Real World Commercial Real Estate Conversations In The Frozen North.

Real World Commercial Real Estate Conversations In The Frozen North.

The frozen tundra of Madison Wisconson.

I just returned from a trip to Madison Wisconson where I attended the CIREX annual forecasting event.

I was very well attended and an excellent program. I was asked to do a presentation on technology and commercial real estate by Ralph Kamps. Ralph and I had connected online and have also had a few conversations on the phone. (More about Ralph later)

The program consisted of me a planner from the city of Madison a banker drilling down interest rates and an analyst from Xceligent comparing office retail and industrial in Omaha, Des Moines, and Madison.

The presentation from the city planner was jaw dropping. The amount of projects they have completed and have in the pipeline is redonkulous. And it’s world class cutting edge stuff. Take a look.

The Xcelligent presentation was a numbers fest with one caveat that caught everyone’s attention. Nothing under 10,ooo sq ft was included. For most brokers under 10k is bread and butter. Hey, Doug, it’s not just me bringing that up.

Before the event started a few people came up and introduced themselves to me and mentioned they had read some of my stuff. It’s always a bit flattering when they mention certain things I have written. I always make sure to let them know I don’t take myself too seriously, but I do take the responsibility of what I write very seriously.

After the event they had of course set up hor’s duvers and a full bar for “networking” and for me, this is where it get interesting.

The Conversations.

Now obviously, in attendance were mostly brokers developers and people directly involved in commercial real estate.

A quick side: I asked the entire audience during my presentation if they had ever heard of BlockChain…..not one hand raised.

The normal stuff came out about who was doing what and what was happening where. But…

The DarkStar, local data, access to comps, property marketing (I’m looking at you Buildout) and so many other tech issues were mentioned.

Another quick side. I asked how may people were using a dedicated CRM. Not one hand raised. ( I blame the CRM companies…come on people.)

The event started to filter a little bit and what I call “the professionals” started to congregate around a couple of big tables drinks in hand.

Another quick side: I had one beer. One. I was driving later. That’s how I do it. Besides, how many times have you seen it? Drunk off their ass and running their mouth in clearly a business situation. To be crystal clear not one person at my table was even close. We all left by 5:30. The event presentations ended at 4:00. Do the math. I said there were professionals.

One conversation got me going. A nice lady in property management and I stuck up a conversation. Wow, the stories we exchanged. The shitty software the batshit crazy owners the board members who are what I call one-minute attorneys accountants and brokers. They are smarter that all of us for just that one minute when it’s an issue they think they know more about that any of the others. The more you think it’s different where you are, the more I realize it’s not.

There was also a lot of positivity around the table. You know what I’m talking about. These are the kind of people that are “doers.” They go out create deals projects and get things done. I love that shit. And all with dry wit and a great sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, a little bit then get over yourself.

I’m not sure what your idea of the market in the frozen tundra is like but let me tell you it’s vibrant forward thinking still a bit behind in the tech area and populated with some real people. Midwestern down to earth real people.

Another quick side. I’m not a petite guy and in Wisconson….I’m sexy! Hey, Bob am I right or what!

I promised a bit more about Ralph. Most of us have done this. You connect somehow online and then hop on a phone call or two. At some point, you are going to meet up. It can be awkward for some (maybe it’s because they are meeting me) and for me sometimes too. I walked into the country club where the event was going to be held and was greeted in the entrance hall with a big smile and handshake by Ralph. My first impression was that he was lean and athletic. We exchanged pleasantries and headed in to check the media set up. A few people started to filter in and the handshakes increased. The event went off without a single hitch. Simple easy and smooth. Pretty sure that’s because Ralph handled “the show.” It’s classic the people that do it the best you never notice how easy they make it happen. After the event, Ralph and I got to sit for a few minutes and talk. We talked families and business. We tasted a local brew, and that’s when the people started to congregate around our table. He was in on the conversation and had mentioned to me earlier that he needed to get home to help his wife. She had a fall on the ice walking the two labs they had rescued from the local shelter. He shook everyone’s hand and walked away. I’m not sure anyone noticed but out of the corner of my eye, I saw him stop and hand the nice young lady working our table a tip. For everyone.

I arrived at my hotel that evening, and the nice lady behind the front desk mentioned that there was a package waiting for me. She disappeared and returned a bag that included Ralph’s business card and this….



HEY NOW! The man knows how to get it done and make it happen.

I travel all over. I meet all kinds of people. Most if not all are nice and professional.

Some are just a little bit more special.

Real World Commercial Real Estate Conversations In The Frozen North.


+1 Pretty sure they pronounce it Weesconson.


Duke Long


  • That’s how we do it up “Nort” here in Madison….. 33 sq. miles surrounded by reality haha. Thanks again for coming Duke and next time it won’t be the dead of winter Still can’t believe you had only 1 beer for the entire networking portion. You sure have a following here ….guess my blog has introduced your humor,witt and ideas to more people than I thought. (Will call you soon about podcast) Have a sip for me tonight of that Envy…you deserve it.

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