With a new year comes new opportunities. As 2014 starts, I have left Sperry Van Ness to pursue a new opportunity. I want to share with you what I’m going to be up to and how it will affect my blog.
photo from iStock
Before I do that, I want to share why I’ve left Sperry Van Ness. Anytime you leave an organization of any kind, it raises questions.
- Was he fired? No – I wasn’t.
- Did he see behind the curtain and hate what he saw? Negative.
- Did he not like the people he was working with? That is absolutely not the case.
- Did an opportunity fall into his lap that he couldn’t ignore? Bingo.
I started my commercial real estate career the day after I got out of the Marine Corps in 2004. I was literally fumbling around my dad’s office the following day. In 2008, we franchised our business with Sperry Van Ness. After nearly 5 years of proudly flying the SVN flag, I took the corporate position I just left as VP of Organizational Development.
That means that over half my grown-up career years have been with SVN. I’ve generally strayed away from writing about SVN. It seemed disingenuous since they wrote my paycheck. As that is no longer the case, I want to share a few things about SVN.
I remember when we franchised. I was told that companies franchise for the tools and stay for the people. I thought that if they were half right about the quality of the franchisees and advisors, I’d be satisfied. They were right.
I could name dozens of business owners and top performers within SVN that were happy to help me, expand my thinking, teach me how they did business, and even mentor a kid from Western KY. I will forever be grateful that I was associated with these fine people and can call them friends.
I’m a techie – but just in the sense that I love to use technology. I have no idea how any of it works. I am much like the guy that can tell time but is in no way a watch-maker.
SVN has the finest technology platform that exists in commercial real estate today. Admittedly, my experience is myopic so let me share with you why I know this is true. A portion of my job has been to seek out and recruit preferred vendor relationships with the many outstanding CRE technology companies. The comment I heard most often was that CRE is in the stone-ages technologically speaking and we wish the other nationals were more like SVN.
Our Their technology platform is cutting edge, cloud based, and brand agnostic. It is designed with the purpose of making our the SVN advisors more productive and efficient – but ultimately more profitable.
SVN is a franchise model. As such, all of
our the independently owned and operated offices are led by entrepreneurs. We generally compete with big nationals that are corporate stores full of employees. There is a huge difference. It is entrepreneurial spirit versus resources.
If you’ve seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson, you will remember him leading a small group of militia. Their job was to inflict as much pain on the British redcoats as possible. The redcoats had overwhelming numbers and resources. They would line up in their perfect lines and fire away. They also made great targets.
Gibson’s troop would use guerrilla tactics to outwit and outmaneuver his opponent. This reminds me of the entrepreneurial spirit of SVN.
So What’s Next
I have bought into a start-up technology company in the food safety industry called Hollison Technologies. I’m providing a link to the website, but please don’t go there. It is dated and vague and one of my first orders of business.
Hollison has a patented process of collecting the air around particulate food (think pieces of food like dog food or breakfast cereal) to test for contaminants. That may not sound very exciting or earth shattering, but consider what it will replace.
The method of testing now is random grab sampling. It is literally taking a sample at random and testing it. If the sample is contaminated, that batch doesn’t ship. If the sample is clean, the batch ships.
The problem is you make a leap of faith that a clean sample means a clean batch. You only have visibility into the actual sample, and you are hoping the rest of the batch is also clean. In food safety, hope is a terrible strategy.
Our process continually samples and gives the food manufacturer visibility into 100% of the product. We think we can literally improve the quality of food world-wide. How exciting?!
You won’t see much change. My role with Hollison is not that different from my corporate role with SVN, though I will have more of a role in sales.
What I’m most excited about is all the growth and learning that will come with this new opportunity – and I’ll be sharing it all with you here!