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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Norm Brodsky, The Strokes and David Cross

Never before have these names been pasted together in a headline I'm sure. The Strokes are everywhere these days, on TV, on Radio, on Tour, in Print - with a new album and cool SPIN mag article after a few years of silence. Thing is, their guitarist, Albert, is one of our favorite Catskill Farms' homeowners with a sweet farmhouse and barn on 10 acres actually just across the street from my house.

Oh the stories I could tell.... Like the 48 hours straight inebriated fireworks show with commercial grade fireworks that ended with Lisa and I both embarrassing ourselves by acting like old farts and telling them to cool it. Albert gave me these as consolation I suppose.

Just kidding, anyway we built a 'barn' for him - a fully outfitted, commercial grade sound studio wrapped up in a barn exterior - very cool, for sure, and the Strokes did some mixing and music-making up there for the new album.

And David - I mean, since David bought a Cottage from us a few years back when we were just getting our groove on, his career since (and his mate's Amber's) has totally been busy, with movies, his own written/directed/produced TV show that was just picked up for season 2.

I'm not saying our homes inspire creativity, greatness, popularity and top-of-the-charts positioning - well, actually, maybe I am.

David turned Albert onto us, and Gavin from Vice fame and more as well.

In the past 5 yrs, we've seen our homeowners get married, get promoted, get rich, get popular, get settled in, write a book, create some music, make an album, plant a garden, build a birdhouse and much more. it's cool, for sure. And the big common thread is that these folks don't have to worry about what will next go wrong with their house like people buying older homes. they got a house that works, which is a great start to enjoying this big life decision of country respite.

And Norm Brodsky, well, he is the in-house 'entrepreneur columnist' for Inc. magazine since the mid-90's. I discovered him while perusing the Small Business blogs of the New York Times. Very fresh insights and guidance from a veteran business owner, who kept me coming back to his columns with revelations on methods of decision-making, seeing through the fog of business, and straight-forward advice. Like most good writing, he points out the obvious yet elusive point, what's always been there - it just has gone un-summarized, un-capsulated.

So, literally, Janice my assistant and all-around office warrior printed out every article he ever wrote since 1995 and I read them over the past 3 months. The binder was like 7" thick. It was like 'Continuing Education', since his insights into gross margins, misspent marketing $$, and how competition is good for small business were great lessons that I already knew but didn't. The tidbit I like the best is the story he tells about how he is an angel investor in certain businesses and he will almost never invest in new businesses with fancy newly furnished offices and equipment because he knows - from his experience - that that startup capital will be needed for something else before too long, and it will be gone.

It took us 7 years before we had an office to be proud of. We always had a neat business and the lack of spiffy offices never seemed to scare people away, but boy did I need every single penny to keep it going at times, and thank the lord I didn't spend it on Aeron and Eames chairs, networked computers, efficient phone systems and new trucks like I do now.

Our reception -
more of our reception...

My friend Zach's Harley - I've been tempted on many occasions to claim ownership, but I figure I'm cool enough already.

And our bathroom made up of leftover tiles from 7 years of building cool houses. A little psychedelic, but hey, it's better than being bland.


  1. Great new office space... you should do a Saturday afternoon tour/ cocktail hour for your homeowners in the near future! Just throwing the idea out there. Happy spring!

  2. Yo Jason, nice to see you are still reading this nonsense and blather.

    Definitely need a Saturday cocktail hour (or two). Great idea.

    Stay tuned.