This week has been about “thinking differently” when confronted with long-standing challenges such as those in housing and answering well to obstacles and resistance to innovation. Perhaps that’s how I came to pair the quotes that appeared throughout the week with the articles I was considering for this week’s Cup of Joe.
Look for innovation in housing, racial equity in housing and Stoicism in practice.
In an interview with Tim Ferris, the co-founder of Netflix, Marc Randolph said, “There are no good ideas. All ideas are bad ideas.”
No matter how “good” you believe your idea, it’s not known until its put into the world. Attempting the idea will tell you whether or not it’s a good idea.
Homeownership has always, always been considered a “good idea.” But anyone who owns a home will tell you, it may or may not be a good idea, only time will tell.
The Wall Street Journal published a story yesterday about people who bought a home during the pandemic and quickly regretted it. Homeownership, especially right away, is not immediately easy though. It’s hard and expensive. Homeownership is about wealth creation and economic advancement — we know this — which is why we’re working so hard on closing the homeownership gap in America. The reason to buy a home though is bigger than home appreciation over 10, 20, 30 years. It’s emotional. It’s place-making. It’s about creating a life and a story in a community…no matter how long you plan to live here.
The next quote was from Jeff Bezos. “If you absolutely can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting.”
Any innovator or visionary would agree. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge intends to disrupt long-standing notions of HUD and access to housing. She’s already proven she has critics. She was accused of wanting an “activist HUD” during her confirmation process. Whether or not you agree, her experience and vision deserves consideration. Whether it is “good idea” goes back to the first quote, we have to wait and see the way it comes into the world. The proof will be in the data and in the execution of her ideas. At this moment, though, it can be a healthy challenge to how things have always been done.
Question to Elon Musk on Clubhouse: “What words of encouragement do you have for entrepreneurs?”
Musk: “If you need words of encouragement, don’t become an entrepreneur.”
Great response from someone who would know. I’ll be thinking a lot about this quote in my own career, but that’s not how I want to use it today (maybe next week it will be about me). Today, I’m thinking about it in the context of the #NextBelt. Since embracing Detroit and calling it home, I’ve said that I think the Midwest offers a ton of advantages to Millennials and Gen Z. Character. History. Authenticity. Opportunity. Homeownership is attainable. Modern transportation and digital tools mean that starting a company or working from anywhere is more possible than every before. Canada nearby is an underrated benefit. I could go on and on.
During 2020, many homebuyers seem to agree. According to Housingwire, Detroit saw an 11.3% rise in urban home values, and St. Louis reported growth of 11.6%. Milwaukee had 12.1% growth. Two major Ohio cities saw growth of more than 15% — Cincinnati, at 15.5%; and Cleveland, at 16.5%. Columbus, Ohio, was right behind, at 14.5% growth in urban home values.
To use Musk’s advice, in a different context, don’t expect words of encouragement. Other than from me, you may not find them. But if you are looking to create a life and participate in a community where work ethic, creativity, hustle and diversity mix — come to the #NextBelt.
From Farnam Street, 12 Life Lessons from MIT Professor Gian-Carlo Rota. Rota says, “Every lecture should state one main point and repeat it over and over, like a theme with variations. An audience is like a herd of cows, moving slowly in the direction they are being driven towards.” — Gian-Carlo Rota
One of the main points that I’m working to slowly move the housing finance industry is modular housing. I’ve been working with connect homes on main of the themes and ideas articulated in this CNBC video. The video is 10 mins but will give you a great summary of a similar manufacturing process through a company called Factory_OS. The idea is the same — productize the home. Bring standards, efficiency, and scale to access to housing & homeownership. Long term this process could completely change concepts of homeownership. Short term it is simply about supply. We’re 7–8 million housing units short which his a multi-trillion dollar shortage. We have to start somewhere.
From the Desk of Ryan Holiday: In one of the notes Marcus writes to himself in Meditations, he captures the struggle perfectly. “Fight to be the person philosophy tried to make you,” he writes. Lately, I’ve taken to signing books with my own spin on it and I have the same thing written on a notecard on my desk: “Fight to be the person philosophy wants you to be.”
We could add the Four Stoic Virtues to that list too:
That’s who philosophy wants us to be. That’s who we want to be — who we know we’re supposed to be. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is living up to those epithets. Epictetus, one of Marcus’ favorite philosophers, said, “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
How do you do that?
This could also apply to your spiritual walk or your religious practice just as easily. How do you approach it?
Closing thought: I write often about “answer well” and what it means to approach each day with the mindset to respect the question and add value. My best friend Adam proposed a related thought to create the context to “listen well.” Encourage and help everyone to embrace or even seek out ideas or sources that challenge their worldview. A proactive approach to listen well to be better able to answer well.
Continued success and continue to answer well,