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.
At last year's CoreNet Global Conference in Boston , CoreNet chairman and Ernst & Young's Americas leader David Kamen remarked that corporate real estate spaces are now being designed to suit the generation of Americans that are currently in high school.
It makes sense—considering the fact that landlords are demanding longer lease commitments that commonly stretch from 10 to 15 years. And as office styles change regularly, corporate real estate professionals are wondering which trends are here to stay.
According to market research, the group most likely to influence the next evolution of office design is Gen Z. The youngest members of that group are currently sophomores in high school, and the oldest are 23 years old. They look at the world very differently from millennials.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint the moment it all went wrong. Or maybe that’s too extreme—the moment it all got crazy. And I keep coming back to the term “24/7.”
It was the year I graduated from high school, 1983. That same year, according to the Oxford dictionary, Jerry Reynolds, a basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks, coined the term “24/7” describing his dunk shot that he claimed he could make 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anytime, any day. Whatever the merits of this claim, his phrase was a slam dunk—it caught on instantly.
About 10 years later Primo Orpilla and I had just started our interior design practice Studio O+A, and one of our earliest technology clients, a young highly motivated CEO, wanted to get more out of his employees. To that end, he asked us to design an office that would encourage staff to stay longer and get more work done.
Besides creating a cafeteria that could accommodate serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner (the first time we had heard of three squares as an office perk), we incorporated a number of spaces to make the office more comfortable for a long-term stay. This may have been the beginning of the 24/7 office. It was certainly the moment when amenity spaces took off.
Fast forward another decade. Open offices are in full swing, and so are their critics. O+A is firmly established as a creator of work environments with an almost endless variety of amenity spaces.
We all have professional idols we’d like to meet. Sometimes we might luck into getting to say hello at a conference or having a mutual friend who can introduce us. But often, despite our suspicions that we have a lot in common with and could even be friends with our heroes, they remain out of reach.
I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Readers have emailed me about wanting to connect, and I’ve done my share of approaching people I admire without seeming like a groupie or a stalker. I’ve found four strategies to be effective in connecting with high-profile strangers, even without the benefit of a warm introduction.
Establish your credibility. When you send a networking request, it’s important to immediately set yourself apart as someone worth knowing. For instance, when I recently wrote to a prominent film director, I started the note by citing our shared alumni affiliation and — because I wanted to inquire about adapting one of his films into a musical — mentioning the prominent shows that had been created by graduates of the musical theater workshop I’m in. He responded, expressed interest in talking further, and noted that a composer friend had told him that “many exciting works have come out of this program.” By establishing your credibility up front, you make it clear that the interaction will be fruitful.
Indeed, anyone can learn to become more interesting, which is a wonderful thing, because being interesting can help you strengthen your network, win more clients, and lead more effectively.
There are several habits that many interesting people have in common. Sometimes these habits form naturally, but they are more often than not the result of conscious effort. Here’s what interesting people do to make themselves engaging, unusual and hypnotizing.
They are passionate. Jane Goodall, a bona fide interesting person, left her home in England and moved to Tanzania at age 26 to begin studying chimpanzees. It became her life’s work, and Goodall has devoted herself fully to her cause while inspiring many others to do the same. Interesting people don’t just have interests; they have passions, and they devote themselves completely to them.
When Stranger Things’ Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) sets foot in her town’s brand-new mall for the first time, she is equally overwhelmed and dazzled. Her friend Max (Sadie Sink) steers her to The Gap and watches Eleven touch everything in sight. Finally, Eleven pauses to stare at a mannequin. “How do I know what I like?” the young, telekinetic girl asks. “You just try things on until you find something that feels like you. Not Hopper. Not Mike,” Max explains gently, referencing Eleven’s adoptive father and boyfriend. “You.”
Netflix’s nostalgic sci-fi series introduces significant changes in Season 3: It’s the summer of 1985, and the nerdy kids who once played Dungeons & Dragonshave blossomed into mall-going tweens, albeit ones who face supernatural monsters and Soviet agents along with the typical pains of growing up. Their fictional hometown of Hawkins, Indiana, is changing, too—thanks to a flashy new shopping center called Starcourt, which arrives just as the United States is experiencing a historic boom in mall construction.
Before consumers started flocking to the internet two decades later, Hollywood sought to capture the role that malls played in American teens’ lives. It was inevitable that Stranger Things, a show steeped in 1980s culture, would add to this canon with its own montage.
Eleven and Max’s shopping scenes map onto a rich history of malls in movies and TV shows such as Clueless and Mean Girls. On-screen and off, places like Starcourt served as a rare middle ground between school and home, offering teenagers independence and a chance to experiment, via stores selling clothes and accessories, with self-expression. Most mall montages focus on transformation, and Stranger Things is no different. By the end of the sequence, Eleven has traded her worn button-down for an on-trend jumpsuit splashed with geometric shapes.
Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!