Leadership

For Builders And Their Countless Teams Of Partners On Aug 3, 2022

A memo from the 'keep-all-eyes-on-the-prize' department.

Leadership

For Builders And Their Countless Teams Of Partners On Aug 3, 2022

A memo from the 'keep-all-eyes-on-the-prize' department.

August 3rd, 2022
For Builders And Their Countless Teams Of Partners On Aug 3, 2022
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Five-hundred-thirty years ago today, Columbus and his shipmates set sail out of Palos, Spain, on a journey of discovery. He found not what he'd imagined he'd find but what was there instead.

Here's another one from history's "on-this-day" vault about how discovery works. At 11:15 pm ET on Aug. 3, 1958, the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus – after a 1,000-mile journey under the Arctic ice cap from Point Barrow, Alaska – crossed under the top of the world, the geographic North Pole.

Experience, skill, self-interests and ambitions push. The desire to prove new capability and discover new insights and improved ways of doing things pulls. There's always in everything tension between what we know and what we need to learn.

Fast-forward to here and now and housing. A couple of more discovery-related digressions, then the point.

Summer's sultriest string of weeks typically span a July 3 to August 11 period aptly known as Dog Days. Intuition may tell us the expression relates to weather "not fit for a dog" or so uncomfortably hot that it can drive a dog mad.

Discovery, however, clues us in on the true meaning and origin of the term, literally written in the stars.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or 'dog days.' Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year.”

Discovery has a hand, as well, in a term – uncannily timely and relevant for people whose livelihoods orbit making new homes and communities – involving another favorite house pet. Thanks to S&P Dow Jones Indices senior director for ESG Maya Beyhan, we learn of how Schrödinger's cat might well apply to the late great housing boom of 2020 to 2022.

In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.

Lit up by this bright insight, one can fathom an up-to-now dizzying array of counter-intuitive conditions currently playing out in market-rate residential real estate and construction.

Here's what S&P's Beyhan herself writes – albeit about another domain.

A case study illustrates the importance of considering both point-in-time and forward-looking analysis in understanding the results, as well as the value of sector-based perspectives."

A Fed-mechanically-engineered "unnatural causes" mortal blow to what was formerly perhaps housing's most lucrative stretch ever may indeed have slain the prior boom.

At the same time, brimming with life are building blocks – scarcity, fundamental demand, capability, capacity, and constraint – that can re-ignite and reconstitute themselves into this flourishing period's successor, and one after that, and after that.

In light of a thought experiment that can contain both the demise of a cyclical boom and its own reawakening, it's vital we level-set around essentials of what there – in the heart of housing's next ride upward – looks like, how it works, what it accomplishes, and what it strives for.

In all the cases above, skill, self-interests and ambitions thrust us forward to this level-set,  and what we don't know but need to learn pulls us, willingly or not, toward discovery.

The "there" homebuilding's business community of entrepreneurs, vested- and invested players might well level-set, fixate on, and strive for are largely uncharted, elusive, and to a great extent, misaligned with the practical reality of the present.

Only what will need to be learned, discovered, will make them possible. And, yet, they're all the things essential to the resiliency of business prosperity looking forward through the balance of the 2020s.

  • A market-rate residential real estate and construction investment and building complex that prices more individuals, and households, and families in than it prices out.
  • A new and redevelopment shelter and community solution that contributes positively to environmental and climate impact.
  • A local and regional community commitment that brings housing-as-a-solution to bear on economic, social, cultural, safety, environmental, and civic resiliency.
  • A livelihood ecosystem that attracts, values, and grows human capital capability regeneratively even as evolving technologies move the build-cycle into a modern manufacturing model.

A Schrödinger's cat thought experiment would allow for the present day "dead cat" implausibility of any of the four of these baseline decade destinations, and the "living cat" necessity of all four in a sooner-than-later future horizon.

All we know, and all that we're good at, and all that we regard as a strong investment will only get us once again from the beginning to the end of the next housing cycle.

It's what we don't know, what we need to humbly learn, and what we can't ever learn without setting out boldly with these destinations in focus, that pull us towards discovery.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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