Thoughts

toprental_states

Top Rental States? (Yield & Economy)

While cities like techy San Francisco, fancy New York, and booming Seattle capture the hearts and headlines of real estate investing, these cities may not actually be the best cities to put money in, depending on the thesis and goals. For example, San Francisco’s famous high prices from tech results in a very negative downside; unprofitable rent returns. The high prices would also mean that every property investment would take a significant chunk of your portfolio, and each one would have a correspondingly compressed gross-yields (rent/property price). It’s no secret that places like San Francisco and New York City, with their high prices, attract high prices and attention. One major reason is that local economy is the still lifeblood of a location; prices and rents grow where jobs grow. If not some of the popular cities, what locations are actually good for renting? What states would you look at if you were trying to create portfolio of a high-yield rent yielding single family properties? For me, it would be two-fold. First: high returns. Second: a strong enough economy where prices will hold stable. Below compares at state’s gross yields (income as a % of the home purchase price) to the state’s economy (as proxied by financials of public S&P companies’ headquartered there). In the quest to maximize yields and strong, robust/well-diversified economies, I’ve identified 4 states that I would want to look with more detail: Illinois, with an est state-yield [...]

process_specific

Getting specific: Where Process may Help/Hurt a Startup

As a continuation to my previous blog post, I thought I would get more specific with thoughts about the value of certain processes vs. the stage of the team and product-market fit. This isn’t a specific how to guide, per-say, but this provides more detail to what I think provides value and what doesn’t. The columns in this table are the Stage of the Company (from large team to small team, with product-market fit to not yet). The rows are the processes, ranging from bigger, more time intensive work, to more specific execution work. Description Large team in large company, or any w/ product market-fit ~50 person Startup team in Large Company, w/o Product Market Fit ~50 person Start-up Team, w/o Product Market Fit <10 person start-up team, w/o product market fit Annual Planning A comprehensive, long-term plan that summarizes the team’s focus, major goals, priorities, and initiatives. Will take 1-2 months to draft among leader and each senior leader (In a traditional org structure of 50 people, will probably take 10 people independent time and ~5 meetings on weekly basis) Yes. This is likely the only way that leadership (a VP managing 5 teams of 50, and then SVP, owning an organization of thousands of people) will know what is happening. Leadership needs this for long-term financial planning, resource allocation, and overall strategic planning. Will be requested, but I would Always have some plan, but Avoid very detailed — [...]

process

Do you need process at Startups?

Having worked at Amazon for almost 4 years before moving to a start-up, I always find it very interesting to talk to other large-company ex-employees who bemoan the stiffling and slow-nature of process. For example, I just talked with an ex-materials engineer who was so frustrated with the speed in which it took him to implement or accomplish anything at his company that he left to go back to school. I also remember talking to an ex-employee of a government contract industry who hated his job so much he quit before he lined up his next gig. Things moved too slow and ultimately he (they) never felt like he was doing anything. Why do companies have process, to start with? Simply put, process defined as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” In short, this is an agreed upon set of steps for people to take in coordinating and trying to accomplish something. In contrast and in no surprise to anyone, most startups have very little process. The lack of process in a very small company can be very, very empowering. This means a team of two engineers could theoretically design and create an entire web-app without going through approval with marketing, sales, management. This proposal and review process is in itself is a full time job that requires considerable writing, communication, prep, and review. My current startup has grown from ~8 people [...]

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The most valuable Product Manager skill (collaborating, influencing, and working with others)

In light of an Amazon company-wide Product Management panel that I sat on last week, I wanted to share how collaborating, influencing, and working with others is essential to succeeding as a Product Manager. Why is influence and collaboration important for Product Managers? A Product Manager is a fascinating position. While a product’s vision owner, Product Managers have surprisingly little bestowed and mandated authority. She or he must rely on “influence without authority” to lead designers, developers, and business to build the product. (Refer to Appendix 1 for a more detailed description of Product Management responsibilities). Almost all of these other executors lie outside PM’s authority and in almost every case, expertise. For example, within my team, I define the roadmap for a software team that reports to a different senior manager.

companies_by_price

SP1000 Companies’ Impact on Housing Prices

Where companies are, jobs are. Where jobs are, is where people live. I’ve been very interested in breaking down the true correlation between companies and the sub sequential on housing prices. Jane Jacobs’ theorizes in the “City and the Wealth of Nations” that a prosperous “import-replacing” city contains a thriving amalgamation of positive economic production and activity. This means that where economics units, or companies work, people will follow, and thus housing will be in demand. While home prices are determined in finality between the equilibrium of supply (IE: how many houses are in the market) and the demand (who actually wants to buy the homes), a rough assumption can be made that the more companies in a set area, the more people will want to live, and the higher home prices will be. As a rough analysis, I look at the top 1000 SP companies in the US and correlate (1) The number of companies head-quartered in each state, by (2) The average 2014 housing price in the state. While a “city” is more precise, I chose state because the many people will live in a well-off neighborhood, but commute several miles over somewhere else to work. For example, there are few (or zero) Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Atherton, but most people drive down 5-15 minutes to work at Google or well known venture capital companies. Atherton’s average home price was close over $5M several years ago. A [...]

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What Location is “Best”? — Pinpoint.Foursquare

With my family’s background in real estate sales and investing, I’ve always been fascinated by location, cities, the flow of people, and thus, geo-location based products. While the ubiquitous ascent of mobile phones and internet reduces the need to leave your couch (Amazon.com, Prime Now, Netflix, Google, Hangouts, Facebook…etc/etc), location and in-person visits are some of the most prevailing and important determinants of life quality and opportunity. People need to be places to work, play, and live. Marisa Mayor famously disbanded her Yahoo’s work from home policy to encourage Yahoo’s growth. The Harvard Economist Henry Glaesar, who strongly supports dense people amalgamation in one location, stated that “[Cities] enable us to work and play together… Cit[ies] create productive advantages… speed innovation by connecting their smart inhabitants together… [and] are gateways between markets and cultures (Glaeser 6, 7). Glaser goes on to describe the importance of location in leisure. “As people have become richer, they have increasingly chosen cities based on lifestyle” (Glaeser 10). And finally, people will (probably always) need a place to live. For example, 97.5% of employees still work in the office. As I alluded to in a previous blog post, the residential housing market is huge, and I would be surprised to see telecommunications displace housing anytime soon. (I do, however, expect to see housing preferences shift.) From my view, it’s not a question about the importance of location, but its WHAT location is the most optimal, [...]

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Opendoor — What’s the Market Opportunity of a Real Estate Broker that Guarantees Transactions within Days?

I’ve been looking at the real estate start-up Opendoor for a very long time. While there are a number of real estate startups that address consumer facing rentals, broker assistance, or home-finding, Opendoor seems to be very unique in their quest to disrupt real estate. Their pitch is that they can simplify any real estate transaction. “Opendoor is an online home-selling service aimed at streamlining the sales process down to a few days.” I think Opendoor is taking a very innovative way to take on an industry that is ripe for disruption and can grow to a $50MM+ revenue company within 3 years, with the upperbound potential to get $1B+ in revenue. Why is this impressive to me? I am very excited that Opendoor allows customers to sell their house within a few days. The real estate industry is one of the biggest but most fragmented industries. While real estate is 12% of 2013 US GDP (which equates to almost $2 trillion in 2013), real estate itself can be broken apart into so many industries (residential brokerage, commercial brokerage, residential renting, insurance, escrow…) (BEA.gov) . There are 318MM people in the United States of 2015, and every single one of these people need a place to sleep, eat, work, and play (Census.gov). This comes out just over a humble $6K per person per year. If you consider that the average rent of a 1 bedroom house in Seattle is ~$1.5K/month, [...]

howtofundraise

How do you online fundraise for your non-profit? (and go viral?)

If you were on Facebook in 2012, you probably remember the anti-Kony campaign that went viral and garnered over 100MM views. I quote Wikipedia: “As of January 1, 2015, the film has received over 100 million views and nearly 1.4 million “likes” on the video-sharing website YouTube, and over 21.9 thousand “likes” on Vimeo, with other views on a central “Kony 2012″ website operated by Invisible Children.… A poll suggested that more than half of young adult Americans heard about Kony 2012 in the days following the video’s release.” (Don’t worry academics, I’ve also included the more reputable sources below). However, Wikipedia goes on to state that “It was included among the top international events of 2012 by PBS[16] and called the most viral video ever by TIME.” Clearly this type of virility does not happen very often. I’ve concluded that making a social cause go incredibly viral is very, very difficult because 1) People are usually more receptive to hearing and sharing sensitive topics with friends and will hesitate to share social causes or listen to strangers, and 2) Even if someone discovers a social cause and then reshares it, the average user holds very little online Klout. Taking this further, even the most popular online profiles usually generate very little resharing, much less donations. Furthermore, getting someone to donate is far more difficult that simply visiting a website or clicking on a tweet. So what is important for [...]

food

How I Choose What Food to Eat

One of my favorite lunches is a quick and simple meal of broccoli and turkey. All I really need to do is pop the raw broccoli + the turkey in the microwave, and viola, I have steamed veggies and some meat! My old manager never truly understood this. “Jason, some people live to eat, but you eat to live, don’t you.” The real answer is: it depends! I consume food as a function of 4 variables: Health as H Cost as C Taste as T Ambiance as A These 4 variables are influenced by 1 coefficient, X, which embodies: the people that I am with (company) desire to create memories Desire for food Y can be imagined in a function as simple such as: Y = [(H) + (X/4)^2*(T + A)]/C X = 10 is when I’m sitting in Paris with on my honeymoon (I would like to immortalize this moment) X = 1 is when I’m I have 15 minutes between meetings to grab food (Hurry up body, this chewing is distracting) Generally speaking, anything with X =< 4 and means I’m generally disregarding Taste and Ambiance as a deciding factor on my food. In other words, the health and the cost are going to be the primary drivers. However, if you catch me on vacation (maybe around the X = 6-7 range), I’m going to start paying a little more attention to that taste and ambiance levels. X [...]

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Using Data to Make Decisions in a Data Driven Company like Amazon (Optimize for the Global Max, not Local Max)

Working in a proclaimed data-driven company like Amazon, we extensively try to measure everything with weblabs, A/B tests, and experiments. When I first joined my current team, one of the more senior devs pulled me aside and asserted “Jason, everything should be weblabbed. Everything.” I love data. I personally have almost 700 SQL queries in my queue, which comes out to an average of almost 1 new SQL query a day at my tenure here at Amazon. One thing I’ve realized, though, is that data can paint a very misleading picture, especially when the test is an incomplete test. There are some initiatives that require a critical mass before they can make a difference. I imagine, for example, that a weblab that introduced only an incomplete number of product images on a detail page was initially negative. Once customers became reliant on images, however, it likely became a huge positive. There are other examples where holding hard negotiation standpoint with a vendor leads to a short-term negative but is paramount for the overall strategy. A weblab would capture the short-term negative but not find the long-term potential. I really enjoyed this passage from Scott Burkun’s “A Year Without Pants.” “Data can’t decide things for you. It can help you see things more clearly if captured carefully, but that’s not the same as deciding. Just as there is an advice paradox, there is a data paradox: no matter how much data [...]

affirm

Affirm — A Viable Business of Making Loans from Loans? (Moneyception)

Two of my friends work at a Affirm — an online consumer loan company that aims to one day be the future bank. Founded by one of the Paypal Mafia, Max Levchin, Affirm allows everyday consumers to finance large purchases into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, if I wanted to buy a pair of really nice leather boots for $300 but simply don’t have the money, I can go to Affirm and split this purchase into a 3 month, a 6 month, or a 12 month payment plan. Boom, I can suddenly afford my amazing new boots and Affirm now can gain a little from interest! Why is this impressive? Anything dealing with payments and finance is already hairy and impressive. Affirm seems to take this a step further because they are trying to revolutionize and directly compete against incumbent banks without the advantage of a capitol base. Let’s take a step back and understand the business model. Affirm makes money from giving loans to consumers. Then, within 3, 6, or 12 months, they will either get the money back and some, or they will lose their entire investment (loan). They will generally receive around (I believe) 10% interest on top of the money loaned out They believe their competitive advantage against incumbents is they are not using FICO, one of the older, more established credit scores. FICO uses systematic indicators such as mortgage payments and history, but Affirm [...]

techandtheworld

Winner’s Curse — True in Broad Strokes? (Telephone Auction Market Bid Analysis)

One of my favorite lessons in one of my undergraduate real estate finance classes was around the ‘Winner’s Curse’. While you can read a more detailed explanation here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner’s_curse, the basic premise is the winner in an auction will ‘win’ at the expense of overpaying. Our professor allowed the class to bid on a glass jar of pennies. The higher bidder would buy the jar of pennies at the bid price. The highest bidder bid and paid $24.00 for a jar with…$12.00 of pennies. He won, but he lost because he overpaid. My professor explained that in a large auction with many bidders, it is almost inevitable that there will be one (if not multiple) over-eager bidders that would offer too much and jack up the price. This example is easy to see the actual dollar difference — the worth of the pennies were only temporarily hidden because we could not count them. In reality, purchasing assets can lead to a slightly confusing exchange simply because the true worth of the assets are unknown. While we can value the asset based on com parables or on cash-flow, it’s always a little unknown. The takeaways are simple. If you are a seller, maximize on bids to maximize your selling price. If you are a buyer, beware of buying when there are many other buyers. My little brother and I previously looked at antique telephones’(1) bid vs price to see if there [...]

tech_and_the_world

Tech will Grow (or Cannibalize) Other Industries (like Real Estate)

  I live in a tech world, but it’s important to remember that today, it is a small slice. Despite an average annual growth of 7.2% growth, in 2012 Software was only 2.6% of the US GDP[1]. Real estate and related businesses (including finance, insurance, rental, leasing, housing), in contrast, are a massive portion at almost 20% of GDP! “Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing is an astounding 19.5% of GDP which is unchanged from before the recession. Real estate and rental and leasing by itself actually grew, whereas finance and insurance shrank their percentage of the GDP pie. Considering this sector was the cause of economic implosion, this is probably not a good thing to have it being almost 20% of the overall economy. Professional and business services overall is less, 11.5% of overall GDP. The industry includes managerial positions, research, technical professions, administration and even waste management.” (http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/gdp-industry-2012-5511) “Housing contributes to GDP in two basic ways: through private residential investment and consumption spending on housing services. Historically, residential investment has averaged roughly 5% of GDP while housing services have averaged between 12% and 13%, for a combined 17% to 18% of GDP. These shares tend to vary over the business cycle.” (http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=66226) Despite the big news, Software as a percentage of GDP is still tiny. “From 1997 to 2012, U.S. software industry production increased from $149 billion to $425 billion, increasing its direct share of U.S. GDP [...]

amazon_hierachy

Amazon Hierarchy

  One of my friends recently transited to a startup and was explaining how chaotic their organization was. As a PMM from Microsoft, the lack of a solid management structure was both a blessing and a curse. Without management’s vices, he has been able to ship and create products at an astounded speed. Without management’s guidance and structure, however, many startup employees misalign on vision and conflict on work and ideas. One of Amazon’s Vice Presidents, Laura, gave a talk late last year and explained Amazon’s hierarchy principals with more clarity. While Amazon does its best to avoid the traditional blogs and pains of bureaucracy, a company cannot get as big as Amazon does without some level of hierarchy. As Laura herself explains, the work life tends to morph as an employee move up from an entry level individual contributor into a manager role, and then finally into a manager of managers. Now, Laura’s day is mostly spent in meetings. She primarily attends 3 types of meetings: 1. Normal business status meetings with directs, such as weekly business reviews and monthly business reviews 2. Strategy or road-blocking meetings to move forward new projects, new processes, or fix areas that are faltering or behind plan 3. Developmental meetings with directs and more (For example, this talk to the RUP class is an example of a developmental meeting) Individual contributors (ICs) are the employees that do work. As the majority of employees, [...]

detroit

Detroit’s Demise

  Oh Detroit. All eyes recently turned upon the struggling city with its public declaration of bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal’s recent article revealed a small glimpse of Detroit’s difficulties. Detroit’s population fell more than 26% from 2000 to 2012 and totals about 700,000—down from almost two million in 1950, according to the census. An estimated 40,000 structures or land parcels sit vacant or empty. The city spent $100 million more than it took in every year since 2008, on average—borrowing the rest. Some 36% of Detroiters lived below the poverty level between 2007 and 2011, the census found. In 2012, Detroit had the highest violent crime rate for a city with more than 200,000 residents, the FBI says. – http://on.wsj.com/13vVDzR Even before this bankruptcy, Detroit’s unemployment rate was 13.7% in 2006, and in 2008 it’s per capita income was a little under $15K, 54% of the US average. Detroit’s demise has unfortunately been long coming. Once an automobile powerhouse, Detroit has been losing it’s economic prosperity over the last half century with globalization coupled with poor leadership. DETROIT’S STRONG HISTORY Detroit was once a prosperous city. Early Detroit took advantage of early transportation advances and grew in tandem with railroad and water networks. “Detroit grew as a node of the great rail and water network long before Henry Ford made his first Model T. Between 1850 and 1890, the city’s population increased tenfold, from 21,000 to 206,000 people. Detroit’s [...]

Finance_crawler_2

Coca-Cola (KO) Undervalued? Finance Crawler (Part 2)

    I have been making some major changes with one of my projects — my automated finance crawler! Logic Change: Start with companies, and analyze company information first I completely rewrote my previous script to create a more robust and useful equity analyzer. Instead of starting with the industry and finding (potentially endless number of) companies, I have reversed the order of focus. Version 2 starts by pulling comprehensive information about selectively pre-stored company ticker symbols and proceeds to calculate a valuation based on companies’ financials. While version 1 started with a generic landing page of all industries, and dived into each respective rabbit-hole of an industry, and then dived into each sub-rabbit-hole that was a company, backtracked and dove into the next industry and it’s respective companies, version 2 simply looks and directly pulls from a defined list of companies. This currently ignores industries and is poor for new discovery, but holds the tremendous benefit of controlling the mining process and finding all necessary information about a company, while limiting the number of companies analyzed companies to mostly legitimate and respected companies. This also allows me to pull information centered on tickers, which is very necessary for pulling the financial numbers. Increased Finance Robustness Instead of a simple P/E ratio comparison, I have set up a much more complex calculation to perform an automated Discounted Cash Flow to Equity calculation for each company. This obviously increased the number [...]

social_isnt_dead

Social Isn’t Dead

It’s interesting to bring up the “term” social in the context of the tech scene these days. While “social” was once all the rage, many of my peers now consider it “uncool,” overused, or even maybe dead. One of the silver linings of Facebook’s less than amazing IPO is the decrease of the overuse of the term “social”. I think that social, however, will still be considered a very important and necessary feature with future tech products. If you are truly know whats up, I think you will know that social is the furthest from dead. If I were to remove myself from all trending tech terms and all knowledge of current social products, I would defer to Wikipedia’s first two sentences: “The term social refers … to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary.” – Wikipedia. I think this definition is a great description of what one should consider when unpacking the word in terms of products. When I think of my normal social interactions, there is a huge spectrum of dynamic interactions. Social interactions range from intense to relax, in professional to personal environment, through well-known connections to strangers, with both private and public ideas, and through numerous other criteria. Thinking and charting human social actions creates a multifaceted dimensional matrix that becomes [...]

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Finance Crawler (Part 1)

Ever since moving to Seattle, I have been meeting a very large number of awesome people that are super involved with the technology scene. This can of course be largely attributed to the influence of Microsoft and Amazon, both of which obviously employee a huge tech interested and tech fluent work force. In contrast to Los Angeles, this has been a refreshing change of company. More importantly, this has been a revitalizing reminder to work on some projects that have been on the back burner. I finally created a semi-functional financial web crawler that organizes some very elementary aspects of financial data and stores it into a mysql table. It works, but it doesn’t work perfectly, and there is a ton of stuff I would love to get input on. Current Status How it works: My crawler pulls HTML from one big page of Yahoo finance, stores all the industries into an array, and one by one dives into an industry page. Once on the industry page, it pulls all the companies in that industry and stores the ticker symbol. Once it pulls the ticker symbol, it then goes to the specific company’s webpage and pulls specific company information. This was necessary to do because I had no idea what the current stocks are, what their ticker symbols are, and what industry they belonged to. Now that I do have a record of large number of ticker symbols, I plan [...]

archiveit

ArchiveIt! An education revolution?

  When I was a high school, I had what I thought was a “brilliant” website idea. I would call it “ArchiveIt!” and it would allow any student to collaborate, share, and “promote” education. From the perspective of a high school student, I always found a great pain in slaving through irrelevant homework assignments. What high school student doesn’t hate the hours and hours of useless homework? I, alongside every other ambitious student, had two goals in mind. Goal one was getting the highest possible grade; goal two was spending the least amount of time making goal one occur. Thus, the bane of our existence was the “meaningless” fill in the choice worksheets, the color-in-sheets, the crossword-puzzles, and the multitude of every other quick to simulate-an-error-and-deduct-valuable-grade-points homework assignments. Plus, what is the point of doing a practice test unless you can compare your work to the right answer? I thought had would be the solution. Introduce ArchiveIt! This revolutionary web product would not cure cancer, but it would cure thousands if not millions of high school student’s pain and suffering of useless homework assignments. It would also help the true nerds achieve better grades and fulfill their parent’s life-long dream of getting accepted to a better college. How would it work? Students would be able to login and share graded homework assignments and graded tests. Based on some type of participation algorithm, uploaders would be able to access other documents. In a [...]

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Busted Babies

A little while ago I wrote a post analyzing the business model of renting baby clothes. (see it here). While I loved the problem that this business could solve and loved the value added, I simply could not see the financial viability of the company. I just heard that PlumGear, a company tackling this business, went out of business. PlumGear: I’m sorry to see it end like this. I truly hoped you would prove me wrong! You had a strong run and you had some amazing momentum, which should be commended. For the sake of my future children, I hope another company can pull this off. Someone please let me know when it comes around!

college

College

Two weeks ago I took my last final and graduated from UCLA with a degree in Business Economics. Time flies. I still distinctly remember writing my college admissions personal statement; three and a half years later, I am now a graduate of UCLA with a slightly better idea of what defines me and how this life thing works. College is a time for fun and recreation, but college is also a time for people to grow and define themselves for the real world. Here are very several things that I have learned over the past three and a half years. Surround yourself with the best. In my first year at UCLA, I did little but school. Life was enjoyable, but I really wasn’t doing much. It wasn’t until my second year at UCLA that I joined an organization that helped me grow and develop. Because I knew how to make websites and I had a high GPA, I was admitted to Bruin Consulting even after a terrible interview and no real understanding of what business and consulting was. Joining Bruin Consulting was one of the most defining experiences of my college career. While Bruin Consulting didn’t necessarily hand me platters of internships, Bruin Consulting surrounded me with incredible, bright, and talented people that helped me develop. I still remember hearing introductions at the first meeting and realizing that I was the only one without an internship or full-time job lined [...]

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Do Work, Son

Do Work, Son. Over the last few years at UCLA, I have grown and developed in unfathomable ways. I have grown spiritually, expanded my intellect, developed my character and nurtured my interests. One of the most important characteristics that I have grown is my work ethic. Once a child that believed in advancement with minimal effort, I have come to strongly believe in three words, “Do Work, Son.” There is something to be said about doing things very, very well. There is something to be said about always putting forth quality work and owning your activities with a ferocious work ethic. From academics to extracurricular activities, I have grown to admire those with an effective and determined work ethic and I now strive to follow in their footsteps. To those that “Do Work,” I salute you and commemorate the following design to you. PS: I include “Son” here because it simply speaks louder to me since I am a “son.” In no way is this meant to be discriminatory towards females.

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Should I Buy (This) Real Estate?

Having grown up with a mother that works as a real estate broker, I have always been very interested in real estate. One of the greatest things about real estate is how understandable and real the asset is. Barring the last few years, real estate has historically grown at a very understandable and logical manner. If you understand the market and buy in at a great location with a good cap rate, that property can generate a reasonable rate of return. Coming out of UCLA, I hope to quickly purchase a house and generate rental income. Big questions that I face are, “Is now the right time to buy?” and “What property should I buy?” There are two things to consider. The first is to examine macro-economic real estate trends. The second is to truly analyze the specific market and property’s specifics. 1) How is the real estate market currently doing? From looking at the Case-Shiller Index and the Fed’s recent work to lower interest rates, one can make the argument that real estate housing prices have hit rock bottom and because financing is incredibly cheap, it is time to buy. But have prices hit rock bottom yet? There are several arguments that point to the possibility that housing prices will soon increase. David Blitzer, Chairman of Standard and Poor’s Index Committee, explains that the housing market is currently giving mixed signals. Housing prices, adjusted for inflation, are still higher [...]

budbabies-sml

Can Baby Clothing Rentals be Profitable?

I came up with a business idea the other month called “Budding Babies.” This system could potentially solve a huge problem for both parents and unfashionable babies while possibly making a profitable margin. The key word that surrounds profitable margin is the word “Possibly.” Everyone knows that babies grow far too fast to actually fit an article of clothing for a respectable amount of time. This leaves parents with two options with their baby: Option 1: They can buy their baby a new, trendy, and fitted outfit every 30 seconds so the child will always look good. Option 2: They can not buy their new baby clothes and instead follow the hand-me down model and recirculate slightly “discolored” clothing. Parents can give their baby their cousin’s “not so old” clothing and then turn around and pass it on to their siblings. The former option leaves a very stylish baby, but is incredibly expensive. The latter saves parents with some extra cash, but may subject their children to social humiliation with a hand-me down with stains in certain areas of their pants. (I have personally decided to dress my children in a pillow sack until post-puberty to refrain from wasting money on clothing that becomes obsolete in the matter of weeks.) Introduce Budding Babies: A revolutionary baby and children clothing rental system that allows parents to save money, stop the accumulation of obsolete clothes, and ensure their children always have un-stained [...]