Categories Economy, Narrative, Uncategorized

Who Will Be the Uber of CRE?

Anytime you look to the future, the word disruption always enters the conversation. I spend way more time now looking at companies that are trying to disrupt the brokerage business than I ever did in my entire career. As a 25-year CCIM, I found the below article worth sending out as one of my narratives. Many of these trends apply to other businesses, but are particularly interesting for commercial real estate.  So what are we doing to stay relevant?

—We are hiring the best talent possible.  On our team today, we have brokers with a finance degree & 2 MBA’s, a structural engineer, a construction management degree, and an attorney.

—We have all our brokers continuously growing and learning (all our members now have their CCIM, and two have SIOR’s and CRE).
—We are providing more services and more unique processes than ever.  (Here is a link to our unique process)
Yes, there will be fallout as technology continues to evolve. We will as well.  There is one thing that never gets disrupted: relationships. In my book, Chasing Excellence, written with our Founder, Bill Lee, we have a chapter on this topic. Click here to learn more. 
Call me to start a relationship today.
P.S.- How many people can say they are 2nd and 3rd generation AZ natives that donate over 1,000 hours a year to local charities? Coppola-Cheney can. Click here to hear about some of the organizations we work with/donate to.
Serving the Community
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Disruption Ahead!

Who will be the Uber of commercial real estate? 
By Surabhi Sheth

Every new generation demands and creates new ways of living, working, and doing business. Millennials, who will comprise 70 percent of the workforce by 2030, want to break free of the cubicle, and prefer an open, flexible work culture that allows them to work anywhere, anytime. To meet the needs of this new workforce, companies are leveraging technology developments – cloud computing, mobile, analytics – to create innovative products and services that, in the process, make existing business models obsolete. For instance, startup companies in the shared economy, unheard of just a few years ago, have capitalized on location technologies and transformed the local transportation and hospitality industries in cities worldwide.The commercial real estate sector is ripe for disruption, the same as many other legacy industries. For instance, high-quality Internet has enabled advanced payment systems, the Internet of Things, and geolocation services. Combined with urbanization and changing consumer patterns, these trends have the potential to redefine the commercial real estate demand-supply dynamics and business model, including real estate usage, site location, development, design, valuations, leasing, and financing.

While disruptive trends abound, some are generating more energy than others in the commercial real estate sector. For instance, technology-driven disruption of the brokerage model is forcing brokerage and leasing companies to innovate from the grassroots level. At the same time, three other trends are gaining relevance: the rise of the collaborative economy, demand-supply gap in talent, and changes in the last-mile delivery options of retailers. 

The Cloud Over Brokerage and Leasing

Technology-enabled access to information that was once available to just a few – at a high price – is bringing down barriers between commercial real estate owners and potential tenants, and diluting the role of real estate brokers and leasing representatives.
New entrants are leveraging cost-effective and real-time availability of property information to offer new service models that further enable this trend. For instance, property listing websites, such as Hubble and 42Floors, now provide services ranging from basic aggregation of leasable space to offering online marketplaces for owners and prospective tenants.

Other companies such as CompStak and DealX are now leveraging the power of crowdsourced lease comparables and offering them for public consumption, along with information such as tenant name, rent, lease duration, and landlord concessions. Real Massive and VTS have even broader platforms, offering property listings and market and other related information to owners, tenants, and brokers. Such online marketplaces are creating data ubiquity and transparency, which is empowering tenants and property investors to make more informed decisions independent of brokers.

Technology is further disrupting the traditional brokerage model. For instance, geospatial technologies help automate several activities related to site analysis, sales, and marketing, as well as provide information that allows more informed location-related decision-making for property owners and tenants. Artificial intelligence is automating tasks that in the past could only be done by humans.

Likewise, online property sites are eliminating the need for the broker-mediated property tour by offering virtual tours. For example, the Brazilian real estate website VivaReal uses a remote-control robot to offer virtual access to model apartments. In New York, developers are giving virtual reality tours to prospective tenants of office buildings and retail centers still under construction.

While the onslaught of technology is rendering the traditional brokerage model irrelevant, it is also enabling the use of unproductive commercial real estate. Practitioners should consider diversifying their core business focus, from largely brokerage to consulting opportunities in space-need and location advisory, as well as property and facility management.

Client relationship management will hold the key to success. Similar to consulting firms, brokerage firms will need to shift their service model from regional to central client relationship management. Existing brokers can use innovative services, capitalizing on their prior experience and client relationships. For instance, companies can combine their rich bank of tenant data with geospatial and cognitive technologies to generate better insights on future real estate choices.
Traditional players can also consider investing in or collaborating with startups to meld client relationships with new tools and technologies to offer the best of both worlds.

The Collaborative Economy

The commercial real estate sector as a whole is poised for a transformation as collaborative space usage gains ground. Many new players are capitalizing on this trend. For instance, one company leases large office spaces and subleases them on demand. In the retail space, online marketplaces such as Storefront offer a platform to brands, designers, and artists to find physical retail space for short duration pop-up stores. The collaborative economy can optimize rates on short-term spaces and create more value as it helps tenants obtain space that closely aligns with their needs.
However, current leasing and tenant approaches lack the flexibility to accommodate tenants’ varying demands. In response, traditional commercial space owners may have to rethink their approach to designing, developing, and redeveloping their properties. Along with fluid spaces, companies will need to consider new ways to enhance tenant experience. For example, in office properties, a hybrid approach may be the way forward, with a mix of long-term leases for core spaces and short-term flexible leases to manage ups and downs in workforce numbers.

The Talent War

Slowing population growth, the baby boomer retirement wave, and talent demands from competing industries – particularly health care, community services, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics clusters – are likely to result in a war for talent in the next decade. That gives new emphasis to the workplace preferences of the incoming generation of professionals, the millennials, who tend toward freedom and flexibility. Their work-life barriers are porous, with many preferring to work from home or freelance.

As such, the per-employee office space requirement is likely to shrink. According to a Deloitte Canada report, the average office space per employee is projected to decline from 250 square feet in 2000 to 150 square feet in 2017, and 90 to 100 square feet in companies that have nimble workplaces. The upshot may be a demand for mixed-use spaces that include office, residence, and recreation options with many tenants even demanding small offices in their apartments.
As the war for talent intensifies, talent dynamics should be an integral factor in location-based decisions, especially for office property owners. Companies should estimate the future workforce using existing employment data and evaluate areas where knowledge workers are likely to live, work, and play. These may be close to the regions where they study and grow, such as cities with strong academic components.

The Last Mile

Growth in online retailing is redefining the use of brick-and-mortar stores, with retailers increasing focus on enhancing customer experience. Further, 3D printing will enable manufacturers to move to a build-to-order model rather than build-to-stock, which will allow them to sell directly to consumers. Indeed, retailers and some retail real estate owners are using different and flexible delivery options such as same-day or next-day delivery to create differentiation at the last mile.
While brick-and-mortar stores will remain integral to some retailers, their utility will continue to evolve. They are likely to be used primarily for products that require touch and feel, or have significant service components. Overall, demand for traditional retail spaces will be weak.

That said, retail properties will be utilized in different ways. They could double up as fulfillment centers, especially for commoditized products that do not necessarily require touch and feel for purchase decisions. Further, on-demand retailing and manufacturing will reduce inventory holding, and potentially the demand for large warehouse spaces.
Retail property owners should continue to try different store formats, tailored spaces, and innovative techniques to enhance the end-customer experience. This would require incumbents to embrace sophisticated technologies.
Distribution and fulfillment centers should be a prominent part of industrial real estate owners’ property portfolios. As existing industrial property owners plan new development, they will likely benefit from acquiring and developing smaller and more flexible spaces within city limits that meet the demands for rapid delivery to end consumers.

Clearly, the physical and digital worlds are fast blurring. Technology, which is at the center stage of the current wave of disruption, also has the potential to help commercial real estate players meet these challenges. Companies will have to re-engineer operations and figure out optimal ways to organize and access talent. Bottom line, existing commercial real estate players cannot afford to ignore this disruption: The choice is between responding proactively to the evolving business landscape or risk being disrupted by the new entrants. 

Categories Narrative

The World IS Getting Better!

The world is continuously becoming a better place to live.  You may not know that from the news, but below I will show you why (with the help of Dr. Peter Diamandis).

Peter is a true visionary. Because I am part of his A360 group, I have a cool offer for you today. His biography, How to Make a Spaceship by Julian Guthrie, is now out. You can get an interesting book and do a good deed at the same time. If you buy a book through this link, an additional book will be given to a robotics team in the US. So, you get a great story and we get to help students. Win-Win.

How does the world getting better affect commercial real estate? First, we will continue to see countries develop, cities redevelop, and communities prosper. Second, the world will become more connected, smaller, and integrated, changing how real estate is used. Finally, we have no idea how this connectivity (autonomous cars and the changing work force) will change, but we know it will.

Here are a few highlights, but please scroll down and view all ten graphs:

·         The percentage of global poverty has dropped from 53% to under 17% in the last 30 years.
·         In just the last 16 years, child labor has been cut in half, along with infant mortality rates over the last 35 years.
·         The average years of education has skyrocketed, averaging to about 21 years for Americans.
·         Food has continuously gotten way cheaper.
·         Violent crime has gone down significantly.
·         Teen pregnancy rates have decreased, while global literacy rates are through the roof.

While the below email to me from Peter Diamandis (email dated 6/27/16, as part of the A360 group email) is a great summary, reading his books, Abundance and Bold, provides a much more in-depth analysis.

Spread the word—The world is getting better.

P.S.- Arizona is getting better as well. A few weeks ago, I spoke about the exodus of California companies to Arizona. Phoenix Business Journal reporter Eric Jay Toll has been tracking this trend in a great series of blogs. To stay on top of Arizona’s growth, check out his latest article here, and find more articles (including the one that inspired the New York Times article I sent out) here and here.

Email from Dr. Peter Diamandis

When I published Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think in February 2012, I included about 80 charts in the back of the book showing very strong evidence that the world is getting better.

Over the last five years, this trend has continued and accelerated.

This blog includes additional “Evidence for Abundance” that you can share with friends and family to change their mindset.

We truly are living in the most exciting time to be alive.

By the way, if you have additional ‘Evidence for Abundance’ (Charts, Data, etc.) that you’ve encountered, please email them to me at

Why This is Important

Before I share the new “data” with you, it’s essential that you understand why this matters.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by negative news from every angle. If you turn on CNN (what I call the Crisis News Network), you’ll predominantly hear about death, terrorism, airplane crashes, bombings, financial crisis and political scandal.

I think of the news as a drug pusher, and negative news as their drug.

There’s a reason for this.

We humans are wired to pay 10x more attention to negative news than positive news.

Being able to rapidly notice and pay attention to negative news (like a predator or a dangerous fire) was an evolutionary advantage to keep you alive on the savannahs of Africa millions of years ago.

Today, we still pay more attention to negative news, and the news media knows this. They take advantage of it to drive our eyeballs to their advertisers. Typically, good news networks fail as businesses.

It’s not that the news media is lying — it’s just not a balanced view of what’s going on in the world.

AND because your mindset matters A LOT, my purpose with my work and with this blog is to share with you the data supporting the positive side of the equation and to give you insight to some fundamental truths about where humanity really is going…

The truth is, driven by advances in exponential technologies, things are getting much better around the world at an accelerating rate.

NOTE: This is not to say that there aren’t major issues we still face, like climate crisis, religious radicalism, terrorism, and so on. It’s just that we forget and romanticize the world in centuries past — and life back then was short and brutal.

My personal mission, and that of XPRIZE and Singularity University, is to help build a “bridge to abundance”: a world in which we are able to meet the basic needs of every man, woman and child.

So, now, let’s look at 10 new charts.

For more, I encourage you to read my book Abundance: the Future is Better than you Think, or apply to join me at Abundance 360 here.

More Evidence for Abundance

Below are 10 powerful charts illustrating the positive developments we’ve made in recent years.

1. Living in Absolute Poverty (1981-2011)

PD_Absolute Poverty

Declining rates of absolute poverty (Source: Our World in Data, Max Roser)

Absolute poverty is defined as living on less than $1.25/day. Over the last 30 years, the share of the global population living in absolute poverty has declined from 53% to under 17%.

While there is still room for improvement (especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia), the quality of life in every region above has been steadily improving and will continue to do so. Over the next 20 years, we have the ability to extinguish absolute poverty on Earth.

2. Child Labor is on the Decline (2000-2020)

PD_Child Labor

Child Labor on the decline (Source: International Labor Organization)

This chart depicts the actual and projected changes in the number of children (in millions) in hazardous work conditions and performing child labor between 2000 and 2020.

As you can see, in the last 16 years, the number of children in these conditions has been reduced by more than 50%. As we head to a world of low-cost robotics, where such machines can operate far faster, far cheaper and around the clock, the basic rationale for child labor will completely disappear, and it will drop to zero.

3. Income Spent on Food


Income spent on food (Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Expenditure Series)

This chart shows the percent per capita of disposable income spent on food in the U.S. from 1960 to 2012.

If you focus on the blue line, ‘Food at home,’ you can see that over the last 50 years, the percent of our disposable income spent on food has dropped by more than 50 percent, from 14% to less than 6%.

This is largely a function of better food production technology, distribution processes and policies that have reduced the cost of food. We’re demonetizing food rapidly.

4. Infant Mortality Rates

PD_Infant Mortality

Infant Mortality Rate (Source: Devpolicy, UN Interagency Group for Child Mortality Est. 2013)

This chart depicts global under-five-years-old mortality rates between 1990 and 2012 based on the number of deaths per 1,000 live births.

In the last 25 years, under-five mortality rates have dropped by 50%. Infant mortality rates and neonatal mortality rates have also dropped significantly.

And this is just in the last 25 years. If you looked at the last 100 years, which I talk about in Abundance, the improvements have been staggering.

5. Annual Cases of Guinea Worm

PD_Guinea Worm

Guinea worm cases (Source: GiveWell, Carter Center)

Guinea worm is a nasty parasite that used to affect over 3.5 million people only 30 years ago. Today, thanks to advances in medical technologies, research and therapeutics, the parasite has almost been eradicated. In 2008, there were just 4,647 cases.

I’m sharing the chart above because it represents humanity’s growing ability to address and cure diseases that have plagued us for ages. Expect that through technologies such as gene drive/CRISPR-Cas9 and other genomic technologies, we will rapidly begin to eliminate dozens or hundreds of similar plagues.

6. Teen Birth Rates in the United States

PD_Teen Birth

Teen birth rates (Source: Vox, Centers for Disease Control)

The chart above shows the dramatic decline in the number of teen (15 to 19 years old) birth rates in the United States since 1950. At its peak, 89.1 out of 1,000 teenage women were giving birth. Today, it’s dropped under 29 out of 1,000.

This is largely a function of the population becoming better educated, the cost of birth control being reduced and becoming more widely available, and cultural shifts in the United States.

7. Homicide Rates in Western Europe


Homicide rates in Europe (Source: Our World in Data, Max Roser & Manuel Eisner)

The chart above shows the number of homicides per 100,000 people per year in five Western European regions from 1300 to 2010.

As you can see, Western Europe used to be a very dangerous place to live. Over the last 700+ years, the number of homicides per 100,000 people has decreased to almost zero.

It is important to look back this far (700 years) because we humans lose perspective and tend to romanticize the past, but forget how violent life truly was in, say, the Middle Ages, or even just a couple of hundred years ago.

We have made dramatic and positive changes. On an evolutionary time scale, 700 years is NOTHING, and our progress as a species is impressive.

8. U.S. Violent Crime Rates, 1973 – 2010

PD_Violent Crimes

U.S. violent crime rates (Source: Gallup, Bureau of Justice Statistics)

In light of the recent terrorist shooting in Orlando, and the school shootings in years past, it is sometimes easy to lose perspective.

The truth is, in aggregate, we’ve made significant progress in reducing violent crimes in the United States in the last 50 years.

As recent as the early 80s and mid-90s, there were over 50 violent crime victims per 1,000 individuals. Recently, this number has dropped threefold to 15 victims per 1,000 people.

We continue to make our country (and the world) a safer place to live.

9. Average Years of Education, 1820-2003


Average years of education (Source: Our World in Data, Max Roser)

I love this chart. In the last 200 years, the average number of ‘years of education’ received by people worldwide has increased dramatically.

In the U.S. in 1820, the average person received less than 2 years of education. These days, it’s closer to 21 years of education, a 10X improvement.

We are rapidly continuing the demonetization, dematerialization and democratization of education. Today, I’m very proud of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE as a major step in that direction.

Within the next 20 years, the best possible education on Earth will be delivered by an AI, for free — and the quality will be the same for the son or daughter of a billionaire as it is for the son or daughter of the poorest parents on the planet.

10. Global Literacy Rates


Global literacy rates (Source: Our World in Data, Max Roser)

Along those same lines, the extraordinary chart above shows how global literacy rates have increased from around 10% to close to 100% in the last 500 years.

This is both a function of technology democratizing access to education, as well as abundance giving us the freedom of time to learn.

Education and literacy is a core to my Abundance thesis – a better-educated world raises all tides.

Again, if you have other great examples of abundance (charts and data), please send them to me at

We live in the most exciting time to be alive! Enjoy it.


is more aggressive, Craig or Andrew, please

watch the full video on our Website featuring Michael Kost
Categories Narrative, Tech Industry

Virtual Reality Property Tours?

The next five years will bring tremendous change in our lives. Part of this narrative is to look out for changes in the Commercial Real Estate industry. Virtual Reality (VR) tours are coming, and fast. Imagine being able to walk through a proposed building, pick from a variety of office furniture and layouts, choose from a detailed list of fixtures and finishes, and watch it all come to life around you in real time. Or how about flying around the city looking at different buildings without leaving your office?

In January, I was able to participate in a flying VR experience. Below is a photo of me trying out this new technology. I was flying through the sky and navigating by turning my body and moving my arms.


One thing is inevitable: the next 5 years are going to be a substantial period of innovation for virtual reality. It will be very interesting to see how this technology disrupts the current market. If you want to chat about virtual reality and how it will disrupt your business, give me a call.

Why Commercial Owners Should Use Virtual Reality for Tours

By Billy Fink
March 3, 2016


Companies looking to buy or lease space in commercial buildings are finding it increasingly easy to take a peek at potential properties from their computer or tablet. Detailed specs, floor plans and photos have been the norm in online listings for years. Now commercial brokers and owners are stepping up their marketing game to offer 3D imaging and virtual reality tours to spark more interest.

$80 billion large

A recent study by Goldman Sachs Research predicts that virtual and augmented reality will become an $80 billion market by 2025, of which $2.6 billion will be specifically for real estate. This is roughly the same size of the desktop PC market today. The VR/AR sector is transforming real estate, as well as other industries such as healthcare, engineering, and education.

Virtual reality tours are popping up in both residential and commercial properties. On the commercial side, one of the most prominent applications is marketing for space that is under construction – or even still on the drawing board. Virtual tours can help potential tenants visualize a space that doesn’t yet exist, and effectively speed lease-up for developers and owners (just look at Floored). For example, Macerich began using virtual reality technology to showcase some of its early stage projects, including its Fashion Outlets of San Francisco @ Candlestick, a 500,000-square-foot luxury shopping development.

Residential brokers also are beginning to test the power of virtual tours to sell luxury homes and condos. According to a recent article in Fortune, Matthew Hood Real Estate Group at Sotheby’s International Realty is using Samsung Gear VR to produce 3D scans that allow a customer to do a virtual walk through in a house using a hand controller to navigate.

Can VR replace the real thing?

According to Hood, the cost of scanning a home for VR ranges from $300 to $700 – not a bad investment considering the firm specializes in marketing $1 million-plus homes. Virtual reality may not completely replace a physical tour, but it does bring some efficiency to the process by allowing homebuyers to quickly review and select, or discount, possible options. It also greatly expands the target market by making the properties more available to people across the country and around the world. The same is true for tenants looking to lease new commercial space.

According to the New York Times, New York brokerage firms such as Halstead, Greenland, Forest City Partners, and Douglas Elliman Real Estate are among those that have said they plan to add virtual-reality technology in the coming months. The article reported that Halstead had 3D walk-throughs available for 30 listings with a goal to add walkthroughs for its entire inventory.

Outstanding challenges

The logistics of how these tours works varies. Some versions provide panoramic camera shots or drone video that gives the illusion of walking through a space. Other versions use a VR headset or goggles that allow a user to take their own self-guided 3D tour of a property. Some of the main providers of VR hardware include names such as Facebook Oculus, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard among others. Because these companies are innovating non-stop, it is likely that 3D gear may become cheaper and more available in the not-too-distant future. Newer tech allows users to click on a mouse or arrow keys on their computer to navigate through a space and zoom in on particular features.

One of the big hurdles for widespread use remains the cost, which may limit the use to larger projects such as commercial real estate and high-end home sales. In particular, designing a detailed VR experience for a building that does not yet exist can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. However, for a society that continues to embrace the convenience and efficiency that online shopping offers, it may be only a matter of time before leasing or buying real estate becomes as easy as shopping on Amazon.

Categories Narrative

Looking at Risk and Risk Bias

Today is a quick reminder to all readers (including me) about risk. As humans, we tend to minimize risk. Below is a chart from a 2012 Harvard Business Review article on risk bias. 

unnamed (Click here to read the full article)

Here are 5 ways to mitigate some of the risks you take when leasing or acquiring real estate:

  1. Avoid the risks you can.
  2. Implement a process to control your risk.
  3. Understand and limit the impact of the ones you can’t avoid.
  4. Take advantage if the risk can be transferred to another party.
  5. Buy insurance on risk as another way to transfer it.
There are tons of risks in buying and leasing office buildings.  Our team is in the risk management business.  Call or email me to help you limit your risks on your next lease.


P.S.- Has anyone ever relieved themselves on your office window? Click here to watch the below video to hear more client stories from Michael Kosta. 

Client Stories
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5 Ways to Look At Risk

By Reid Rushing | President, Insurance Division



July 7, 2016

Any business owner or home owner should look at Risk Management by asking 5 basic questions about the risks of possible losses:


1. How can I avoid the Risk? Can your risk actually be avoided? When you are thinking about your potential risk of losses, can you actually just avoid the risk all together? For example, if you know cooking with your grill inside will likely cause a fire, then you could choose to cook outside instead. If you can avoid the risk, avoiding it may be better than buying insurance. A simple example of avoiding a possible Liability Loss is: Don’t Drink and Drive.


2. Is the Risk controllable? Are there Risk Management procedures you could implement that will control to potential of a loss? A great example would be safety wear for certain activities such as glasses, gloves, or protective clothing. When you mow your yard, do you wear the proper shoes, gloves, and eye protection to avoid an accident? If you can control the risk, you may not need insurance or as much insurance.


 3. How much of the Risk can you retain? Maybe you can’t avoid the risk, but you can limit it. When you know the risk exists, you can calculate out how much of the loss you can personally retain. But the risk still exists. How much you can retain depends on the Risk, but one way is to raise your deductibles on your insurance policies or pay small claims from your own pockets.




4. Can the Risk be transferred? We can use contracts or help transfer the risk to another party. A good example is when you have a contractor working on your building, asking them to list you as an Additional Insured on their insurance policy will help transfer some of the risk to his insurance carrier. We see this all the time when we rent vehicles. The rental company wants to transfer some of the risk to you by having your sign their contract. This helps protect the rental company’s assets, but it opens you up to a number of possible financial losses.


 5. Can I buy insurance on this Risk? This is the most common form of transferring Risk to another party, but as you can see, it is not the only kind. Insurance is used to help reduce your financial loss when the other forms are just not possible or financially feasible.


As our culture evolves, new risks appear and insurance companies develop new products to address them. Each new risk will need to be addressed by using the questions above. Sometimes, you will be able to something about the risk without purchasing insurance; other times, the risk is so new that you do not know the potential of loss, so you purchase insurance to help protect yourself or your business.