Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

October 30th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

As Amazon Moves In, Demand for Warehouse Space Climbs
“For the modest warehouse, this is a golden age.

Boxy, unadorned and often overlooked, these properties are suddenly in hot demand in many parts of the country, thanks in part to a rise in e-commerce as consumer shopping habits move online. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are snapping up space once reserved for makers of office furniture and home flooring.

For years now, consumers have been purchasing more products online. In the second quarter, e-commerce sales topped more than $111 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, or 8.9 percent of all retail sales, according to the Census Bureau. Industry forecasters expect e-commerce sales to continue growing.

Warehouses often reveal little about what goes on within their walls, but the buildings make possible the rapid delivery that consumers now expect from online retailers. They serve as storage and distribution points for products ranging from auto parts to pharmaceuticals. And warehouse jobs have grown rapidly since 2010, forming a critical part of the employment base in communities across the country.

As developers try to catch up, they are considering some unusual solutions, like constructing multistory warehouses and demolishing struggling malls to make way for sprawling industrial properties..” www.nytimes.com

All Management Is Change Management
“Leaders should view change not as an occasional disruptor but as the very essence of the management job. Setting tough goals, establishing processes to reach them, carrying out those processes and carefully learning from them — these steps should characterize the unending daily life of the organization at every level. More companies need to describe their work in terms of where they are trying to go in the next month or next quarter or next year.” www.hbr.org

Retail Apocalypse? The Sky Isn’t Falling — The Sector Is Just Evolving
“The reality is that stores close – it’s a part of this business. Consumer’s tastes have always fluctuated, but with the rise of the internet and social media, the rate of change has been expedited. As a result, brands and categories fall-out of favor much faster, which initiates the open/closure cycle more rapidly. There is no doubt that e-commerce penetration, especially in certain categories, has also contributed to this exacerbated pace of change – it’s just not the great “disruptor” that many would have you believe.” www.forbes.com

How Retailers Use Personalized Prices to Test What You’re Willing to Pay
“Whether personalized pricing catches on with web retailers is now up to consumers. Will shoppers be comfortable knowing that the prices they are offered may be higher than those presented to others? Will buyers relish “electronically bargaining” to outwit sellers? Retailers first “negotiate” with each customer by personalizing prices based on their profile. In response, savvy shoppers will “bargain” by checking prices on different devices, clearing caches, using the app, conducting multiple searches, asking friends in different cities to see what price they’re quoted, and so on. Or will they become fed up and steer clear of web retailers that price profile? Amazon is on the record as stating that all of its customers see the same prices — will other retailers be so clear-cut?

As the fate of electronic price profiling shakes out, one issue is clear: It is truly a caveat emptor environment for shoppers who use the web.” www.hbr.org

Why You Can Focus in a Coffee Shop but Not in Your Open Office
“So why do so many of us hate our open offices? The quiet chatter of colleagues and the gentle thrum of the HVAC should help us focus. The problem may be that, in our offices, we can’t stop ourselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while we’re trying to focus. Indeed, the EEG researchers found that face-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions negatively affect the creative process. By contrast, a coworking space or a coffee shop provides a certain level of ambient noise while also providing freedom from interruptions.

Taken together, the lesson here is that the ideal space for focused work is not about freedom from noise, but about freedom from interruption. Finding a space you can hide away in, regardless of how noisy it is, may be the best strategy for making sure you get the important work done.” www.hbr.org

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

8 Days Without Email

“Is email still a thing?”

That’s what a friendly and oh so innocent Millennial asked me recently. “Dude, you have no idea how much a thing it still is,” I said. “It’s the lifeblood of corporate America.” You can Tweet, Snap and Post your heart out, but until your boss retires and you take over the world, you’ll need to send her an email for most communication needs. “Bummer,” he muttered as he ambled off.

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email as a test in his Cambridge, Mass lab. My, how things have changed in the 46 years since. According to a Radicati Group study, executives can expect an average of 126 messages sent and received per business user per day by the end of 2019, with a total of over 2.9 billion people on planet earth using the email tool to communicate and set meetings.

I conducted an informal poll over lunch the past 6 months or so and found that most executives report receiving over 200 messages per day. So if we ditch the weekends, which no one does, then my friends are getting 50,000 messages a year over 50 working weeks. If it takes us an average of 1 minute per message, then we are spending 833 hours a year, or almost 40% of our working hours managing this beast.

It’s getting a little ridiculous out there. Despite barrels of digital ink being spilled on how to manage, keep up with and prune email, the stuff just keeps growing like electronic Kudzu.

Just Make It Stop!

A fishing village in the Cinque Terre portion of the Italy coast. The village is 1,000 years old. A few years before email was invented….

So, I did make it stop, for a brief respite anyway.

You see, Karen and I planned a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Italy, so I began to dream about unplugging from email. The last time I stopped the digital river of information was in 2012 when I took a backpacking trip in New Mexico with my son. I wrote about it in one of my most popular blogs called West Bound and Down | 12 Days without an iPhone. Given the clicks, I wasn’t the only person thinking about this issue.

But here’s the thing: if you know you are coming back to a huge backlog of messages, how do you relax? And maybe you will be tempted to peek early in the morning. I’ve heard stories of people getting up in the middle of the night on vacation or slipping off to the bathroom to have an illicit session of checking email. Ugh.

The Duomo in Florence taken from top of the bell tower

So I made a tough call. I was not going to ever read a single email sent to me while I was traveling on my vacation. All of them were going to hit the trash can with a punch of a few keys in a mass delete action. Bam!

I’m Really Out of the Office And On Vacation. For Real.

I penned my out of office with a guilty grin. Here it is:

“Thanks for your email. I am currently out of the country on vacation. Karen and I are in Italy celebrating 25 years of marriage, 4 kids and 1 very lazy dog. The kids and the dog are at home. We wish them luck.

I return to the office and real life on <date>. My plan is to mass delete all emails while I’m away, so kindly email me again after my return and I will return your message with a big smile on my face. I appreciate your  understanding and patience during this much needed downtime. So does Karen.

Pisa needed construction management!

If you need help now, then contact my teammate <name> who can get you taken care of.”

That’s it. And you know what, it worked!

Hey Karen, watch out for the wave behind you!

We spent 8 glorious days refreshing our relationship and exploring the big world out there. I got around 1,800 messages during my time away and I gleefully hit delete. There were about 4 issues that needed my immediate attention when I got back, but I missed all the emails on all the meetings, issues and problems that I couldn’t attend or attend to.

I clearly remember the relief of allowing myself to be present on our vacation AND not having to worry about digging out when I returned.

Vinyards near the ancient village of San Gimignano

Do I have a great team to back stop me and allow for this break to occur? Absolutely! Do I have understanding and cool clients? You bet! Am I so important that I need to be continuously connected and available at all times? Nope, not at all.

And unless you are in charge of national security for the United States or some other ridiculously high stress gig, you aren’t either. Heck, even firefighters and cops have days off from emergencies.

I Dare You

Today I attended the  funeral of a good friend, Scott Selig. Scott passed away at age 47 from an aggressive form of cancer. The loss of my friend has given me needed perspective and even more resolve on the email issue. As Scott himself said in a moving speech before he died, “put down the phone and enjoy life”.

I dare you to put up appropriate boundaries around your personal time.

Another view of the Cinque Terre. This village was founded by pirates 997 years ago. Ahoy matey!

I dare you to talk to your clients, colleagues and friends and explain that you need downtime too.

I dare you to confront your own addiction to this world of hyper responsiveness and over communication in which we live.

Be bold on this issue and your spouse, your family and ultimately your circle of friends and business colleagues will thank you. They will notice your new found focus and crisp response to issues because you have allowed yourself permission to rest.

Ray Tomlinson passed away a few years ago, but if he were still with us today, I bet you he’d give 2 thumbs up to email breaks. As Steven Covey said, even the best lumberjack has to sharpen his saw to be effective.

Time away is what intelligent executives use to freshen up, relax and reflect. In the times when you are getting away, email is toxic and will defeat the purpose. Be courageous and self confident in stopping the digital intrusion.

Do it. You won’t regret the digital break, I promise.

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles to Help You This Week

October 23rd, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

 

College Advice I Wish I’d Taken
“A’S ARE COOL AND COME WITH PERKS As a student, I saw myself as anti-establishment, and I hated tests; I barely maintained a B average. I thought only nerds spent weekends in the library studying. Recently I learned that my niece Dara, a sophomore at New York University with a 3.7 G.P.A. (and a boyfriend), was offered a week of travel in Buenos Aires as part of her honors seminar. I was retroactively envious to learn that a 3.5 G.P.A. or higher at many schools qualifies you for free trips, scholarships, grants, awards, private parties and top internships. At 20, I was too busy freaking out when said boyfriend disappeared (after sleeping with one of said friends). Students certainly don’t need to strive obsessively for perfection, but I should have prioritized grades, not guys.” www.nytimes.com

How Office Politics Corrupt the Search for High-Potential Employees
“Few topics have captivated talent management discussions more intensely than potential. The obsession with predicting who may be a future star or the next top leader has influenced academic research and human resources practices alike. But how good are we at evaluating human potential? The answer is, it’s mixed. On the one hand, science has given us robust tools and powerful theories to quantify the key indicators of future career success, job performance, and leadership effectiveness. On the other hand, in the real world of work, organizational practices lag behind, with 40% of designated “HiPos” — high-potential employees — not doing well in the future and at least one in two leaders disappointing, derailing, or failing to drive high levels of engagement and team performance.

The main reason underlying this bleak state of affairs is that HiPo nominations are contaminated by organizational politics. To be more precise, there are six dynamics that prevent organizations from identifying, promoting, and developing the right people for leadership roles…” www.hbr.org

For Electric Car Owners, ‘Range Anxiety’ Gives Way to ‘Charging Time Trauma’
“…there is another obstacle: charging time trauma. Compared with a five-minute pit stop at your local gas station, charging an electric vehicle is a glacially slow experience. Modern electric cars still often need an entire night to recharge at home, and even at a commercial fast charging station, a fill-up can take an hour or more.” www.nytimes.com

The Surprising Power of Online Experiments
“At a time when the web is vital to almost all businesses, rigorous online experiments should be standard operating procedure. If a company develops the software infrastructure and organizational skills to conduct them, it will be able to assess not only ideas for websites but also potential business models, strategies, products, services, and marketing campaigns—all relatively inexpensively. Controlled experiments can transform decision making into a scientific, evidence-driven process—rather than an intuitive reaction. Without them, many breakthroughs might never happen, and many bad ideas would be implemented, only to fail, wasting resources.” www.hbr.org

5 Mall Redevelopments Adapting To The Changing Retail Climate
“Between one-fifth and one-fourth of American shopping malls will close in the next five years, according to Credit Suisse. As more and more mall-based retailers struggle to stay relevant, many developers are thinking outside of big-box retailers to reinvent centers. Here are a few shopping malls that will be completely redeveloped.” www.forbes.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles to Help You This Week

October 16th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

 

A Survey of How 1,000 CEOs Spend Their Day Reveals What Makes Leaders Successful
“On average, about one-quarter of CEOs’ days are spent alone, including sending emails. Another 10% is spent on personal matters, and 8% is spent traveling. The remainder (56%) is spent with at least one other person, which mostly involves meetings, most of which are planned ahead of time. About one-third of the time CEOs spend with others is one-on-one; two-thirds is with more than one other person. (This data includes a CEO’s entire workday, not just time in the office.)

The most common departments for CEOs to meet with are production (35% of time spent with others), marketing (22%), and finance (17%). The most common meetings with outside functions are clients (10%) and suppliers (7%).” www.hbr.org

The Coming Software Apocalypse
“It’s been said that software is “eating the world.” More and more, critical systems that were once controlled mechanically, or by people, are coming to depend on code. This was perhaps never clearer than in the summer of 2015, when on a single day, United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system; trading was suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after an upgrade; the front page of The Wall Street Journal’s website crashed; and Seattle’s 911 system went down again, this time because a different router failed. The simultaneous failure of so many software systems smelled at first of a coordinated cyberattack. Almost more frightening was the realization, late in the day, that it was just a coincidence.” www.theatlantic.com

Ken Burns Talks About Leadership, Productivity and Achieving Immortality Through Storytelling
“Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns is responsible for such genre-defining and genre- defying documentary series as The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz, to name a few. As he and collaborator Lynn Novick prepare to debut their new 10-part documentary film series The Vietnam War on September 17 on PBS stations nationwide, we spoke with the tireless documentarian about leadership, productivity, managing gigantic projects and how to achieve immortality through storytelling.” www.entrepreneur.com

The Surprising Power of Online Experiments
“At a time when the web is vital to almost all businesses, rigorous online experiments should be standard operating procedure. If a company develops the software infrastructure and organizational skills to conduct them, it will be able to assess not only ideas for websites but also potential business models, strategies, products, services, and marketing campaigns—all relatively inexpensively. Controlled experiments can transform decision making into a scientific, evidence-driven process—rather than an intuitive reaction. Without them, many breakthroughs might never happen, and many bad ideas would be implemented, only to fail, wasting resources.” www.hbr.org

This Is What Happens When You Reply to Spam Email
Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal. www.ted.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles to Help You This Week

October 2nd, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

The Cozy, Overcrowded, Keg-Filled Future of Work
The United Nations projects that, by the year 2030, roughly 1 billion more people will be living in cities than do now. As of last year there were 31 cities with more than 10 million residents, and in about a decade, there will be 41.

These demographic trends are a source of fascination for urban planners and theorists around the world. Those who study what these shifts will mean view the coming era of urban mega-density with both excitement and fear. Others, however, see a clear business opportunity. Adam Neumann, the CEO of WeWork, a firm that rents out office space and apartments, puts it this way: “We don’t have enough room.”” www.theatlantic.com

Here’s How WeWork Pinpoints the Perfect Locations for Its Co-Working Spaces in Neighborhoods
“Workspace provider WeWork has skyrocketed to become the leader of its industry in a matter of just seven years. The company, which rents office and desk space to teams and individuals, has 218 office locations in 53 cities worldwide, and it’s not planning to slow down anytime soon. After a $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund earlier this year, WeWork reportedly is one of the top five most valuable startups, worth $20 billion.

To keep up with demand and ensure it continues along its growth trajectory, the company is quietly building a trove of data about how its members work in order to better serve them. But to attract those members, it first has to be strategic about where its offices are. Decisions come down to more than lease length and building aesthetic, because what lies directly outside a WeWork’s motivational-poster-adorned walls is just as important as the walls themselves. WeWork members inherently value flexibility and options — after all, they choose to rent space tailored to their needs rather than commit to a lease of their own. They want certain types of amenities in close proximity — from coffee shops where they can take clients for meetings to fitness studios where they can blow off steam during their lunch break.” www.entrepreneur.com

Work and the Loneliness Epidemic
“There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.” www.hbr.org

How Grunt Work Can Benefit Millennials In The Long Run
“If you have aspirations to lead a team, be responsible for other employees or grow into a C suite position, then it pays to develop the ability to relate to people in order to effectively manage them. One of the best ways to relate to people is to have empathy. And that comes from knowing the context of the hurdles they face and having first hand knowledge of what they are working on. This provides insight into their pain points and the techniques needed to solve them.

In fact, some of the most innovative leaders and best technical managers are the ones that still carve time out of their day to tinker. And while is it true that they may not have the time to engage in in a full coding set or build something complex from scratch, they still understand the language enough to know what they are looking for when they critique others’ work.” www.forbes.com

What You’re Truly Saying With Your Out-of-Office Reply
Even better: If you want to truly unplug, own it and don’t apologize. And you should unplug! Studies have shown unplugging can improve your job performance and overall life satisfaction.

Mallory Ortberg, former editor of the beloved but now defunct website The Toast and current Dear Prudence columnist, went this route:

“I am currently on vacation and not accepting any emails about anything,” Ms. Ortberg wrote in one out-of-office autoreply, as Ms. Gould reported in her story. “I’m not planning on reading any old emails when I get back, either, because that feels antithetical to the vacation experience.”

What do you usually write in your out-of-office messages? Tell me at tim@nytimes.com or on Twitter at @timherrera.

Have a great week (or vacation)!”  www.nytimes.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken