The Three Types of Power as a Manager

This article was originally posted on Mar 11, 2014, and has been updated for relevancy

One of the biggest mistakes I see young managers make is the belief that their ability to be successful as manager comes from the authority they wield as a manager.  And they role power a manager has is nothing to dismiss out of hand, but it is the least effective method of getting things done.


There are three types of power that a manager.  The first and least effective, over the long term, is role power.  The second type comes from knowledge and expertise.  The third, and most effective is relationship power. 


Think of role power as a massive hammer.  When you swing that hammer and bring it down on something, it's going to make a lot of noise and be intimidating as all hell.  It will make an impression, but it also effectively stops all discussion and may create some feelings of resentment with your directs.  Don't get me wrong, a manager has role power for a reason, and it's a valuable tool to have, but it should be used sparingly.


Next is the power or influence you get from expertise and knowledge.  This typically means, that within your specialty, people will listen and respect what you say, provided that you continue to demonstrate a high level of expertise in the subject matter.  The limitation here though is the moment the conversation turns away from your area, your influence evaporates.


Finally, we come to relationship power.  I use relationship power as a strange way to say your network, and how well you can leverage your network to make things happen.  To be very clear, leveraging your network doesn't mean using your network, it means being able to make the most of it.  I'll cover more about ways to develop and care for your network in another post, but the bigger and stronger your network is, the more effective you'll be in any situation.


In the context of being a manager, relationship power comes from building positive relationships with your directs.  Give them respect, ask for their input, treat them like people, and you will be more effective as a manager.

Planning to Move to the Bay Area?  Save Your Pennies, It’s Going to be Expensive

This article was originally posted on July 19, 2013, and has been edited


If you are planning on moving to the Bay Area in the next couple of months, be prepared to pay a premium for your rent.  San Francisco Bay Area rents rose around 7.8% in the second quarter of 2013, vs the national average of 3.1%. 


What does this mean?  In the San Francisco Bay Area your average rent is $2,498 per month, and in The City itself, the average rent is $3,295. 


What are some of the reasons for this massive increase in rents?  Well, the Bay Area’s booming tech sector has brought a large number of wealthy, individuals to the San Francisco, which has squeezed demand.  In fact vacancies in the city fell to below 4.1% compared to the national average of 7.4%.


San Francisco also has very tight development controls.  And although there are going to be a very large number of new apartment that will become available in the next 18 months, (14,377), it will do little to lower the average rental price.  There is still a massive influx of people moving to the Bay Area to take part in the tech boom.  In fact, the recently completed 22-story Trinity Place has preleased all 419 units, something that is virtually unheard of.


San Francisco City is not the only place in the Bay Area to see higher than average rent increases.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Oakland saw a rent increase of 6.9%, and San Jose saw rents increase 5%


The dramatic rise in rental costs has drawn a flock of buyers to the Bay Area.  Many homes are sold within two weeks, while in other areas around the country listing times can last months. Many multi-family unit buildings see fierce competition, and can attract more than 30 buyers all competing at a time.  Cash Buyers are able to scoop up a lot of great deals, and closing quick seems to be a preference for many sellers. 


For those of us that currently live in San Francisco, be aware that some landlords are finding any and every reason to evict tenants so they can find new tenants willing to pay a premium price to live in the Bay Area. 


What does all this information mean?  It’s very expensive to live in the Bay Area.  Mostly because the jobs the Bay Area offers support the lifestyle.  It is fair to expect that as long as the tech boom continues and salaries continue to rise, rent prices around the whole Bay Area will continue to rise.  As people move out of San Francisco to escape the very high rental rates, rentals rates around the Bay Area will also continue to rise.  Rents aren’t likely to come down until there is either a major increase in supple (unlikely in San Francisco) or a major decrease in demand (which could happen if the tech boom goes the way of the dotcom bubble).


All is not lost though.  Despite the high average prices of rents there is a lot of diversity in San Francisco around rents.  Western and Southern neighborhoods of San Francisco offer1 bedroom apartments with rents closer to $1600 on average, around half of the premium price paid in SOMA, South Beach, North Beach, and Financial district neighborhoods. 


These cheaper neighborhoods offer excellent housing options with the only downsides being longer bus rides to get down to work downtown.  And these neighborhoods (especially the Sunset and Richmond districts) are much safer than premium neighborhoods, especially areas in SOMA.


In conclusion, be prepared to pay much more than you expect when you move to San Francisco, and the trend is likely to continue.  Get into real estate investing if you can, but always be smart about it.



Cultural Differences in Networking

This article was originally posted on Dec 20, 2013, and has been updated


Culture determines behavior.  Pretty obvious right.  We learn how to behave based on a whole bunch of factors, and culture is one of the big ones.  But what happens when you move to a new country?  The classic answer is, “it depends.”  Success in their home country is often a poor predictor of success abroad.


When you move to a new place, one of the best ways to combat loneliness is to meet new people.  However, the best way to build a new network can vary significantly from country to country.  For example, the average American takes a very individualistic approach, while the average Japanese would prefer a more group-based approach.


In America, meeting new people is mainly dependent on the individual.  Introducing yourself to a new person is perfectly acceptable, and often admired both in the personal and professional level.   It is a significant first step in building an extensive network, and extroverts tend to be the most connected.


By contrast, in Japan, introductions need to be made.  On both the personal and professional level, you build an extensive network by effectively leveraging your relationships to get more introductions, and investing time and effort to take care and maintain those relationships.  Extroverts may have large networks, but it’s the people that take care of their existing relationships that end up being the most connected.  The networks may not be as large, but they are powerful.


The American that shows up in Japan and tries to build an extensive network through introducing him/herself to everyone would have a tough time making it through the door without the proper connections.  Likewise, the Japanese person arriving in America expected to rely on the strength of his company name or waits passively for a network that provides introductions will end up waiting much longer to meet the people he'd like. 


This is one example of why the most successful person back home may not be successful outside of their native culture.  Often the person who insists the most on doing things they would back home will never be fully integrated into their host culture and will struggle significantly both personally and professionally.


If you are moving to a new country, find out how things get done locally.  It might be hard for you to understand, but there is a reason why it works., and adapting your behavior to something more appropriate will only help you be successful.

How To Work a Booth

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  1. Give your team distinctive shirts or hoodies – You want the members of your team to be immediately recognizable where ever they are at the convention.  Bright colors are a great way to stand out
  2. Make a Schedule – Schedule your booth team whenever possible.  If you have a team large enough, schedule shifts in four hour stretches, and have clear expectations when they are on booth duty.  Don't allow anyone to sit, eat, or drink while at the booth.
  3. Be proactive - anyone working a booth, should be making eye contact, smiling, and greeting the conference attendees.  You don't need to pitch everyone that walks by, as most of the time when someone walks the exhibit floor, they are looking to meet the companies there, so greeting people that walk by is a great way to start the conversation
  4. Have unique swag – all booths at conventions will have some form of swag that they are giving away.   Offer a toy, or something helpful at your booth.  USB splitters, yo-yos, or bottle openers, anything unique that people will find useful at a convention.  It will sometimes drive more people to your booth to have some more conversations.
  5. Be bold with your booth design – There will be a lot of people all clamoring for the attention of attendees.  Don’t count on the awesomeness of your product to guarantee people will come to your booth.  Bright colors are the easiest and most cost effective way to achieve that. TV screens showing looping demos of your product are another great tactic, but assume no one will be able to hear the audio, conventions are very loud.  A unique game or challenge with special giveaway for participating is another great way to get a lot of traffic.
  6. Have a business card and pen ready – Give your cards out to everyone, and try to get as many back as you can.  Use the pen to take notes on any thing that will help you follow up with after the convention.
  7. Make a point to use a prospect's name – Nothing is more impressive to a convention attendee than remembering their name when you see them later on.  When you first meet them, say their name three times in the conversation.  That will help you remember.
  8. Close – Ask for the business at the booth!  You're there to get business, and you and your team should be trying to get the business.  Even if they need time to evaluate, ask to follow up the next week and note it on the card and follow up.


These tips will help you make the most out of having a booth at a convention, and the immediate follow up.  They are great ways to connect with your clients, and get new ones.  Make the most out of every opportunity.


Here’s to your success.

Is an Elevator Pitch a Good Idea?

This article was originally posted on Nov 10, 2013, and has been updated


When I first started located, I was always asked to give a quick pitch on what Located did.  And I bloody floundered all over the place with it.  Depending on the way I framed it, people's eyes would either glaze over, or they would immediately start asking lots of questions.  And I found that having a nice concise way to describe what I did meant more business.  In short, I need an elevator pitch, and I needed multiple versions of it.

The idea of the elevator pitch comes from being able to pitch an idea in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator.  Now, we can use an elevator pitch anywhere, as long as the pitch itself is still short.  It should take less than a minute, and your goal is really to engage the listener.  You want the listener to ask you questions, and to be interested in what you have to say.


Here’s a quick look at some ground rules for crafting a solid elevator pitch:

  • Keep it short
  • No jargon or buzzwords
  • Use humor
  • Get confirm they are interested, then share details

They say brevity is the soul of wit.  It's also the body of an elevator pitch.  Get your idea across in a unique way using as few words as possible.  Limit the length to four or five sentences.  You want to have an opener, your pitch, and your closer.


Remember, no jargon or buzzwords.  I can't emphasize this enough.  If you open your mouth and words like synergy, dynamic, and game-changer come out of it, you can be sure the person listening is thinking about how to get away from you.  Stick with the vocabulary you'd use in front of your parents or grandparents.  You want to create a meaningful impression, not sound like you stepped off a company's website (I feel a slight twinge of irony typing those words for a blog, on my company's website).


Humor, oh em gee, yes, make the person laugh!  Frame what you do in a unique way.  Regardless of what you do.  You work in advertising sales?  Congrats, you "sell excitement and engagement."  You're a management consultant?  Look at you, you "help people build their business muscles."  The point here is to get creative about describing what you do.  BUT STAY AUTHENTIC! Nothing will be more of a turn off that something that sounds manufactured.


If you grabbed their attention with the funny opener, hit them with more details.  This is where a statistic, fact, or a success story.  If we follow the ad tech example from above you can say something like, “I connect brands with engaged audiences.  My clients usually see a 60% lift in the brand engagement after I work with them.”  Once again, don't lie, and don't exagerate.  


Your goal is to hint at the details to keep the listener asking questions.  You want to speak plainly and clearly, but you want them to be engaged and asking more questions.  If they ask you “what do you mean by…?” or “does that mean that…?” you are on the right track.   


You immediately want to ask if they have more time, and if not, when you can follow up with them to share more information.  If you are in a position to chat more ask if they can grab a coffee with you, or if you can walk with them for a little bit.  If you are out at an event, or if they are on their way to a meeting, ask for a business card and a time to call them.  You should always try to call them instead of sending an email, and as soon as possible.  You don’t want the impact of your conversation to fade away before you have a chance to follow up with them.


Ultimately that is the purpose of an elevator pitch, creating genuine interest, and to get more time to really sit down and speak with your listener.  You want to turn these chance encounters into meetings.  Whether you are trying to move your product, looking for investors, or simply trying to expand your network.  Creating a powerful first impression will put you on a short list of people who stand out in a crowd, and you’re more likely to be remembered long after the event is over.


In closing, remember that luck is simply when opportunity meets preparedness. 

Rent Control in San Francisco

This article was initially posted on Mar 13, 2014, and has been updated

Rent Control!  Living in San Francisco, we all know at least one person who has a fantastic apartment in San Francisco and is paying less than half what everyone else is.  Depending on who you read, rent control is the only way to stop property owners from fleecing their tenants or is single-handedly responsible for any housing crisis because the market isn't able to solve the housing issue its own.  I'm going to try to avoid making a value judgment here, and simply discuss how rent control works in the city.  


However, I am NOT an attorney, and this post is not legal advice and should be used for informational purposes only, and is specific to the city of San Francisco

First, it’s important to understand what rent control is.  Rent control means landlords cannot raise rents for their buildings beyond a set amount that is tied to directly to inflation.  The rate varies each.  For the period March 1, 2013 – February 28, 2014, it was 1.9%.  This year (March 1, 2014 - February 28, 2015) it is set at 1%. (update - recent allowable increases: March 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018 is 2.2 %. The annual allowable increase amount effective March 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017 is 1.6 %.)


There are four basic guidelines on when rent control doesn’t apply:

  1. A building constructed after June 15, 1979 (if you are curious about the age of your building, visit the county assessor’s office by clicking here)
  2. If you lived in subsidized or HUD housing
  3. You live in a dormitory, monastery, hospital, nunnery, etc
  4. You live in a residential hotel and have lived there less than 28 days. 


The San Francisco Rent board has a comprehensive list of exempt property types, which you can find here, though the San Francisco Tenant’s Union highlights some cases where the law favors of the tenant.


There are specific reasons why a landlord can increase rent beyond the set amount by the rent board.  These reasons include any capital improvements made to the building.  “Capital improvements” include a new roof, new windows, exterior paint jobs, new appliances, etc.  In buildings with 5 or fewer units, the landlord can raise the rent up to 5% per year, until they recapture 100% of the cost.  In buildings with more than five units there are options, depending on a variety of factors. 


In both cases, the landlord must do all the work ahead of time, and then submit request for a hearing to raise the rents.  If the work was never done, tenants can appear at the hearings to contest the rent increase.  Also, once the capital improvement rent increase is not permanent, and once the cost of the improvements has been recaptured, the rents must return to what they would usually be, (their standard base plus any regular rent increases).


Another reason a landlord can increase the rent beyond the rent set by rent control is higher costs in operating and maintenance. Higher costs result from an increase in the expenses for a property management company, gardener, and general care and maintenance for the property.  However, before the tenants have to pick up the bill, the rate of increase must exceed the allowable increase set by the rent board.  And rents cannot be increased by more than 7% for operation and maintenance reasons.  Once again, these increases do not add to the overall base rent for your unit, and adjustments must happen after the landlord has incurred the additional cost.


Also, there is a practice called banking rent.  Banking rent is where a landlord can go back to the original date on your lease and apply each allowable rent increase per year to bring your current rent up to what it would be if they had raised your rent consistently each year.  This is entirely allowable as rent increases are not on a use it or lose it policy


I hope that this helps clear up and confusion related to rent control.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us at

Website Relaunch

Hello Friends and Fam,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  Life kind of happened.  So to get back into the swing of things, I completely revamped the Located Website.  However in doing so, I found out that all the old articles were lost.  While this is unfortunate, I had the old posts on my laptop still and opened them up to repost.  As I was reading them, I had one thought, “Holy shit these are cringeworthy.” 


I still plan on reposting the posts, but I’m going to re-edit and update them to keep them relevant, but also to clean up the wiring style.  I’ve also been working on a new writing project that is meant to get me back in the habit of writing.  Hopefully the overall quality of writing will improve.  


Happy to be back, and hope you all had a great thanksgiving.