The Coaches Are Coming! Beware!

30-YEAR-OLD OFFERS TO TAKE ME TO THE NEXT LEVEL! A 30-something mortgage broker reached out to me last week and offered to “take my business to the next level” with his coaching. Always curious, I asked him what “the next level was” and he said he could “double my business in three months with his […]Read More

Great Incentives VS. Incentives Gone Wrong (& Cobras Too)

INCENTIVES ARE EVERYTHING/INCENTIVES GONE WRONG ARE FASCINATING! Great incentives create great outcomes. But unfortunately, humans are astonishingly bad at establishing incentives – a point investor, entrepreneur, and writer, Sahil Bloom recently made in a fascinating Twitter thread. Many people, myself included, have suffered from an inability to create the right incentives, which often lead to […]Read More

The Most Valuable Advice Agents Can Give Clients! (MOST VALUABLE FOR ALL OF US)

HOUSE FLIPPING GONE WRONG When I used to flip houses back in the day, I often worked with an extremely experienced agent who would help find the homes and write the contracts. He was also a master at the art of the “quick fix” (new floors, cabinets, counters, appliances, fixtures, paint and a bit of […]Read More

#1 Trait Super Successful People Share

CAR DEALER SELLS TO… ANYONE AND EVERYONE In the late 1970s, when I was in high school, I was hitchhiking on Tatum Boulevard in Phoenix, AZ b/c… I had just totaled my car and b/c people still actually hitchhiked then. Anyway, a brand-new Toyota Supra stopped to pick me up. The driver was extremely friendly, […]Read More

Learning From Amazon’s Many Failures; Failing To Succeed?

We try various initiatives all the time at JVM – and often fail spectacularly. A few things that come to mind are a team competition we set up in 2012 that utterly destroyed morale; a profit-sharing program we set up in 2014 that turned out to be blatantly illegal (our attorney panicked and immediately made […]Read More

Virtual Assistants – Why Everyone Should Hire Them; Changing the Labor Landscape

MORTGAGE BANK HAS 2,000 VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS My wife Heejin and I were recently chatting with the president of a major mortgage bank and he mentioned that his firm employed 2,000 virtual assistants (VAs) in the Philippines. He was not entirely sure what they all did, but he was amazed by their resumes, as many had […]Read More

In Defense Of Chaos (Why We Need It)

A GIANT VAT OF HONEY I came home last night to a giant vat full of honey – not just a lifetime’s supply, but several lifetimes. It turns out my wife Heejin ordered it when online shopping at Target and she was way too busy to vet honey sizes – so she just bought the […]Read More

Job Placement Disasters; Why I Love DISC (Personality) Tests

SKI BUM DISASTER JOB In 1985, I applied for a job at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado b/c I wanted to be a ski bum – and to ski for free, you had to have a job on the mountain. I applied to be a waiter b/c I just wanted to wait tables, ski, […]Read More

Cage Match Of The Century: Inflation vs. Deflation; Diversify!

WHY NO INFLATION AFTER 2008 After the 2008 mortgage meltdown, the Fed and congress stepped in with trillions of dollars of “Quantitative Easing” (buying of Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities) and stimulus spending – and numerous market watchers and pundits, e.g. Arthur Laffer, predicted massive inflation. They were all wrong for several reasons, including the fact […]Read More

Why Humor Is Necessary To Advance Your Career & Life

DOGS NAMED STEVE & MIKE I have a dog named Steve, and we just got a friend for him that we are going to name “Mike.” We are naming our new dog “Mike” b/c I think it is hilarious to give dogs people names, particularly middle-aged boomer names. I can’t wait to be at the […]Read More

5 Business-Related Super Bowl Observations

Super Bowls are always interesting for reasons not having to do with football, such as high stakes, enormous hype, antics of the players, enormous ad costs, and much else. Yesterday’s game was no exception, and I have to share a few observations that I found particularly interesting. 1. LEADERS SHOULD NOT TAKE TOO MUCH CREDIT […]Read More

Success Bias; Dunning-Kruger; Luck & Self-Awareness

MY DOG STEVE HOSTS SEMINARS My dog Steve breaks records every month, as he eats more dog food than ever before every month. The problem is that it makes him super cocky, and he now hosts seminars to tell other dogs how to eat more food. The neighbor’s dog, Buttercup, is on to him though, […]Read More

Janitor Changes Entire Company; Listening To People In The Trenches

ARROGANT WASHINGTON MUTUAL EXECUTIVE SHUTS ME DOWN Prior to the 2008 meltdown, I sent more loans to Washington Mutual (WaMu) than any other broker. As a result, I had the “privilege” of meeting one of WaMu’s senior executives. Our brief conversation drifted to the types of loans that WaMu offered, and I mentioned that I […]Read More

Teddy Roosevelt’s Greatest Quote; Happy New Year Too

B/c we are all essentially in “sales” one way or another, I am always inspired by exceptionally effective salespeople. However, many of us forget that the most effective salespeople in history are often activists or politicians. Abraham Lincoln, for example, had to convince an entire nation to sacrifice its youth to keep that nation together […]Read More

Mobsters, Blind Men, Elephants, Narcos: Mexico, and The Big Picture

MOWING LAWNS FOR MOBSTERS When I was in high school in AZ, I did yard work every week for a neighbor who also happened to be our local mobster. I didn’t know he was a mobster until several years later, but the prevalence of new luxury cars, expensive toys, and boats did make me wonder. […]Read More

Nostalgia Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be; Future Looks Good

LOTS OF HORSE MANURE When I was a kid my older brother was a “declamatory speaking champion” b/c that was actually a thing in the Midwest where high school kids competed to give the best speeches. Fortunately or unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to compete in the exciting, fast-paced world of declamatory speaking b/c my […]Read More

Automation for Survival; Korean Restaurants In El Paso

Every time my wife Heejin and I are in El Paso, Texas we eat at a Korean restaurant. And our most recent trip was no exception. (OK – it might have been our only trip to El Paso, but don’t let that detract from this story 😊.) In all seriousness, Heejin and I really do […]Read More

When Too Much Optimism Is Bad; Learning to Expect the Worst; Stockdale Paradox

Almost everyone I meet lately in both the mortgage and real estate industries is riding an unprecedented wave of success. They invariably have unbridled optimism that is often coupled with very ambitious plans for growth. JVM of course is no exception to this – but we are also planning for the worst. This is b/c […]Read More

“Decision Fatigue” Is A Thing

Every morning when I wake up, I follow an identical routine: 1. Meditate; 2. Put on workout clothes; 3. Insert headphones and start podcast; 4. Open curtains and make bed; 5. Drink glass of water; 6. Let Steve (dog) out; 7. Feed Steve; 8. Make Heejin’s coffee; 9. Make and consume protein shake and supplements […]Read More

Post Election Observations; Experts Wrong Again (and Again)

A few weeks ago, I predicted that the election would be contested and the uncertainty would cause rates to fall. And, today, the day after the election, there is tremendous uncertainty and rates fell. I was lucky with my prediction and merely repeating what I was reading across the blogosphere. And – things could have […]Read More

Big Team vs. Small Team vs. Solo – Best Recipe For Success?

When I was in law school, I met, worked and interviewed with dozens of attorneys and what shocked me was how few of them actually liked their profession (a main reason I never pursued the profession myself). There was, however, one notable exception that sticks in my mind to this day. He was a sole […]Read More

10 “Hunter Tips” To Jumpstart Every Career

This blog is not about hunting, just to be clear. It is about a very successful friend of ours (named Hunter) who is also a fierce competitor in our Bay Area market. RECIPE FOR SUCCESS I am blogging about a competitor for two reasons: (1) I have watched him follow a “recipe for success” for […]Read More

The Power Of NEGATIVE Thinking; Not Giving Voice To Your Pain, e.g. Don’t Complain :)

AMAZING STORIES ILLUSTRATING THE POWER OF THOUGHT In 1986, Bill Buckner, a Major League Baseball superstar, let a grounder roll through his legs. This allowed the opposing team (the Mets) to score the winning run which cost Buckner’s team (the Red Sox) the World Series. Buckner lives in infamy to this day b/c of that […]Read More

Whoever Has The Most Friends Wins; A Reminder That Hard Work Alone Doesn’t Cut It

NYU Professor, Scott Galloway, who I quote often b/c of his exceptional success in business, tweeted this: “People think of it as strong alpha males who deserve to win. That’s not what Darwin suggested, or what has been demonstrated. The most successful strategy in life is friendliness and cooperation, and we see it again and […]Read More

Why Home Prices Did Not Crash With 15% Unemployment? Planet Money Explains

After the COVID-19 crisis was in full force, I wrote several blogs in March and April pointing out why I thought housing prices would not crash as a result of the crisis. In response, numerous agents emailed or called me to suggest that I was being too optimistic and potentially misleading people. So, was I […]Read More

Purchases Surge! Avoiding Herd Mentality; Don’t Watch the News! North Korea Too

Our purchase volume is up 600% over last month, and this is why: We and our top agents didn’t get the memo that said the purchase market is dying. Yes, it slowed down but we all kept going full speed as if nothing had changed, knowing that the overall market remained huge. DON’T WATCH THE […]Read More

WWI General Court-Martialed for Bucking the System/Recommending Better Tech!

General Billy Mitchell is one of the more fascinating stories in American military history. He was a WWI combat hero who ended up in charge of airplane and tank development in the 1920s. He quickly saw that all future wars would be won or lost by the combatants with the best airplanes and tanks. As […]Read More

Excessive Worrying About Tech Disruptions

JVM WILL DIE (or change) (a lot) 10 years from now JVM Lending will not exist… in its current form (or anything even close). The same holds true for ALL of the major real estate brokerages we work with. AI, 5G, Cloud Storage, Bots, and every other aspect of tech will without a doubt massively […]Read More

Lessons From a Gruesome Medieval Battle

  Nicholas Hook shoved his arrow into the soldier’s eye socket and kept pushing until he felt the arrow slide through the soldier’s gelatinous brain and finally come to a rest at the back of the skull… OK – the above is an “attention-grabber” (I hope it worked 😊) that actually happened in a book […]Read More

OLD Coaches Changing NFL – NOT the Young; Need to Innovate!

Ten years ago, the New England Patriots led the Indianapolis Colts 34 to 28 late in the 4th Quarter, and it was “4th and 2.” (even if you’re not a football fan, keep reading; the blog is short and there is a great message here 😊) New England’s coach, Bill Belichick, decided to go for […]Read More

Don’t Set Goals for 2020! Systems Please!

“GOALS ARE FOR LOSERS” That is the opinion of Dilbert cartoonist, blogger and author Scott Adams, and it is a point he makes in his 2013 best-seller – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. NOTE: Mr. Adams has become a political commentator since he wrote that book and I am neither […]Read More

2010s = Best Decade Ever? Holy Change Batman!

We are pummeled with negative news every day b/c, frankly, it sells. Fortunately, at the end of every year numerous columnists remind us both of how much improvement we have seen and how quickly things have changed. From the Business Insider, we get Tech Products That Didn’t Exist Ten Years Ago. The list includes the […]Read More

Salesperson/Deal Maker vs. Manager; Lesson from Disney’s CEO

I recently read the autobiography of Disney CEO, Robert Iger, and I of course loved it. Iger started out at ABC television in 1974 and quite literally clawed his way to the top – enduring adversity and setbacks that few of us mortals could have ever endured. He ended up at Disney after Disney bought […]Read More

Danger! Bill Belichick, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos & Nick Saban “Wannabes”

I received a surprising number of comments in response to Friday’s blog about Patriot’s Coach Bill Belichick. Most just appreciated the message, but several said they know or work for people just like Belichick, and this made me smile. I smiled b/c I read about or meet people all the time who try to channel […]Read More

Lessons From the Greatest Football Coach of All Time

I rarely watch sports but I love to follow the personalities b/c the drama is so extreme and the stakes are so high. B/c of this I recently read the book Belichick – The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time, and it was fascinating to say the least. Belichick, the head coach […]Read More

5 Reasons to Keep a Gratitude Journal; Happy Thanksgiving Too!

JVM will be closing at 1 PM today for the holiday. We will, however, have Mortgage Analysts “on-call” all day today as well as on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as always. We will not have anyone on-call tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. THE GRATITUDE “FAD” 😊 Every Thanksgiving we all get endless reminders to be grateful for […]Read More

How Hard Should You Work to Succeed?

A few years ago, we hired some extremely talented people from Silicon Valley who informed me after they started that people from Silicon Valley “usually don’t work that hard,” and that the famous “Silicon Valley ‘all-nighters’ are just myths.” Those people are no longer with us for several reasons, not least of which was the […]Read More

How Do You Not Be Blockbuster?

I received a lot of feedback yesterday in response to my blog “Netflix vs. Blockbuster.” Some asked what I meant, and some asked how to find the next Netflix. What I meant is that we all need to make sure we don’t wake up one day to find that our industry has changed so much […]Read More

Blockbuster Video vs. Netflix – Lesson for All of Us

There are some business stories that surface over and over in the many business books I read. Here are a few great examples. Steve Jobs “borrows” the GUI and mouse from Xerox. Jobs famously visited Xerox and immediately saw the potential of the mouse and (Graphical User Interface) GUI, and the rest is history. Here […]Read More

Charles Schwab No Longer Charges Commissions for Trades

Charles Schwab started to offer discount brokerage services (low commission trades) way back in 1975. Much of the financial industry paid little attention to the upstart firm but it nonetheless continued to grow and capture more and more market share. And then finally, 44 years later, Schwab announced that they would charge no commissions at […]Read More

“This Is the Biggest Predictor of Career Success”

My brother recently shared this article from Inc. Magazine that explains the biggest predictor of career success. It is NOT “talent, brains, grit, luck or connections.” The biggest predictor of success is being part of an open network. To explain what an open network is the author defines its opposite – a closed network. A […]Read More

Luck vs. Talent; The Risk of Confusing the Two

One of my favorite podcasts is “How I Built This,” as I mention often. In the podcast, entrepreneurs tell their stories (often terrifying) of what it took to get their companies off the ground. There are usually two recurring themes: (1) the founders had to go through hell and back to achieve their success and […]Read More

WeWork’s Pending Crash; Expanding During Good Times?

Scott Galloway is an NYU business professor and entrepreneur whose commentary I love! Recently, he has been beating the heck out of WeWork and what he says is a ridiculous over-valuation. For those of you who don’t know, WeWork is a shared-office-space-provider that caters to entrepreneurs and small business people, and it is currently booming. […]Read More

Pursuit of Happiness :)

“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Thomas Jefferson wrote that famous line in the Declaration of Independence, leaders and philosophers the world over all thought “WTF?” This is b/c no official document had ever […]Read More

Happy Fourth of July! A Few Fun Facts

Given that few people are working today, I am keeping the blog short with only a few Fourth of July Fun Facts:  Most Declaration of Independence Signers Signed on August 2nd. Only two people signed on July 4th, so we might be celebrating the wrong date. John Adams and others wanted July 2nd to be […]Read More

In-N-Out vs. Five Guys – Pristine Systems Are Key!!

I had a brutal case of the flu last week and the only thing that sounded good at the tail end of it was cheeseburgers with raw onions. I have no idea why, but it did give me an opportunity to compare my local In-N-Out and Five Guys burger shops. And boy was it interesting! […]Read More

Rental Car Horror Story – Analogous to … Everything!

My wife Heejin travels to our Texas branches every week and rents a car. She normally rents from Hertz Gold b/c it is so easy and frictionless – you literally just walk up, hop in the car of your choice and drive away. But, recently Hertz Gold was ridiculously overpriced b/c of a major event […]Read More

Why Shake Shack’s Founder Is So Inspirational! “Hospitality vs. Service”; Success Recipe!!

60% of restaurants fail in their first year of business, and 80% are gone in five years. That is why people are so inspired by Danny Meyer, the founder of Gramercy Tavern, numerous other restaurants, and the entire Shake Shack chain. Virtually ALL of his restaurants thrive and his net worth is close to $700 […]Read More

All-Time Record Month!! Why and What Did We Learn?

May was another all-time record month for JVM Lending – with 83 loans and $45 Million funded. It is fun to look at what spurred our recent growth and success. Here are a few thoughts – in no particular order: True Agent Support.  We built out a highly effective agent support network that includes our […]Read More

Away Luggage; Partnership, Networking and Life Lessons

I recently found out that my L.L. Bean luggage is very uncool 😊. My niece let me know after she listened to Away’s founder on this recent How I Built This Podcast – another episode I highly recommend b/c it was so fascinating and inspiring. I told my son about the podcast, and he too […]Read More