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Are You a Paycheck Player?

Are You a Paycheck Player?
Jerry Maguire is one of my favorite movies.  I love it because it’s a chick flick dressed up as a sports movie, and some of the dialogue is wickedly inspiring.  One of my absolute favorite scenes is when Jerry and Rod are in the parking lot and Rod is complaining about all the things that are going wrong in his job and about how he’s not getting any love, how no one is showing him the “kwan.” Jerry’s response is something I revisit from time to time: All right, I’ll tell you why you don’t have your ten million dollars. Right now, you are a paycheck player. You play with your head, not your heart. In your personal life, heart. But when you get on the field it’s all about what you didn’t get. Who’s to blame. Who under-threw the pass. Who’s got the contract you don’t. Who’s not giving you your love. You know what, that is not what inspires people. That is not what inspires people! Shut up! Play the game, play it from your heart. And you know what, I’ll show you the kwan. And that’s the truth, man! That’s the truth. Can you handle it? So, I ask you the same question – Can you handle it? Sometimes, even the best of us lose track of the big picture important things in life.  It’s easy to do – Someone else gets the promotion you wanted, someone else gets the recognition for a group effort, someone who’s less qualified than you gets ahead of you pr......
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Net Neutrality: Not Just A Nerd Thing - A (Marketing) Freedom Thing

I’m not normally an alarmist or a “conspiricist” who whips out her tin foil hat without hesitation, so bear that in mind when I tell you this:   The impending net neutrality judgment from the DC Circuit has got me very frightened, and no, this isn't just some nerd thing.  This could affect how we do business in the multifamily housing industry in a less than positive fashion.   A lot of people don’t know what “Net Neutrality” is, or why it’s important, so let’s start there.  In 2010, the FCC made a ruling that the owners of cable and DSL/FiOS lines were not allowed to throttle back bandwidth on services just because they wanted to – ie, Comcast isn't allowed to make the information packets from Netflix run slow on your network so that you’ll change your mind and watch their crappy OnDemand services instead.    The FCC said that the internet was neutral ground, and the netizens rejoiced in the ruling, because for the first time in our capitalist society, we had an even playing field where innovation, content creation and dispersal, and communication of information and opinion could happen without having to go through the social and economical bureaucracies that have been in place for years.  People with good ideas could share them at the same speed and with the same reach that any corporation could.   Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and several other service providers did not rejoice in the 2010 ruling, because they think since the lines belong to them, the......
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The Importance of Breakfast, Frequent Flier Hubris, and Your New Resident

I wouldn’t hesitate in characterizing myself as a “good person.”  I’m no angel – probably a little closer to an upbeat cheerleader devil who tells you that you are great when she thinks you are great, and struggles with the already tiny filter between her brain and mouth when she thinks you’re not.  Usually, these momentary slips, frequent as they are, come in good humor and are not mean-girl-esque.    This morning, I had a mean girl moment that I’m wildly ashamed of.     See, given the nature of my job in training, consulting, and speaking, I travel frequently.  I can tell you where to get the brand of yogurt that you want in the SeaTac airport or the best spot to build yourself a productivity nest in the A Concourse at Denver International.  I can almost always pack my suitcase to the 50lb mark without going over.  I remember flight attendant names.  And, most importantly, I can go through the security line with breakneck speed.   2 bins, bag in the first, pull out the laptop –it goes in the second, jacket off before I get to the table so it’s already in the first bin, slip out of the flip-flops, and I never have anything besides lint in my pockets. “Any liquids, Ma’am?”  No.  Liquids at the TSA line are for chumps.  I don’t do the backscatter machines, but that’s why I scout the line with the metal detectors or I opt-out for the “federal feel-up.”    It’s an art form, and I’m never one to skimp of qua......
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Make Your Free Throws!

Make Your Free Throws!
March Madness is quickly rolling up on the basketball loving populous, who are fervently watching the early games and still filling out their brackets with pencils.  Now, outside of college football, I’m not the world’s most “sports oriented” person, but I’ll admit that March Madness gets to me every year…right until the K-State Wildcats leave the court.  Then I’m done for the year.   What makes me scream the occasional expletive from the couch when I watch the games, more than anything, is the number of times someone is fouled, they step up to the top of the key, take the free throw shot …AND MISS.   It annoys me to no end.  They literally have nothing else going on in that moment, no obstacle except for one that can be fully anticipated (the space to the basket), and no one is allowed to block them, touch them, mess with them, steal the ball, etc… and then they miss?  Are you kidding me!?   I won’t pretend to have been awesome at sports in high school, but I did spend a couple years as team manager, and what I remember, besides the haunting smell of sweaty towels, are the words of Coach Holly Brown:  “You have no excuse for missing a free throw.” When her players missed them with anything less than 95% accuracy, they ran laps.  A lot of laps.   Harsh?  Maybe, but I think there’s merit to the attitude.   Free throws are the one thing you can practice.  The one thing you can do over......
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Hold a Holiday Cookie Swap!

b2ap3_thumbnail_cookies.jpgIt's a last minute idea for this year, but if you don't have it in your budget to do a full blown holiday party this year, why not hold an event that's fun and helpful to your residents? I'm one of those weird people who likes to bake during the holiday season.  I don't think of it as a habit, but, rather, as more of a holiday survival skill.  In fact, one year my flight - 302 very cranky people - managed to get snowed in at SEATAC on our attempted holiday trek home to Kansas City, and after the shops and restaurants had all closed in the airport, it was my 3 carry on bags full of cookies and candies and other treats that everyone munched on.  I just set them up, buffet style, there in the terminal.  The 28 different kinds of cookies I'd made didn't make it home that year, but I like to think they served a higher purpose. If you're not insane, odds are you don't make 28 different treats in the days leading up to the unwrapping of your presents, so perhaps your cookie plates are lacking in variety right now. Enter a great resident activity: The Holiday Cookie Swap!  I'm throwing one at my home this year, and I'll share with you the instructions that I've given to those invited. The only modification I would suggest is putting a firm dozen suggestion, like 10 dozen cookies or 5 dozen cookies that people are responsible for, otherwise it......
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Salesmanship Lessons from Blue Buffalo

As important as price is to the buying decision, it’s not everything.  It turns out that corn and a lot of other grains are not good for dogs.  As anyone who’s ever had a toddler can tell you, humans can digest a lot of very interesting things.  Dogs are not quite as lucky.  Harsh grains are really tough on their systems, and some of those corn heavy foods have recently been linked to bone cancer in dogs.  Naturally as a concerned pet parent, I care about what I feed my dog – within reason.  I will not feed Fox better than I feed myself, so he’s going to have to put his desire for Porterhouse steaks on hold.  (And look at that face!  It's hard to say no to that face!)  When Alan and I went to our local Petsmart to look at what “quality” dog food costs, we were stunned.  Food that doesn’t have “corn” or “bone meal” as part of its major make up is EXPENSIVE.  We knew that quality food would cost more, but didn’t expect that cost to be almost $60 a bag.  This was going to have more than a slight impact on our budget. As we stood there, comparing and contrasting brand by brand, Blue Buffalo, who’s food I’d previously dismissed as expensive and ridiculous because of their commercials, surprised me, but not because of their food – because of their sales rep.  There was a BB rep in the isle that day, and he......
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The Law is for Him

Today is National Coming Out day.  For those of you who aren't working on a student property where the world is more cushioned in liberal arts tolerance teachings, this is a day where people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual,and transgendered are encouraged to "Come Out" of the closet and live their lives as the people they really are.Today is a very awesome day.  It's also a pretty scary day for many people.I grew up in the Midwest and was proud to go to college at Kansas State University (GO WILDCATS!!!).  We had a fairly vocal and active GLBT alliance, and they were even responsible for helping the local high school students start their own chapter.  These people were beyond amazing, and I remember always being in awe of how comfortable these people were in their own skin, where as me, the white strait chick - I could hardly be myself when it was just ME in the room.  I'm not saying I blended in to the woodwork, but I wasn't as much my own person as many of my gay friends were at that age.I was 19 and it was early August.  At the time, it didn't mean as much to me as it does now, but I had a really good friend who was looking for apartments.  He asked me to go with him - remember, this was BEFORE I ever worked in the industry - and help him pick out a place.  I knew he'd been looking for a while, ......
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"Thank You, Heather!"

That's what the sidebar on my Facebook page told me this morning. It thanked me for bringing my friends and contacts to Facebook.  How Annoying. It took me a moment to realize why I was a bit annoyed with it, and why this ill conceived thank you was a waste of page space and bandwidth. It could have been that I woke up in a bad mood, but I spent all last night playing with explosives, so that's really not all that likely.  No, what dawned on me as the root of my ire is that a thank you is supposed to be a personal thing, so this one really didn't mean anything to me.  It was as easy to ignore it or be annoyed with it as it is to ignore or find irritation with common advertising, because that's what it was.  How often we in this industry are guilty of the same thing.  Let's look at a hypothetical situation:  On your property there is a row of town homes.  Due to the age of the town homes, the time has come for routine maintenance in replacing their deck coverings, which means that your residents cannot park in their driveways for the time that the decks are being worked on because of potential damage to their cars.   The process takes two weeks, and undoubtedly causes much annoyance to the residents in these town homes because now, not only are they not allowed to use their decks, but they have to......
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On Pulling A "LeVar"

LeVar Burton TwitterIf you're a nerd and on twitter - and you know *I* am - then you undoubtedly heard about the "engaging" incident last month when LeVar Burton, the literacy advocate, narrator of Reading Rainbow, and visor wearing awesomeness from Star Trek TNG, accidentally tweeted out his personal cell phone number, intending it to be a Direct Message to someone else.  The man has now been "Verbed" I didn't have time to save the best tweet that I saw about it, but I'll try to do it justice - LeVaring - Accidentally revealing too much personal information online, ie.  "Crap, I totally just LeVared myself by tweeting out my SSN!" Of course, the situation resulted in the need for Mr. Burton to get a new cell phone number, and he suffered a barrage of friendly taunts, many of them at the hands of hisTNG costars, Wil Wheaton (@wilw) and Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner).  All in all, the situation kept the uber nerd in me fully amused for about two days. Now, it is remarkably less funny when this sort of thing happens to us normal, non Hollywood type folks.  What do we do when we tweet, post, say, show, etc. something that we probably shouldn't have?  I advise you to take a clean up lesson from LeVar Burton (@levarburton). Accidents happen, even if you have the best social media policy on the planet.  It's inevitable.  LeVar didn't deny what happened, and even saw the humor in the incident.  First thing, he took down......
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Comedic (and Ironic) Timing is Everything...

 I wanted to do something special for the month of April, but I wasn't sure how to kick it off.  I guess sometimes, fate decides to pitch you an easy hit.  This is a story that's too... good and bad... to pass up. As most of you are already fully aware, April is national Fair Housing month.  I'm one of those very VERY odd people who actually finds the complexities and complications of the Fair Housing Acts to be quite engaging.  I enjoy the legal side - lord only knows why, but I'm guessing it's because I love to argue. However, there's no arguing with this news story: http://www.king5.com/news/local/Renton-apartment-manager-charged-with-housing-discrimination-90039977.html  Had the story broke on April 1st, I would have thought it an April Fools Joke, because I guess inside I still hope for the best in all people.  The very sad thing is that it's not a prank.  And that it just happened.  And that it just happened in my Seattle metro area.  The ironic timing of this massive Fair Housing violation makes the whole thing almost hilarious, if it weren't so dang tragic. If you haven't recently refreshed your own knowledge on fair housing, or you haven't worked with bringing your team's knowledge of local and state (as well as federal) statutes up to date, take about half an hour this week and do that.  It's just the smart thing to do. ________________________________________________Heather is a speaker, author, and consultant for the multifamily industry from the Seattle Metro Area.  Check out......
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