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

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

Rules & Too Much Rigidity; Piling on United; Employees Afraid To Yell “Wrong”

Last week at a staff meeting, several team members called me out for being blatantly wrong about a major decision (my expansion plans were not practicable). Calling me out is common and encouraged at JVM, and it is another reason why we perform so well. I thought of this when I read a recent WSJ […]Read More

Four Habits That Guarantee Success; Hire People With Habits Ingrained

Dan Sullivan is our favorite business coach and podcaster b/c of his straight forward advice and hugely successful track record. We’ve been implementing his ideas for years and we highly recommend his very short and excellent podcasts. He often talks about the “four referability habits” that will virtually guarantee success. Everyone thinks they practice these […]Read More

Who’s Your Inner Circle? Perspective & Decisions

I’ve blogged a few times about losing $3 million as a result of bad investments and stupid decisions. One of the many huge mistakes I made prior to my colossal losses was never building an inner circle of advisors. Management and self-help books always talked about this necessity but I never took it seriously until […]Read More

Lose Your Temper, Lose Your Business; Successful People Control Emotions – Always.

I lost my temper with a borrower last night … and I thought of my Dad, whose business empire fell apart largely b/c he couldn’t control his temper. He burned all of his bridges with employees, customers and business contacts. I also thought about all the rock star mortgage brokers and Realtors I have known over the years […]Read More

Need Assembly Line for Effective Team; Bottlenecks Alleviated

This was a “Kudos” sent to our entire office last week: “We are so lucky to have Beau as our appraisal manager. Besides ordering and reviewing appraisals and conditions, he also communicates with the realtors when there are issues. This releases so much burden from the processing team. Our Closing Specialists therefore get more time […]Read More

Tutorials = Path to Freedom & Lifeblood of Business

Heejin was at a Strategic Coach event in Toronto last week among a large number of extremely successful entrepreneurs. She was amazed to see how many of them were glued to their phones and very stressed out, despite their seven figure incomes and high net worths. What all of them lacked was a trained support […]Read More

JVM’s Show Travels; Geography-Jeopardy

We received the below email from a Realtor on Tuesday: Thank you once again for the amazing service and communication as we worked together this second time. I am consistently impressed by your team and will continue to recommend you to clients in the future. It’s wonderful to have a partner that makes the process […]Read More

UGG Boots Sold Only 28 Pairs In Entire First Year! Motivating Podcasts!

UGG’s founder, Brian Smith, was an accountant who emigrated from Australia in the late 1970s with an awesome idea of selling sheepskin boots to the masses. He did his market research, got really excited, raised tons of money, imported hundreds of pairs of boots… and sold only 28 pairs in his entire first year of […]Read More

Success = Experimentation

“Today’s most successful companies, the ones that are “crushing it,” started as a series of crazy ideas, followed by experiments to test just how viable those ideas might be.” The above quote is from Peter Diamondis – famous author, futurist and optimist. Here is his excellent blog about it: http://www.diamandis.com/blog/success-experimentation Realtors and loan officers come […]Read More

Team Building Done Right; Safety, Purpose, Fun, and Tahoe

We take enormous pride in our team building at JVM, and it is one of the reasons our service levels are extraordinary. Everyone backs each other up, and nobody gets stuck in their “silos.” Internally, we do this by making sure everyone knows JVM’s primary purpose – closing loans as efficiently and friendly as possible. […]Read More

Best Business Book Ever For Us: Emyth. Hands Down.

I was perusing Derek Sivers excellent website recently when I came across his rave review of the famous book Emyth by Michael Gerber. https://sivers.org/book/EMythRevisited Heejin pretty much forced me to read this book in 2008 and it completely changed our approach to business. Sivers says “Absolutely everyone who is an entrepreneur or wants to be […]Read More

Building Teams, Profits and Free Time by Letting Go; NFL Lesson Again

We love sharing team building tips b/c so many readers are trying to expand and build teams themselves, and b/c the tips work so well for us – increasing our profits and, equally important, our free time. Even though I don’t watch NFL football, I love the lessons it provides b/c the competition is so […]Read More

Beware of Coaches… Could They Do It Now?

Several years ago, Heejin and I were in Las Vegas at a huge mortgage event listening to the usual array of celebrity speakers and industry experts. Several of the most prominent speakers were coaches who were selling their systems or services for large dollar amounts. All of them of course would mention their own track […]Read More

Evidence of Success! FHA MI; Extra CO/Smoke Detectors; Local Escrow

One of our former business coaches used to make us mail out “Evidence of Success” postcards every few months illuminating one of our success stories. We stopped the postcards, so here’s one for the blog: On a recent Saturday, a Realtor introduced her client to JVM. Our “Mortgage Analyst On Call” contacted the client and […]Read More

DISC Tests; Right People for the Right Jobs

Erin Piper is one of the best people I know. She is accountable, skilled, congenial, fun to be around, smart and humble (she will hate this blog). She is universally loved and respected, and she is also one of the most talented team members we have – she is a fantastic Mortgage Analyst and Processor […]Read More

Sears – How to Destroy a Business, Department Store and Name

This is a fascinating article from Business Insider about the demise of Sears. I highly recommend it b/c it is so interesting and b/c there are so many great lessons about how NOT to run a business. http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-failing-stores-closing-edward-lampert-bankruptcy-chances-2017-1 Sears is fascinating in general b/c it was such an iconic brand and department store for so long – over 100 years – […]Read More

Heidi Saves the Thompsons! Right Before Baby Arrives! JVM’s Video

Several months ago, Nicholas, from our office, suggested that we create a video that explains the unique JVM Process to new Realtors and borrowers. We thought it was a great idea and have been nursing it along for a while now. I wrote the original script and it read like a “how to manual” for […]Read More

Why JVM Had an Enormous Stake in College Football Championship

 JVM had an enormous stake in the College Football National Championship Game. An aside for our Oakland/Berkeley readers: “Football” is an American game involving an oblong leather ball that is moved up and down the field, usually by large men… (kidding :)). For our AZ readers:  “College” is an institution for advanced learning that people attend […]Read More

FHA MI Down; Thumbtack; Contacting JVM; Calling Listing Agents; Weekends

A few facts, tips and reminders: 1. FHA MI dropped from 0.85% to 0.60% for most loans, making FHA that much more attractive with its low rates and flexibility. 2. We have been using Thumbtack for a variety of services from repairs to marketing, and it has worked surprisingly well. We recommend it. 3. The […]Read More

How Do We Build & Maintain Culture? Don’t Hire Jay & Heejin

We constantly tout JVM’s “Super Culture” as our secret sauce in our blogs, website and conversations. In response to a blog last week, several people asked what we do to cultivate our culture. We do far more than just talk about it. It starts with the interview process. We make it very clear how our […]Read More

How Our Culture Obsession Helps Everyone

“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” We feature this quote by Peter Drucker on our website’s career page b/c we know it is true. Our internal culture of psychological safety, communication, congeniality, openness and inclusion is JVM’s secret sauce. We never lose focus on it. Last week a team member sent this email to the entire […]Read More