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Commercial Real Estate Ageism. (Or How To Write The Truth About #CRE and Make Everybody Hate You.)

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Quiet Whispers.

You don’t hear them but I do.

They sneak them in conversations in a way that you may not even notice.

“Still uses outlook.”

“Has a flip phone.”

“Asked me about an update to Excel.”

“Industry is still 10 years behind.”

Those are the obvious ones.

How about the not so obvious ones?

“We still use print flyers.”

“Finally had to call them and tell them to take me off their broadcast email list.”

“They still want me to call them back instead of a text or email.”

There is a huge issue within commercial real estate that no one will admit to.

IT’S AGE.

The demographics for commercial real estate have been well documented.

“When are these old fuckers going to die off ?”

It’s not so much the technology gap as it is the mindset that goes with it.

“We have always done it this way.”

“This is how we built this firm and it’s how we will continue to build it.”

If you step back and look at the commercial real estate world it is NOT CHANGING and do you know why?

IT HAS PASSED YOU BY!

YES IT HAS!

And you think you are on top of it, which is the sad part.

You dominate the deals because of when you were born.

Yea, I said it “you get deals because you are the same age of the people you do deals with.”

It has always been that way and it will always be…..until you quit.

You know the young ones coming up don’t have a chance.

Put yourself in their shoes.

“Fuck that.” You say.” I have worked my ass off. Let the little shits earn it like I did.”

Skinny Pants and Bad Haircuts.

You’re the smartest one in the room….always….and you know it.

You look at the old dude across the room like a lion stalking a lame zebra. (yea it’s a metaphor.)

But guess what they know that you don’t?

You are afraid to talk to them.

Afraid of what they might say or write about you. It is your super connected world they are living in after all.

Why are you so worried.? Oh yea, MONEY.

You still need it to function in the real world and you have learned you need to kiss ass.

Yes, ass kissing for MONEY. It’s not the world you created is it……or is it?

You think you have created a world that only a select few can live in.

Guess what? No you have not. It’s only a world you have created in your mind.

No time to invest in a relationship. A LONG TERM relationship.

You think that “technology” or your born and bred understanding of it gives you an “advantage.”

IT DOES NOT.

It makes you look ARROGANT!

Your little technology “edge” is not any better or smarter than the next little geek wannabe.

( Personal sidebar rant. On a video conference call with some “young “tech people and I had a bad connection and needed to switch to the phone. Got the connection back. So I switched back to the computer connection. Simple right? The little shit on the other end is cackling at my “tech skills” as if I don’t know the difference between a phone and computer connection. BTW. One of his investors asked me about him and his place in his company. What do you think my response was?)

Anybody can swipe their finger left and right on Tinder, that’s not a skill.

Wait, maybe it is. If that’s the people you really want to meet up with then it is a skill.

But wait maybe you are smarter than that and realise that it is just a matter of time before you will RULE ALL.

It Is Inevitable……or is it?

Ageism exists in commercial real estate.

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Just reread my little rant above. Ageism on my part?

Wait what about SEXISM and #CRE ?

Want to read that one?

 

Commercial Real Estate Ageism. (Or How To Write The Truth About #CRE and Make Everybody Hate You.)

 

 

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  • @JohnOrrCCIM

    Great one Duke. Not so sure there’s any sexism in #CRE. That’s just absurd to imagine – especially Industrial space.

  • CREOutsider

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to say the same thing but couldn’t figure out how to say it nicely. But there is no nice way to say it. This is perfect.

  • Bob Schecter

    I think CRE is definitely changing. There is no alternative. Fortunately for us oldies, the industry hasn’t passed us by. The recession put the breaks on. Unfortunately, where the status-quo might have allowed us to drift along until us dinos died, the economy has demanded a more vibrant, aggressive and dare I say it.. younger approach in order to get things moving again. So the kids will inherit the earth (pun intended) much sooner now that we might like, but for the sake of the industry, perhaps not soon enough.

  • Guest

    Cyclical or generational as this is, life and technology move ahead to the enthusiasm for the next great idea and the bane of those who may simply not want to learn any more. It is as true in many industries as it is in real estate. The “old guard” may not want to see change and people writing/responding to or about the “industry” or more pointedly the “old guard” may be the pot calling the kettle black. We are talking to ourselves and getting backslaps from our audience for “hitting the nail on the head” but who are not going to change. Despite these writings and admonishments the movement is all around and these messages are aimed at a diminishing audience. I am trying to say this as nicely as I can as I am solidly a part of that audience. Perhaps we should join and recognize the broadening audience? The truth is technology is coming all the time and it is the next generations of brokers that will embrace it and take it forward..and then in turn resist what comes after that!

    BTW ain’t no sexism here Duke…really…

    • Lowell Peabody

      Sorry ’bout this..department of redundancy department. Comment above is the one to read..

  • Lowell Peabody

    Cyclical or generational as this is, life and technology move ahead to the enthusiasm for the next great idea and the bane of those who may simply not want to learn any more. It is as true in many industries as it is in real estate. The “old guard” may not want to see change and people writing/responding to or about the “industry” or more pointedly the “old guard” may be the pot calling the kettle black. We are talking to ourselves and getting backslaps from our audience for “hitting the nail on the head” but who are not going to change. Despite these writings and admonishments the movement is all around and these messages are aimed at a diminishing audience. I am trying to say this as nicely as I can as I am solidly a part of that audience. Perhaps we should join and recognize the broadening audience? Beyond being of similar ages as customers, the younger brokers speak the same language as their growing customers. We seem to speak “Old speak”… The cycle continues

    The truth is technology is coming all the time and it is the next generations of brokers that will embrace it and take it forward..and then in turn resist what comes after that!

    BTW ain’t no sexism here Duke…really…

  • Justin A. Beck

    Duke Great Post, you are absolutely right, My thoughts are the real winners will be; 1. the young guys (and hopefully more gals) that can learn to develop real relationships, learn to have effective face to face conversations, and not act like arrogant children, and 2. The seasoned veterans that can stay relevant by transitioning into a mentorship role and who will teach the newbies how to act.

  • Andrew Bermudez

    Great post, Duke. Being an old CRE fart myself and having a tech startup, we’ve definitely learned how to better balance out this equation. At the end of the day, everyone deserves respect and empathy. The “old” guys are there, because they are doing something right.

  • Can’t believe I’m just now seeing this article — it’s incredible and its content becomes truer everyday. Nail-on-the-head brilliant. Real estate ‘skinny pants and bad haircuts’ around my age ask me what the hell I’m doing to get ahead socially all the time. I just tell them I’m just making friends. Then they immediately ask me for phone numbers and email addresses from my contacts–they don’t get it at all. Thanks for re-sharing this two years later.