Week one – Business meetings

Week one – Business meetings

I don’t typically blog about life because I don’t think anyone would be interested in most of what I have to say. I’m not trying to be self-deprecating or down on myself – I just know that there are a billion blogs out there and up to this point I haven’t felt the desire or need to add another unnecessary one – especially from someone like me who is just a normal working man. But, after I joined this small group of businessmen who happen to be super friendly and very smart at what they do, I decided to chronicle how a group of men can come together and form a tight bond that goes beyond entrepreneurial capitalism. If you think it is interesting, please feel free to comment.

By the way, my name is Joe and I work in the area of plumbing, heating and air conditioning. I started my business about twelve years ago and it has grown from a two-person team to a thirty-person crack team of skilled workers who drive around in trucks with our company name on it – constant advertisement that I think has made us into a force in our regional industry.

My best friend in the group is the head of a company that does really cool landscaping in Lubbock. His name is Josh and Josh is in the midst of growing his business by carefully hiring hard workers who also have some sense of creativity to add to their work. Josh’s company has just added holiday light installation to their biz and from what I hear they have some experts on the team who can do this skill masterfully. Anyway, Josh is a good guy who has used his entrepreneurialism to tackle an industry that has a lot of local competitors. I asked him the other day how he uses marketing to promote his lawn care company and he told me that beyond mail-outs and flyers, he has moved to web exposure. He has hired a professional web design company that also does Search Engine Optimization to get them to the top of the web rankings. His reasoning is that if he is the first company that appears as people search for a Lubbock landscaping company, there will be an organic trust. People (potential clients) tend to trust what Google ranks highly. I agree with his thinking and might just follow in his footsteps.

Anyway, as a group we usually meet for coffee at this shop inside of a local sports company. We all agree that caffeine is a necessary part of all of our businesses. During our times together we talk about what each individual leader is doing to increase business and become more profitable. Not everyone is able to speak on this every meeting, but the information that comes out is typically invaluable. Most of us ask pointed questions of the speaker about Returns on Investment and when it seems like it will work, most of us give it a shot and report on how it affected our businesses in the next meeting. So, right there it is worth the time.

So, that’s my introduction of the group. Who knows if and when I will blog about our group again but at least I did the hardest part of beginning.

Day 101 – Sunday Depeche Mode

Day 101 – Sunday Depeche Mode

I’ve been digging into my 80’s music lately – mainly listening to bands like Cure, New Order, Erasure and Depeche Mode. There is just something about the sound of those bands that get into me. They stir up memories of good times past and take me back to places where I had great experiences – funny how songs can pull you back in time. Anyway, I put on my waterproof, wireless headphones and swam with extra vigor as Dave Gahan told me about my own Personal Jesus. It was a good morning at the old Lubbock Corporate Housing pool.

Melissa and I had brunch together and we talked, but we didn’t talk the whole time. We actually let silence exist between us and when we talked about it later, we agreed that it was a good sign. Being able to be quiet with someone is a sign that means you are becoming extra comfortable with the other – that you don’t need to fill up silences with useless noise. At least that’s what the marriage experts say.

Since it was Sunday and our bellies were filled with all sorts of pastries, we settled down and did a Bible study together. We typically let each other do individual Bible studies throughout the week and come together on Sundays to not only do one together, but we talk about what each other learned during the week. Today’s Bible study was about how a husband and wife should treat each other. I think we both planned on doing the things that were mentioned, but I was a bit taken aback as to the level of love that was required by me. I am supposed to love her like Christ loves the church – which basically means I need to be ready to lay down my life for her – both literally and daily. I need to keep that in the front of my mind as I enter into this marriage – not get selfish or be afraid. Melissa agreed to be submissive to me (in a Biblical way) so that she remained humble as well. I don’t necessarily understand what this submission means but I think it mainly means having respect for me in all situations. I guess we will both learn over time.

I had dinner with some of the leaders of the realty company that was still insisting on my working with the keyword phrases, Lubbock homes for sale and homes for sale in Lubbock. I agreed with them and told them I would redouble my efforts to make sure they were climbing up the rankings. I asked them if they were seeing more business coming their way as a result of their web exposure and they said they were feeling like a much stronger company as a result. Sales were up and new customers told them that they found them online. Pat on my back, baby.  I asked them again about what sort of landscaping they were going to do for their new developments and they shared that they were going to design based on the neighborhoods.

The only other thing I did was take some time in Ecclesiastes to prep for the Bible study that was getting a dry run tomorrow night. Only a couple of people were invited so that I could get a feel for leading a group through the existential morass of this book. Tomorrow would be good for me.

Oh yeah. And I played some video games. I bought an Xbox because I needed some stupid escape time once in a while. A good use of time? Nope. But I would trade in my TV times for some games. Build up my problem solving skills and my hand-eye coordination. Nice justifications, huh?

Day 89 – Tuesday deep thoughts

Day 89 – Tuesday deep thoughts

I love Jack Handey’s deep thoughts from the old Saturday Night Live show and from the books he has since written and I highly recommend them to anyone who needs a laugh or two or a hundred. But my deep thoughts are not as funny – They come from my Ecclesiastes meditation for the day. I read half of the first chapter before going to swim and something in there really stuck with me as I threw myself into the relatively warm waters of my “short term furnished apartments” pool. As my body worked hard so did my mind and it was refreshing. I think I will meditate on something before swimming every day.

What stuck out to me? In my version it says, “the more knowledge, the more grief.” Basically I took this to mean that if you commit yourself to knowing more, you will be filled with more mourning. Like the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” Like if I had no idea that people were being slaughtered in the Sudan, I would not be grieved by it. If I didn’t know that there was a very active sex trade, I would not be grieved by it either. If I keep myself in ignorance, I can just walk around as a happy-go-lucky person moving around as if nothing is wrong in our world. Now, I’m not saying that this is the right way to approach life. I think that the author of Ecclesiastes was just saying that you will become knowledgeable about the world around you and you should be prepared to grieve some of it. I count myself as someone who keeps their knowledge very local and thus don’t feel too much grief. But, I think that since God made the whole world, I need to move beyond the Lubbock newspaper to the New York Times so I can be aware of more – even if it makes me feel worse. There is power and depth in dealing with sad things – I think it will make me not take for granted the very limited troubles I experience. Anyway, it is interesting to me that one simple phrase in a book can turn my whole worldview around. That’s one of the coolest things about the Bible. If you want to be challenged to see things as they really are, it provides you that opportunity.

Beyond those depths, I worked a lot on church architects and Lubbock Pre-K accounts. Both of them are steady, but I just have this thought that I need to do more to keep them rising. I’m not being lazy with my efforts on their behalf but I do feel that there is a need to do more for them – despite my not knowing what that is exactly.

As for Melissa, her recovery is incredible. She still has some physical therapy, but her resiliency has been extraordinary. She gives God the credit for that. I do too.

Okay, that’s all I have for today – a good Tuesday – May you have deep thoughts that deepen you but don’t crush you with grief. And as usual, please let me know your thoughts on my thoughts. Thanks.

Day 84 – Thursday Thirst

Day 84 – Thursday Thirst

No more Claritin last night and it was a normal night of eight-hour joy. I think sleep is far underrated – I consider it one of the best parts of existence. And I bet insomniacs would agree with me – Sure there would be no Tyler Durden if everyone got normal amounts of sleep and that would create the absence of an important cultural icon and a lack of soap. But I think it a shame that some people cannot get sleep – what a nightmare (see what I did there, my fellow clever people). I did have another interesting dream about a walking and talking robot that took criminals to a guillotine and chopped their heads off after saying the same thing to each one, “Say farewell to your thinking machine,” and then boom the blade falls. But the head didn’t stay in the head basket. It instead hopped out of the basket and bounced down the street singing the theme to “Friends.” I think I might secretly be crazy or maybe I just need to relieve my work stress with insane dreams.

Anyway, I got a call from my Midland Corporate Housing clients (I think I forgot to tell you that I picked them up) who wanted to see their current analytics. I was happy to send it over since it revealed a good jump in how many people were visiting their site. Strangely though, the guy who I spoke with on the phone with me ended the call with a “bye-bye-bye-bye friend of the spokesman.” Then he hung up. I don’t know if he had a sudden mental break. I pinched myself since this was the kind of thing that would happen in a dream. Was this guy just trying to entertain himself by confusing me or was this his normal goodbye? I tried to shake it off of my mind for the whole day, but I couldn’t. Who the crap is the spokesman? Am I in the Matrix? Have I been transported to Orwell’s 1984?

I was relieved when I got off the phone with the lawn care specialists later in the afternoon because they didn’t say anything like this when they got off the phone. It was just a normal “Bye, man.” When I spoke with Melissa later in the day, I used the weird goodbye to see what she would do, and she called me right back after I had hung up. She was laughing and asking, “Who the hell is the spokesman?” I explained the situation and she thought it was as bonkers as I did. How did that guy get hired by a respectable company? He must have been dared to do it by his colleagues. Nobody would ever do that professionally.

Sorry. I am still ranting about this. It just threw me.

My meditation today was about thirsting for God in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I love the way the Psalmist puts that. What a desperate cry for God’s presence. I feel spiritually dry sometimes and long for more of God, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt that thirsty. I wonder why…

Going National with Halo and Gone Virtual

Going National with a Halo and Gone Virtual

Have you ever really taken a look at what the city of Lubbock offers as far as business opportunities? I’m not talking about looking for and finding a job for yourself. And I’m certainly not writing an advertisement for entry level marketers that allows you to make $500 per day if you work real hard. I’m actually just talking about what sort of cool businesses exist in this city. I’m always driving around and seeing new places that have popped up. I also drive around and see businesses popping down – going out of business. Most of the former and latter are local stores serving local wares to the members of this town. But then, every once in a while I’ll get introduced to a surprising a company that serves both local, regional and even national crowds. Just the other day I found one of these places and it blew my mind. I’ve lived in this city of Lubbock for 25 years and I’ve never known that this place existed (and it’s not a small mom and pop set-up). This place is a national force in a field I know very well and it has been under my nose for years – yet I’ve never experienced it. Anyway, I’ll introduce it to you using it’s website as a main source. Who knows? Maybe you will need to make use of their services.

Welcome to Halo Architects and its partner company Gone Virtual – They work together to make a difference in this world. In simple words, these are church architects who use various technological tools (3D animation and architectural visualizations) to help people see what a desired project is going to look like before one brick is laid. I used to work in the church biz myself and have been through several Church Capital Campaigns and I can say that having companies like these on your side is invaluable. Okay enough of me – Let’s get to a solid description for both firms –

 

Halo Architects, Inc. (and Gone Virtual) is a cutting edge architectural studio that specializes in the planning and design of contemporary, yet detail oriented facilities. The skilled designers at Halo have experience in numerous building types, including Religious, Retail, Education, Healthcare, Civic, and Institutional, and have managed projects ranging from small renovations of 3,000 square feet to large campus developments with multiple buildings totaling over 300,000 square feet.

Today, Halo is much more than a full service architectural design firm and offers our clients the most comprehensive portfolio of services in the building design and construction industry. With affiliations in capital campaign fund raising and capital campaign marketing and a growing network of strategic partners in building finance and construction, Halo has the ability to uniquely offer an all-inclusive service package to help reign in the lengthy process of planning, designing, communicating, marketing, financing, and building your vision for the future. Halo and its affiliated companies continue to be nationally recognized as authorities in applying cutting edge technologies for planning, communication, and design.

 

So what do you think of that? Can you believe they are in Lubbock? I was shocked. There are other businesses out there in Lubbock that serve customers nationally, but this is the only one I have found. Here’s to a deeper search…

Rush Neighborhood is nice

Rush Neighborhood

If you are looking for some really cool Lubbock homes for sale, Rush neighborhood is a definite place to search. Rush is a well-established luxury subdivision with large trees and well-developed landscapes.  It is located between 4th Street, 19th Street, Quaker Avenue and Toledo. A lot of doctors and professors have found this to be the best place to settle not only because it is near to Tech, LCU, UMC hospital and Covenant hospital but because it has some of the most beautiful homes in Lubbock. I could not afford to live in Rush but I would love to (The majority of homes are in the two hundred thousand to one million dollar price range).

I have had dinners with friends who live in Rush and I can tell you that both the exteriors and the interiors are stylish. These houses sprawl to give a lot of room for classy décor. You can tell that the original Lubbock architects must have had a clear vision in putting this neighborhood together. I recommend doing a walking tour of the entire Rush subdivision so you can get a real feel for its beauty.

Another nice thing about the Rush area is that it has two parks nearby that are lovely. Higginbotham Park has a mile jogging trail, playground, and a concrete basketball/volleyball court. As well, just down the road is a relatively new set of restaurants and a huge grocery store, which are convenient to the Rush crowd. That being said, neither of these create unnecessary traffic or crowding in Rush.

I highly recommend Rush if you can afford it and if you want to settle in an older neighborhood in Lubbock where character is valued above brand spanking new.  (You can take a virtual 3D animation tour of it online if you want to do that before checking into the neighborhood in person.)

3D Visualizations

3D Visualizations

Technology has come a long way in such a short time. And I think my favorite thing about its advances is in the area of visuals. I love enjoying movies that could never have been made without these advances. I especially try to pay attention to 3D animation that is used in every area from movies to TV to architectural renderings.

I have a buddy who is involved in architecture and he assures me that 3D animations have made his business explode. He says that when you can show people what their buildings are going to look like before a foundation is even laid. He does a lot of church capital campaigns – from church stage design all the way to full on expansions – and he says that there is usually a lot of pushback from the congregation – mainly because people don’t love paying more than their tithes and offerings for anything (And most people don’t even pay those.) But my buddy says that once his firm shows the people the cool 3D stuff, they are wowed. And my friend says that it’s this that moves most capital campaigns along. His business is very lucrative.

My main field is marketing and change agency. Basically I help to persuade people to adopt new innovations, ideas and philosophies. My architect buddy brings me in to be the point person on a lot of his projects because I’m good at getting late adopters and even laggards to pull their wallets out and give toward churches that are growing. Anyway, I have experienced that with all my influence and all my persuasion techniques that people want to see the 3D. It immediately moves people down the line. So I guess we are a good team, but I give most of the credit to the technology. Without it, I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting people to move all the way from a “No!” to a “Yes!”

I think my friend just pulls me into these projects because he wants to throw some business my way and I will take all I can get. I have other architects who don’t use the 3D visualizations to help their cause and who depend on just me and their leadership team to try to get everyone on the same train that is moving in the right direction. Let’s just say those projects are often disasters. I do my best to describe how the blueprints are going to be realized and I use action words to try to tell them how great this whole thing is going to be great for the future. But words don’t show anything. Words might tickle the imaginations of the crowd, but they don’t show them what is coming. People tend to be convinced if they are shown these animations.

Anyway, I wonder what technology will be able to do ten years from now – how will movies be? How will my buddies’ business be able to show off their projects? It seems to me that 3D might become 10D whatever that means…

Vintage Township Neighborhood

Another Lubbock neighborhood worth a look

A fairly new Lubbock neighborhood is known as Vintage Township and it is located at the intersection of 114th and Quaker. Vintage Township is a planned village type atmosphere that is reminiscent of the 1950’s. Their website says the following: “Vintage Township is characterized by wider, tree-lined sidewalks and traffic-calming streets to make it safer for everyone to get to work or play or just enjoy the neighborhood. They also promote a healthy lifestyle as it is common to see residents walking with their pets or to a local restaurant, shooting hoops or swimming with their kids, jogging in the neighborhood or carrying their kids off the playground in time for supper. Don’t be surprised if you see a bike or scooter near your house, too. They are everywhere as kids just feel safer in a place like this. Have more questions about Vintage Township? You’re not alone. It almost sounds too good to be true!

Other common amenities include parks within walking distance of homes, a resident pool and fire pit, and much more—again, many within walking distance. Essentially, we’re building a town within a town. We think you’ll be as excited about our future as we are.”

From this description the one thing that sticks out to me is “a town within a town” because it looks nothing like anything else in the city of Lubbock and it has definite charm found nowhere else. When I first heard about it and went to see it, I really wanted to live there. It seemed like a Dr. Seuss-built place where everyone could know everyone. It seemed to be built on a Disney-based theme where magic and friendliness would be found. My friends live there and say it is a great place to have children grow up because of the safety and communal atmosphere. I highly recommend this neighborhood. The Lubbock homes for sale here are beautiful.

Two drawbacks:

  1. The people who put together the original vision to expand the community much farther out ended “selling out” to other builders and this has been a major issue with the tenants of Vintage Township. Now houses built by other builders will come shoulder to shoulder with Vintage Township and this sort of wrecks the magic of being in your own town. Many of the people who live in this part of town feel cheated because what was promised to them has now been taken away.
  1. Even with this above issue, houses in Vintage Township are hard to come by. One might want to live here, but there are usually very few lots available. Supply does not equal demand.

Besides these issues, I do want to say that even if you search for other homes for sale in Lubbock and end up in a different neighborhood, you should definitely take a ride through this really cool looking “town.” I think you will love the look and feel.

Okay – another Lubbock neighborhood review will come in the next article.

Kelsey Park Neighborhood

Kelsey Park in Lubbock

Well, we continue our search for Lubbock homes for sale. Most specifically we are researching and reviewing different neighborhoods in Lubbock to give you house seekers out there some ideas as to where you want your dream house to be. It’s one thing to find a great house and it is altogether different to find that house in the right location (As the cliché goes: “Location, Location, Location.”) I’m trying to stay as unbiased as I can as I review the homes for sale in Lubbock because I don’t want to steer you into a neighborhood I like rather one that you would like. I’m just a hometown guy who hopefully can help you understand what areas in Lubbock are available and nice. From there, it’s on you. Still, feel free to comment about my reviews if you like and add what you think are the best neighborhoods for those moving to the Hub of the Plains.

So far, we have talked about Tech Terrace, Vintage Township and Lakeridge and I think I have given you fair pros and cons. Today this article will focus on my hood, known as Kelsey Park. Kelsey Park is located between Quaker Avenue and Indiana Avenue and from 130th street to 150th street. It is one the very newest neighborhoods in town. My wife and I moved into this Kelsey Park over one year ago and we have noticed it has gone through some major development. I would call this neighborhood mid to middle-upper class. There are some luxury apartments going up to our north and to our east. I can’t speak to what luxury means in this case, but I do know that they call them luxury. And I also know that as houses are being built all around us, many families who have moved to town are staying in really nice duplexes on 133rd street as they wait for their house to be built.

I’ve walked around quite a bit in this neighborhood and there is a really nice park nearby that has a lit running/walking track. As well, on my walks I have seen some of the already-built homes and I can only call them beautiful. From inside to out, these homes have been carefully planned. They are all modern and there is character to them. Also the neighbors seem to be nice and helpful. I got snowed into my garage and a guy who lives in the house behind me helped me shovel away snow and ice for an hour. Two days later I drove my car into a muddy ditch and could not get out. This is when I met another neighbor from down the street who hooked a chain to my bumper and pulled me out. (I know this is a limited sample size – the rest of my neighborhood might be full of sociopaths and thieves. But I doubt it.)

The drawback to Kelsey Park is that it is so new. There are loud noises from construction, nails all over the place (which my tires seem to always find), and not too many restaurants nearby. I know these issues will all soon be remedied as a Wal-Mart has opened near – Wal-Marts usually mean lots of other businesses will follow. I cannot say much else about the problems here because it hasn’t reached full-development. (It’s possible that a volcano will arise and erupt causing some negatives, but Lubbock is not known for those – more like 800 mph winds.)

Okay – That’s it for Kelsey Park. We will keep moving around town in future articles. Good luck with your house hunting.

Lakeridge Country Club Homes

Another Good Neighborhood in Lubbock

I’ll lead out by saying that there are myriad Lubbock homes for sale. And to be honest, it’s pretty hard to find a house in a terribly bad area. Lubbock is known for being a good place to raise families and is overall known as a warm and friendly place to be. If you can stand the occasional (like 360 days out of 365) gusts of orange dust whipping through the air, you have found an excellent place to land for a while. Still, in this article, I want to continue sharing the best and worst parts of specific areas in town so you can get the best home in Lubbock, Tx.

Today I want to focus on a country club setting known as Lakeridge. Lakeridge is basically found south of 82nd street to 98th street on the north. It also runs from Quaker Avenue on the east to Slide Avenue on the west. For a long time, Lakeridge was known as the place to be. It’s property costs were fairly high but with the country club atmosphere and steady gains in overall property values, a lot of wealthy people began buying their homes in this very nice neighborhood. This section of town was pretty much at the edge of the new Lubbock sprawl to the southwest and as a past Tennis pro who worked the courts of this golf and tennis club, I can attest that it was a gem. I always thought I would live in either Tech Terrace or Lakeridge because both had loads of character.

But then something happened. I’m not totally sure, but the rumor was that the ground underneath Lakeridge was cracking and as a result was causing foundational cracks in the houses of many of the houses there. I know I saw this cracking on the tennis courts as we had to resurface again and again. I also know that the golf course didn’t have good enough drainage and it was almost destroyed. Suddenly the premiere place to live in Lubbock was losing it’s stellar reputation.

Lakeridge has survived all of this mess and is back to being a good neighborhood, but the damage has been done for those who were in Lubbock as this mess was happening. As well, Lubbock kept growing far beyond Lakeridge’s once dominant location. (Lubbock has sprawled for five miles in all directions.) With new beautiful neighborhoods popping up to Lakeridge’s southwest, there were many more choices than Country Club land.

The one good thing about Lakeridge now is that you can still get a really nice home for much more reasonable prices. It also has some lovely homes for sale in Lubbock. It’s definitely a place to check out if you are in the market, but I just wanted you to know some of the background so you can make an informed decision.

Okay. That’s it for this article. I’ll be back to review another neighborhood in the next article.