By Steve Boudreault, Buildium, Boston, MA
It’s about time that Buildium’s top wordsmith started writing blogs for All Things Property Management. So here I am and here we go!
I’m going to use my first ATPM blog to connect property management to my number-one passion: Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9).
Deep Space Nine focused on the space station of the same name, in orbit around a planet called Bajor. Originally an outpost of the evil Cardassians, it was built using Bajoran slave labor during The Occupation, which lasted nearly 50 years. When the Bajorans finally ousted the Cardassians, Starfleet sent officers to take over administration of the station, and try to help Bajor and the Bajorans get back on their feet.
The wrinkle comes in with the discovery of a stable wormhole that connects the area of space right around Bajor to the distant and completely unexplored Gamma Quadrant. Now instead of being at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in space, Deep Space Nine is at the crossroads of a major interstellar highway. That’s progress for you.
So what connections does Deep Space Nine herself have to property management? I’m glad you asked:
- Responsibility. The station was built by Bajorans for the Cardassians but is administrated by Starfleet. So one of the first questions was this: Whose responsibility is it to clean up and repair the station, which the Cardassians were so kind to trash before they left? Is it the owner’s responsibility or the manager’s? Well, since this is science fiction (heavy on the fiction) the responsibility is shared. (Good luck getting that to work in real life.)
- Ownership. At one point later in the series, the Cardassians returned and reclaimed the station. Sure, they’re evil, but the station did belong to them. Should they have a claim to it? It’s in orbit around Bajor, so does that make it Bajoran property? Back here on Earth, when a property changes hands from one owner to another, it can be confusing and frustrating for property managers when they’re not sure to whom they’re answering.
- Tenancy. Deep Space Nine houses the staff who work there, but it also houses the merchants who operate businesses on the Promenade, visitors, dignitaries, allies, and pretty much anyone who’s passing through. And despite the kinder, gentler nature of Star Trek, not all races get along and things sometimes get heated. Similarly, property managers can face the challenges inherent in renting to people of different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs.
Though fictional, DS9 dealt with many of the same issues that today’s property managers deal with. And though the writers were probably blissfully unaware, they taught us a thing or two about cooperation and compromise when it comes to running a property. Hopefully we can all take something away from it.
But only if we all watch it.