Saturday Cup of Joe from Detroit


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Source: Pure Detroit on Instagram.

Week 240 in Detroit. The most you can hope for in a given week is bringing all your skills and experience to bear…and proceeding. This week we were conducting interviews for our Summer interns. An amazing group of young people from across the country. I thoroughly enjoyed each meeting. In one interview I was asked “what do you love about your job?” A good question. I remember being on the other side of the interview. Answering what I was looking for in a job or a career, I settled on a go-to response, “I want to have to bring all my skills and experience to bear every day.” Gag.

What a pretentious, naïve answer.

So it goes with the privilege to overthink everything.

At the same time, this week was a genuine test. One of the highlights of my year has been developing a strategic partnership with one of the most innovative companies ever and a team of people that I really enjoy working with each day. That partnership is in the final stages of evaluation and soon to be finalized! Yet, the partnership process was not without the time, effort, energy and strategy that felt, at times, twice as hard as the work we’d be doing in the partnership itself. It will be worth it.

Similarly, my team is taking on big challenges and tackling big obstacles. The time required to empower their execution is significant.

It will be worth it.

So I did end up needing to rely on my skills, experience and patience this week.

What are you working on this week and how do you know it’s worth it?

Fight on and good luck!

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Source: @rawdetroit on Instgram

Innovation: Detroit Foundation Hotel turned the empty hotel rooms into private dining suites. In a creative, elegant solution to the pandemic’s restriction, the Detroit Foundation Hotel a renovated firehouse in downtown Detroit opened the unused hotel rooms into safe, private dining rooms. Simple, easy to understand, easy to execute and, while not as lucrative (I’m guessing) as full dining service, it should be encouraged and supported as a thoughtful way to continue to operate in the midst of the worst year for restaurants in our country’s history.

Source: @detroit.history on Instagram

The Hustle is a tech and entrepreneurial newsletter. As The Hustle looks to identify and grow its niche, the concept of fundraising came up. I was fascinated to learn how founders of The Hustle responded. Inspired by the Founder of Sam Adam’s who offered shares to “regulars” in Boston prior to the public offering, The Hustle reached out to readers to raise capital to continue to grow.

The trial went so well, the campaign was complete in less than a week and the company found itself turning away larger offers.

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Source: The Hustle email newsletter. Sign up for tech and innovation news.

This is not just a great story — it’s potentially the future of both content and fundraising as products & services become increasingly targeted. I wrote last week about finding a niche audience and growing from there. Authors try it. Banks are trying it. I am thinking more and more about it.

The Hustle is proving that people pay for value and allowing customers to share in the success of the company is a potential innovation that could redefine value.

For instance, Chef David Chang said recently the best thing you can do to support your favorite restaurant right now is to choose to spend as much money as you can afford on them over the next few months. Ordering food or buying gift cards for the future is not just about convenience and enjoyment but a real commitment to those in your community. So find that independently owned restaurant you love and show them the love over these next, hardest few months.

Perhaps like, The Hustle, restaurants can be sourcing investment or opportunities from their communities. One of my favorites is Marrow, a butcher shop and restaurant in Detroit. We ordered our Thanksgiving kit through Marrow and are currently slow cooking a pork shoulder for later today. I would participate in a yearly subscription, ownership or other opportunity in Marrow, just like The Hustle readers.

What other innovations or niche sourcing opportunities expand economic opportunity or allow customers to participate in the success of their favorite independent or small businesses?

This week the Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook for antitrust violations. What am I missing here?

Today, Rob Chrisman posted recent data in his daily commentary that identified the net worth of the households defined as “poor” to be -$290 billion. In other words, if the country was split into three segments, the lower class in economic terms owes $300 B to the other two classes, effectively.

Here’s the data:

“From 2013 to 2016 the rich get richer. Total wealth increased very sharply, by $20 trillion, between 2013 and 2016, up 31 percent mostly due to price increases for stocks and for homes. The study found that of the $20 trillion total wealth increase between 2013 and 2016, the rich received $16.9 trillion (85%), middle-wealth households received $3.2 trillion (15%), and the poor were $100 billion closer to having their assets equal to their debts. And as of the 2016 survey, the rich had $67.0 trillion in total net wealth, the middle-wealth households had $20.2 trillion, and the poor were still in the hole with net wealth equal to -$290 billion.”

What’s interesting is that renters now owe $70B in rent according to a Bloomberg article this week.

Almost 25% of the overall debt of the poorest Americans just a few years ago.

It’s almost as if the problem is so big that it’s not getting enough attention. Obviously it’s a main thrust of the debate around the next round of COVID-19 response funding, often referred to as HEROS Act, I think. At the same time, the size of the problem seems understated during those debates.

What’s more is that much of that rent is owed to individual property owners who themselves owe mortgage payments or, in some cases, have not made those mortgage payments either.

This will be what we’re talking about in March, if it’s not addressed in the next 30–60 days.

More from Ryan Holiday:

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Follow Ryan Holiday for daily insights, challenges and leadership lessons

Here are the questions I reflected on this week. What are you thinking about as 2020 comes to a close?

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Source: Ryan Holiday on Instagram
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Source: Ryan Holiday on Instagram

Answer well to the questions at hand.

One way I’ve determined to Answer Well over the years has been to regularly ask questions. It has lead to some late nights and tired mornings, but it has always been worth it.

Earlier I asked whether the frustrations and obstacles of the week will be worth it. The way I know is to reflect both in the moment on my answers but also looking back to ensuring I remain on the right track.

Answer well this week.


“It is not how much one earns, it is how much one keeps.” — Rob Chrisman

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Happy Holidays from Detroit. Source: @metro.detroiter on Instagram

Continued success and continue to answer well,

Written by

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

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