There’s always something to howl about

Hey Sunshine! Tell Me About Your Day

I’ve not only been a broker since January of 1977, but the designated broker since then too. For those not familiar with the term, a designated broker is the one with the dotted line drawn on their neck. The buck stops with the DB. Though not all DB’s are office/company managers, my guess is most are. Ironically, in my first decade as a DB the only thing I was allowed to be in charge of was the coffee room, as Dad pretty much called the shots back then — as he should’ve. Besides, who puts a 25 year old in charge of a real estate investment firm? I generally rated solid reviews as Executive Vice President of coffee room operations.

When Dad finally rode into the real estate sunset, making golf the only line on his daily to-do list, it fell to me to be the DB more than just on paper. Calling Brown and Brown a small firm is the working definition of redundant, as the most folks we’ve ever had working, including me, is four — counting the secretary. However, shortly after Dad’s handicap began it’s downward descent, I was headhunted by a local C/21 owner to create and run a separate and unattached commercial division. I was 35, and ready for a challenge. Creating something from scratch appealed to me.

This post’s title is how Dad used to greet me as I walked into the room, when I was asked to join his cadre of old merciless bastards at the 19th hole. This happened about three times a week, and was literally a graduate course in real estate, management, business in general and performing under pressure. I learned pretty quickly my job was to share my fries, speak when I was spoken to, and most of all, listen. There were about 16 of ’em. They were affectionately known at the club as The Bandits, as they regularly schooled the assistant pros, often leaving the poor guys poorer.

In this group were three former real estate board presidents, land, income property, and leasing specialists — all but one who’d been DB’s and owned their own companies. The lone exception was the head of SDSU’s business school. See what I mean about speak when spoken to?

I give you all this preamble to underline the importance of my response to Dad’s greeting — timed to coincide with me finishing my respectful hello sirs to the old bastards. They tried to be nonchalant about it, but things quieted down as I’d begin to tell about my day. If I wavered, or they thought I was enhancing my answer with typical real estate office crappola, (and you know exactly to what I’m referring) my afternoon would very quickly turn to what comes outa the south end of a northbound horse.

Class was in session, and my homework was due — now. No excuses. Put up, or shut up.

There were a few basics my response had to include or I was toast — and those guys were like hungry teenagers on a leftover burrito. Making listing appointments, seriously prospecting, writing listing or purchase contracts, analyzing properties, or meeting with folks belly to belly. Saying anything else produced the same looks you now see on guys’ faces as they’re forced to watch Beaches with their wives. Abject boredom and/or disappointment.

The best days were when I got a few “Atta boys” then listened as they began smoothing the sharp edges of my various skill sets, of which there were many. There were days at the club I learned more in a few hours than during half a dozen seminars. Almost everything they said back then was of gold nugget quality — very few ‘tidbits’. Their generation pretty much preferred cutting to the chase. In fact, it was while at those meetings I learned about skinnin’ cats, and that nobody gave a damn how you did anything ’till they found out if the damn cat was indeed skinned. They had time for results, and not much else.

If I was to greet you with ‘Hey Sunshine, tell me about your day’, what would your response be?


6 Comments so far

  1. Geno Petro March 26th, 2009 6:46 pm


    loved the post. Still thinking about what my response would be to a crowd like that. Let me get back to you!

    Disclaimer and Disclosure,


    (the only two words, I was told by my first DB, to fully understand and never forget.)

  2. Jeff Brown March 26th, 2009 8:19 pm

    Thanks Geno. Out of the 15-16 Bandits, there are only three still with us, if only barely. Sure miss those afternoons. Nothing like it has ever replaced listening to them.

  3. Ron March 26th, 2009 8:37 pm

    AS usual Jeff your posts are over the top filled with nothing but the best advice and information!

    thanks for sharing these little chuncks of wisdom

  4. Sean Purcell March 26th, 2009 9:29 pm


    Wow! You had access to an amazing Master Mind group before the concept even existed. I wonder how many of us today would expose our ego to the harshness of their truth in return for the glow of their wisdom… I’d like to think I would, but I’m damn glad you did. Thanks for continuing to share so freely what you learned so hard.

  5. Jeff Brown March 27th, 2009 9:29 am

    Much thanks, Ron.

  6. Jeff Brown March 27th, 2009 9:45 am

    Sean — I wonder how many of us today would expose our ego to the harshness of their truth in return for the glow of their wisdom…

    LMAO, as I guarantee you there was little choice on my part. I was like the ‘tribe’s’ only hope for the youngest generation at the time. They usually acted as if it would of been their failure if I didn’t learn all the lessons. Ego? Once you’ve been exposed a couple times to over a dozen of those guys at, you either have no ego, or have grown rhino skin. Fortunately in my case, rhino skin took over. 🙂 Man, some days they took brutal to new levels.

    One time I recounted what I’d said to a client about the law. Bad decision. Next thing I know the guys on BOTH sides of me at the table smack me on the back of my head! “Your dad’s an attorney, and we don’t even like him giving legal advice!” It reads funny now, but I swear I almost wet my pants.