Cultivating a culture of empowerment (podcast interview)

Earlier this year, Victoria Downing and Mark Harari interviewed me for the Remodelers Advantage’s PowerTips podcast. Though PowerTips is intended specifically for owners of remodeling businesses, Vic and Mark were gracious enough to let me spend the entirety of the interview discussing leadership philosophy (one of my favorite topics).

Unintended Consequences of Land Use Regulation

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Typical development pattern prescribed by zoning. Anything else is illegal. (photo via Brookings Institute)

Arguably, land use controls have a more widespread impact on the lives of ordinary Americans than any other regulation. These controls, typically imposed by localities, make housing more expensive and restrict the growth of America’s most successful metropolitan areas. These regulations have accreted over time with virtually no cost-benefit analysis. Restricting growth is often locally popular. Promoting affordability is hardly a financially attractive aim for someone who owns a home. Yet the maze of local land use controls imposes costs on outsiders, and on the American economy as a whole.

From The Brookings Institute comes an excellent description of the insidiousness of land use regulations. There’s a tremendous amount of negative that has trickled down from these regulations, and what benefit there has been accrues overwhelmingly to the large landholders and real estate development companies that either have the political clout to influence them or can sustain the overhead necessary to navigate them.

HT @jimmyardis

GuildQuality Crew: Highlighting the talented people in the building industry

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For the last year, the GuildQuality team has been building a new product called Crew. Unlike our core offering (which is for companies—specifically remodelers, homebuilders, and home improvement contractors), we’re building Crew for all the people who work in the field—skilled laborers and trades.

Our plan is to give every person working in our industry a free profile with which they can post pictures of their work, share their skills, and check in to job sites. Importantly, they can also endorse others and receive endorsements, and show up in location and skill-based searches.

We want to shine a spotlight on the talented individuals working in our industry, make it easier for them to be found by prospective employers and clients, and make it easier for them to find work.

While Crew is certainly a service that homeowners might be interested in, we intend to focus on serving professionals, i.e. general contractors who are always seeking talented workers and the skilled trades who are looking for work opportunities.

To give you a better idea of what Crew looks like, check out my own profile. Interested in finding a carpenter in Atlanta? Or a painter near Washington, DC? Try searching on Crew. And very soon you’ll be able to post jobs and respond to job postings.

The skilled labor challenges in our industry are painfully acute right now, and we’re working to ease that pain by shining a spotlight on the work of the best skilled laborers and trades out there. Moreover, by highlighting their great work, we can make it more obvious to ambitious young people that a rewarding career awaits them in construction.

I’ve loved watching the GuildQuality team build an entirely new product. They’ve accomplished a lot, and have a ton of great stuff in the pipeline. If you work in the building industry, sign up for Crew here and follow along with our progress.