1. What were the biggest challenges in starting your own business?
– No capital
– No mentor
– No idea what I was doing
2. Why student housing vs. developing residential housing?
I grew up in Gainesville so I invested in Gainesville. My first out of town investment was in Tallahassee; it was a long time before I knew anything besides Student Housing existed!
3. What is your proudest TCC accomplishment?
The TCC Team. I get emotional every time I stop and contemplate the Team Wall; waves of gratitude, humility, and appreciation.
4. How did TCC weather the recession in 2009 when many companies liquidated or sold out to larger entities?
I’ve always believed in having a STRONG balance sheet; we started the Great Recession with tremendous capital reserves, we ended up literally scraping the bottom of the barrel i.e. for several weeks at the very end we were in technical violation of the liquidity reserves required by our bank (a closing was coming up that replenished, we so informed the bank in advance and asked for their forbearance which was granted).
5. What is the TCC Brand?
Proudly Making Your Home the Heart of our Business
6. How to you determine a Team Member’s value?
Three answers: a) I don’t determine their value, they do; b) In most cases I’m relying upon the assessment of their supervisors; c) Their ability to make the world a better place, to find and retain profitable Customers, to create and harvest principled profit. All that said, competence is very hard to determine and easily confused with confidence and likability. We tend to assume that someone who exudes confidence is also competent but the unconscious incompetent (i.e. they are too incompetent to realize they are incompetent) is one of the most dangerous people in the world! Also, people have unconscious bias, we tend to believe that people like us, who share our background, people we like, are more competent. Plus, it is hard to separate the impact of an individual from the team they are a part of and luck, good and bad, can also impact outcomes and be difficult to adjust for. To properly evaluate someone, you must work closely with them for an extended period of time in a variety of different circumstances and even then, it is very challenging.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur,
it’s not a job,
it’s a lifestyle.
It defines you.
Forget about vacations,
about going home at 6 pm –
last thing at night you’ll send emails,
first thing in the morning you’ll read emails,
you’ll wake up in the middle of the night.
But it’s hugely rewarding
as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.”
– Niklas Zennstrom, Swedish billionaire
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier