The Anarchist CEO’s Guide to Effective Team Emails, Calls, and Inspiring Market Disruption

Introduction

Anyone, including my peers and team-members, who knowingly contributes and is benefited by systemic violence and environmental degradation, even in small ways, that person is opposed to the Change Order Group mission of building a planet that works for everyone. If one maintains privilege when others suffer, they are opposing the Change Order Group mission of building a planet that works for everyone. It’s no longer enough to merely do the right thing anymore. The wrong thing must be stopped, now. I also need money, but you can read this and see if I deserve it.  

This post is intended to specifically call out my team on their collusion with systems of oppression and violence. I love and respect these people. I did’t want to do this. I was building a company with them in earnest. But they just don’t fucking get it.  The wheels of progress must stop.

These names —some of global real estate’s most influential —have been finger fucking COG, not investing the time, energy, or resources necessary to give what I considered a shared mission a shot.

Personally, they all seem quite content to let me be homeless, while they have first and second homes, disposable income, etc. For those enjoying privilege, it’s always another time, and someone else’s job to help those less fortunate —until they are the ones who are misfortune. I’ll gladly trade their fragile, localized economic and emotional comfort to get things going —and stop a lot of things —as well as get some overdue financial security economic and physical comfort for myself.    

Names of offenders with short personal note indicating offenses:

  • Former Zillow Chief Economist, regular NY Times housing contributor/pundit, YIMBY pioneer, Issi Romen: I’ve listened to what you’ve said but you’ve not done the same. You do not take climate seriously at all. You’ve kept promoting sprawl in unsustainable or marginally sustainable locations, and colluding with some pretty bad people and institutions. You’ve defended apartheid in Israel and the U.S. You’ve agreed with Dror Poleg, who, it would appear, has views that are diametrically opposed to mine for reasons I’ve covered so many times. As a friend, I want to say this would all be quite apparent if you stopped working for more than five minutes, and stopped freaking out about money. But that’s not what you’ve done. You’ve maintained a geopolitical perspective that promotes meaningless China-PE-backed, natural-resource-and-human-exploitative productivity; it’s a lifestyle you, Dror, and, let’s face it, the thing that calls itself “Israel” seem committed to making the global standard. I’m here to publicly condemn your blindness and failure to react. It’s not too late, but you need to face the data.  
  • NewCities Director of Innovation, etc. Greg Lindsay: Stop being such a chickenshit super-connector. You got the brain Greg, but the heart and eyes need work. You can be cool like me if you take more economic, political, and emotional risks. Let other people drop your name. 
  • Mike Eliason. Dude, I love you and consider you a comrade, but you know architecture and those two years in Bayern have been fatally drowned by climate. Keep angry and feel free to hit me up if you understand what I’m doing here, which ain’t remotely personal. 
  • Former WeWork Design Chief of Staff, Miguel-Whisperer, Darrick Borowski. Dude, Karma is a bitch. You can’t just take dirty oil money to buy your new townhouse and upstate cottage and think you made it out alive. Quit paying attention to your neighbors. Stop being played and taking baths in cortisol every minute. Get some fresh air and call me when you’re ready to do the right thing and give up some of your WeRob privileges. 
  • Michele Knapp: I know you’re afraid, angry, and lonely, but market penetration ain’t gonna fix that. Being a profiteering entrepreneur who throws expanded polystyrene on shitty structures sure as fuck won’t either. Learn to do something other than work and follow a meaningless agenda —do it before your presently-scheduled heart attack in two years time. Also, get out of that part of Connecticut. It makes people wicked. 
  • Global Affordable Housing and Venture Capital expert, Matt Hoffman: The guy on the side of the road could be you and your friend is a bad person. Stop helping and talking about people and be a person. And get out of the DC area. It makes people mentally and spiritually sick. 

As I indicate in my email, I’m done waiting. I’m calling the shots now because no other qualified candidates are doing it. 

When you’re done discussing change, it’s time to order change.

There are multiple serious requests for money. Hit me up to make big or small contributions so I can keep typing, educating, and destroying bad guys. 

Some Background

For much of the last year, I’ve held a weekly team update call for the Change Order Group. The meetings are usually lively discussions between some of real estate’s deepest insiders. It’s these connections and the clarity and breadth of these conversations that attracted such a rarefied group. 

Most of my updates, which include weekly agendas, are terse. While we started off with a couple hot project leads, we settled into a predictable long-lead real estate development waiting game. For the last six months, I’ve been hyper focused on raising a small seed round for my expenses so the team can focus on making content and bypass me being homeless–again. After a unified big real-estate/banking/governmenty/media-led assault on my personal and professional life that started in late 2019, I was forced out of my city and could not make a living. I lived in my car all of last summer and was only able to escape that fate this winter through an fortuitously-time industry spiff. 

With such an amazing team working on such vitally important social equity and climate adaptation agendas, we all felt confident someone would eventually bite. And for almost two years, that confidence has carried me and COG two years with zero pay. Unlike my ostensible teammates, I have not continued gig work, which I view as a distraction at best, and collusion with harmful forces at worst. As I witnessed those harmful forces gaining in market power by exploiting —not solving —those climate and social equity challenges, in spite of undeniable reality of their dangers, as I got more and more no’s, my normally untouchable confidence began to shake. 

I was being told no by people who neither wanted to, could, or attempted to understand what we were doing. The level of disinterest led me to one of two conclusions: 

  • They’ve been ordered to stay away from us (I have good reason to believe this is often the case); 
  • Those evaluating investments are only after one thing: satisfy the rapacious greed and impossibly high expectations of today’s private investor; most analysts are kept intentionally green, inept, and/or greedy to ensure steady returns and avoid inconvenient outcomes.   

Either of these scenarios was enough for me to make a fast pivot. The prospect of homelessness and having my phone turned off helped too. 

The following is the email I sent this Wednesday, before our weekly call. It should be prefaced by saying I broke down the week before and presented a dramatic —albeit predictable for those paying attention —pivot from the “business” we discussed to the historical “movement” that’s necessary to impel change. 

There are no rules except the ones that exist and the ones we make. 

The Email

[Legal disclaimer: none of the following statements are to be considered factual or legally binding and cannot be used to incriminate its author, David Friedlander, or any parties mentioned therein, who had no role in the writing, crafting, or For all intents in purposes, and for all legal purposes, consider the following statements to be a fictional creative writing exercise, by its wellknown author, David Friedlander.]  

date: Jul 28, 2021, 1:11 PM

subject: Re: Call today

Hi all bcc’d COGers, 

Because I am still dealing with the emotional hangover stemming from my personal, professional, pecuniary, and global-sociopolitical positioning, I am still emotionally raw. I am canceling our team meeting to take some “C[ME]O-time.” I want to give a personal and professional update nonetheless, because these updates directly affect you. Do not ignore or delay reading this email. And please read the text carefully and respect my requests therein. I’m like extreme poverty and climate change: no more time to wait to do right and stop the violence. That time is now and I provide pathways to help in this email. 

Before I start, I want to establish my boundaries, since most of you have casually flitted into my realm and I’ve been unusually quiet about them, realizing you all are “donating” your time to help me form a corporate and technical structure to create a place for your children to live further out than 15 years. Thanks so much for the help, folks.  

While usually open to feedback and suggestions, my current emotional rawness has me unusually hostile to them. Perhaps I’ll be open later, but not now. I’ll let you know when I’m ready. In order to avoid sloppy communication, I want to be clear that if a (your) response falls outside my established boundaries, that response will likely be met with extreme aggression from me and I will hold your response against you later; I will do this whether you agree with my boundaries or not. Those three appropriate responses include one of the following three options, and only one or a combination of the following three options: 

  • I want to and can help. Also, I know how much you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you.
  • I can’t help publicly, because where you are going is too hot, but I support the cause. I know you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you.* 
  • I have a friend/press contact/investor/etc. who understands the nature of your situation, its urgency, believes you may be correct, and can help. This person is _____. Do you mind if I introduce you? I know you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you.* 

*Almost none of this applies to _____, who gets where I’m coming from, even when doubtful. He gave me a meaningful contribution, unbidden, of $250. That’s a lot of money for me and most Americans FYI.

Folks, I’m an anarchist, radical, and ultra-Capitalist (Capital as a function of renewable terrestrial resources). For two years, I’ve done everything I can to bring order and logic to this abomination that people still straight-facedly call a “free market economy”; it is neither free, open, or a market really. I realize you all have achieved some level of comfort, distinction, and economic distance from the full unholiness of it all, but it doesn’t make it good.  

To understand me (something I recommend you try to do harder), I look for and create critical paths to the right solutions. I don’t play by rules that don’t serve that end. I use whatever tools and weapons I have at my disposal–reason and social credibility/connectedness being my main “weapons.” I am able to weigh my ends against the consequences of disobeying rules; disobedience that usually has more to do with opposing assumed etiquette and decorum, rather than any legal or material transgression. Note, I’ve used my personal correspondences and personal relationships many times in the past to get leverage. I’ll do it again. Like Brother Malcom says…To be even clearer about my boundaries, responses that are likely to elicit the greatest aggression include:

  • Responses that question my mental fitness. I’m well, thank you. Seriously. 
    • A “you’re crazy/nuts/etc” will get a particularly violent response. Please do not exceed that boundary. What I’m writing is serious and I’m tired of being dismissed, derided, ignored, and/or admired from afar, and, most of all, being called a loon for being as angry as I am about what’s happening. It’s like saying Anne Frank had an antisocial disorder because she never left the house: just like that! 
    • Seriously, let’s not talk about mental fitness here…you don’t want to go there and it will surely include a reciprocal analysis based on your behavior. Understanding my neuro-biochemical responses to certain stimuli and establishing correspondent boundaries is peak-mental wellness. I realize I could peace out if I really wanted to not subject myself to scrutiny, but I have stuff to say, and self-expression is also a big part of my wellness routine, so I can show up as a CEO and human.   
  • Well wishes and declarations of love/friendship/alliance that don’t include material support. 
  • Defenses of anything topics, people, institutions, or Nations brought up in this email.
  • Asking me to do anything, including, but not limited to, removing your names from the website, Twitter, deck, etc. I’ve been working around other peoples’ timelines long enough. It’s “C[ME]O-time.” Seriously, I’ve given everyone so much of my toil, so much time to show up, help get the work done, and to get off most of your expresslane to early-grave-inducing, geocidal, homicidal, career tracks. I’m done being the fucking conscience of the global free market economy. I know it’s what killed my dad in the form of cancer. It outright killed both my great-grandpas. Not me. I am going to kill it before it kills me. 
  • I took Bruce Lee’s advice to be like water, but it might be time for lava. Please, no strategic advice, unless asked for. 
  • I’d limit your online, offline, and various chattering about me to a minimum. Hold still, be quiet, be cool, keep your shit together. I haven’t done much yet. I’m laying out what I am willing to do. 
  • Better yet, join and help me. Do something different. 

With that housekeeping out of the way, I want to continue my weekly update: 

  • For those not privy to my Oscar performance/team call/sermon last week, I have made a substantial pivot in my personal brand from climate-focused housing expert to meta-religious Messiah  (traces of almost most major religions in my lineage). I realize this may come as a shock to some, but I’ve brought it up to Jon many times, and to Matt and Greg in passing. I’ve had content about my possible identity sitting online for months, hoping to elicit curiosity, but it doesn’t register with, well, almost anyone, because minds are all so programmed to not create that as a possibility. If any of you had a lick of spiritual experience and realization, you’d get it. But you all are so fucking busy keeping the wall repaired, or finding strategem to bear with your miserable existences and unused talents, you never looked up to see me here. Hi!  
  • For anyone keeping track, I’m not in the habit of being wrong. I do not lie. I’ve taken Bodhisattva vows, have undergone several spiritual initiations, and have used enough psychedelics (not anytime recently) to strip away all rationalizations for perpetuating the psycho-spiritual-physical cesspool that is our modern society. I’m not wrong or lying about this. I’m not chemically imbalanced. Look at the data. Look at my body and smile. Listen to what I’m saying. One would think such a curious bunch of folks would pay attention to everything I say. I don’t waste anything, least of all words. I bet you will from here out. 
  • I’m cranking on content to start a global, independent (non-governmental, industrial, institutionalized), moral, and technical framework for an adaptive post-Climate human civilization. Given climatic trajectories, the majority of humans will be culled from the earth. It’s probably better to focus on more localized human resources and sharing adaptive systems with aligned, but distributed groups. The life-rafts that will carry humanity into its next cycle won’t be too big and can’t have dead weight. As I pointed out on my Medium, rich folks bringing mostly intellectual and currency-based resources will have a harder time justifying their existence in the future unless they’re more well-rounded, healthy people. 
    • Any top-heavy corporate and industrial dependency, including research, tech, service structures will not be able to adapt to upcoming conditions for more than a hot second. Like I said, pandering and attempting to align with big Capital and Industry affirms its worth and increases their ledgers, when private wealth is a value vacuum with tons of strategically-designed and hidden liabilities amongst large atomized Capital holdings. This Darth Vadar-dark force needs to be vanquished. Fittingly for real Movements–not hashtagged, commodified institutions masking as movements–whatever my movement is will be grassroots. Ugh. So much work. Like the COG corporate structure, movement will be made with many nimble legs instead of chauffeured by a PE-backed ICE-powered or EV. 
      • Sometime in the next day or so, I’m going to start a crowdfunding campaign to pay for my numerous, mounting expenses, especially rent next week, which I do not have. I was homeless last summer and I do not want to do it again, since it takes me away from my work and I don’t need much money, relatively speaking, to keep doing that work. I encourage you to donate and help me raise money. Though to be clear, as my closest professional network, I am asking for contributions (call em’ alms) tout de suite (now). Apple Cash is ideal. Any amount helps, but the more the better. Big Private Capital wants me to think I need them. I’m going to prove the opposite is true. 
      • There is a technical component to this so my content will blend a lot. I am sitting on mountains of content. I’ll likely use this email for content. Me and Gaia don’t have time to think this hard about emails and content, so I’m creating new content forms that blend personal and public correspondences. A la my secret admirer Ray Dalio, I’m into radical transparency, but on a cellular, cognition level, not some digital agency-crafted, social-media-friendly hogwash. I will definitely go down as a PR and Marketing innovator, no? (Rhetorical question. Please respect my aforementioned boundaries.)

While I work on content–i.e. write and research, because that’s what I do best…far better than begging for money–I want to clarify some economic, personal, and political positions, lest there be a communication breakdown moving forward: 

  • There is no housing shortage. There is a distribution, intelligence, and compassion shortage. Please get that straight.
  • Single family housing and most new multifamily is not worth the wood and fixtures that make it. There should be a moratorium on all building and most manufacturing, unless those things are part of a data-backed master-planned, coordinated response to climate change and ongoing human-eco-climate adaptation, which will likely not support large, permanent populations. 
  • Check out this piece I got published minutes ago. I plan to take down the CMBS market. Someone gotta do it. https://www.brooklynpaper.com/op-ed-the-city-no-one-asked-for/
  • Any upzoning, housing production, development, technology, or construction conversation that doesn’t lead to a circularilariy economy within a couple decades, including waste-streams (batteries, plastics, etc.), is unscientific and should be considered stillborn. I don’t want any part of an ongoing solution that depends on Chinese slave fabrication or hyper-polluting interests. I may have indicated otherwise, so I want to be clear. (Remember boundaries.)  
  • Apartheid states are as morally reprehensible in America as they are in Israel. Two evils doesn’t make a right. 
  • That said, there is something particularly evil about today’s Israel, which exists mainly as an over-irrigated desert, there to support a socio-political-military state entirely dependent on a global federation of Religio-Petro and dark-money-backed commercial/technological interests. It is not sustainable. It’s not what my ancestors were about or died for. It certainly has nothing to do with Judaism. Two cents from the likely Messiah. Seems pertinent. 
  • I’ve never met a smart investor, especially, but not limited to, under 35 year-olds at VC firms, with no track record. Their greed invariably writes themselves into a corporate structure, but check-writing and debt-extraction is non-additive. As long as the Cap layer plays such a dominant role in product economics, nothing will change. Though more of a Biblical character than scholar, that seems to support Biblical texts about the danger of usury. Somewhere along the line, an Economic FEDeration grew around writing dummy checks against my children’s future and against the lives, resources, and overseas cultures…or any other countless market-approved means to exploit other people and their lands.  
  • And fuck EPS, Dupont, 3M, BASF, and all those fuckers. They have no place in the future, except in terms of waste removal. 
  • Most big tech is going to fail for obvious supply-chain reasons.
  • Incubators are multi-level marketing schemes. 
  • Brillian buildings, technology, systems, etc. deployed in bad locations, shit economics, and the wrong context are dumb. Visit Las Vegas event centers for examples. 
  • Follow the lawyers, the globe’s power vampire squad. 
  • Establishing secure conditions and systems for food, water, air, health, and ongoing interpersonal happiness are the future. 
  • I am saying all of this from a place of love, respect, and inviting you to be a part of the future with me. I’m saying it in friendship, believe it or not. This is what friendship with me looks like. I’ve always only wanted to work and the last two years of moving COG have been about getting to work to the exclusion of all else. There is no other work for me. But as my horoscope read yesterday, “Infinite patience is not a virtue.”  

I think that covers most of it. To reiterate, I vehemently do not want, and will respond poorly to responses that are not one of the following: 

  • I want to and can help. Also, I know how much you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you [Apple Cash is great, via text!]
  • I can’t help publicly, because where you are going is too hot, but I support the cause. I know you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you.* 
  • I have a friend/press contact/investor/etc. who understands the nature of your situation, its urgency, believes you may be correct, and can help. This person is _____. Do you mind if I introduce you? I know you need money. I can give you $___ to pay for your operations (rent, phone, food). I know you don’t have a bank account, so let me know how I can get the money to you. 

In love, light, good health, good cheer, and service. 

David   

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