Per My Last E-mail #28

Why WeWork's Downfall is good for RE Startups + Brightmind, Growth, Deception, LinkedIn, Community, and Books

Hi Friends 👋,

Happy Monday! Welcome back to reality after the long weekend. It’s hard enough to get back to work after all that food, so I’ll skip the preamble. Let’s dive right in.

Is WeWork’s Downfall Good for RE Startups?

I’m a liar. I’ve said in this very newsletter that I was done talking about WeWork, and here I am, talking about WeWork.

I really tried to stop, I promise, but every time I tell people that I’m starting a company with physical space at the center of the business model, they ask me some variation of: "Wow, isn’t that going to be tough post-WeWork...?"

In an attempt to put the question to bed once and for all, I wrote down eight reasons that now, post-WeWork, is exactly the right time to start a real estate startup:

Eight Reasons WeWork’s Downfall is Great for Real Estate Startups


It’s Cyber Monday. You’re getting bombarded by deals as we speak. So this week’s P.O.T.W. is designed to help you be happier with less. It’s a meditation app: Brightmind.

I’ve meditated on and off for almost a decade with Calm, Headspace, Meditation Timer, and random meditations on Spotify. With each one, I start out strong, stick with it for a week or two, and then drop off. When I was doing it, I was noticeably calmer, happier, and more present, but invariably, I stopped.

So when I met up with my friend Tasshin, who is the Assistant Director at the Monastic Academy, I asked him what I should be doing to get deeper and stick with it.

His first recommendation was to come up to the Monastic Academy, which I would love to do. His second, which fits better into my daily routine, was to try Brightmind.

That was over two months ago, and I’m still using Brightmind every morning. It’s become the part of my morning routine that I most look forward to. The meditations I’ve done through the app have been less focused on breathing than I’m used to, and more focused on paying attention to what I see, hear, and feel in my mind and in my body. For some reason, that works really well for me.

If you’ve been trying to start or continue a meditation practice, give Brightmind a shot.

Links & Listens

🎶 When the Music Stops by @chiefofstuffs

2019 has seen a wave of Venture Capitalist parody accounts, like @vcstarterkit and the author of this post, @chiefofstuffs. 99% of the time, they make fun of VCs on Twitter, but 1% of the time, they write really insightful posts that they might not be able to write if they were using their real names.

When the Music Stops is a very real look at the bad behaviors that people choose to ignore when growth is happening and the things that happen inside of companies when the growth stops. It reminds me of this Nike campaign for Tiger Woods when he regained the world #1 ranking after his Thanksgiving-from-Hell a decade ago.

Image result for tiger woods winning takes care of everything nike

🕵🏻‍♂️ 2019 Lux Annual Dinner Talk by Josh Wolfe

We are born to seek truth, and we are born to deceive. Josh Wolfe, a VC at Lux Capital and one of the smartest people I follow on Twitter, frames innovation as an arms race between deception and detection. It’s a perspective I’ve never encountered, and it’s worth 20 minutes of your week.

🔗 Why the Next Professional Network Will Look Nothing Like LinkedIn by Brianne Kimmel

LinkedIn has become a joke as a consumer product (see: @stateoflinkedin). Kimmel, the VC behind Work Life Ventures, argues that that’s because they’re building the product for the recruiters who generate 75% of its revenues, and not for consumers.

This chink in LinkedIn’s armor opens the door for new professional networks, like those based on shared interests and peer education, those where individuals can build their own services business with public profiles and reviews from happy customers, and SaaS tools that deliver daily utility and can showcase a users’ actual work.

The way that we highlight our skills, find new jobs, and attract collaborators will undergo a major shift in the next five years. I’m particularly excited about the possibility for online-offline communities to make this process more personal.

See also: Ankit Kumar Singh On Internet Credentials, New School and Productising First Point of Motivation.

🎳Building Communities in 2019 w/ Bailey Richardson & Rei Wang on Venture Stories

Bailey Richardson, the author of Get Together and co-founder of People & Co, and Rei Wang, the former CEO of the FirstRound’s Dorm Room Fund and co-founder of The Grand, are two of the people doing the most interesting things around community.

Their discussion with Erik Torenberg covers whether businesses with community as the main product can be venture scaleable, when it’s appropriate for businesses to build community, the value of in-person interaction around hard conversations, community-focused KPIs, and much more.

What I’m Reading

I’ve been reading more non-fiction recently; there’s so much out there that I want to soak up that it’s overwhelming. I’m a quarter of the way through The Idea Factory, and about three quarters through The Mastermind (more to come on both once I’ve finished), and two books at once is already more than I can handle.

But I don’t want to be the delinquent in our Book Club who didn’t finish this month’s book (the power of accountability in IRL communities!), so I started Sally Rooney’s Normal People over the weekend. I couldn’t put it down, and 36 hours later, I’m finished reading it and missing it already.

Rooney tells the story of two people growing up in a small town in Ireland, moving to Dublin for university, and falling in and out and in and out of a relationship while remaining in love. Not much happens in the book, there’s no climax. It’s just a beautifully-written portrait of adolescent life: how the things that seem so important one day become something we laugh at a few weeks later, how the people whose friendship we crave become people whose names we barely remember, and how important a shared history is despite all of that. I’m also just a sucker for the way the Irish turn a phrase. Highly recommend as a holiday read.

What’s Next?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing focus groups to better understand the needs of the people I’m building a community for and with.

If you’d be interested in joining a diverse community of the most intellectually adventurous, helpful, and talented people in New York City, and would be open to spending an hour or so helping us figure out what to build, let me know by replying to this e-mail. If you know anyone who fits that bill, please send them my way!

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Thanks for reading,