I have enjoyed David Spark’s home screen series over the past few months. It inspired me to create my own post. I’m always asking friends what new apps are worth checking out. Hopefully you find a few of these apps useful. I didn’t take the time to link all of these to the app store. If you can’t find any of these, shoot me an email.
- App Store
- Find Friends
- Find iPhone
- Techmeme – This is where I get most of my tech news. All the big stories are found here.
- Memorandum – Ditto for politics. Techmeme sister site.
- AP Mobile – I only use the push notifications for major breaking news.
- Seattle Times Latest News
- KING 5
- Feedly – I primarily use the web/desktop version.
- Instapaper – I just converted to Instapaper from Readability for long reads. Instapaper released a synchronized highlighting tool that converted me over.
- Umano – Recently discovered. Umano hires voice actors to read articles from major publications.
- 10BII Business Calculator – My go to calculator
- Card Reader – Transcribes business cards into Salesforce
- Salesforce1 – A huge improvement from their old mobile app.
- RD Client – Microsoft’s remote desktop client for work PCs.
- Asana – We use Asana for our repetitive workflow to do lists.
- DocuSign – I use this all the time.
- HelloSign – DocuSign alternative.
- ICSC – Industry organization. I am headed to ICSC ReCON this weekend and will be using this app often.
- Mailchimp – Email marketing reports.
- Search App – I usually go straight to Chrome or Drafts to search.
- Voice – All my voicemails transcribed.
- Maps – My preferred map app.
- Authenticator – 2-step verification codes to login to Google apps
- Local – I don’t know why I have this.
- Google Earth
- LinkedIn – I can’t stand LinkedIn as a company, but it is a necessary evil.
- Path – Pretty much Facebook but for close friends.
- Google+ – I like the automatic photo backup built into G+.
- Yelp – For searching and not so much for writing reviews.
- Alien Blue – Reddit client.
- WunderList – To share lists with my wife.
- Things – My favorite to do list. Simple and seamlessly syncs with the desktop version.
- Shoretel – Work phone
- Mail – Work email
- WeMo – For peace of mind. I can turn off outlets at home.
- Flywheel Sports – Flywheel recently launched this app and they nailed it on their first release.
And now for the dock. I guess these are my four must have apps.
- Fantastical – Let’s you enter appointments with natural language.
- Drafts – Read this review. They do a better job of describing it than I can.
These apps didn’t make it to my homescreen, but get plenty of use and are worth mentioning.
- Uber – I am still frustrated with Seattle for trying to limit Uber.
- Slice – Tracks all your packages and send push notifications when they arrive. It also sends you notifications if the price drops within 30 days of purchase.
- TripIt – Tracks your travel plans and combines you airline/hotel reservations in one itinerary.
- PaperKarma – Take a picture of junk mail and they will contact the publisher and remove you from the list.
I think the only noticeable app that is missing from this list is Facebook. I haven’t gone so far as to delete my Facebook account, but I have decided I don’t need the mobile app.
This morning Berkshire Hathaway posted Warren Buffet’s annual letter to shareholders. Last year I posted my highlights from the annual letter and thought I would do the same this year. The page numbers correspond to the PDF page number (not the page number in the letter). Some of the highlights may seem like an incomplete thought. I’d recommend reading the letter in its entirety to get the context of each highlight.
Overall 2013 was a more active year for me than 2012. I took 4,344,430 steps in 2013 vs. 3,895,859 in 2012.
2013 BY THE NUMBERS
11,902 – Average steps per day
32,415 – Most steps in a day
7,281 – Floors climbed
26.5 – Miles on March 17, 2013. I looked back at my calendar and realized this was the Sunday that my older brother was beating me on steps for the week. Fitbit sends out a a weekly email every Monday to all your friends with a steps leaderboard for the previous week. I wasn’t about to let him beat me and still haven’t.
The biggest change for me this year was joining Flywheel in August. Flywheel is spinning class on steroids. The typical class is 45 minutes and I quickly became addicted and started going 5 to 6 times a week and sometimes every day of the week.
The main difference between Flywheel and your typical cycling class is the “Torqboard”. Torqboards are TVs mounted in front of the room so that everyone in the class can see them.
The Torqboard has real time stats of which riders are leading the pack throughout the class. The instructors will throw in 30 second to 1 minute races throughout the workout which show on the Torqboard and push you even harder. After the workout all of your stats are uploaded to the Flywheel site.
For those of you that know me, I am extremely competitive and having a real time ranking that everyone can see pushed me to work harder. Here are my total stats from Flywheel:
FLYWHEEL BY THE NUMBERS
- 68 – Average RPM
- 22.9 – Average Total Distance (Miles)
- 1,019 – Average Calories Burned
- 2,593.4 – Total Distance (Miles)
I looked on Google Maps to see how far 2,593 miles would get me. I found that if I hopped on I-90 in Seattle and rode east I could get to Buffalo, New York. Not bad for a morning workout.
I took a look back at the articles and videos I shared over the past year and compiled a few of my favorites. This is by no means a comprehensive list. I am going to limit the list to my personal favorites and exclude any business and industry articles. I need to come up with a better way to mark my favorite articles, books, and videos as I read them throughout the year. For now I’ll go with a few of my favorite shares from the past year.
- A Murder Foretold – This is an older article. It should be made into a movie.
- What It’s Like to Fail
- You Are Boring
- The Manhunt for Christopher Dorner
- Beat By Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World
Favorite TV Shows
- Hard Knocks
- Arrested Development
- House of Cards
- Breaking Bad – I still need to finish this.
- Thinking Fast and Slow
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
- Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t
I have a big backlog of books I want to read. We have a vacation planned in January and I hope to get caught up on my list of books to read.
Favorite Shows & Documentaries
- Survive & Advance
- China’s Real Estate Bubble
- Undefeated – I highly recommend this. It is on Netflix.
- This is Water
- Inglewood Police Chase Jan 13, 2013
- Space Oddity
- After Surgery
- The Making of John Mayer’s ‘Born & Raised’ Artwork
- Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Next year I’ll try and make this list a little more comprehensive. I may add links to this list if come across anything that I missed. Happy new year!
The Urban Land Institute recently released their annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. Now in its 35th year, the report offers an excellent review of the past year and forecast of what is ahead for commercial real estate. Here are a few take aways from the report.
- In 2014, improving fundamentals and operational improvements will unseat cap rate compression and high leverage as the driver of total returns. Emerging Trends interviewees expect “space market fundamentals and property enhancements to emerge as the primary drivers of total returns”.
- Ten-year treasuries are expected to rise moderately in 2014, as are commercial mortgage rates.
- Expect a marked increase in capital availability from almost all sources in 2014. “The markets will be awash in both equity and debt … foreign capital will be on the rise.”
- All real estate property types will experience a change going forward. Office users require less space per worker as collaboration increases, and retail will continue to seek locations that cater to urban dwellers. Online retailers will continue to change the face of retail and as a consequence industrial space will seek to locate where it can efficiently serve this paradigm shift. Amenities and common area will increase in multifamily projects but unit sizes will continue to shrink.
- Continued increase in foreign investments. “From January to August 2013, they acquired $22.8 billion in U.S. real estate, which accounted for 13 percent of all real estate transactions in the country, up from 9 percent in 2012, according to Real Capital Analytics.”
- Seattle will remain a strong market with tech driving growth. Foreign investors like Seattle as a 24 hour gateway city.
- Respondents say they feel good about industrial/distribution, office, and retail in Seattle. The “buy” rating for each of these property types is ranked in the top five among the competitive market set.
- As online shopping increases, “brick-and-mortar” retail will continue to converge with online shopping as all retailers become progressively drawn into competition with Amazon to deliver goods to customers on the same day they are ordered. Stores will increasingly fill online orders from their own shelves, effectively blurring the line between retail and warehouse space.
- Retail is coming back. As consumer confidence continues to increases, retail will improve with it. “Neighborhood/community shopping centers were the most highly rated among retail sectors for investment prospects, rising slightly from last year’s rating. Close to 50 percent of respondents recommended “buy” for this sector”
There are a number of quotes I highlighted while reading through the report. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.
As one fund manager says of the moderate 2.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter of 2013, “That is not huge, but it is enough to create demand for real estate product—that is, demand for space and improving rent—because at the same time there’s almost no new supply. It’s a sweet spot for real estate.”
With interest rates expected to rise, the market will begin to look at improving cash flows to drive returns. This transition from cap rate compression to fundamental performance will increase the emphasis on asset management to enhance returns.
Many interviewees expressed the opinion that commercial real estate will get a lot more “institutional” in 2014 and the years beyond. “Availability of capital will be good,” explains a fund manager. “It’s dramatically better than it was three or four years ago, and a little better than a year ago. But as people rotate out of the bond market and into equities, where does the capital go? Real estate ownership is becoming more institutional. It will become more routine, more liquid, more accurately priced.”
By the end of 2014, employment levels in over half of the markets in the survey will be back to their pre-recession peak. What this means is that additional employment from this point could be accretive to positive real estate demand.
Seattle is up one spot to number six in this year’s survey. Prospects for all three market components—investment, development, and homebuilding—improved in 2014, with homebuilding prospects posting the largest gain. Survey respondents rated each component as offering “good” prospects for 2014. A national real estate consultant expresses the following view of the market: “Seattle is enjoying good job growth due to the tech industry. It is also becoming a core market for foreign investors.”
If you would like a copy of the full report, click here to download a PDF copy: Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2014.
Today marks the last day of Google Reader. This is a product that I have used almost every day for the past 8 years. It has saved me countless hours of jumping from site to site and I am sure I have wasted many hours reading articles that I normally would overlook.
For the past few months I have been beta testing a new web service called SquareFeet.io. I am excited to see them launch today. I have already found the service indispensable and the best way to tell you about SquareFeet is to describe the problem.
One of the frustrations with commercial real estate is there is no one source for all property listings and there probably never will be. Some brokers use Loopnet, others post offerings on their local CIE, while other brokers only publish information on their personal website. I have a list of close to two dozen websites I check for local inventory when I am searching for investment properties. I then compile the listings in our internal database and create reports for clients. This process is cumbersome and unnecessary.
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The following video illustrating David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech has been making the rounds lately. I sent this video to my brother last week since he originally turned me on to DFW’s writings. I would say of the top ten articles I have read, at least half of them are from David Foster Wallace. One of these days I’ll get around to posting a list of my favorite articles. For now, take a look at this video. The creator of the video describes it this way:
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Berkshire Hathaway recently posted Warren Buffet’s annual letter to shareholders. I had a chance to read this year’s letter over the weekend and have included my highlights and comments on the letter below.
Office Depot and Office Max have agreed to merge in a $1.17 billion all-stock deal. The agreement would combine the #2 and #3 office supply retailers.
I ran an Info USA report on the 850+ Office Max locations and 1,100+ Office Depot locations in the United States and combined the two lists. I found 633 store locations that shared the same ZIP code as another location. Several of these are two of the same brand stores, but the majority are an Office Depot and Office Max in the same retail trade area.
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