Travis Kalanick’s resignation as CEO of UBER – arising from both professional and personal pressures – and one other event, slightly closer to home, have made me revisit my earlier two One Man’s Opinion comments on this topic (Vol 2, No. 5 and Vol 2, No. 8)
Over the last weekend of June, I had the tough duty (not really) to tag-team babysitting responsibilities for our grandson, along with my daughter’s (Carey, a/k/a Mom) mother-in-law. In Yiddish, the term for that relationship between my wife and me and my son-in-law’s (Matt, a/k/a Dad) parents is machetunum; Mary (the mother-in-law) is the machetunester. English needs such terms. And, for the record, Mary is about the best machetunester one could imagine. Mom and Dad were heading to a wedding in Hilton Head, and children were not part of the carry-on baggage.
It's hard to believe how long it's been since I have had something to say for this space. The combination of being busy, relocating from Orlando back to Chicago, then - really good news - taking an apartment in Scottsdale to (a) avoid Chicago's winter and (b) have a ten-minute drive to my daughter's house to visit my first grandchild, a boy named Emmett [NOTE: A newspaper editor might say I buried the lead here] takes its toll on the creative juices necessary to express a rational opinion on something. However, I am ready to resume, as I have a couple of notions that I'll be getting off my chest over the next couple of months.
Many years ago, after yet another of my job peregrinations either done or upon us (a constant state of affairs, I suppose), my wife, Andi, knowing that I had a dream of having a job announcement posted in the Wall Street Journal with one of those pointillist/dot rendered photos, created a full length column out of one sentence, entitled “Where in the World is Michael Shindler?” She even had a graphic designer, our young friend, Nate Azark, now of 12 Line Studio (and the designer of the Four Corners Advisors logo and website), create the dot rendered photo.
I am an active user of Social Media. I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (both personally, @mcshins, and professionally, @FourCornersAdv); I have some 1200+ connections on LinkedIn. But, I am a hypocrite when it comes to the "sharing community."
I am a devotee of UBER, having used it in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Orlando and Washington, DC, among other cities that I don't remember. However, I have not used Airbnb, nor do I expect to, for several reasons.
In my last One Man’s Opinion, I discussed my epiphany about the “majors” and the “minors” in the hotel management arena. This was not so categorized in order to denigrate the “minors;” indeed, in the process of completing one of the assignments about which I wrote, I have gained an enormous level of respect for the manner in which some of these “minors” (included in this group was one of the largest hotel companies in the world, albeit, an independent, third-party manager) conduct their businesses.
At the 2013 Georgetown Hospitality Law Conference, I suggested that the hotel management space consisted of the "majors" (generally speaking, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt, Wyndham, Fairmont Raffles, Four Seasons and a few of the luxury brands) and everyone else, including the third-party management companies. I posited the idea that all the litigation about which so many of us "hotel management geeks" (as my friend, colleague and new favorite author, Nelson Migdal, has called us) have written has been conducted to a near-universal result by the majors, who could afford the fight and needed to establish a precedent. Of course, the precedent now established has, for the most part, gone against them. I went on to suggest that the third-party managers would not have incurred the expense nor taken on the challenge of the issue of termination/agency/independent contractor raised (and mostly settled) by the Woolley case and its progeny. I raise this here because of the juxtaposition of two unrelated events.
Since the relaunch of FCA, I have been asked if I also intend to restart my blog, Deal Tracks, which my colleague Jeff Weinstein kindly published each week for 73 weeks in HOTELS Online. At this point, I doubt I will, particularly while FCA is, as I have said to too numerous friends to count, only on the on ramp to the Interstate and not quite flowing with the traffic.
Change can be good. Of course, when it applies to me, I need to make it be good.
With that in mind, I am pleased to announce the relaunch of Four Corners Advisors, the hospitality transactions consulting firm that I established in 2007. With over 35 years of transactions experience (about 28 of those strictly in the hospitality space), ranging from sales and purchases, financings, venture agreements, management agreements, franchise and license agreements -- both domestic and international -- Four Corners Advisors brings a perspective that no one else can offer. I have been a lawyer, a broker/advisor and a transactions executive for both ownership and brand management companies. And, that skill set with which I started FCA in 2007 has been augmented by four years of oversight of a growing brand in the hotel and hotel-casino arena, with responsibility for owner relations; monitoring of brand standards; development and transactions; divisional P&L responsibility; and organizational oversight in all respects.
In the last six issues of One Man’s Opinion, I explored five types of corporate leaders I had identified during my career. I have not found another “type”, but I do have another set of five that I will explore over the next year or so. Perhaps I see the world in sets of five, though that does tend to become complicated. My friend and former colleague, Doug Geoga, used to say “there are two kinds of people in the world: those that think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those that don’t”. I’ve never been able to boil down a personal philosophy to such a minimalist view as Doug, and, because this is my forum, I don’t have to.
In my last five “issues” of One Man’s Opinion, I have posited five different types of leader (Mentor, Trainer, Partner, Controller, Dictator; see Archives, Vol 1, No. 5) and written about a Mentor (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 6), a Trainer (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 7), a Partner (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 8), a Controller (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 9). I vowed to write a bit about each type, so I’m on to Dictator, the final installment in this series. Here goes –
In my last four “issues” of One Man’s Opinion, I have posited five different types of leader (Mentor, Trainer, Partner, Controller, Dictator; see Archives, Vol 1, No. 5) and written about a Mentor (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 6), a Trainer (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 7), and a Partner (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 8). I vowed to write a bit about each type, so I’m on to Controller. Here goes –
In my last three “issues” of One Man’s Opinion, I have posited five different types of leader (Mentor, Trainer, Partner, Controller, Dictator; see Archives, Vol 1, No. 5) and written about a Mentor (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 6) and a Trainer (see Archives, Vol 1, No. 7). I vowed to write a bit about each type, so I’m on to Partner. Here goes –
In my last two “issues” of One Man’s Opinion, I have posited five different types of leader (Mentor, Trainer, Partner, Controller, Dictator; see Vol 1, No. 5) and written about a Mentor (Vol 1, No. 6). I vowed to write a bit about each type, so I’m onto Trainer. Here goes –
In my last “OMO” (Vol 1, No.5), I hypothesized five types of “leaders” (Mentor, Trainer, Partner, Controller, Dictator), and I promised (threatened) to write about a “Mentor” in my next post. So, here goes –
In 2005, Doris Kearns Goodwin published Team of Rivals, her masterpiece about President Lincoln’s relationship with the senior members of his Cabinet, who were also his most serious rivals for the Republican party nomination for the Presidency. I mention this now for two reasons: first, in all my readings about the Presidency (more below), this is by far the best pure history book I have read; second, Ms. Goodwin is still getting asked to speak on this book, including (and the reason I am writing about it now) by the hospitality industry. She will be the keynote speaker at the Hospitality Leadership Forum of the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York in November. (I should also note that, after reading Team of Rivals, I actually emailed a “fan letter” to Ms. Goodwin. I commend it to everyone.)
My last “One Man’s Opinion” represented my first foray into the forecast business. Of course, I was quite general, suggesting that --
And, for two simple predictions for 2008 (and, perhaps not original thoughts): one, hotel development credit will be available, albeit at a lower LTV and a higher Debt Service Coverage requirement, meaning equity returns are going to be down; and two, the transactions market may not match 2007, but it will be damned close.
As an old year ends and a new begins, I am taking on the role of forecaster, as there is nothing like forecasting an opinion to get the thought processes going. In my last OMO, I wondered about branding. I wonder no more.
The hotel industry has witnessed a proliferation of new brands (or old brands rebranded) purporting to sell new hotel concepts over the last few years. I wonder.
I have established FOUR CORNERS ADVISORS for several reasons, but, perhaps surprisingly, not because I needed or wanted to work for myself. That particular goal has never been important to me.