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Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter from Detroit

Saturday Cup of Joe #129.

Friends & Colleagues,

Week 129. Sometimes when I’m building the Saturday Cup of Joe a theme emerges, this week it was innovation and future cities. Even as I thought and read a lot about affordable housing, housing supply and technology advancements around voice and artificial intelligence, more articles dealing with innovation and urbanism rose to the top.

True innovation is bringing a totally new solution or approach to an existing problem. For instance, uber is not innovative. Sure, it changed the way we ride in or even own cars, but it did not change the way we move through time and space. Still a car. Still from A to B.

Many business problems are hard to innovate. What are you ignoring in your business that you know deserves a look? How will you take some time next week to review it?

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Throughout the week I usually come across a lot of articles and ideas, which was the idea for the Saturday Cup of Joe to begin with, but I also end up seeing a lot of the same type of articles — productivity, leadership, and creating “winning” habits. The article in this hyperlink was that type of article…at first. The 4 ways to create a good habit, however struck me as the type of environment leaders should be creating within our teams. What do you think?

  1. Make It Obvious
  2. Make It Attractive
  3. Make It Easy
  4. Make It Satisfying

I guess these work for habit-forming activity. To me, these struck me as the way to attract and grow your team. Positive peer pressure. Entice talented people. Protect the environment. Celebrate the purpose. Whether it’s a habit or team culture, these are helpful principles to keep in mind.

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I sometimes find it hard to decide what events, conferences or meetings are going to be most productive. Especially when those require overnight travel, it has to be a valuable and deep experience to make it worth it. When I saw the World Forum Disrupt, I did not know what to think. Anyone up for February in Chicago? How do you decide which events you’ll invest in? How about meetings? When double or triple booked, what framework do you use to select the right meeting?

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“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” — Herophilus

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As seen on Instagram

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Cash buyer: More and more I’m looking at platforms, startups or business models that offer to buy a home for cash on behalf of a customer (OpenDoor, Knock.com, etc.). This week I came across a bank in FL willing to set aside charitable funds to serve as a cash buyer on behalf of low to moderate income clients. Indeed, the model is almost identical to commercial models but on behalf of the affordable housing community in Miami. Good stuff, City National Bank. If you or your business is in the real estate industry, what are you doing to address cash buyers?

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Who doesn’t like a good list? This one? The Top 10 cities where some random insurance experts voted is least likely to have a national disaster. Yeah, that’s a list (and a real article).

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Speaking of lists, here’s one I spent some time reviewing this week. The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, according to Fortune. Some companies appear multiple times on the list indicating the strong culture that supports female leadership.

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Future of Cities: A new podcast. The Future of Cities. A short-ish podcast that tracks the core elements of what makes an authentic city, a great city, and a responsible city. I’ve only made it through the first episode but it seems like a great resource to consider how global and American housing trends will develop.

Along those lines, Popular Mechanics weighed in on the future city 2045. Everything from ride sharing to energy, the magazine captured a vision of a fully connected community. There are a lot of “futurists” who like to intentionally distort the predictions to scare or unsettle the audience. This view of a 2045 America seems like a healthy combination of technology expansion without wild or reckless speculation. Check it out if you are interested in that type of thing.

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Innovation: No one ever got paid for a good idea. Execution is where the money is. Execution is the whole ballgame. Einstein once said that vision without execution is hallucination. That quote is written on the white board in our office. My team knows that we have to move the needle. We are trying to do that while setting the company up for the future but without an executable plan, the innovate idea is just talk.

I circulated a Medium post to my team this week further emphasizing this point. Check it out.

“Innovation isn’t about ideas, it’s about solving problems. The truth is that nobody cares about your ideas, they care about the problems you can solve for them. The reason most people can’t innovate isn’t because they don’t have ideas, but because they lack the perseverance needed to stick with a really tough problem until it’s cracked.”

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Sword in the lake. Seriously, this girl found a sword at the bottom of a Swedish lake. A Viking sword! I’m not sure how this relates to innovation or the future or anything, but it’s an interesting happenstance. Here’s the recap:

“When he showed it to an archaeologist, she said she had goosebumps and that it was at least 1,000 years old. Actually, they now think it’s 1,500 years old — from before the Vikings. She called it “sensational” and said nothing like this had ever been found in Scandinavia before, and that maybe I had found it because of the low water levels.”

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Innovation AND the future: Pete Flint is not a futurist. At the same time, entrepreneurs are successful by seeing a future where customers need to buy into a new solution to their problem. Whether or not they knew it was a problem even moments before hearing about the solution, once introduced to the product or service, entrepreneurs must create the sale. Flint is a successful entrepreneur, and here, posts a long list of ways he recognizes changes in the world. I found it both thought-provoking and challenging. What did you think? Here’s one excerpt: “As consumer technologies improve, size, power use, computation and connectivity will become largely irrelevant and we will increasingly value usability, data, analytics and latency. Companies that excel here will do well.”

Are you considering these evolutions in your business?

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Follow TheBasisPoint on Medium, Instagram, LinkedIn and everywhere you can find Julian for great content and insight like this. A must-follow in real estate and mortgage.

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“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”
— Roy T. Bennett

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Find your joy, follow your passion, and be happy. Does that sound like every motivational Instagram/podcast/speaker on social media? I’ve often wondered what science if any is behind “follow your passion.” Why there’s less science behind positive visualization (though there is some); this article does point to social science that supports leaning into what you enjoy. If you know (an important precedent) what you enjoy, doing more of it is likely to produce better results, and yes, of course, happiness. What’s your hobby? What’s your “passion”? Does it relate to your work? Is there a way to tie them together?

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Curious story: It is somewhat sad to find the story of a stabbing in Antarctica a curiosity, but the idea of spending winter in Antarctica and perhaps losing one’s mind in the process, is fascinating. Luckily, the victim in this story survived and recovered completely allowing for a somewhat guilt-free look at the strange life of scientists on Antarctica.

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Bringing together all of this week’s themes — an innovative, female mapmaker (perhaps the first), who created maps based on future trends. Emma Willard is profile briefly here by Atlas Obscura.

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The Pudding is a data visualization project that allows 3-D modeling of global population. Click here to tour the globe.

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Today’s thought: How do you think about leadership? Are you a CEO? Do you want to be a CEO? Accountability, myth building and productivity are all important components. I think it is important for everyone in the organization to believe in the leadership. The problem is when the buy-in becomes worship. Celebrity CEOs are often the pinnacle of corporate culture or even the larger business culture nationwide. The media loves to celebrate the rise and all-too-often the fall of the individual at the top. I read this article this week, about the role of the CEO in society and in our organizations, but the important thing to me was simply to reflect on responsibility and leadership. How are you running your organization? How do you protect against some of the tone deaf and isolated decisions that have gotten CEOs in trouble in the past? How do you do that whether or not you are a CEO?

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Quote: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” — C S Lewis

Bonus Content: 2018 Wildlife Photography Contest. Incredible.

Continued success and continue to answer well,

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Jeremy

Jeremy

550 Followers

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well. Working on what’s next and next and next.