Twitter, Multifamily and Responsibility

Apr 2022

Heirlooms of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Happy Tuesday!  Even though I have some really interesting economic data to share, I promised I would give the economic analysis a break so I’ll hold that for next week.  For now, let’s talk about Twitter.  Don’t worry, there’s a connection.  But before we get started, a quick deal update. 


We oversubscribed for our San Antonio development deal in about 24 hours.  I was on the plane back from Atlanta when I received the news.  Thank you to all of our loyal investors for your support. This is going to be an awesome project.  We’re hoping to close either this Friday or next Friday depending on legal review, etc.  We’re getting prepared for what could be a very challenging economic time over the next 2 years, but I know we’re up for the challenge.  We like the slow and steady approach. 

If you weren’t able to get into the San Antonio deal, we’re putting the finishing touches on our next deal in Atlanta.  We’re hoping to complete our due diligence next week and have the full presentation ready a week or two thereafter.  It’s a beautiful, stabilized B-class deal with some great upside potential. We’re excited to expand our footprint in the great city of Atlanta. 


I’m sure you’ve heard the news about Elon Musk’s plans to buy Twitter and the ensuing discussion about free speech.  I think it’s interesting, or maybe more ironic, that we hear two extremes to the free speech scenario.  It’s either “we’re the government/big tech/etc and we’re here to help” or it’s “say whatever you want whenever you want to.”.  The former assumes that there are enough rules and enough “good” people to monitor what everyone says and determine what is legitimate, fair, true, etc.  It assumes that somehow there are certain people who have attained, it would appear, a higher status of ability to determine right from wrong, good from evil, better from worse.  But who sets that “standard”?  Since none of us has a lock on absolute truth, this perspective seems very problematic since we all know that “those” people are just like the rest of us. In fact, as we know from studying a few thousand years of human history, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  So what is the solution? Many would argue that the opposite side of this spectrum is anarchy.  Despotism or anarchy.  Hmm…not great options. 


I believe we should have 100% free speech because resting power in a smaller group has never worked well in civilization.  Whenever there is a gray area, we should err on the side of being inclusive of all perspectives regardless of how we agree or disagree with them.  In our constitution we have the right to free speech and I’m extremely thankful for that right.  But as with every right, it’s only as good as the people who live under its umbrella.  As I’m sure you know, our constitution is based on a form of government called a republic.  Essentially self-government.  We get to decide how things look so it’s up to us to take personal responsibility for our actions in all areas of our life.  

We should have an open dialogue and utilize our right to free speech to persuasively argue our point.  We should be active in our civic system by working to elect those that share the values of personal responsibility.  That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be pretty or nice – fighting for something can get messy.  But at the end of the day, we need to remember we’re all humans, we make mistakes, and we need to be respectful of one another.  Free speech is an absolute must for a healthy society – and the only firm foundation for that right is personal responsibility.  

If we don’t take personal responsibility for our actions we lose our rights.  Pretty simple.  But here’s the real crux of the issue – free speech is not a right, it’s a privilege.  All of our “rights” were bought with a price – the death of millions of brave men and women who fought and died to preserve them.  These “rights” are really a gift that we must preserve for ourselves and our posterity. As I tell my kids all the time, “with every privilege comes responsibility.”.   

So how does all of this talk about Twitter apply to multifamily real estate or REM?  Well, we may not be able to change the world alone or even as a company, but we can, and should, live our lives in a way that our sphere of influence is affected by our personal responsibility.  I try to live by example as I lead our company by putting others first.  Even though we run a business in a very competitive space we can still be caring towards our residents, our employees, our buyers/sellers.  Even though it’s easy to live by the letter of a contract we can still go a step further and live by our word.  I encourage our team to live with this same principle of personal responsibility.  I believe if we all lived with a higher level of personal accountability, we wouldn’t even need a Twitter takeover because enough good people inside Twitter would have stopped the destruction of free speech.  I want to create a culture here at REM where we live with a sense of purpose based on our personal responsibility – to our family, to our neighbors, to our co-workers, to our investors, to our society.  The minute we start finding ourselves asking “what’s best for me,” we’ve lost our compass.   

But getting to that point requires a re-pointing of that compass – towards something greater than ourselves.  A focus on something bigger than just the moment we live in.  One of my favorite authors, Oswald Chambers, has a quote that I really like.  He says, “Civilization is based on principles which imply that the passing moment is permanent.  Only God is permanent.”  We’re all here temporarily.  Let’s leave a legacy we’re proud of. 

On that note, let’s make a positive difference in our sphere of influence this week!