Category Archives: Personal

PERSONAL: Is College Necessary, or Even Desirable?

This post has nothing to do with real estate. Go ahead and skip over if you’re one of my readers who only want the real estate stuff.

For as long as I can remember, my parents drummed into my head the idea that college was not only important, but the most important milestone of my (until then) young life. Even starting in elementary school, the deep assumption was that I would work hard, study, do my homework, and prepare for college. The question wasn’t college or not, but which college.

I was fortunate, and hard working and studious and very much a nerd in every way, so I got into my first choice. I still consider Yale University to be the finest undergraduate educational institution on the face of the planet. And I can say for certain that my life would have turned out very, very differently had it not been for that experience and that milestone and that… what to call it… cache of theĀ ultra-elite diploma.

So naturally, when I had children, like most educated and professional Gen-X parents, my (ex-) wife and I opened a college savings account. We have raised my two boys with the firm understanding, the taken-for-granted assumption, that they would not only go to college but probably get one or more advanced degrees. Like our parents before us, our assumption was never college-or-not but which college.

In recent months and perhaps even years, I’ve started to question that long-held belief. In the 21st century, is college necessary, or even desirable? I’m not so sure anymore.

You have to understand. Coming from an Asian-American immigrant Ivy Leaguer with a degree from NYU Law… where every single person in my immediate family (and my ex’s immediate family) has advanced degrees… that’s kinda like the Pope questioning the validity of eucharist. Let me explain.

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Power, Diversity, and the SP200 List

As some of you may know, I’ve been assisting Stefan Swanepoel with a project called SP200, the second annual edition of which just went live. SP stands for “Swanepoel Power”, so the actual list is the list of the 200 most powerful individuals in the residential real estate industry.

Since I haven’t shown this post to Stefan or anyone else, and this is my personal blog, everything that follows is my personal opinion only.

Recently, an interesting little debate broke out on Facebook about the list, when Leigh Brown, a REALTOR and coach, posted this:


The resulting debate and comments were, and remain, fascinating, interesting, and important. Nonetheless, I thought it might be useful to at least provide a peek behind the scenes as Stefan, I, and others spent weeks and months debating the list, debating the criteria, and ranking individuals.

To be sure, the most important debate happened last year, when we put the first edition of the Power 200 list together. Because it was then that we spent countless hours on the phone and via email debating the central concept of the list: “powerful”. What is “power”? What do we mean by that? How would the list and the rankings change if we changed our assumptions about what “power” means?

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Why I’m in the Real Estate Industry

From circa 2009, Lucky Strikes Social Media Club, NYC

From circa 2009, Lucky Strikes Social Media Club, NYC

The following is entirely personal, and unlikely to offer any sort of insight into the burning issues of the day. I thought to write it because I was presenting at a meeting just this past week, and as is often the case, the attendees usually fly in the night before and have a chance to hang out.

One of the people I met is Sherri Meadows, the new President of the Florida Association of REALTORS. We got to talking, and somehow, the topic got into why I’m in the real estate industry at all. I told her, and she suggested that I tell that story publicly, to all of you. So I will. Thanks, Sherri!

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In Which I Further Engage Ben Caballero of NAREP


In this episode of “As The Blog Turns” we learn that our protagonist — your humble scribe — finds even more amusement in the responses from Mr. Ben Caballero, of HomesUSA and of NAREP.

For those missing out on the soap opera, here were my questions to Mr. Caballero, and then here are his answers, which I’ve posted in full, without editing. I now turn to those answers to perform a full-on fisking.

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Ben Caballero Responds

As you may have read, I asked Ben Caballero of NAREP a number of questions. He has responded, and authorized me to post his responses, as long as I did not edit it or add anything else to what he sent in.

In accordance to his wishes, I post his response in full. Any modifications are cosmetic only, to help legibility, and because Microsoft Word text has to be formatted for WordPress platform. If a response is needed, I will do so in a separate post.

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