April 22, 2012

Open Letter To My Team, Clients, Partners, Readers

April 22, 2012

Open Letter To My Team, Clients, Partners, Readers

Death and disease have been prevailing themes with my clients, colleagues, and family so far in 2012.

It’s been a rough road but to respect privacy, I won’t get into details. Instead, I’d like to highlight another theme that’s risen from all the gravity:

The only thing we control is how we react.

Cast it off as cliche if you want. But that’s just another example in a long list of short-run reactions.

And believe me, I cast off a lot of things as cliche. It’s a function of my pop culture obsession. If I’ve heard or seen something before or if I didn’t learn of it through a source I trust, I tend to blow it off as my initial reaction.

Easy to do when it’s about a new song or website or restaurant. But when it comes down fundamentals like death and disease, the events of 2012 keep pounding the theme into my head:

All you can do is react with a clear mind.

Especially when years worth of building is culminating into opportunities that all seem to be hitting at once. And if I react poorly to inevitable adversity along the way, it’s all for nothing.

So to my team, I’d like to offer the humblest thank you for sticking with me and stepping up as we work through our 2012 obstacle course. I’ve been truly amazed to watch everyone come together, and I hope you see the same in me. And I’ll tell you this: I won’t fold. I’ve wanted to several times and that feeling may continue creeping into each week as it has all year, but it’ll never take hold. Because we’ve been working on our formula for years and we’re going to continue showing everyone how it’s done.

To my business partners, I’m sorry to anyone who’s been sensing bumps in the road. I hope this post gives you some perspective. But if it doesn’t and your reaction is go find some other banker to help you short-term, me and my team will always be here to fix your next deal that goes sideways, do the deal nobody else is smart enough to figure out, and most of all: make you look good.

To everyone I’m interviewing while hiring right now, I know there’s a talent war going on and you hear every promise under the sun. But remember: most managers in our line of work think in 2-6 month time horizons. They’ll say what needs to be said to fill that gap. Not exactly a reliable career planning timeframe. So I’ll just reiterate what I’ve told you: what you see is what you get with me. Equanimity and stability are my unwavering business values and my team’s track record proves this over 10 years with the same firm.

To my clients, It’s common for people on both sides of the client/banker relationship to say that service can trump price. Sometimes this is true but you can’t build a business model around ‘sometimes’. So we know we have to win your loyalty first with price first and then with service. That’s what we do, and we’re grateful to have you.

To followers of The Basis Point, I don’t have the words to express my gratitude for each and everyone who reads, emails, DMs, and comments. More and more, The Basis Point is the hub and compass of my business life. It forces me to study markets more closely, to think more deeply to solve business and personal problems, and it keeps me sane and creative in the best/worst of times. It’s played a key role in all career opportunities in front of me today, and more important, enabled me to meet friends and advisors I’d otherwise never would have crossed paths with.

And to those impacted by death and disease, stay strong. You’re not alone. I promise you that.

Now if you’re still reading, this post is a follow up to my Please Stand By post from 12 days ago when I went into development mode for my mortgage business, and then encountered several unexpected layers on top of that.

This is the longest hiatus from daily publishing I’ve taken in almost three years, which stings to say the least, and this post is an attempt to explain why.

I’d like to think that tomorrow will seamlessly resume my routine, but after a weekend of perfect home shopping weather here in The Bay, I’m likely to be greeted by a slate of new deals tomorrow, plus the other themes noted above will continue chewing up days.

So if my current Development Mode continues unabated in the next couple weeks, I won’t be able to post all my daily and weekly features as normal (like DailyBasis, WeeklyBasis, Fundamentals, etc.). But I’ll keep rolling, even if it’s off-topic music and pop culture stuff to clear my head and re-focus.