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 U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market Remains Strong Despite Global Economic Concerns

apt bldgs and future bldgs_eugene sergeev_TS-545085656.jpg

Ten years since the economic expansion started after the Great Recession, commercial real estate remains strong. Many real estate professionals and investors expected markets, including real estate, to contract sooner, entering hyper-supply.

At the 2015 CCIM Institute’s annual conference Sam Zell, the founder and chairman of Equity International, discussed the sale of his multifamily portfolio with more than 23,000 apartments to Starwood Capital Group for $5.4 billion. He believed that it was an opportune time to sell his portfolio; and, many real estate professionals believed that he had sold at the top of the market, based strongly on his foresight in 2007 to sell his office portfolio before the market crashed.

Obviously, taking profits off the table is a win, but were there more profits to realize? Since then, multifamily properties have continued their run, driving prices even higher and squeezing cap rates even more.

2. To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Stop Thinking About Yourself

Josh Blake, Getty Images

Josh Blake, Getty Images

Most of us — even those at the top — struggle with public-speaking anxiety. When I ask my clients what makes them nervous, invariably they respond with the same answers:

“I don’t like being watched.”

“I don’t like the eyes on me.”

“I don’t like being in the spotlight.”

And it follows that when they get up to speak, nearly all of them initially avoid making eye contact with members of the audience. Therein lies the problem: While avoiding direct eye contact may seem like an effective strategy for coping with speaking anxiety, it actually makes you even more nervous.

To understand why, we need to go way back to prehistoric times, when humans perceived eyes watching us as an existential threat. Those eyes were likely predators. People were literally terrified of being eaten alive. In response to that prehistoric reality, the amygdala, the part of our brain that helps us respond to danger, kicked into full gear. And when our fight-or-flight response gets triggered, we understandably feel intense stress and anxiety. What does this have to do with public speaking? Turns out, everything.

3. The Inconvenient Truth About E-Commerce: It's Largely Unprofitable

David Ryder, Bloomberg

David Ryder, Bloomberg

The disruptive nature of e-commerce is undeniable. Entirely new business models are revolutionizing the way we buy. The transformative transparency created by all things digital has revolutionized product access, redefined convenience and lowered prices across a wide spectrum of merchandise and service categories. The radical shift of spending from brick & mortar stores to online shopping is causing a massive upheaval in retailers' physical footprint, which looks to continue unabated.

But the inconvenient (and oft overlooked) truth is that much of e-commerce remains unprofitable--in many cases wildly so--and many corporate and venture capital investments have no prospect of earning a risk-adjusted ROI.

While it was once thought that the economics of selling online were vastly superior to operating physical stores, most brands--start-ups and established retailers alike--are learning that the cost of building a new brand, acquiring customers and fulfilling orders (particularly if product returns are high) make a huge percentage of e-commerce transactions fundamentally profit proof. Slowly but surely the bloom is coming off the rose.

4. Talk to People on the Telephone

Rebecca Nelson, Getty

Rebecca Nelson, Getty

In the past year, I’ve been on a mission to pester as many people in my life as possible. The first victim was my editor, whom I abruptly asked one morning to stop messaging me about story ideas on our office’s chat platform, Slack. Instead, I said, let’s talk the ideas out over the phone. I soon did the same thing to a friend who’d texted to discuss a job offer he’d just received. A few weeks later, when another friend texted me for New York City apartment-hunting tips, I asked her my new favorite question in return: Do you want to give me a call?

The phone call has lost its primacy in American communication. By 2014, texting had become more common for Americans under 50. The popularity of text-based communication tools such as WhatsApp and Instagram direct messaging has exploded since. People currently in their 20s and 30s, in particular, have developed a reputation for being allergic to phone calls. The phone call, like chain restaurants and golf, is among the cultural institutions that Millennials might murder.

True to this generational stereotype, I long sent my own mother to voicemail and texted her to ask what she wanted. Instead of calling my hair salon to make an appointment, I’d simply let my roots grow for an extra six or eight weeks, until the place bothered me enough to dial the number. No matter the task, I’d always text or email first. Was there an app for that?

5. Cushman & Wakefield Serves Four Organizations at Annual Great Day of Service

Yesterday, Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office held its Annual Great Day of Service. Each fall, the office closes so employees can volunteer at a local organization. This year, our team of over 200 employees divided and conquered to a variety of projects throughout the city.

Culture is at the heart of Cushman & Wakefield – we believe people should love what they do and who they work for. Giving back to the communities in which our team members live and work is a cornerstone of that culture and guiding principles.

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