Some exciting news for Chicago’s commercial real estate professionals

I was having lunch today with my friend Dustin Gellman of Catylist.  Since the last time we had seen each other was over pizza at Quartino when the weather was still warm, we had a lot to discuss.  I told him about a client I recently helped in the Loop and how my blog is starting to draw some attention in the blogosphere and Dustin shared with me that his firm Catylist is also providing a customer relationship management (CRM) tool specifically designed for commercial real estate professionals.  He really knows exactly how to get me excited…
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Somebody in the internet cloud loves me…

I was reviewing the sites that have driven traffic to Corporate Real Estate today and saw a link that I didn’t recognize –  Not familiar with the domain “”, I followed the link and came upon a ranked list of real estate blogs.  I was flattered to find myself ranked reasonably high on the list – it’s always nice to get feedback on what’s working well and what you would like to see improved on my blog.

The site is impressive in its simplicity; sporting no frills, it manages to provide lists of real estate articles, blogs, books, sites and tools (coming soon – I’m very interested!).  Especially if you are an investor, this is one site to bookmark.  Even if you are not, I am eager to see where Julien, the editor, takes the site.  It would be very cool if he integrated community ratings into the system, so visitors like you or I could review the resources and get a more accurate stack-rank of value.

A quality journal for the sophisticated corporate real estate director – and it doesn’t cost a penny!

The managing director of my office shared with me what I now consider – at least until the next shiny intellectual trinket comes along – the best* source of sophisticated real estate guidance and analysis designed specifically for corporate real estate directors.  CoreNet’s industry journal, entitled The Leader, is aptly named and chock full of useful articles dealing with topics ranging from the mobile worker (p. 18) to “location velocity” (p. 24).  The article that really drew me in is called Today’s Technology: The Tools Are Ready, Are You? (p. 48).  Because of my background in software technology, this hit a sweet spot for me.  Ever since I got into commercial real estate, I became an advocate for increasing the use of technology to improve productivity and results; I even went so far as to write an article on the subject of technology in real estateToday’s Technology was a well-written article by three individuals from Deloitte Consulting and really drives into the key issues that the IT department has probably been hounding you about for the last several years, as IT spends have gone up to match interdepartmental demand.  They summarized it in the final section of the article as 4 straightforward steps for managing your approach to technology.

  1. Review your current processes.
  2. Evaluate your current systems and tools.
  3. Understand where your most critical data comes from.
  4. Work more effectively by partnering with your IT department.

Of course, this is only a summary.  The full article has even more good advice and examples of different software tools and systems to address the specific gaps you find in your organization’s systems.  Plus, the magazine has a great interface powered by

*I’m told that I come in a close second, but moms have to say stuff like that 🙂

Brought to you by the letters MSRBOT

I must be on a public television kick.  After writing about open offices and Mr. Rogers, I was inspired to provide another PBS reference in the title of this post – anyone recognize the reference?

This post has very little to do with commercial real estate, except insofar as it relates to the Corporate Real Estate blog.  In fact, it actually has to do with blogging and particularly RSS feeds.  This Wednesday afternoon, I was visiting Feedburner to review activity on my “burned” RSS feed.  Essentially, Feedburner – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google – has some really neat free services for bloggers and other web publishers.  I can track statistics like who is viewing my feeds and how they are accessing them (see Competitors are keeping an eye on me for more details).
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A CRM product that actually helps manage your business relationships… priceless

I am a big fan of the concept of “Better living through efficiency.”  As a result, I love technology products that make my life easier.  It’s an added bonus when they don’t cost a penny and can actually serve to make me more effective at helping my clients. Take Microsoft Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 (BCM, for short), as an example. Continue reading

Chicago industrial buildings being adapted for high-tech data centers – irony ensues!

This afternoon, I read Susan Diesenhouse’s Chicago Tribune article entitled Chicago’s old industrial base make it hot site for data centers.  Two things struck me after reading this article:

  1. It’s fantastic that Chicago is in a position to attract data center development and remain in a position to draw leading software and technology firms into what I dub “Silicon Plains”.
  2. It’s ironic that the buildings that fueled the Industrial Revolution are now being adapted for high-tech purposes.

Let’s take these one at a time.  Continue reading

Commercial Real Estate Blogging Begins to Draw Attention

To be honest, I should say that it is continuing to draw attention.  In the last few months, I have had hundreds of readers visit my site to read what I have written or comment on my thoughts around commercial real estate, particularly in Chicago.  Because of the initiative I have made within my firm toward getting more outbound blog activity, it’s refreshing to see the Commercial Property News article, To Blogging … & Beyond!

I discovered the article thanks to David Stejkowski, author of The Dirt Lawyer’s Blog, a local blogger showcased in the article.  Brad Berton, the reporter on the article, acknowledges that real estate professionals are slow to adapt technology and the corporate real estate users are typically not the same demographic that is savvy on RSS feeds and blogging.  I observed something similar in my article for the Illinois Real Estate Journal – User Friendly: Smarter Kick-Off Forms.  As a result, using a blog as a means to demonstrate credibility and promote oneself and one’s services is currently an uphill battle in our industry.  However, I still feel very strongly that those of us who start early will have a distinct advantage over the coming months and years, as those late to the game play catch-up.  Just like I said a few posts back, I invite any employees at competing brokerage houses (or even corporate space users who would like to give this medium a test run) to contact me if you would like to start blogging – not only will I help you, but I’ll also add a link to your blog if it’s focused on commercial real estate.

Like I say, I’m a glass-is-half-full, there’s more than enough to go around kind of guy.  When it comes to blogging about commercial real estate, the more, the merrier.