Archive for June, 2009

June 19, 2009

Weird Thing That I Do: volume 1

see the light

see the light

When I’m browsing the internet at home before bed on a weekday [like now],  I’ll listen to my Ipod Nano. I’ll pop the Nano into my arm-workout-band, velcro it around my arm, and pop in the headphones like I’m about to go jogging, then start browsing the internet.

I thought it was kind of funny b/c the first couple of times my roommate saw me walking around the apartment with my headphones on, he gave me a weird look, like… “uhhh, you’re not going to the gym… n/m” — but he’s kind of used to giving me the “wtf” look and I’m kinda used to getting it.

Let me justify my behavior though — I promise I always have the best logical explantion for my madness.

Before I began implementing the amazing concept of “ipod+internetbrowsing” — I would listen to my music the “normal” way (I use normal in quotations because I think all of you who do it the “normal” way are actually losing out on life) — turn on the stereo, or plug the headphones into the computer and use iTunes.

The normal ways came with major deficiencies.

1. When I get up to grab a beer, the music stops, or at least becomes very faint. It is also extremely inconvenient to take my headphones off [pause the music even if I’m that psycho about not missing a beat which I sometimes am]. Also, there’s returning with the cold beer, wet hands, and having to put the headphones back on [unless I was listening to the speakers, but let’s assume it’s 2:00am and you have a roommate who likes to sleep]. Then there’s the whole “forgetting what I was working on” because I spent so much annoying effort screwing around with my music.

2. When I get up to go pee… well just re-read #1. But for everytime #1 happens, #2 will happen twice. And when #2 is actually a NUMBER 2 (crapperoo) — you will really appreciate the music not stopping. I mean, REALLY APPRECIATE it. Think about how great 24 (Kiefer Sutherland) would be without those annoying commercial beeps: “beep… boop… beep… boop… beep… boop..” Yes, that’s how great ipod+internetbrowsing is.

Some Major Perks

1. You’ll be amazed at how much your workflow is optimized when life seems to just flow without any breaks.

2. I can just get up and go jogging on a whim. Though, I am personally just a coinflip away from being clinically diagnosed with ADD. Note to self: put on shoes first.

3. You can’t be bothered. Say you were Einstein working on “E Equals M-C… something or other… hmmm. I’m not quite there yet but it’s on the tip of my tongue… let me go make a pot of coffee.” You go make your pot of coffee, then your roommate starts talking to you or your dogs start barking or your baby is choking on a toy… in a normal life, all this stuff would distract  you from what’s really important.

So… I really don’t care to convince you. If you’re not doing it,  you’re the loser. I just want to know if anyone else does this? If not, then I am the original inventor of ipod+internetbrowsing.


June 14, 2009

Sunday Morning Thought: 24hr Pho is the best invention ever

I’ve been a pho-connoseur (sp?) for a while.

I was born in raised in Arlington, TX — otherwise known as New Vietnam (kidding, no not really). Texas has more than cowboys and rodeos — there’s actually a pretty decent Asian population. So I’m Chinese, but I grew up around a lot of Vietnamese people (I know, I feel sorry for me too… hahah ok ok kidding for real).

So at the time I left Texas for Los Angeles, around 2001, there were probably 10 Pho Restaurants (yes it deserves to be capitalized) in Arlington. Pho 99, Pho 95, Pho Pasteur, jeez can’t remember them all now. Pho 99 was by far our favorite.

We were a bunch of 16 year old punks who had a Sunday Pho Ritual. The attire would be white wife-beater shirts, shorts, and we’d do Sunday Pho more consistently than Christians go to church.

I’m happy to see the current popularity of Pho blowing up in Los Angeles — it was only a matter of time.

There’s Pho Show (Culver City), Pho’k Yo Mamma (ok kidding), Pho Q (so i’ve heard), and it’s about to get as ridiculous as Twitter is getting. There’s probably at least 100 places and I’ve been to half of em’.

Pho Citi is a restaurant in West LA I’ve been frequenting recently. I think it was genius that both of their restaurants (one in Glendale) heavily promote the “24 hour” feature.

They’re not the first to be open 24 hours (there’s “Pho LA” in Koreatown but it’s quite terrible — I can say  this because I have my Phd in VNS “Vietnamese Noodle Soup”). I wouldn’t go to Pho LA if they were open 36 hours.

Pho Citi is actually quite good. The Pho is good and so are the rice dishes. Being open 24 hours is what makes them #1 on my list when I’m craving Pho.

It’s 7:42am and I’m hungry… what are my options? Jack-in-the box or the Mexican taco truck?

PhoCiti could ease up on its Twitter spam… which is why I unfollowed. But otherwise 5 stars. hah.

June 9, 2009

Frozen Hashbrowns is the new Rice

What are some of the reasons I make/eat rice?

1. supplement a salty/saucey dish
2. as filler food, to fill me up!
3. kinda enjoy the taste, kinda
4. for the pure aesthetic presence rice gives the plate

Why is eating rice such a hassle?

1. it takes forever to make (ok, I’m lazy b/c I think 20 minutes is forever)
2. involved process: clean the old pot (don’t lie, you’re not going to clean it after you’re done this time either), fill, rinse, put in cooker, wait till it pops. now go defrost and cook your food.

I cooked some chicken today and didn’t feel like making rice. I found some frozen hasbrowns in the freezer so I threw it in with the chicken. It cooked very well and served the same exact purpose as rice.

I am officially making the switch.

Frozen Hasbrowns ==> provides all the benefits of rice, none of the hassles.

June 7, 2009

Sunday Morning Thought: Twitter Vanity

I was going to use a half naked girl taking pics of herself in the mirror but I LOLd too much when I saw this

I was going to use a half naked girl taking pics of herself in the mirror but I LOL'd too much when I saw this

As you probably went through your training wheel stages too — when I first started using Twitter a couple months ago — I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Do I just start adding as many friends as I can? Is it bad etiquette not to add someone back even if I don’t know who the heck they are?

Here’s my conclusion — I guess you’ve got to figure out first: Why are you using Twitter?

1. Do you use it for personal, business, or both? both

2. Do you plan on being a “twitter consumer (read more than I update)” or a “twitter spammer (update more than I read)”? leaning towards the “twitter consumer” w/ occasional updates on my life

3. Do you actually plan on interacting with your followers and followees? yes, I’d like to think that people who follow me are my friends or colleagues and care about my updates (at least somewhat) and not just a random add

This may not seem like an epiphany, but once I answered these questions for myself, it was much easier to cleanse my buddy list and delete people like @GuyKawasaki.

Out of the 100 tweets he sends me every day (yes it feels like he is sending it directly to me like he knocked on my door and shoved the article through the mail slot) — one or two might catch my attention. That’s why I didn’t want to delete him, b/c I found some of them interesting.

However, b/c of him, and people like him, I deleted my BlackBerry Twitter app and stopped checking my twitter account — it was like brain damage. I realized that I was missing out on my friends’ lives b/c of these Twitter-Spammers. Yes, it was my choice whether or not to subscribe to him, so can’t really blame him. So I voluntarily opted out an cleaned up my friend list.

@GuyKawasaki is actually a pretty amazing, guy, hah. I recently bought his book “The Art of the Start” — which is a great book if you are starting a new business or venture. I’d actually re-follow him if he started tweeting about himself and his life.


Back to Twitter Vanity

I think my simple mind max’s out at about where I am now: meaning, I can follow about 100 people, I think. Otherwise, it’s just too much twitter twatter and I miss out on some really intersting things my friends are doing.

I am now being a sort of Twitter Snob, if you will, on whether or not I will follow someone.

1. If you update more than a few times a day, that’s a red flag for me.

2. If you follow many more people than follow you, your INTERESTING-ness METER gets minus one (-1) from me.

3. If you have more than 500 followers, you’re either very popular, or a twitter whore. I’ll bet money on the latter.

So in a vain effort to keep my own interesting-ness meter high — I’d like to keep my following/follower ratio closer to 1:2. God forbid it should ever go above 1:1!

At least I can feel like I’m special. haha. Here’s some Omar math for your today.

If [following = followers] = you are of average interest

If  [following > followers] = you are of sub par interest, become more interesting, my friend

If [following < followers] = you are on  your way to achieving Britney Spears celebrity status

I added Britney and Jamie Lynn btw. I think they pwn.

please don’t unfollow me, I have a very sensitive self esteem — like this girl.

Okay, so I couldnt help still using the half naked girl

Okay, so I couldn't help still using the half naked girl

June 7, 2009

The Day I Realized: I hate what I do for a living



…hmmmm okay “hate” is a strong word so let me qualify this a little bit — I would “hate” for my current clients to come across this entry and stop doing business with me because they think that I’m about to implode and quit the business.


Let’s put yourself in my size 10 1/2 shoes. I sell real estate for a living. Small to mid-sized apartment buildings in Los Angeles. I actually love the business (I’ll get to the topic at hand, I promise). I am a salesman at heart. Selling is what I do. I love interacting with people. I love the competition. Life has been a challenge since I started as a 22 year old punk. Now I’m a 26 year old punk with a fair amount of battle wounds and momentum like you wouldn’t believe.

To the general public — that knows little about the life of a commercial real estate agent — I’ve got a confession to make: the amount of money we make per the time we actually spend working on YOUR deal… is EXORBITANT.

(okay clients, this is not an invitation to start renegotiating the commission in our listing agreement)

Let’s say I sell six buildings this year with an average gross commission of $40K per deal. So total gross commission this year is $240K — and my company takes half, so I’m left with $120K to pay my expenses. Let’s say my staff, overhead, and marketing, postcards, etc., comes out to another $40K — so I’m left with a net earnings of $80K. Not bad, you might think. But that’s working on average 70 hours a week. Let’s say there’s 48 working weeks in the year, so 3,360 hours vs the normal 1,920 hours (40hr work week).

Hypothetically I make $23 per hour.

My hypothetical friend making the same yearly salary ($80K) but only working 40hrs per week is making $42 per hour.

On top of this, he/she probably has health benefits, etc. A real estate agent is an independent contractor responsible for his/her own everything. Health insurance, yadda yadda.

This is not why I “hate” what I do. I’m kind of a workaholic-type so I don’t really mind working a bunch of hours. That’s fine. No Problem. Don’t care if I make $40K or $400K — I’ll be at the office from 7:30am to 7:30pm.

I hate what I do b/c about 75% of my time is spent on prospecting, cold-calling, working on stuff that has nothing to do with SELLING YOUR PROPERTY, doing anything that could be remotely construed as productive to the economy, or making MEANING in anyone’s life.

That may come as a surprise to you (not if you are a fellow agent) — but that’s just the way this business works. Over half your time is spent getting hung up on (unless you’re some super agent, and if you are, please don’t comment because I hate you too).

Sounds like something cheesy for ME to say… but I’d like to think that my life means something.

Now — I think I have earned the right to say all this. It’s not like I’m one month into the business and bitching and complaining about it. I’ve pulled through four years of crap and getting crapped on, and emerged as one of the top brokers in my specialty. I will continue to do this, and do it well, because I love serving my clients and making a commission after it’s all said and done.

However, after a few years of trudging forward… I’ve realized that a majority of my time has been spent adding ZERO to the economy. I’ll make 300 calls, a few of them turn into meetings, maybe one leads to a listing and I get paid. The other 299 calls, wrong numbers, getting hung up on, wasted conversations… that’s just what it is. WASTE.

I’d like to make every minute of my day count — towards SOMETHING. Not sure if this is possible.

My coworker said, “Omar, at least you’re not digging ditches.”

You’re all (I write this at a time when I have zero subscribers so not sure who I’m talking to) going to think I’m nuts, but money aside, I’d almost rather dig ditches all day. At least this way, I can look back at the end of the day and see that I actually did something.

“I dug a frikkin ditch today! the water shall be drained!”

Sometimes I will go a whole week, make many hundreds of calls, Saturday rolls around and I’ve realized that NOTHING productive happened. Zero fault of mine… but I may have done just as much sleeping through the whole week.

This is why I am devoting so much time to LeaseMunky. I feel like every minute I spend working on LeaseMunky is “towards something.”

I finally feel like I am doing something that makes meaning in my life, and others’. Maybe this will be a complete and utter failure (not likely because I will make it succeed). But even if so — I am willing to accept this.

I would rather fail at doing something I am passionate about than make a bunch of money doing something that I hate (okay clients, I must reiterate, I use “hate” in the most philosophical, humorous, thought-provoking, analogous way; there is no immediate threat that I am ending my own life nor quitting the business… so your listing is safe… hah) ==> a residential leasing company about to take Los Angeles by storm.