle consultant. How are you thinking about your business as a service business? How can you be more proactive in your market? In your ideal client demo? It might not work for your organization but this article was a good reminder to rethink how I approach my business.

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Have you noticed how “kinda” and “sorta” have sneaked into every conversation, every presentation? What are we all hedging? Why can’t we speak with a sorta confidence? A kinda certainty? There’s a certain tone that accompanies the “kinda — sorta” communication that implies “I’m just throwing this out there for you but don’t hold me to it.” Listen for it next week. Then, expunge it from your vocabulary. Speak with clarity and certainty.

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Fact or fiction: How do you feel about the term “fake news?” Have you found yourself using it about other things in your life like being disappointed when McDonald’s soft serve ice cream machine is broken? Or the kitchen at your favorite bar closed 5 minutes before you arrived? “Fake news.” It’s one of those terms that regardless of your politics has seeped into common culture.

Now an entire subculture exists, online, simply to fact check each other. I bring it up not because of the social media content problem but what it might tell us about cultural trends. For instance, the Ringer writes, “While fact-checking organizations originally sprang up as attempted antidotes to political misinformation and hoaxes, their role has ballooned into ad hoc and woefully incomplete corrections departments for the digital world.” (emphasis is mine). We don’t have time to read the fact-checker’s review of the original thing. Even when we do, it’s in conflict with the other fact-checker. Also, what happens when the fact-checker is publishing to the same social media site that contains the misinformation in the first place? Who to believe?

As you think about your business and your organization, how are you going to connect and communicate with your clients? What can you do to cut through the trends and the noise to be a timeless provider of goods or service to your core constituency?

Whether or not you realize it, your business has been effected by misinformation, trends and assumptions. Misinformation requires individuals and companies to raise the standard for how you communicate and what you believe. Good luck!

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Apparently you are supposed to set aside time for decision-making! Who has time for that?

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Ottava Via, Corktown, Detroit, USA.

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Something to think about: Early on in my Saturday Cup of Joe experiment I wrote about Universal Basic Income (UBI). The idea that someday the US government may be sending monthly income to folks that do not have to work to receive it and otherwise qualify based on their situation. The income is exactly that — an allowance — that maintains living expenses and ensures cost savings (theoretically) on the other social services the person would otherwise be accessing. In fact as the economy grows but job opportunities shrink, this might be coming faster than anticipated. I raise it here to simply provide an article that discusses the issue. You may have an immediate or strong reaction to the idea but I encourage you to consider all the angles and think about the future of work. This is a good test of how you feel about certain aspects of the social contract. Does a government for the people by the people inevitably result in supporting the people?

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Answer well: What if there was never a “right” decision but only a “less wrong” decision? We obsess over being right when we should be obsessed with deciding and then reacting to the choice. Take this perspective from a blog post on Raptitude.com:

“Yet we still approach many of our dilemmas as though there is, somewhere out there, a right course of action, and we desperately need to identify it. Perhaps we’ll only find out what it is the hard way, but the right choice will reveal itself one way or another.”

So, if there’s no “right choice,” what does that mean? That means you can let yourself off the hook for this unrealistic pressure to choose. Instead of worrying so much about A or B, simply go with the option that makes the most sense or feels right and just react accordingly. That’s life.

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On books: For anyone that still loves a book, the real thing, hardcover, binding, all that, here’s a wonderful article by Atlas Obscura about handwritten notes found in used books.

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Curate versus create. I was listening to a podcast once where an entrepreneur was saying the biggest decision for any ambitious person is founder or CEO. I understand the curate versus create question to be the CEO versus founder question. Will you curate or create? Both are paths to success. It’s a matter of strengths not of superiority.

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Today’s thought: Structure.

Prioritize →Move the Ball →Discipline.

Inspire throughout.

Repeat.

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Quote: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” — Zora Neale Hurston

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Color in the neighborhood.

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Bonus Content: The most common job in each state mapped.

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Continued success and continue to answer well,

Written by

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well.

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