Where We Are Now: April 22, 2020
Work From Home — Day 38
The Patrick Barber Journey – Third Strike & Out?
We all have a story on how we arrived at our career decisions. This one is about my pursuit of an amazing individual and his career decision to join Pacific Union in March 2010.
In 2005, we were considering Tracy existing Coldwell Banker to start a Marin County brokerage firm. Our first choice was to start a Sotheby’s franchise in Marin. We always looked up to Patrick Barber. He was executing beautifully at Sotheby’s in San Francisco and then Sonoma/Wine Country. Patrick introduced us to Sotheby’s CFO, pre-Realogy.
We were literally redlining a franchise agreement when the CFO went completely dark on me. Three weeks later, then Cendant, now Realogy, acquired the branding rights to Sotheby’s for residential real estate. One of the Realogy conditions was they would not cannibalize existing brands, like CB, to build Sotheby’s. Strike one for me!
So, I picked up the phone and called Christie’s International Real Estate. Conversation went something like this: “You don’t know me, but I am going to build an amazing brokerage firm in Marin County. I’d like to partner with you.” Zero response. Shortly thereafter in Fall 2005, Pacific Union secured a deal for Christies for the entire SF Bay Area. Strike two for me!
I get the decisions at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but I do not do well 0 for 2!
Ultimately, I met our Morgan Lane Inc. partners, Jill & Mike Silvas and Linda & David Carroll, on the rainiest ’05 December night in the town of Sonoma. They remember and so do I. Horrible weather, but a perfect match!
Fast forward to August 2009 and the announcement that Morgan Lane Marin had bought Pacific Union. We made the announcement with our twenty-four-person team in our Kentfield office.
My pitch was, you wanted Christie’s, we got it. In order to get Christie’s, we bought Pacific Union. No one believed me. We poured champagne, high-fived a bit, and I was on the move to the city to meet the Pacific Union leadership team for the first time.
My first call on the way to San Francisco, I’ll never forget it, was to Patrick Barber, SVP Sotheby’s SF Bay Area. I think he was as startled by the acquisition news as I was. I wanted him to join us on day one! He played tough to get.
A few months later, Steven Mavromihalis [aka: Mavro], now 30+ year PUI veteran, said to me “Hey, why didn’t you close that Barber deal?” My response: “I am not sure he is interested.” Mavro: “Get back in the game!”
Another visit or two with Patrick at his home and at StFYC. The vision becomes clear to both of us. This could be a great partnership. Patrick and I agree to terms. Only Mavro knows we are talking.
Patrick resigns Sotheby’s – and you know what hit the fan! Patrick had built a $1 billion a year operation in the city of San Francisco. In 2009, these were amazing numbers.
Sotheby’s executives on the West Coast and East Coast descended on San Francisco within days to talk Patrick out of his decision. Messaging was “risky move, unproven operator, struggling brand.” Patrick calls me to say, I am staying at Sotheby’s. Really? Strike three for me?
OK, I get it Patrick, but just meet with me one more time at StFYC. We met and went through every issue the Sotheby’s executive raised. One by one, we resolved each one, again.
One of my last questions was, “Patrick, don’t you just want to have fun again? I mean fun at work!”
Ten years later, we have a formidable business and one hell of a lot of fun together.
Thank you, Patrick, for your confidence, partnership, and friendship.
Bring back the fun post SIP!
This is Where We Are Now.
Mark A McLaughlin
Work From Home — Day 38 — Closing Bell
Who is Moving & Where
As soon as WFH started, one of my first phone calls was to John Burns, CEO, John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC). We have a relationship dating back to 2013 with John and SVP Dan Wehrli. Excellent research and a fine forward-looking lens. We have again subscribed to JBREC research.
JBREC hosts a weekly Coronavirus Crisis webinar. They are fast moving and filled with facts. I will strive to draw out the best pieces and share them with you weekly.
Last week John shared some research the firm does annually. They accessed quotes from 40 U-Haul markets for a 20-foot truck going to 39 other cities, minus the cost of returning the truck. A positive number [blue] implies where people are moving to, and a negative number [red] implies where people are exiting.
So, #1 departing market is San Francisco and #1 for setting up new roots is Boise. The black dots indicate the same premium or discount from April 2019.
Anecdotally, we likely read and speak about these trends. This information [Figure 1] provides you the empirical data to share with clients or simply communicate with confidence.
More to come for sure from JBREC, as our on-boarding to the resource rich portal is tomorrow morning at 11 AM PST.
This is Where We Are Now.
Mark A McLaughlin