Saturday Cup of Joe from Detroit on Sunday


250 weeks in Detroit. Since it’s a round number, it sorta feels like a milestone. Not sure why, but that’s how we think, I suppose. So, I went back to the first week. “A companion to your coffee” has evolved but in many ways, it’s about ideas, innovation and small ways to improve our decision-making. All still there in this week’s


  • Innovation in Detroit and Kansas City. Even then as Legal Counsel, the seeds were evident.
  • “Impact drives results which lead to value.”
  • Little hinges swing big doors.

This week’s YouTube video of the Sunday Cup of Tea:

Example of a small article that get’s me thinking and would appear in Week 1 or Week 250, as it does today, is 10 words or phrases to stop saying in 2021.

What 3 caught my attention?

Might, Pretty, “I think.”

Makes sense that introducing a lack of certainty into everything you say with “might” or “pretty sure, pretty good, etc.” and / or “ I think…” does not ring of leadership or confidence.

Specifically, I liked the tip when writing an email, simply remove “I think” from the sentence and the rest of the sentence should present the idea the way you intend.

Follow @detroit.history on Instagram for more like this

Today, February 21, is the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. Spike Lee made the movie Malcolm X based on I watched Malcolm X this weekend. Until this week, I had not directly addressed Black History Month but many of the themes of racial equality and racial justice in housing and/or the economy are addressed in Malcolm X.

One of the things that has been true over the last 250 weeks of Cup of Joe has been to try to get ideas from many different sources. I think Malcolm X is a great example of asking important questions and making

2021 is going to be a year of transition. There will be the transition from closed to open(ing). There will be transitions from required work from home to new policies establishing the longer term work from home environment. There will be economic and policy changes needed to address the recovery and vaccine and “new” economy.

published the article “What’s Stopping First-Time Home Buyers?” late last week. Highlighting the recent NerdWallet research on first-time home buyers:

Source: NYTimes

Top 3 reasons, as you can see, are down payment, FICO score and pandemic uncertainty. Almost 1/3 citing uncertainty is significant.

Overall, though, this market is tough for first-time home buyers. Cash offers. Investors. Institutional buyers. Lack of available homes.

This is all before you get to broader systemic issues that affect communities of color and underserved cities nationwide.

National Association of Realtors (NAR) published their Homeownership data this week as well. Homeownership rates by race continue to be an area of focus for me and my work. Beyond, though, there’s some interesting data on broader data sets. For example, in Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota there was not a single black home buyer in 2019.

Here’s the top level chart for homeownership by race:

Source: NAR

How does 2020 create opportunity to test long-held assumptions about our ideas? Though I am a sports-fan, I try to avoid sports-analogies or too many sports-dependent metaphors. This week, though I found one relevant to our businesses and a great example of how 2020 provided new insights for an industry. Researchers and journalists study home field advantage. We sense it is real but 2020 provided a greater opportunity to experiment than ever.

In football, there were home games with no fans followed by home games with some fans.

In baseball, there were home games and no fans followed by neutral playoffs with no fans.

In hockey, there were neutral ice games with home team advantages but no fans.

In basketball, there were neutral games all at the same venue with no fans.

Here’s some more on published in September on home field advantage if this is of interest.

2020 does not offer the same opportunities to evaluate housing innovation. We did a little during the pandemic with virtual tours and virtual closings. We’ve moved ahead on appraisal modernization.

However, there’s so much more we can understand — home field advantage or new innovations.

One way I tried to tie home field advantage into housing was literal — underwriting members of the community in new ways if they are current renters buying in their own community. In other words, how can we give renters a home field advantage by underwriting rental payments and ties to the community where they are buying?

Another way to look at it is more broad. Using the changes in 2020 and 2021 to better understand old beliefs or old notions. Back to my comment on Malcolm X, which is about understanding or reinterpreting ideas or history. The goal is to better understand today through our history and better determine our own thoughts and values.

Source Twitter

One interesting innovation in affordable housing could be to pair housing with other valued additions to the building. Meaning, find hidden or additional value in the construction, structure or layout of how we build housing. Mixed-use building was retail on street-level and residential housing on the floors above. Here, profiled Vertical Harvest with an urban farm built into the housing.

Quote: “Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.” — Epictetus

Bonus Content: Photo exhibit of one of Detroit’s most historic and revered high schools — Cass Technical High School. Thank you, Momma D, for finding this and passing it along.

Continued success and continue to answer well,

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

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