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5 Ted Talks Every Real Estate Investor Should Watch

Posted by Brandon Hall on Jun 27, 2016

Every once in awhile I like to change up the content. Today I'm providing you with my favorite Ted Talks every real estate investor should listen to. Check them out below! 

All videos, images, and ideas below are originally from TED, which can be found here: www.TED.com.

How to revive a neighborhood: with imagination, beauty and art

Theaster Gates, a professor at the University of Chicago, is a potter by training and a social activist by calling. He leads the Arts Incubator in Washington Park and an urban research initiative made up of a team of social scientists, architects, creative professionals and business leaders.

He made it his mission to rebuild his neighborhood in the south side of Chicago. He transformed abandoned buildings to create community hubs that connect and inspire those who still live there (and draw in those who don't). In this passionate talk, Gates describes his efforts to build a "miniature Versailles" in Chicago, and he shares his fervent belief that culture can be a catalyst for social transformation in any city, anywhere.

Gates’ houses in Greater Grand Crossing in Chicago have become a nexus for globally engaged experiments in structures of individual and collective living, working and art-making. The houses embodied a new system of values and celebrated both a flexible use of space and provided a way for artists, visitors and students to connect and collaborate.

How it applies to real estate investors: Gates invests with a purpose. He knows his "why" as Simon Sinek would tell us. This allows him to consistently harness motivation and drive himself toward his goal. As real estate investors, while returns are certainly important, it can be incredibly rewarding to invest with a purpose. Whether it's to rebuild a neighborhood like Gates is doing, or build self-sustaining buildings like one of my clients, having a purpose allows the investor to continually drive towards their goal regardless of the ups and downs.

How we can predict the next financial crisis

While financial crashes, recessions, earthquakes and other extreme events appear chaotic, Didier Sornette's research is focused on finding out whether they are, in fact, predictable. They may happen often as a surprise (such as the 2007 and 2008 crash), he suggests, but they don't come out of the blue: the most extreme risks (and gains) are what he calls "dragon kings" that almost always result from a visible drift toward a critical instability. In his hypothesis, this instability has measurable technical and/or socio-economical precursors. As he says: "Crises are not external shocks." Sornette and his Financial Crisis Observatory have plotted a set of early warning signs for unstable, growing systems, tracking the moment when any bubble is about to pop.

Related: Why Investing in Real Estate Dominates Your Stock Portfolio

An expert on complex systems, Sornette is the chair of entrepreneurial risk at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, a project to test the hypothesis that markets can be predictable, especially during bubbles.

How this applies to real estate investors: I'm always cautious when listening to economists talk about bubble theory and the current state of the market. However I believe it's a good idea to listen to opinions of financial experts and do so in an unbiased manner. Real estate investors can apply the theories and logic Sornette imposes upon his listeners in their everyday investing.

The real estate deal that could change the future of everything

Ben Miller is a co-founder of Fundrise and he is responsible for managing strategic partnerships, deal underwriting, real estate development, PR as well as setting the long-term strategy and goals for the company. Ben has 15 years of experience in real estate and finance, and he has acquired, developed, and financed more than $500 million of property in his time as Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corporation.

In this talk, Ben discusses rebuilding after the '07/08 crash and building his business.

How it applies to real estate investors: The entire talk is essentially about how technology will change the way people invest in real estate in the future. I like this talk because it provides perspective and shows you that if you work at a revolutionary idea, you can change an industry. It's always a good idea to stay up to date with a changing industry to protect your investments and this talk provides insight into where the real estate industry is headed.

Post-crash, investing in a better world

Geoff Mulgan poses a question: Instead of sending bailout money to doomed old industries, why not use stimulus funds to bootstrap some new, socially responsible companies — and make the world a little bit better? Mulgan is director of the Young Foundation, a center for social innovation, social enterprise and public policy with a 50-year history of creating new organisations and pioneering ideas in fields as varied as aging, education, healthcare and poverty reduction.

Before the Young Foundation, Geoff Mulgan has held various roles in the UK government including director of the Government's Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister's office, and he was the founder of the think-tank Demos. He is chairing a Carnegie Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in the UK and Ireland.

How it applies to real estate investors: In this talk, Mulgan provides an interesting perspective on investing in tired industries. He challenges the idea of bailing out failed companies rather than using those funds to develop new businesses focused on changing an entire industry. It's an interesting talk because it was given at a time when the country was vulnerable and beginning for opportunities. I like it because it pertains to real estate (the crash) and also challenges you to think differently.

Moore's Law of Real Estate

Gunnar Branson discusses Moore's law of exponential shrinking and shows how it applies to real estate too. The physical spaces in which we live, work, and play are transforming in front of our eyes and will eventually disrupt every aspect of our physical world and how we live in it.

He discusses past trends and the history of architecture and development. His talk is full of examples allow you to better grasp the concept at hand.

How it applies to real estate investors: It's a very interesting talk and applies to everyone who owns a home, but definitely applies to landlords. Branson touches on the fact that we tend to get selective when choosing products (i.e. we want one song rather than an album) and then he relates that idea to real estate. He presents the idea that younger people are buying more stuff, but that stuff is physically smaller than it used to be. This means that it takes up less space and that less square footage is needed to live in. This could be a huge problem in the future, especially related to commercial real estate buildings.

Related: The Real Estate CPA Podcast, Episode #3 – House Hacking: The Tax Side to Living for Free

One of his examples that I loved: prior to cell phones, your books and records would take up large amounts of space in your residence. Now that we have smartphones and tablets, we require less space.

This idea makes a lot of sense. Just look at the tiny house trend.

Topics: Business Advice, ideas, real estate investing, ted talks

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