17Q3 in Review

The past quarter (Q3 2017) has been action packed and included my 17th wedding anniversary and Eden’s 7th birthday.

Family Adventures

This summer was action packed and included my 17th wedding anniversary and Eden’s 7th birthday.  After travelling to NYC and the Florida Keys in the beginning of summer, we had an unbelievable 22 days travelling to Seattle, Vancouver, taking an Alaska cruise and spending a few days in Anchorage at the end of summer.  It was our best family vacation yet and lived up to the hype.  Our kids were totally engaged in both the city and nature exploration.  If you’re thinking of going, I’m happy to share our itinerary and advice.

Just as school started and we were getting settled into our routine, Hurricane Irma blew through.  It caused Amanda and me terrible anxiety, not an emotion I’m used to feeling   We ended up fleeing our home at 11:30pm a few days before the storm would hit south Florida.  At the time, the eye of the storm was projected to pass directly over our home with 150mph winds.

My friend in Jacksonville had been asking me for days to come stay by him, so, with the kids asleep in the car, we were able to arrive by morning.  It ended up that Jacksonville got hit worse than my hometown, so we went from the frying pan into the fire.  Our home only had a few trees down and some minor damage – nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The kids’ school ended up being closed 7 days.  After only 2 days back to classes, we pulled them out to go to NJ to celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) with family, see a handful of old friends, and most importantly to watch my brother Andy’s sons, David and Dalton, become bar mitzvah.  They did amazing leading us through a service and talking about their role as young men.  Plus, they had an incredibly fun party where we reconnected with Andy’s friends that we hadn’t seen in years.

Learning Adventures

All the men below (why aren’t I reading more women?) devoted their life to something and then shared their insights and experiences with me for less than a lunch out.  Many of these authors do not write to make money, they are driven to document what has taken them 20+ years of hard work to discern.  A book is the best value investment out there.  I recently compiled a list of the 12 most influential books I’ve read – email me if you want that list.

Here’s what I read this quarter:

Irresistible by Adam Alter – This should be on every parent’s reading list.  Based on the facts presented, I would support a law that prohibited minors from using the internet between midnight and 6am.  I am as optimistic about technology as anyone, but there will be dire consequences as the story unfolds.

Angel Investing by David Rose – a how to guide from NYC’s greatest investor.

Angel by Jason Calacanis – a playbook on how to dominate a niche – my favorite book since 4 Hour Workweek (I’ve probably read 500 books since that time, so that’s a high endorsement from me).

Power of Zero by David McKnight – how to reduce or eliminate retirement income tax using Roth IRAs and Life Insurance (two things I have done for my family).

Rich Dad: Tax Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright – a guide to investment real estate which is an asset class I encourage people to own if they want to become wealthy.

Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki – an amazing construct for viewing work/earnings.  It made it onto my Top 12 list because it highlights so many concepts that took me years to learn.

Market Wizards by Richard Dennis – interesting interviews of successful traders didn’t change my mind that buy and hold is still the best investment strategy for 99.5% of people.

Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel – investment advice that supports my conclusion that low-cost index-style investing is best.

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler – a look at behavioral economics, which fascinates me.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – this wildly popular book didn’t resonate with me at all, so I didn’t finish it.

The Art of Doing Less by Ari Meisel – short and simple advice on process optimization applicable to anyone that wants to be more productive.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio – it is very generous of Ray to provide this level of detail into the rules he has lived by.  Success leaves clues, and Ray is quite unique in his relentless passion to convert everything in life into a formula.  It is easy to connect why his rituals and practices made him one of the richest men on the planet.  I envision his next two decades of effort will produce world-changing results in areas outside investing.

How to be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman – not very insightful for those that read other books by Gino (3 of which are on my Top 12).

TED Talks by Chris Anderson – as I prepared for my own short talk, I wanted to learn the insights Chris gained through leading TED.

Business Adventures

My business life needed a place to call home, so I launched Freedom adVentures, as a parent brand to all my business activities.  I’m planning to write more than my quarterly updates, and it will all get posted there.

After 3 years on the Inc. 5000, we rebranded Illuminati Studios to iluma Agency to highlight what is driving our success – helping franchise and multi-unit brands shine.  We are, hands down, the best agency for companies with 25 to 1,000 locations that are investing in growth.

In July, we had our annual Cadsourcing retreat.  Seven of us gathered in South Beach while three participated by Skype.  Business is booming, especially in telecom.  We are opening an office in the downtown business district of Cebu to double our capacity so we can grow from 50 to 100 drafters by the end of 2018.

Our Freedom Internet Fund just closed on Bookscouter.com, our biggest acquisition to date.  It is the world’s largest platform for buying and selling textbooks.  If you know any students, please share this link with them so they can get the best price on used books.

Our Freedom Real Estate Fund recently partnered with a value-add multi-family operator in the Atlanta MSA and acquired a portfolio of 600 doors.  While good deals are hard to find, we keep looking and still have dry powder, so reach out if you have an opportunity.

Talk about making the best of a bad situation, we stayed in Jacksonville with my long time business partner Robert Hetsler.  I’ve been asking Robert for years if I could co-invest in the storage facilities he has been buying.  After four days together, we agreed to launch the Freedom Storage Fund.  He’s been buying small facilities in rural areas of southern Georgia and Florida from mom and pop operators for years and now it’s time to really press on the gas.  I’m really excited to launch my 4th fund in the 4th quarter.

Philanthropic Adventures

We just launched our Cadgiving campaign to raise funds to update an obsolete computer lab at CITE – Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise in Cebu, Philippines.  CITE students come from low-income families with an annual salary of less than $2,000.  All students receive scholarships to attend, and upon graduation pledge to give back to the school in accordance with their financial capacity.

I haven’t mentioned Kiva before, so I wanted to share how we leverage that platform.  Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to end poverty.  Every few weeks, Jared and Eden search for entrepreneurs near Cadsourcing’s offices. To date we have provided 72 loans and amazingly not a single repayment has been late or missed.  All our loans are interest free, although local partners that distribute and collect the loans do charge fees.  By providing low-cost micro loans, we are empowering mostly female entrepreneurs to grow their modest businesses.  The kids appreciate seeing how others try to support their families – raising livestock, selling food, making clothing, etc.  I encourage you to visit the site and find a group you want to help.

Hit Reply

It’s so hard to stay in touch with all the people I’ve interacted with over the years, so I’ve been using this quarterly email as a tool.  I want to hear from you, too, even if it’s a one liner to say all is well in your world.  I’m passionate about connecting people so if you are looking for anything in business or life in general, ask me if I can help.

With love,

Noah

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