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

“How I Built This” Best Podcast; Great Lessons; Keep Moving!!

There are now 350,000 podcasts, making it very hard for podcast lovers to choose favorites. But, here is our new favorite: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this. For anyone trying to build or help build a business, it is both fascinating and inspirational. The podcasts are interviews with the founders of prominent firms like Spanx, Dermalogica, Clif Bar and Airbnb. It is amazing to hear […]Read More

Sh*t Our Consultants and Advisors Say

As we built JVM’s very unique model, we were advised by a large number of consultants and industry executives. None of them fully understood our model, and their advice (while well-meaning) was often comically counterproductive. This is b/c most were rooted in old ways of doing business and could not shake their pre-conceived notions. Our […]Read More

Forbes 400; Fun to Read; Inspiration; Thank You Immigrants!

The “Forbes 400” (Richest Americans) issue just came out, and it is wonderfully fun to read. Forbes ranks everyone on a “self-made” index from “1 – 10,” with “10” being 100% self-made. The self-made stories are very inspiring. My favorite is the Korean couple Do Won and Jin Sook Chang. They landed in the U.S. in 1981 and […]Read More

Lessons From Teddy Roosevelt’s Near Death “River of Doubt” Exploration

I just read “The River of Doubt” about Teddy Roosevelt’s (TR’s) near death adventure on the River of Doubt in the Amazon, and I couldn’t help but pick up several great business lessons. After getting crushed in his 1912 re-election bid, TR decided to explore the River of Doubt to both forget his woes and […]Read More

Must Find Your Hedgehog Concept – Where Passion, Skills, & Profits Meet

There is a famous metaphor in management training known as the Hedgehog Concept. Jim Collins talks about it in his book “Good to Great.” Hedgehogs are great at one thing – rolling up in a spiked ball to protect themselves; they are so good at it that it works over and over. In contrast, foxes […]Read More

Kudos Contest; Easiest, Most Fun Morale Builder For Any Team

We stole the idea of the Kudos Contest from Google, and it has turned out to be one of the best morale builders ever. Each team member gets “three Kudos” per quarter. The Kudos are sent to the entire office and they name an individual and something outstanding they did. The person with the most Kudos at the end […]Read More

Leaders: EVERYTHING Is Your Fault! Great Lesson Learned

I blatantly stole the below quote from a competitor, so I have to credit it. The quote is from Hunter Marckwardt’s Sunday blog that Heejin and I both receive and very much enjoy. Hunter is with RPM Mortgage and he is an excellent loan officer and coach, and just a great guy in general. He […]Read More

Make Sure Employees Have Stake In Business; Wells Fargo’s Crisis

Some economists think that central banks will not be able to raise rates unless there are major political and policy changes. They say that current policies of higher tax rates and significant regulation are suppressing economic growth. And central banks look for signs of growth to justify rate increases. Without policy changes, we might not […]Read More

The Importance of Mission Statements; All Businesses Need Them

Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal often asks CEOs to say what their company does in six words or less and, shockingly, most of them stumble in response. According to famous author and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki and L2 Inc.’s Scott Galloway (see Monday’s blog), all businesses need a very concise mission statement. Concise mission statements are necessary […]Read More

ALL JVM Employees have BRE (Real Estate) License; Not Required

Almost everyone at JVM has both their NMLS License and BRE (Real Estate Agent’s) License. The NMLS License is not required for most of our employees b/c they never quote rates or do loan officer activities. We require NMLS licensing anyway b/c the education is excellent, and it helps everyone at JVM to better understand […]Read More

Lessons From Teddy Roosevelt’s Near Death “River of Doubt” Exploration

I just read “The River of Doubt” about Teddy Roosevelt’s (TR’s) near death adventure on the River of Doubt in the Amazon, and I couldn’t help but pick up several great business lessons. After getting crushed in his 1912 re-election bid, TR decided to explore the River of Doubt to both forget his woes and to recapture […]Read More

Why Businesses Must Focus On “Growth,” or Die

The CEO of Delta Airlines was on Marketplace’s Corner Office podcast recently, and it was boring as hell (a lot of platitudes). BUT, there was one huge takeaway that stuck with me. When the host asked the CEO if he intended to keep growing even though Delta is the largest airline in the world, he said: “of course – companies that are not growing, are in […]Read More

Phil Knight (Nike Founder) “Shoe Dog” Book, Part II (Awesome Book)

On Monday, I highlighted interesting takeaways from Phil Knight’s excellent book about Nike (Shoe Dog). https://www.jvmlending.com/shoe-dog-must-read-book-by-founder-of-nike-phil-knight-lessons Here are some additional takeaways from Shoe Dog: 1. Work Was Play. Knight repeatedly pointed out how important it is to turn work into play. 2. Product/Service Must Speak for Itself. Nike is famous for its ads now. But […]Read More

“Shoe Dog;” Must Read Book by Founder of Nike, Phil Knight; Lessons

I just finished Phil Knight’s (founder of Nike) excellent memoir called “Shoe Dog” and I highly recommend it as it is fun, interesting, and educational. Knight started in 1963, selling shoes from his car-trunk. He ended up revolutionizing the shoe industry by turning running shoes into a fashion statement and taking athlete endorsements to an […]Read More

Seth Godin – Awesome Lessons & Books: Contribute, Don’t Market

We are all riding a boom of low rates and great real estate demand, and business is coming easier than usual. Lots of people provide advice during boom-times, and it often works no matter what. Seth Godin was on Tim Ferriss recently, and his advice is excellent for anyone who wants to stay busy when […]Read More

Key Business Books That Changed Our Perspective/Way of Business

My two sons relentlessly make fun of business books – “for every book that says ‘always do A,’ there are two other books that say the opposite.” My kids also point out how books often illuminate what works for one person without mentioning how the same techniques might not have worked for others. And, they think it is comical that […]Read More

Henry Ford – Clinging To Same Formula For Too Long

Henry Ford was one of the most amazing American success stories of all time. He revolutionized the moving assembly line and created the first mass-produced auto (the Model T) that was accessible to the masses. He single-handedly transformed America, ushering in our car culture and the machine age. Ford was also a total nut. There […]Read More

Borg vs. McEnroe; Long Hair, Short Shorts, Great Lessons!

Successful people often advise reading biographies and watching documentaries to learn and garner perspective. And a recent documentary about the 1980’s rivalry between two tennis players, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, did not disappoint. http://www.hbo.com/sports/mcenroe-borg-fire-and-ice The long hair, short shorts and horrible fashion were entertainment enough. But there were great lessons too. Mr. Borg was […]Read More

Why You Need To Thank Your Competitors; Competition Is Good

My very first class at the University of AZ was a Flag Football class that also happened to be a “fluff” class that the University’s basketball team was taking. For me, it was a 1 unit PE class; for the basketball team I think it was a 9 Unit Graduate Level Course in “Physiology ” […]Read More

Boom Times: “Ego Is Your Enemy” More Than Ever

We have been riding another real estate and mortgage wave for a while now, and we are of course seeing egos surface more than ever too. Heejin and I have been in the industry for over 20 years, and have seen this pattern repeat over and over. What is most interesting is how little people, […]Read More

JVM Offers “Mortgage 101” Training for Assistants and New Agents

JVM Lending offers an excellent “Mortgage 101” Training for both new assistants and agents in the real estate industry. We have a refined presentation that covers all essentials, including Credit, Income, Employment, and Down Payment Requirements. We also explain the difference between Conventional, Jumbo and Gov’t (FHA, VA) financing. And most importantly, we go over […]Read More

John Wooden On Tying Your Shoelaces

John Wooden was one of the most successful people of all time in light of his amazing record as UCLA’s basketball coach. 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 to lace up […]Read More

Cal Baseball Coach on Team Culture; Great Business Lesson

Our excellent office manager recently reminded me that she shares the below blog on “teamwork” with all new employees as part of her on-boarding process. B/c extreme teamwork is the absolute life-blood of JVM and most businesses, we thought the blog was worth repeating. A close friend has a son who was a top baseball […]Read More

Extreme Hard Work & Discipline? Over-rated; Over-Training

The WSJ recently reviewed a book by the coach of Michael Phelps (famous Olympic Swimmer). The book talked about his extraordinary training regimen (50 miles of swimming per week, etc.). http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-win-like-michael-phelps-1466635351 This works great if you are a 20-year-old young man comprised mostly of testosterone. But for most, it is a recipe for pure burnout. […]Read More

Steve Martin on Experience, and Refining Experience

Steve Martin wrote an excellent autobiography that was highly recommended on a recent Tim Ferriss podcast. Heejin and l listened to it on a recent road trip and loved it b/c it is short (4 hours) and very interesting. One quote really stood out: “I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years […]Read More

Marc Andreessen to Business Owners: “Raise Prices”

The famous Venture Capitalist Marc Andreessen was on Tim Ferriss’ podcast recently. He was asked what he would put on a billboard for millions to see, and this was his response: “raise prices”. He says that many small businesses get in the trap of charging too little to garner market share, but then they have […]Read More

The Extreme Need For “Nice;” Congeniality 101 From Dent Man

I bought my daughter a VW Golf for Christmas and she promptly crashed it into a wall. I would make a sexist joke about “women drivers” here, but my son did the same thing with the Golf I bought him – only he did it twice (the 2nd time he totaled it). In any case, […]Read More

Overly Aggressive/Constant Negotiating Is Counter Productive

The WSJ had an article last week that explained how Donald Trump grinds small businesses with his “negotiating tactics.” When he decides he doesn’t like their work, he refuses to pay them. B/c the small businesses cannot afford to litigate against Mr. Trump, they end up taking a huge discount just so they can get […]Read More

Mistakes Are OK, But Not Indecision; Key Understanding For Team

Rick Cunningham is the owner or co-owner of fifteen Keller Williams offices and an expert at team-building – something that Keller Williams puts a huge emphasis on. Rick spoke at our recent Lunch & Learn and one of his quotes really stuck with us: “I can live with mistakes, but not indecision.” He tells all […]Read More

Blue Bottle Coffee – Repeat to Perfect; Need for Systems

I listened to a really boring podcast yesterday, and loved it. The founder of Blue Bottle Coffee, James Freeman, spoke at the Commonwealth Club. The podcast was boring b/c Mr. Freeman is so “zen” and a bit dull, but I want to be just like him :). Mr. Freeman was a classical musician until he […]Read More

Kids Are Now Steph Curry, Not LeBron; Embracing The New

There are a lot of budding basketball stars who practice incessantly at a park I walk or ride through several times per week near our home. What is interesting is how their style of practice has changed in recent years. They were all wannabe LeBron Jameses and Kobe Bryants for years and years, practicing their […]Read More

Small Burning Tissue Kills 38 People! Silo Effect On Teams

In 1987 there was a small burning tissue at the bottom of an escalator at the Kings Cross subway station in London. Several people working at the station saw it but did nothing to effectively stop it b/c it was not part of their job duties. The tissue ended up igniting the wooden escalators and […]Read More

“If You Ain’t Doing It Now, You Might As Well Never Done It”

Years ago in a gym, I overheard a bunch of young guys just out of high school brag about how much weight they could lift back in the day. The trainer at the gym was a former NFL player; he grew tired of the braggadocio and demanded that the kids put up the weights now. […]Read More

Retaining Talented Team Members/Assistants; Profit Sharing & Culture

We constantly see loan officers and realtors build and train highly talented teams only to see them leave as soon as they hit their peak. In contrast, we have many friends who have extremely talented team members who never leave. Here are the reasons why: 1. Sharing the Wealth/Profit Sharing: This was one of the […]Read More

“Emperor Bosses” No Longer Work; Talent Won’t Work for Them

Rich Karlgard of Forbes had a column in March about Donald Trump’s “emperor” style of leadership and how it no longer works. It appeals to his supporters b/c Trump comes across as confident and decisive on reality TV, but in real life his style has many short-comings. The column is short and a great read: […]Read More

Rolling Stones Business Lessons – Re-invent Yourself; After 2008?

There was an excellent article in the WSJ Saturday with business lessons from the Rolling Stones. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rolling-stones-guide-to-business-success-1462544656 Choose the right name: The Stones used to be called “Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.” Enough said. Know what the market wants from you: The Stones didn’t try to compete with the Beatles, but instead tapped […]Read More