For the better part of a year, the Change Order Group has kept a weekly team call on Wednesdays. On the call, we discuss business development, deals, the news, etc. The team-members are all tops of their fields and have thriving side and main hustles. All of them are mature, decent, seasoned professionals. We always generate amazing conversations and connections–conversations and connections we are bringing to the fore with our blog posts and podcasts. The call is a highlight in my week.
I’ve gotten in the habit of sending out an update email in advance of the call. This week, I didn’t have any updates. After almost two years of promoting COG, I’m broke as a joke, and I don’t know where our first paid opportunity will come from–but it needs to come soon.
Below is the email I sent to the team in lieu of any tangible reason to hope for the Change Order Group’s prospects.
In the two years of developing COG, watching one environmental and economic crisis unfold after another, crises the group is uniquely qualified to address, I realized the lack of opportunities is not our fault.
Despite the team’s unrivaled experience at the vanguard of real estate planning, design, financing, development, and operation, the problems we are now tackling are so monumental, the solutions we are thinking about are such a leap from standard operating procedure, status quo players are terrified to even acknowledge us, lest it make things worse (hint: it won’t. They’re irreperable already).
Each day, environmental and societal crises rage across the globe. These crises are directly related to how, where, and why real estate is developed. Every day, there is an opportunity to try something better, different, and functional. Every day, existing stakeholders blow these opportunity, doubling down on more of the same, recent, dirty, violent, awful past. It didn’t work before, it doesn’t work now, and it won’t work in the future.
The Change Order Group is here to propose critical paths to a sustainable, equitable world. On a more practical level, these paths represent an enormous opportunity to exploit widespread market fear and complacency to create new markets. Just as the scope of the dangers are hard to comprehend, so too are the business opportunities.
For the intrepid developer, investor, municipality, or other real estate stakeholder ready to meet the future before it meets you, the Change Order Group is here to help. Drop us a line so we can discuss how.
———- Forwarded message ———
From: David Friedlander
Date: Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: Call today
To: Matt Hoffman
Cc: Darrick Borowski, Greg Lindsay, Issi Romem, Michele Knapp, Thomas Kosbau , mike eliason
Per custom, I am sending an update and agenda for today’s call, which I hope people can make.
My updates are few because I’m ditching any formal strategy. I’m running out of cash; this is on top of a banner 2020 where I maxed out every credit card and reserve of favors from friends. I don’t have a bank account and most of my calls are from creditors (fuck them!).
If I were sensible, I would start looking for a job or something to keep me afloat, but I’m in so deep, my response has been to dig in deeper. For me, it’s not about a business. It’s about giving humanity an option other than extinction. Of course, COG is a business too, and my gutter swagger is derived from the certainty that we are the business that will redefine an old market, i.e. real estate.
We are one of the few firms–and doubly true for North America–that comprehends the magnitude of what’s happening in the world and has the intellectual and operational nimbleness to be responsive to threats as they arise. As independent operators, we are unique in not having an agenda other than “what’s an appropriate response to what’s happening?” This is in contrast to most AEC-focused climate solutions I’m seeing, who are connected with an institution, investor/VC, corporation, etc. backending their agendas/expectations/maintenance into a climate plan or solution. I’m hardly against strategic partnerships, but many of the worst climate offenders are funding institutional research and investment in ostensible solutions, making meaningful action impossible (prove me wrong, please!).
In the absence of bolstering old, predatory, retrograde, and cumbersome markets, I know we can create new, smaller, smarter, equitable, and resilient ones.
Climate chaos is coming in so fast, I am having a tough time absorbing it intellectually, technically, and emotionally. There are more questions about the future than answers. That said, I am certain the status quo players will not win the day. Capital Market’s more-of-the-same response (more debt, development, and consumerism) to humanity’s intertwined environmental, humanitarian, and economic crises underscores what a bumbling, amoral, ready-for-replacement apparatus it is. I’ve been going around picking public fights with some big enemies I see as on the verge of major crisis (CMBS market, the State of Colorado, metros like Miami, etc.) while privately communicating with possible big allies for support. I can discuss a little bit of that on the call.
That’s about it. I welcome realistic feedback, ideas, connections, especially for press, etc.