“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

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

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

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

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

Technology & Easy Doc Uploads Does Not A Mortgage Make

More than ever, lenders are introducing and touting new technology and client interfaces as huge breakthroughs and the solutions to all mortgage problems. One of our competitors recently spent $80 million on new technology, leaving us to wonder … how? and on what? We too are on the technology bandwagon and are in fact getting […]Read More

JVM’s Book and Podcast “Club” – Books/Podcasts We Love & Recommend

We encourage everyone at JVM to read, listen and learn as much as humanly possible b/c (1) it helps our team with their personal and professional growth; (2) it helps our clients, as better informed people provide better service; and (3) it helps JVM, as we hugely benefit from when our team members grow personally […]Read More

Hire Lucky People; Be Lucky

Tony Hsieh is a Harvard educated serial entrepreneur and author who co-founded and runs the online shoe and apparel company, Zappos. The man is considered a management guru b/c of his many successes, his exceptional brainpower and the extraordinary culture he created at Zappos. One of our favorite pieces of advice from Mr. Hsieh is […]Read More

Lessons for My 22 Year Old Self

I have endured some stunningly dull college commencement speeches, most recently at Columbia University for Heejin’s niece. At most of the ceremonies, administrators give the speeches, exhorting the kids to go forth and administrate :). OK – it is not quite that bad, but I often think about what I would say to make the […]Read More

Just Make Biscuits

I was listening to The Investors Podcast recently when I heard an investment guru give excellent advice in response to a question about how people should act in the face of so much potential trouble in the world. The guru advises people to be like a biscuit maker in Portugal, who only focuses on making […]Read More

Hire “Brains and Character” Over Experience; Avoid “Crisis Hiring”

Today we welcome three new hires to the JVM team! We preach this often, but always think it bears repeating. We have discovered over much trial and error that it is almost always better to hire “brains and character” over experience. By using a strong screening process and our training program, we figured out how […]Read More

Biggest Management Mistake We Made? Making Team Compete

We love illuminating our many mistakes over the years b/c they are both amusing and great learning lessons. Our costly mistakes include relying too heavily on the advice of business coaches, not properly vetting business partners, not doing thorough background checks on employees, not getting basic agreements in writing, hiring managers from outside of JVM, […]Read More

Most Powerful Inspiration In All of Business: In-N-Out Burger!

Some people watch movies for inspiration, some read biographies, and some watch TED Talks and videos. Heejin and I go to In-N-Out Burger. Really, we do. The place is an amazing example of focus, efficiency, teamwork and the benefits of systematizing. We recently went to the one in Santa Barbara to pay homage (and to […]Read More

Why We Hire Brains & Character Over Experience

Last I week I blogged about our office manager who embezzled $200,000, and how she was a result of a “panic hire.” We needed help so badly that we hired the first person we found with experience. As we started to grow, we frequently turned to applicants with experience to fill slots even when we […]Read More

Retaining Talent – Culture & Profit Sharing; Not About The Money

Recruiters from other mortgage companies constantly call our team members to lure them to their firms… and it always elicits chuckles across our office b/c the recruiters are so clueless. They don’t understand our model or why our top performers stay. Heejin and I used to be even more clueless when it came to retention […]Read More

How To Hire Great People; Horror Story

It was June of 2011 when Heejin noticed one of our deposits was smaller than it was supposed to be. So Heejin dug a little deeper and found a bunch of accounting irregularities. She then got very worried, continued to dig and discovered over $200,000 had been embezzled from our accounts. Our officer manager was […]Read More

Beware “The Happiness Bubble”; Scrum

On June 1st, when I walked into our office, everyone was silent, focused and intensely working. Also on June 1st, we had a one-hour meeting at 2 PM to go over our systems, processes and training to fix everything that needed improvement, like we do every week. I point this out b/c May was an […]Read More

What’re You Reading? Real Education After Formal Education

I loved college and was an excellent student who tried to learn as much as I could during my academic years. My problem was that after law school, I stopped learning the things I needed to learn. I didn’t realize that my real education only started after my formal education. I continued to voraciously read […]Read More

Know Your “Why” For More Business and More Fun

I exchanged emails with an extremely successful friend in the mortgage business over the weekend. He was having his best month ever, but was nevertheless feeling very down. The constant grind of the business had gotten to him. His focus is on awesome customer service and on growing a great business, but he doesn’t have […]Read More

When Technology Fails…Somebody Actually Has To Think

It took me two and half hours to take an Uber from Manhattan to JFK airport last week. The reason? My Uber driver had moved to NYC four days earlier and he relied entirely on his Waze app to navigate. And Waze does NOT work in Manhattan (too much traffic and too much data, and […]Read More

Team Building – Freedom, Profits AND CLIENT EXPERIENCE; Awesome Testimonial

We constantly tout the need for effective team building as a necessity for all leaders and business owners. Hiring team members to do every task better than you can is the only way to expand free time and profits and to enhance service levels. In fact, we are planning a huge Lunch & Learn in […]Read More

Scariest Phrase in English Language: “But We’ve Always Done It This Way”

Sam Zell is a famously blunt billionaire real estate investor who was recently interviewed in the WSJ. There are many fascinating things about him but his quote in regard to a $315 million LOSS he experienced was the best part of the interview. Interesting things: * He is 76 and still going full speed * […]Read More

200 Yelps! Vodka, Tequila, Deducting Interest For Taxes

JVM has 200 Five Star Yelp reviews, as of this morning!! This is a milestone we’ve been shooting for for some time now, and it is no small feat given how many of our reviews get filtered. We still love Yelp though b/c the reviews are 100% authentic and can’t be edited. A few very […]Read More

YPN Event Tonight! Stats & Market Trends; Reality vs. Psychology

We would like to invite everyone to tonight’s YPN Event in Oakland at Tertulia Coffee at 1951 Telegraph, at 5:30 PM. The topic tonight is “Statistics and Market Trends.” Danny Winkler and I will be on the panel. At JVM, we love this topic b/c we rely so heavily on data! We zealously monitor our […]Read More

Why We (& Everyone Should) Pay Employees Above Market Wages

In another excellent James Altucher Podcast, the founder of WordPress (Matt Mullenweg) told some great stories about compensation. First, when Matt was only 19, he got a job in San Francisco that paid more than his father’s, even though his father had worked for the same company for 27 years. Making matters worse, his father […]Read More

College Is Hardly Necessary For Success; Calling Listing Agents

After sending out Monday’s Comments discussing how we use college as a screening tool at JVM, I received the following comical email: “None of these dudes qualify to work at JVM??”   Richard Branson – CEO of Virgin Group… Bill Gates – Former Microsoft CEO… Micky Arison – CEO of Carnival… Mark Zuckerberg – CEO […]Read More

College vs. No College; Hiring & Interviewing Tips; “Give A Damn & Empathy”

James Altucher recently had Ryan Deiss (the young founder of a huge digital marketing firm) on an excellent podcast. They both strongly advocated not going to college, despite the fact that both are highly educated college grads themselves. They think college is far too expensive and too vague for young people with no clue what […]Read More