Week 223 in Detroit.
As foreshadowed last week, I had a few days off at the beginning of the week. One of those days was Monday.
Monday was my wife and my wedding anniversary. 13 years. Lucky 13.
Meredith and I met in college. She came looking for her roommate in my dorm room wearing a Red Sox hat. Her roommate wasn’t there but we hit it off. Dated not that long after and throughout college. Every friend group in college has the couples that everyone thinks will last and the ones that actually last. We were one of those that lasted.
Meredith was a year ahead of me and worked for the school as an admissions officer in a position held for recent graduates. It allowed us to stay together while I completed my senior year. After school, Meredith got into graduate school in New Hampshire and I worked in DC. It was long distance. Southwest was flying BWI-MHT for under $100 roundtrip. Sometimes $39 one-way, $49 one-way and eventually $79 one-way, we flew back and forth.
We were engaged a few months before Meredith started a job at a boarding school in Connecticut. Once we got married, I moved to Connecticut and we lived on campus with the students for 6 years. We had our daughter while living in the dorms. She came home from the hospital to share our 1 bedroom. It was so much fun. The kids were great and the neighbors, our friends, became like family. It was my career that moved us closer to Avon, CT where I had been commuting about an hour or more each way. We bought our first house — a pond and a couple of black bears and endless repairs — from our friend’s mother. It was the best-worst decision.
Meredith has put up with another move since then — this one to Detroit — when I joined Quicken Loans. She’s made each place we’ve lived amazing. Creating a home instantly. Through all that time, she has been willing to see the potential in our places and each other. She puts up with a lot. She celebrates and forgives and supports our family. She creates life, our life, together. Thank you, Meredith. Your patience, understanding and loving mindset makes it possible. I love you. Happy Anniversary. (Your present is forthcoming, honest).
This is a message of hope — hope that race will not limit opportunity in the future and hope that comes with homeownership. I’m excited this is being passed around cause it was obviously made with research and care.
I worry a bit that issuing it anonymously suggests it’s still controversial to share a belief that historical discrimination is real and has lasting impact on the economic and homeownership opportunities of black Americans. There may be controversy in debating remedies or policies, we’ll continue to cross those bridges as we come to them, but the video sends a strong message of what it must feel like to be unable to access opportunities.
We are innovators and problem solvers and entrepreneurs, it’s what we do best. Let’s keep working and talking about solving big complex issues that keep eligible homeowners from obtaining a home and/or working with us. This is a real moment to create opportunity so that homeownership is available in many different sizes and shapes for everyone who is ready.
I wrote recently about the future of innovation in banking. Transition from reactive to proactive. Proactive problem-solving. Instead of trying to make client-initiated services as smooth or easy to accomplish as possible, banks should seek ways to solve the work, the jobs that the clients need to be done. Clayton Christensen’s jobs-to-be-done is a strategy for disruptive innovation and a way to better understand client expectations and partner expectations. As customers we often do not innovative. We take on the way-its-been-done thinking and adapt.
For instance, people still believe bank branches will play a role in the future of banking.
Future of banking is proactive. Branches are not proactive. If our companies are thinking through the client’s “work” not in order to make the process smoother but to eliminate the need for a process by solving the job before any process is needed at all.
Banks remain the most trusted entity for this type of problem-solving. Disruption or innovation still has not altered consumer perception of who is best positioned to assist consumers:
Tech companies are good at solutions. Financial institutions are not. Banks are good at outcomes / returns. The more tech can get into banking, more consumers will discover solution-oriented options. Apparently, though, the Apples and Amazons getting into banking is not as expected by consumers (even though every bank seems to fear it).
Banks fear the speed and proactive problem solving of tech.
For example, making a mortgage as easy as possible overlooks that clients do not want a mortgage, clients want a home. Clients want a lower monthly payment. Clients want extra money to use on other things — education, vacation, etc. Working on mortgage tasks solves for mortgage. Working on tasks needed to get a home engineers solutions from the client’s perspective.
How does your team evaluate clients’ work? What does your company do to innovate? What does the future look like?
Be proactive on the future.
Are you a believer?
Reading on the existence of UFOs introduced me to a new word “non-zero” as in “The best anyone can say is that there’s a non-zero chance that some of these UFOs were made by non-human hands, and that…is reason enough to talk about them. But it’s barely cracked the news cycle. Even in a pandemic, you’d think we’d have a little time for UFO talk.”
Non-zero chance that non-humans exist. What does that mean? It means no one knows for sure but no one will say no either.
Quote: “Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.” — Albert Camus
Bonus Content: Seth Godin asks “What do you own?”
Continued success and continue to answer well,