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

The Extreme Need for Nice – Part II

My wife Heejin recently received the below text from an agent: “I just LOVE your team. You and Jay did good. These people are such beautiful souls. Jenna really helped me yesterday with some issues that were encumbering being able to sign some disclosures and she was so kind, upbeat, and loving. Makes such a […]Read More

Expect The Worst & Be Happier – Restraint, Logic, and Moving On

Years ago, we spent several hours and over five hundred dollars cleaning up a borrower’s credit. As a “thank you,” the borrower went silent on us, never paid us, and took his cleaned-up credit to another lender to finance his purchase. The borrower’s duplicity enraged me and there was nothing I could do about it, […]Read More

Ego, Hubris, Hot Markets, & WAMU’s Collapse

I don’t share this often but I used to play in a summertime three-on-three basketball league with Steph Curry and LeBron James (they were my teammates). We not only went 25 and 0, we held every other team scoreless! After two seasons of this, I knew I was great at basketball. So, I dropped Steph […]Read More

Share Our Mortgage Info, Please! Educating Buyers With Awesome Content :)

One of our borrowers once told us – “I asked the same question to three other loan officers before I read the FAQs on your website, and none of the loan officers came close to explaining the answer as clearly as your FAQs.” We take enormous pride in the info we provide on our website, […]Read More

Benefits of Playing By The Rules; College Admissions Scandal

Years ago I worked for a company that required all applicants to pass an IQ test before they could be hired. And I remember one applicant in particular who had just graduated from Harvard and who could not pass the test (even with two tries). Everyone was very surprised until we found out that the […]Read More

Be Lucky; Hire Lucky; Luck Can Be Cultivated

A friend of mine was recently promoted to the executive (“C-suite”) ranks of a nationwide food conglomerate and he is now set for life. When I congratulated him and asked what he attributes his success to, he said it is just pure luck. That response made me laugh b/c he was decidedly unlucky in so […]Read More

The Importance of Perfect Shoelace Tying

John Wooden was one of the most successful people of all time, and his amazing record as UCLA’s basketball coach is proof of his success. He won 10 NCAA championships, and had a stunning 80% win/loss record. One of our favorite stories is how he started every season with the most fundamental of lessons: how […]Read More

Learning (a lot) From Dutch Bros Coffee!

Dutch Bros Coffee absolutely amazes me b/c they continue to open up new stores and thrive in the ridiculously crowded coffee shop field. There are many factors behind their success but one stands out above all of the others. Dutch Bros is an Oregon-based chain of over 800 drive-through coffee shops in the western U.S. […]Read More

“It Takes At Least Ten Years to Build a Real Business”

BONOBOS FOUNDER GOES THROUGH HELL I was listening to the Bonobos (clothing) founder on the “How I Built This” podcast yesterday, and he was discussing the overwhelming issues he faced while trying to get his company off the ground. Among other things, he ran out of money and could not make payroll, he had a […]Read More

Hire Skill Over Experience – Like Clemson & Silicon Valley

I don’t watch college football, but I do read the headlines and follow the drama b/c the stakes are so high for the coaches, schools and players (who hope to go to the NFL). That is why this recent headline in the WSJ caught my eye: How Clemson Emulated Silicon Valley To Win a National […]Read More

An Homage To My Hero Herb Kelleher of SW Airlines

I learned this morning in this WSJ editorial that SW Airlines founder Herb Kelleher passed away recently. The man is one of my heroes b/c his entrepreneurial exploits are the stuff of legends. He built one of the world’s mightiest airlines and made air travel far cheaper for everyone despite ferocious opposition from the entrenched […]Read More

Great Lessons from Budweiser

I am reading a fascinating account of Anheuser-Busch’s (Budweiser’s) rise and fall in a book called Bitter Brew. The book mostly illuminates how not to run a business or live a life, as the Busch family managers were often conniving, back-stabbing, misogynistic, vindictive, womanizing, arrogant jerks. It is amazing that the company thrived for as […]Read More

Trader Joe’s and In-N-Out: Fans, Not Customers

We give every new hire a copy of a book about In-N-Out Burger. We do so b/c In-N-Out is a great example of business that thrives with no marketing at all b/c its extraordinary customer service, systems and focus on quality keep customers coming in droves. In-N-Out’s story is simply a great business lesson for […]Read More

How To Play Bigger; Be Different, Not Just Better

Heejin and I were recently invited to a Bay Area meeting of the Forbes Business Council, and we quickly wondered why we were invited to a Bay Area meeting of the Forbes Business Council. 😊 The reason was that we were the only people there who were not tech company founders worth $100 million (or […]Read More

Learning From DoorDash – Training in the Trenches

I STEP INTO TRENCHES AND … FAIL We were short-staffed a few weeks ago, so I temporarily stepped into our referral manager/lead taker role, and … failed 😊. I pre-approved people based on outdated guidelines; I was unable to enter all of the data in our Salesforce CRM; and I quickly got buried with all […]Read More

Learning From 100 Days of Rejection; Happy Thanksgiving!

Jia Jiang is a famous author and TED Talk speaker who has made an entire career out of getting rejected. To desensitize himself to rejection and to make himself able to ask for anything without fear, he practiced getting rejected for 100 days by asking for ridiculous things. For example, he asked for a “burger […]Read More

Amazing Facts About Teams & Culture

TEAM CULTURE IS EVERYTHING! If you are part of a team of two, ten or thirty people, you need to know that culture is everything! The reason? Companies with strong cultures are almost eight times more profitable over the long run. Team members are also far happier and more productive. This was driven home in […]Read More

MAKE Yourself Lucky! Article Explains How

One of the most interesting things about the “How I Built This” podcast is how often founders attribute their success to luck. But, according to a recent article in the WSJ, people underestimate how much they create their own luck. The article is short, interesting and very encouraging for anyone in sales or in business […]Read More

Change Your “Mental Models” to Better Solve Problems

NEW “MENTAL MODELS” FOR PROBLEM SOLVING Our new Marketing Assistant, Lauren Cary, came across this excellent article about the need to shift your mental models, and she wrote most of the blog too. The article, which I highly recommend, is called “Mental Models: How to Train Your Brain to Think In New Ways,” and it […]Read More

The Need for Coaching & Networks; Our Experiences

BAD COACHING EXPERIENCE Years ago, I had a business coach insist that I join the Rotary Club. Nothing against the Rotary Club, but it was not a fit for me and it did not help our business. The Coach was also egotistical and bombastic, and I did not enjoy his calls. I also didn’t enjoy […]Read More

25 Principles of Adult Behavior – A Must Read

A friend sent me these principles over the weekend. I loved them so much that I forwarded them to Heejin and our senior team members. They loved them as much as I did, and the 25 Principles are now part of our onboarding process for new team members. The principles were written by John Perry […]Read More

Work Less to Succeed More; A Necessity

“FREE DAYS” NECESSARY FOR FRESH IDEAS The renowned business coach Dan Sullivan’s primary message for all entrepreneurs is to work less. His system involves three kinds of days: Free Days, Focus Days and Buffer Days. Free Days involve nothing work-related. Focus Days involve money-making activities. And Buffer Days are for preparation. Sullivan is adamant about […]Read More

Lessons from President Grant – Avoiding Victimhood

A good friend of mine gave me Ron Chernow’s 960-page biography of President Grant for Christmas, and I not only loved it, I found it wonderfully inspirational. President Grant failed miserably time and again; he was cheated and lied to by his family and closest friends over and over, and he endured viciously unfair insults […]Read More

Pinot Noir Blind Taste Test; Tequila and Vodka Too

We have a lot of contests in our office, and fortunately many involve alcohol :). Most recently we had a contest for the best Pinot Noir under $30, and we thought we’d share the results. Walt Blue Jay was the clear winner with 5 votes! Further results below: WINNER: Walt Blue Jay – $30.00 2 […]Read More

Scott Galloway’s Excellent Career Advice! Good for All Ages

EXTRAORDINARY CAREER ADVICE Scott Galloway, the CEO and founder of L2Inc., churns out some of the most informative and entertaining videos on the internet. A few months ago, he provided this short video with career advice that I have been meaning to share for some time b/c it is so accurate and entertaining. If you […]Read More

We Wish You Bad Luck! The Obstacle Is The Way :)

All of us are excited to embark upon the new year, full of promise and goals and great things to come. But – it is extremely important to remember that all will not go well, as such is life. And some things will go horribly awry. And horrible things are often the best things that […]Read More

Five Most Important Things Every Real Estate Agent MUST DO to Crush It in 2018

27,000 Things Realtors MUST DO… There is literally an endless supply of lists of things every real estate agent “must do” to crush it in 2018. At last count, there were about 27,000 “must do’s”, including writing business plans, reading more books, negotiating better, finding your niche, eating frogs, meditating, etc. Fortunately for everyone, we […]Read More

Predicting the Future, and Happy New Year!

PREDICTING THE FUTURE In 1893, Chicago hosted a hugely successful “World Fair” where governments, companies and individuals showcased the most promising technologies of the time. Scientists and inventors were asked in a poll to name the technologies that would most influence the next hundred years. And – not one person named the automobile. They simply […]Read More

Barbie Dolls, Bratz Dolls, and Making Better Tacos! Innovating Instead of Protecting Status Quo

BARBIE WENT TO WAR The WSJ published an excellent book review called “When Barbie Went to War.” It provides a comical overview of Mattell’s battle with MGA over copyright infringement after MGA released its Bratz dolls. Since the WSJ requires a subscription, please email me if you’d like to read a copy of “When Barbie Went […]Read More

Kindness As A Business Model! Simple, and It Works!

TURNING AROUND JVM We did a lot of things in 2014 to turn around JVM that we discuss often in this blog. But there is one thing we don’t often mention: Heejin and I became nicer. I thought of this b/c a friend recently suggested that I subscribe to Seth Godin’s very short and excellent […]Read More

Why I’m the Least Attractive Person at JVM; Key to Happiness: Other People

GREAT COLUMN ABOUT HAPPINESS Scott Galloway (CEO of L2 Inc) recently tweeted this excellent column from the NY Times about the key to happiness, and I thought it was well worth sharing. The column is titled “Happiness Is Other People” and can be found here. ONE HOUR FOR GROOMING? The first interesting thing that really […]Read More

What You Can Learn from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Taking Risks

How I Built This Heejin’s and my favorite podcast is NPR’s “How I Built This” b/c we love hearing the horror stories that founders endured before they hit it big. The lessons are excellent b/c they remind everyone that there are no overnight successes, that growing a business is always difficult, and that there is […]Read More

Inspirational Quote Contest at JVM; More Fun & Inspiring Than Expected

We frequently have internal contests at JVM for all kinds of things – favorite songs, cookie decorating, baking contests, flip cup, dart gun wars, trivia, Jenga, etc. They always turn out to be more fun than expected, and we highly recommend the practice. The winners are decided by an all-office vote, and they usually get […]Read More

Life Way Back… in the 1990s Was So Hard! Can’t Believe I Endured It

There has been a slew of articles and podcasts lately about America’s complacency and lack of innovation. And, it all might be true at some level. But – from my perspective, we have been riding a wave of innovation that makes life 1,000x better than it was even 20 years ago. In fact, I can’t […]Read More

Thanksgiving and the “Gratitude Fad” – More Than Meets the Eye

Every Thanksgiving we are reminded ad infinitum to give thanks, to be grateful, to show gratitude…until it gets annoying. Equally annoying is the entire “gratitude fad” – the constant reminders all year long to show, think and express gratitude. But, here’s the thing. It works. It not only makes the recipients of your gratitude feel […]Read More

Meltdowns, Earthquakes, Witches, & Regulators; Be Careful What You Wish For

When Heejin and I visited Portugal, we learned about the massive 9.0 earthquake that lasted for almost six minutes and devastated Lisbon in 1755. People fled to the river and coast to escape the destruction only to be hit by several massive tsunamis. The parts of the city that were not crushed by the earthquake […]Read More

An Amazing “Linchpin” Story!

Yesterday, I wrote about “Linchpins,” or people who go the extra mile with everything they do to make themselves indispensable. I work with so many linchpins that I hate to illuminate just one. But this individual’s story is so impressive that it needs to be highlighted. When he first started at JVM, he had spent […]Read More

Seth Godin’s Linchpin; Fun Read; Great Motivator; Necessary in Every Business

We love Seth Godin at JVM, as he is a brilliant author, blogger and marketer. One of our favorite Godin books is called Linchpin, another short and fun read we recommend for everyone. Godin’s primary point is this: Team members can no longer just carefully follow instructions at their job to get ahead; nowadays they […]Read More

DISC/Personality Tests For Every Hire & Yourself; Self-Awareness

It was my first day on the job at Wells Fargo Bank some 27 years ago, and I was riding up the elevator with the HR director who hired me. She looked at me and said, “You are going to be a star here…” But, I was not in fact a “star,” and I was […]Read More

Awesome Lessons From The Only Woman Fortune 500 CEO; #1 – Ask For Help

Katharine Graham was the only woman to head a Fortune 500 Company for most of her career, and also one of the most successful leaders, by far. She took over the reigns of the Washington Post Company in 1963 after her husband committed suicide. As an interesting aside, her husband ran the company b/c Katharine’s […]Read More

Mind Sweeping; Quick Time Management Technique; Far Less Stress

I was at a coaching seminar recently listening to a time management guru. Her best piece of advice was something I have been practicing for years – she called it Mind Sweeping. Mind Sweeping is the practice of writing down everything that you have to do or are thinking about doing – personal, business, complex, […]Read More

Awesome Hiring Tip: Never Hire A Players!

Here is an invaluable hiring tip I recently heard on Noah Kagan’s fun and irreverent podcast. Mr. Kagan, an early Facebook employee and Silicon Valley superstar, was discussing how to easily “2x” your business with his guest, Jonathan Siegel (another Silicon Valley superstar). The tip: Don’t ever hire A Players. They are impossible to come […]Read More

Sam Walton & Walmart; “Made In America” Awesome Book & Lessons

One of the books that most inspired Gary Keller (of Keller Williams) was Sam Walton’s Made in America. And having recently read the book, I can see why. The book is short, interesting and chock-full of great lessons (no matter what you might think of Walmart itself). If Sam Walton was alive today, he would […]Read More

Doing vs. Training vs. Motivating vs. Over-Analyzing

James Altucher told a wonderful story about his daughter in a recent podcast. She had just graduated from high school and desperately wanted to be an actor, but was sitting on the couch. She wasn’t auditioning b/c she didn’t have an expensive head shot, a resume, acting lessons, and sample reel among other things. Altucher […]Read More

Wanna Be Successful? Hire People Totally Unlike You, and Fight (or at least Engage)

We had a JVM bake-off on Wednesday – everyone brought in their favorite treat to be tasted and voted on. Katherine Baldeck won with her Pumpkin Muffins and earned the $100 cash prize. I brought in frozen cookie dough that I still think was by far the best…and I didn’t get a single vote (again, […]Read More

Busy vs. Productive; The Big Leap

Although national purchase volume is down from last year, our office is still in the midst of “busy season.” Despite the large volume of things that must get done, our team still strives to manage a work-life balance by actively prioritizing and managing their workdays. This reminds me that we see many people “addicted to […]Read More

Thinking Like an Owner; JVM’s Book Club Again

We wanted to provide a brief edit to last Friday’s Blog about JVM’s Book and Podcast Club, as it looked like there were only 10 books on the list. There are actually 36 books and 3 podcast series – listed entirely here. And again – we’d love feedback. I went to a coffee shop a while […]Read More