Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

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.

1. The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees

Peter Stark/Getty Images

Peter Stark/Getty Images

We all know that customers are central to the fate of businesses. It’s captured in the maxim, coined by department store tycoons of the early 20th century, “The customer is always right.” Jeff Bezos, one of today’s most iconic businessmen, has laid Amazon’s incredible success at the feet of its obsession with customers, saying “You can be competitor-focused, you can be product-focused, you can be technology-focused, you can be business-model-focused… But in my view, obsessive customer-focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.”

As company leaders strive to put customers first, our latest research offers new insights into how that might be achieved: through engaged and happy employees.

Glassdoor knows a lot about employee experience. Studying our database of millions of insights about jobs, salaries, company ratings and reviews, we’ve quantified the impact of worker satisfaction on retentiontalent attractionstock performance, and more.

2. Why You Should Stop Paying For Gas With Your Debit Card

Getty Images

Getty Images

Another week, another data breach. The latest happened at Hy-Vee, an Iowa-based chain of gas pumps, coffee shops and restaurants operating throughout the Midwest. 

Consequently, about 5.3 million stolen credit and debit cards from 35 U.S. states have hit the black market. "One of the more popular underground stores peddling credit and debit card data stolen from hacked merchants announced a blockbuster new sale, reported cyber security investigative blogger Brian Krebs.

Over half of Americans (51%) primarily use debit cards to pay for gas at the pump, according to a recent study from GasBuddy,com. It's reasonable to estimate, then, that more than 2.65 million cards compromised in the Hy-Vee breach were debit cards.

In the GasBuddy study, respondents said the main reason they use debit cards at the pump is that it's so darn easy. Debit cards have no interest rates or fees. When you use your debit card, you’re authorizing your bank to give you immediate access the money in your account. You swipe your card, type in your PIN and the funds shoot out of your account immediately, like electronic cash.

3. The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

When it comes to the economic status of cities, there is no shortage of conflicting messages—and conflicting facts. On the one hand, we hear about the dominance of superstar cities and tech hubs in the  competition for talented workers, high-end knowledge jobs, and high-tech startups. On the other hand, Sunbelt cities continue to lead in the growth of population and jobs in general.

The reality is that most studies that purport to talk about cities are really talking about the performance of broader metropolitan areas, which are made of up core or principal cities and their surrounding suburbs and exurbs. Looking at cities by themselves is important and useful for several reasons.

For one, there is lots of talk these days about urban revitalization, the comeback of cities, and urban gentrification. But all of this is likely very uneven across U.S. cities, shaped by the same winner-take-all pattern that we see for metro areas. Some cities have bounced back and are experiencing growth in population and jobs, and in key dimensions of talent like college graduates and the creative class. But others continue to struggle and lose ground, whether to other cities or their own suburbs.

4. Yield Curve Inversion Might Be a Good Thing for CRE Investors

data and skyline-ts-500398938-1540_4.jpg

The yield curve inversion can help borrowers in the commercial real estate industry, some industry sources say.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped below the 2-year rate for a brief period on August 14 for the first time since 2007, causing fears of a looming recession. As of this morning, the yield on the 2-year Treasury was at 1.6 percent vs. a yield of approximately 1.59 percent on the 10-year notes. Yield curve inversions typically precede a recession by five to 18 months.

But continued economic growth and a healthy debt market are dividing real estate professionals and economists on if a recession is imminent, and whether the yield curve has grown unreliable as a forecasting tool.

5. Opportunity Zones: A Macro-Level Yet Still Hyperlocal Approach

Joshua Burroughs

Joshua Burroughs

Opportunity Zones are the newest pitch in real estate. But what opportunities and tax incentives can opportunity zones offer the investors?

No longer do investors have to decide whether they’re in the opportunity zone game to maximize social impact or financial return because they accomplish both by asking themselves these crucial questions: Do they want to invest in an established neighborhood or one with a likely chance of appreciating down the line? Do they want to invest in projects already off the ground, or help build from scratch? And, of course, what is the timing of their tax obligations?

The answers depend on the investment and the investor.  One option that can do both – help community and investors – is a ground-up, hyperlocal approach that takes a macro view of a given opportunity zone. In this case, the focus should be on a diverse, multi-use set of developments rather than a one-off real estate buy.

Although a one-off investment in a residential development in San Jose would certainly make an impact, lasting social change takes a more comprehensive approach.

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