Frank Cottle discusses his entrepreneurial journey with Joe Pardo for The Business Podcast. In addition to talking through the virtual office model, Frank explains the value of a great team and why forward-thinking decision makers are worth their weight in gold.
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Super Joe Pardo
Super Joe Pardo
Joe Pardo [00:00:00] Welcome everybody to the business podcast, where we for our weekly business lessons from entrepreneurs and business owners from around the world. I am your host super Joe Pardo and my guest today is making his dreams come true by looking at goals as a puzzle and then solving those puzzles. Ladies and gentlemen, wherever you are right now, I need you to give a big warm welcome to our guest, Frank Cottle.
Frank cottle [00:00:32] Thank you, Joe, it’s great to be here.
Joe Pardo [00:00:35] You’re very welcome, thank you so much for taking the time today to come on the business podcast.
Frank cottle [00:00:41] It’s my pleasure.
Joe Pardo [00:00:43] Why don’t you get started by giving us some background about yourself, Frank?
Frank cottle [00:00:47] Well, let’s see. I’m out here in Newport Beach, California. Been here all my life. It’s just too lazy to leave, I suppose. No, I have five, six generations of family here in Newport Beach where an old ranching and farming family here in California, I started my career, call it and call it in 1970. Let’s do this by decades after getting kicked out of the first of two colleges that I attended, I decided I would spend some time sailing, and so I raced sailing yachts and worked as a commercial diver for a while as I was going through college, And I raced a big sailing yachts around the world. I enjoyed that for a bit. I met a lot of very interesting people. Also one of about five guys that we started, a very large or very successful, I should say, with a large when it started out brokerage, we ended up being the largest yacht brokerage in the world when I sold out in about 1980, between 80 and 90. I decided to enter the commercial real estate business and we built buildings trying to do a land banking project. And we decided we wanted to build the smallest buildings. We could find the least amount of bricks and mortar on the biggest piece of dirt possible, something that would tie up that land for about 10 years in the path of progress. And we discovered these funny little things called executive suites, and that was about the most revenue per square foot we could generate on a commercial building. And so we started building dedicated projects that we would put executive suites now called business centers and coworking centers into those projects and get an enhanced yield and then sell them. So for 10 years, we built a new project. Every hundred and ten days, new building broke out of the ground. So a fairly good pace and ended up with 42 projects across the southwestern United States and sold that portfolio in 1990. Like that business a lot was very good to us, and so we built 195 more projects over the next 10 years. And so that portfolio, right at the height of the dotcom era in 2000, discovered I didn’t like the business model that much. I love the business, but I didn’t like the business model I wanted to change or a property company to an operating company and now to a technology services company, a software as a service type company, which didn’t exist back then in year 2000, 2001. They’re just a few, few companies like that. And so we laid about building what we have today, which is the alliance business centers group of companies. We have 15 companies operating at 700 locations in 52 countries, and it runs on a model very similar to best Western hotels. But we added the funny twist to it called Alliance Virtual Offices, and that really is very much like Expedia. We’re a wholesaler of officing around the world, throughout our industry. We also operate the industry’s largest news and information network, the industry’s largest charitable foundation, the industry’s platform for meetings and conventions, and a variety of other things. So, we decided part of our business model was not just to build a good company, but also to be industry activists. We felt that by growing our industry, we could help our own company and others succeed. So that’s what we’ve done.
Joe Pardo [00:04:41] Wow, wow, wow. So so let me see if I get this straight, so your current model is like it’s basically coworking space?.
Frank cottle [00:04:53] We don’t actually own the spaces, that’s the difference. We decided that we preferred to own the customer than the space. And look at Expedia with what Expedia, Hotels.com and companies like that have done. They’ve basically said we want to own and service the customer, but we don’t necessarily want to own the hotels. We do the same thing in commercial real estate around the serviced office industry. And I’ll describe our industry defined it I guess, our industry is comprised of all providers that combined people, place and technology into a single bundled product and deliver it with a highly flexible service agreement. We gain greater efficiencies by combining those things together, as you can imagine, and the service agreement adds flexibility. So if you look at companies and what all companies need is we’re talking about entrepreneurs here. All companies need as many clients as they can get, of course, They need access to capital for growth, then need flexibility because if you can tell me what’s going to happen tomorrow and how you’re going to adjust to it, if you’ve got fixed leases fixed overhead, fixed employees’, fixed debt, the boy, you’re a better business person than I’ll ever be. So flexibility is key to what we provide. And within our industry, we have different sectors, just like the automotive industry. You could say in the automotive industry, everybody knows what a car is or the automotive industry is. They take a motor, a chassis in a wheel and they move people around. We take people, place and technology and add flexibility to it, so we create an officing product instead of a transportation product.
Frank cottle [00:06:45] And just like in the automotive industry, you have different sectors. You have luxury cars and SUVs and sports cars. We have business centers, coworking centers, incubators, accelerators, logistic centers, culinary centers, media centers, etc. and each of those sectors, just like in the automotive industry, you buy a sports car, you expect fun, you get a luxury car. You know, you’ve made it. There’s a brand promise that comes with those sectors and in our industry. It’s the same. A business center provides people place technology and professional business excuse me, professional image and services. The coworking center takes those same three elements, adds community. And provides business growth through an active community structure. An incubator adds mentoring to either one of those to an accelerator, adds access to capital, to an incubator, etc., etc. So each sector has its own promise and and really its own name and definition. But it’s all part of the same industry.
Joe Pardo [00:07:59] Oh, wow. So so I guess that I mean, that makes sense to not have to put up with the, you know, the struggles of doing buildings, but I mean, the space in which you were doing buildings before, that’s how many how many employees did you have before when you were doing like 100? You said 100 some buildings a year?
Frank cottle [00:08:22] No, no. We were doing a building one hundred and ten days, and we used contractors for labor. And so so we were really more of a property development management company. So our employee base wasn’t terribly large. I honestly I don’t remember how many employees we had, but it was probably only about 15 to 20 core employees because you’re using contractors outs of architects, engineers. Basically the skill sets of development company are finance modeling, the ability to organize and do project management. And we had a very cookie cutter structure because we knew exactly the kind of building we wanted. We knew the exact locale, just like a franchise company does almost, we knew the locale to all the requirements for a successful project and then fortunately, most of them were successful. So, you know, if you do anything long enough for you to get good at it or, you know, something else happens and, you know, we were lucky I suppose.
Joe Pardo [00:09:30] So with your with your current business, the line virtual offices, what were some of the first steps you took to get started when you were like, we’re going to we’re going to start this up and we’re not going to this?
Frank cottle [00:09:42] Well, if you look at the concept of owning the customer instead of the center, the first thing you need is inventory. You need centers. So the very first thing we build was the Alliance Business Centers Network, which, as I said, works a little bit like best Western hotels. We have owner operator member centers that join our network and they pay us a fee to join the network and then we provide a variety of services to them. But that gave us inventory. So now we had a global inventory of facilities. We have about, oh, gosh, 15, 16 million square feet of commercial office space for access right now in, like I say, 700 locations in 52 countries. So that gives us a platform thereafter we had to build the technology and the business model and convince the industry to use the business model to allow us to use the business model of wholesaling. So just like a reservations agent in the travel industry has a wholesale discount on a room at a hotel or a seat on an airplane, we have a prearranged discount model with the inventory that we place our clients into, and then we become the client. We become financially responsible in the center around the property for the payments, and we collect all the money and manage manage the entire process.
Joe Pardo [00:11:23] So could you go into a little bit about how you went about building off that network? Was it because of preexisting I mean, because that many countries, that many, you know, rental spaces like that seems like… you either have to know a lot, a lot of people or know like two or three people who already own all that, all that space.
Frank cottle [00:11:41] Well, we were fortunate we’d been in the industry for a while and I’m a really friendly guy. So we had a lot of a lot of people we knew all over the world and one of the things that we did and as I mentioned earlier, we’re very involved in the industries meetings and and conventions platform is we hosted a lot of meetings around the world on behalf of the industry and on behalf of our our growing network group. So, that allowed us to make friends, connections and established business relationships globally. That was that was part of our kind of strategy it was part of the service we felt we needed to provide, was an educational component to the industry. You have to remember, we’d already been in the industry 20 years or so when we started this. So we got a bit of experience. We’d been the already been the largest private operator, serviced offices and business centers in the world and already bought and sold a number of companies. And and so we kind of had a good basis to start. So I think if you look, what we did wasn’t particularly amazing as a journey we started as a property company because it’s it’s pretty concrete. You can figure that out pretty easily, all it takes is capital, really, and then not making too many mistakes. And if you make mistakes, being able to outlast the market where you made them. So, you know, you sit on a piece of dirt long enough, it’s going to be more valuable. Look at Manhattan, you know, so that that you can you can make some mistakes there. And so that was a natural thing. Then we looked at that business model and said, well, that’s good, but it’s pretty expensive to build buildings and pretty tiring.
Frank cottle [00:13:35] And, you know, you get tired of dealing with cities and all the development issues you have to deal with. So we accelerated it, went into a business services model. And then you look back in time, see what started happening in the late 90s. Well, you had the dotcom thing boosting up. And so we sold the business services model in 2000. Good time to sell stuff, as you might remember, and said, well, what’s the next generation of business going to look like? And he said, well, it’s going to be technology. So we changed our model and the valuation of the company from a business services model, which is based on a multiple of ibiro in a private structure and a multiple of earnings and a public structure over to a software which is based on a multiple of revenue. So it gave us a new business model to meet the next generation of what we thought was important, and it also allowed us to embrace the entire spectrum of products in the industry. We didn’t have to guess necessarily which location was going to be best anymore or which model was going to be the flavor of the month. Or one was the right moment to buy land or the right moment to take a lease. We just had to build the platform and the technology and then do the marketing to attract the customers to the value of the industry at large. And having done so, we removed a tremendous amount of risk and created a substantially greater value for the effort that we were putting forth than we had in our previous business model. So it is very much an evolutionary we got smarter, not dumber.
Joe Pardo [00:15:26] Now, you said before that you had you come from a line of entrepreneurs and people living living out of the California, specifically Southern California?
Frank cottle [00:15:39] Both both on Northern and Southern California or Central and Southern California. In California, we’ve got the southern central and northern and central sort of is from about, oh, the Napa Valley wine country on down and southern and sort of from Santa Barbara on down to Mexico. So we were pretty much involved in those areas and then out in California, really since before statehood. So we’re on to say we’re an old ranching and farming company. You know, call my grandmother. You know, Juanita, we were an old style California ranching company.
Joe Pardo [00:16:20] But so, what were you the first in the building industry for your family?. That you know? I mean, obviously.
Frank cottle [00:16:29] Yeah. No, I’m thinking I’m thinking my dad had invested in real estate, but not a lot. Most of the investment in real estate was related to the core companies, which are in the food production and distribution business. So warehousing, cold storage, things of that nature. But I was the first one that started developing commercial office space.
Joe Pardo [00:16:55] So how did your family take it when you were like, I’m going to do this thing that like isn’t ranching and isn’t dabbling in real estate?
Frank cottle [00:17:04] Oh, well well, the most most of the ranching and stuff had been gone for a while. We still had some farms and some things. And when I was growing up, a few things. But we were mostly in the food distribution and production business. And it was funny, you know, I was doing the yachting thing for the first 10 years. We built quite a successful company and then when I sold out and explained to my dad what I was going to do, he said, Well, Frank, it’s good you finally put your long pants on. I’m looking and said jeez we just built the biggest company in the industry. What do you mean? He says, well, now you’re doing something serious now. OK, great.
Joe Pardo [00:17:51] Not as tangible, you know.
Frank cottle [00:17:52] Oh, mostly. Most fabulous mentor and person you’d ever want to know.
Joe Pardo [00:18:00] You know, like, I could definitely envision that conversation, you know. You know, but it’s also a different generation to write and coming from the food industry and something that’s a little more tangible than like, oh, yeah, he’s got things that like, oh yeah, yeah. No, we produce tangible.
Frank cottle [00:18:23] Hey, you know, we had a wonderful client base in my dad’s company with a large school system, the state hospital systems, federal government, forms of the armed forces and different large in what are referred to as institutional investors, a lot of restaurant supply, ship chandlery, that sort of thing. So it was very tangible business and like my dad used to say, you know, there’s one thing people got to do and they got to eat. So no matter what the other bad, but they’re going to eat the fact he was quite a speculator at times. You know, the commodity markets and if you look at the farming commodities, you have probably heard, you know, soybeans and pork bellies and fryers and all that sort of thing. My dad had an interesting reputation. He’d buy them, they will all by half a million pounds of pork bellies. He’d buy that on the commodities exchange in Chicago. And then the market would turn against him a little bit and he’d just always say ship it. And all of a sudden, you know, three or four railroad cars full of pork bellies that show up on the siding and next to a cold storage plant, and we just sit on them till the market turned again. So he was a speculator with a good hedge. You could could have called him the original hedge fund guy. So, ship it, those were famous words around our house.
Joe Pardo [00:19:51] Frank, what’s your hobby outside of business?
Frank cottle [00:19:56] Surfing, sailing, cycling, activists, sports. I’m not a golfer. I don’t have the patience for wandering around in plaid pants, I guess so. I like I like things where there’s an immediate payback. And and sometimes if you make a mistake, you feel it. You know, I’m not I’m not afraid of a little pain. So I still very actively involved in a variety of water sports. And my my wife and I travel quite a bit. And we we like to always do cycling when we’re traveling. Instead of running a car, we’ll take some bikes and say, well, we can see that country, we’ll take some bikes. And so we take that approach.
Joe Pardo [00:20:39] Wow, that sounds awesome. With the with the the weather, though, is it cold there? Because I see you wearing a jacket. You’re.
Frank cottle [00:20:49] Well, I’m, I’m, I’m wearing a jacket because I left all the windows open. I live on an island, I left all the windows open on the ocean side of the house today. And it got breezy this afternoon. And I thought, well, I’m going to have to sit here for about, you know, a while and I’m going to put a little a little coat on, a little pullover on. So but I am where I won’t stand up and do through that but I am wearing shorts and flip flops, too. That’s the typical beach beachwear here, you wear a sweatshirt, shorts and flip flops look totally stupid, but it’s very comfortable.
Joe Pardo [00:21:21] I don’t think it’s true at all. I wear a sweatshirt with with shorts all the time because my my body will get cold before my legs get cold. Yeah, my, my legs are the ones that got all the hair, you know. So I just real quick want to remind everyone that they’re listening to the business podcast. I’m your host, Super Joe Pardo and I’m talking with Frank Cottle. Frank, what’s been the biggest roadblock for you?
Frank cottle [00:21:46] Well, I don’t think any of us accomplish as much as our imagination perceives we might or that that we could because, you know, the brain’s a funny thing, it moves in 50 directions at once. And the human being, I can’t. But I don’t know that I’ve had any real roadblocks, possibly partnerships that you choose that don’t work out quite the way you would hope they would. But they don’t stop you. They’re not a roadblock, they’re they’re a bump in the road. I think maybe I’ve just been lucky.
Frank cottle [00:22:25] But, you know, you work hard, you have a solid idea. You put together a good team, you capitalize it properly. Nothing should stop you save a catastrophic event like being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a nuclear bomb goes off, you know, it’s just a matter of application to what you want to do in consistency, I think. And part of that is the absolute need to always build a good team. And a lot of people say, well, I build a good team around. You know, you really want to become part of a good team and have the whole team be peers. We are all leaders in our company. And matter of fact, we we have a little… Conversation with everybody that joins our company, right, when they’re joining the company or when they’re interviewing actually, and we explain to people the one thing that will get you fired quickly, that you will lose your job because if you do not make decisions, so we empower everybody to make decisions for their own position and even all around them, if, heaven forbid, somebody is not around that’s above them or below them. So they have to make those decisions, they can’t go running to somebody and say, what should I do here? What should I do there? Not make the decision. If you screw up, we’ll fix it. The one thing that slows all companies down is not being loaded with decision makers. And so that’s something that we learned early on in the construction in the early in the yachting industry. You’re racing a sailboat from here to there. Somebody comes back and say, well, should I tighten this or should I adjust that or should I head up or head down? You’ve lost the race right there. Everybody has to make decisions and hopefully it doesn’t kill anybody when they make the wrong one.
Joe Pardo [00:24:22] No, I think that’s really powerful that, you know, I’m all about empowering your team and empowering yourself. You know, I always say, like, if you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. Right?.
Frank cottle [00:24:35] Absolutely.
Joe Pardo [00:24:36] You know, I think it’s really important that, you know, not everyone’s going to be the smartest every single thing, but like to get the right players at the right positions that are that are expert at that at that. What they need to be expert at is super important and I and I think it’s really interesting that you’re that you identified that the decision making process is what slows things down, because I think that it is really frustrating that the bigger the organization, the slower it moves. And I think that a lot of that comes back to like, you know, not empowering your team to make those decisions and to empowering them to, you know, it’s OK to make a mistake. And the part of that and I always go back to work with my clients, like, look, if you’re not factoring in your mistakes, is part of what you’re here costs of doing business, then you’re not really factoring in your cost of doing business. Right, like those are things that you need to be able to account for when mistakes happen or even, you know, costs rise, you know, things that are beyond your control.
Frank cottle [00:25:47] Well, you know, there’s an old country western song on the fellow’s name exactly. Now, but he’s got to know when to hold them and know when to fold. And I think the issue there is you’re going to make mistakes. You have to recognize you’ve made a mistake. The biggest challenge with mistakes being on the wrong path is staying on too long. OK. You don’t know when to fold them, so to speak, if you make a mistake. Darn, I made a mistake, boom, I’m out. I’ve done I’ve made that mistake now and then. Deal a new hand, deal yourself into hand immediately. Let the good things run long and make the bad things cut short. And if you can make even if you make 60 percent of your decisions are wrong decisions, but they only last 10 or 20 percent of their life, then the other 40 percent that you’ve made that run for decades that are right. That’s what creates a success. It’s that cutting the bad short and the good ones run long.
Joe Pardo [00:26:52] You know, I’ve seen that and I’ve seen it with with trusting people for too long that, you know, aren’t aren’t don’t have your best intentions, whether it’s intentional or unintentional or just a bad decision on your part for the, you know, picking the wrong person at the time. And just, you know, like you don’t back down. You don’t back. I just keep keep on, keep on keeping on regardless of how things are going. Yeah. That’s the least on fire.
Frank cottle [00:27:19] Sure. That’s that old insanity definition, you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
Joe Pardo [00:27:25] The house is on fire, but the bed’s comfortable. So I’m just I’m just going to stick with it.
Frank cottle [00:27:30] Exactly. You know.
Joe Pardo [00:27:35] Frank, what was your childhood dream growing up?
Frank cottle [00:27:42] I think to kind of follow in the footsteps of my dad and my my grandfather, a little bit of being a serial entrepreneur, being totally independent, and I know and my my wife and I got married. We were married young. We got married in college and she was 20 and I was 21. And I told her right then, you know, big bravado of a young guy. And on her thing is as well, I’m going to live exactly the way I want where you’re going to be millionaires by the time we’re 30 or we’re going to be bums on the beach and being the sweet, wonderful woman that she was and still is today, she said, OK, so unfortunately, we ended up being millionaires and living on the beach as well. Of course, it’s kind of easy when you come from the beach. But the point was, I was going to do what I wanted. I was going to follow my ambition to my dreams and she was great, wonderfully supportive in every way possible for that and a huge, huge contributor to all of all of what we’ve done. But I wasn’t going to sacrifice the fun factor. And I think that’s why I went sailing and worked around the ocean, which is one of my my key things that I love. When I was young, I wasn’t ready to settle down. And I’ve never been I’ve always believed college has taught you to work for somebody else, which is why I suppose I got kicked out of the first college I attended. Actually, I was asked not to return and there’s a big difference. But I believe that, you know, if you could learn how to make decisions in college, then no matter what your degree and what your specialization, you will you will have come out with a good education, learn how to make those decisions. And that’s why we tell people today, if you can’t make decisions, you really can’t work with our company. You have to have the courage a lot of times.
Frank cottle [00:29:48] But I was able to blow off a lot of steam and kind of live a fantasy life for a number of years as I started. And what I saw doing that when I was younger, I saw a lot of mistakes that people made and a lot of things that they were they worked and they sacrificed and they slaved for the first 40 years of their career. Building a company or building something was highly successful, very, very successful. But by the time they got there, they were on their third trophy wife and the kids hated and everybody was waiting for them to die. They didn’t have their health and they were just buying a big yacht to take one trip around the world. That was it. They were done. Well, that’s dumb, so I’m just going to enjoy every day I did then, I do now. And you know that you just have to enjoy every day.
Joe Pardo [00:30:48] Well, I couldn’t agree more. I think I think being able to, like, listen and and take in and and learn from other people’s stories, I mean, that’s one of the reasons I started this show in the first place, was to be able to listen and take in more. One of my my downfalls is I don’t read books, but I do write them. But I have so many conversations with people that I pulled the books that they have within them out to to to enjoy for myself. So.
Frank cottle [00:31:21] Well, I’m not a big reader of books myself. I mean, I, I read a lot of history and I read a lot of autobiographies and things of that nature. I’m fascinated by history, but I don’t people say, what’s your favorite business book? And, you know, I usually hem and haw and say, I don’t have one. Well, who’s your favorite entrepreneur? And I kind of think, well, maybe Thomas Edison. And they go, What? And I said, well, you know, I really look towards people that invented things that weren’t necessarily standing on the shoulders of others but were truly inventive. I don’t look at iterative thought. As much of an invention or anything that we’ve done is we haven’t invented anything. We’ve stood on the shoulders of others, made improvements as we moved along. But when people say, well, what do you read? I say, well, I read every piece of news I can get my hands on all day long. I’m a I think that if you don’t know what’s going on in the world, you aren’t aware of all the activities in your industry. If you’re not the best student of your industry, then you won’t be successful. And so I try to constantly be a good student. And I find most business books are put together by consultants and they just want to, you know, they’re consultants. What can I say? And it’s usually three years old by the time it gets published. So it’s not new information. So I’m just not I don’t fall into that category.
Joe Pardo [00:32:52] No, I totally I totally you on that. It’s yeah. I mean, most of them were you know, it’s most of the things I do read is news at this point and then documentaries. I love documentaries so like when I’m working out, I’m watching a documentary while I’m working out because I want to learn about things that I wouldn’t have any access to otherwise.
Frank cottle [00:33:17] Yeah, yeah. No, I’m the same way,.
Joe Pardo [00:33:20] You know, visual learner. I like listening, but I, you know, mostly like watching and being like visually engaged so and then talking to people like that’s, that’s, that’s it for me. The big things I knew, you know, reading the news too. But so I totally get it. And you know, I always feel guilty because I always feel like man, I could be doing I always feel guilty when people are like, what do you mean you write books, yet you don’t read books. And I’m like, I don’t want to take in too much outside influence and like like, you know, influencing my work because my work that I did, I do, I feel is is quite different when I show it to other people. And like I’ve never seen anything like this and I’m like, well, that’s good. It was supposed to be that way. I’m not I’m not taking, you know, what somebody else did and doing it again. So then I but but unlike well, unlike with the people you were talking about consultants, the I self published. So I don’t have to worry about one, two, three, four years of like waiting for my bewell.
Frank cottle [00:34:28] Well, that that’s one of the one of the world we live in today. You can still publish and self produce. And so that’s I think that’s that that’s great for all of us. We’re not just seeing that potentially commercially successful ideas that an editor or some publishing house feels might they might make money on. You’re seeing a lot more original thought and original thought is truly to be treasured.
Joe Pardo [00:34:56] And they can and you can pivot it so much quicker. You know, you can make changes so much quicker than like, oh, new version. And it’s going to have to take, you know, six months just to go through an editing process. And then you had to fall into, like, where’s the release date of that and, you know, things like that nature. So I think I think the flow of information, you know, the flow of the Internet has changed that so much.
Frank cottle [00:35:19] No, that’s why we run a news and information network. I mean, it’s the same thing. We’re running the news for our industry or managing a big portion of it, getting it published and getting it out there. And it is it’s that daily information that really helps people. As long as it’s not just noise, it has to be real quality. Otherwise, it’s just, you know, some blogging fluff for research purposes and that that gets off. Tiresome.
Joe Pardo [00:35:50] So so the first chapter of my first book is called No Fluff, because I, you know, the few books that I have read, I’ve always thought of myself and maybe you feel the same way. Like, man, there’s a lot of useless stories in these books that they’re just trying to, like, use them to make a point like that when and just instead of just delivering the point, it’s like they got to fluff it up and give these stories that, you know, maybe they’ll resonate with some people. But like I look at it, I’m like, well, that’s a pretty silly story to put in to make the point that, like, don’t forget where you’re where you’re at or don’t forget your place. And it was like, I don’t know.
Frank cottle [00:36:31] Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to get religious, but if you look at most books that have lasted for a thousand years or multiple thousands of years, in many cases they have things like here’s 10 rules to live by. That’s pretty much it. And then there’s the stories about different things and that’s it, but when it comes down to it, what do you remember all those ten rules? So just come just published the damn 10 rules. That’s fine.
Frank cottle [00:36:59] I wanted in a memo. I wanted in a memo.
Joe Pardo [00:37:03] No, I hear you. I mean, well, I told people my first book was going to be I was like, it’s 31 life changing concepts. It’s probably about 100 pages long, like a size 14, double spaced with lots of pictures,.
Frank cottle [00:37:17] With thirty one concept, you know, outdone Buddha.
Joe Pardo [00:37:23] I mean, it’s just, you know, it’s things like that. Like I was like just get to the point and be really, really intentional about every single word that’s in there. Because otherwise to me it’s just like I wouldn’t want to write a book that I wouldn’t want to read.
Frank cottle [00:37:38] Well, but consider that life never changes. It’s only people that change. So you really can’t have a life changing concept. You can live people changing concepts.
Joe Pardo [00:37:49] That’s that’s a fair point. I mean, well, we would be like wouldn’t at that point. It would be the the the noun version of of life or is life always a noun. Now, I don’t know… I’m not a letter of a writer, but the point being like or possessive, the possessive word.
Frank cottle [00:38:09] There you go.
Joe Pardo [00:38:10] Like your life, my life type thing. Not like life as a. Macrocosm or something like that, anyway, with all that said, Frank, what’s your goods official look like?
Frank cottle [00:38:24] Oh, I think to do more good in the world, we started last year a charitable foundation. We looked across our industry, which is the basis for for most of our thinking and as a company. And we looked across the industry and we thought, well, all in the commercial office industry and in our industry in particular, which is very short term, you know, people place and technology, all three of those things, we looked across our industry and we said, well, you know, in a good year, we’re 93 percent physically occupied and in a bad year, we’re 88 percent physically occupied. So we always have a vacancy factor. And so we thought, well, we should calculate how we can put the vacancy in commercial office space and in our own industry to good use. So we created a charitable organization, a charitable foundation. And now we, I don’t know how many companies we host, but we have a few hundred locations that we’ve set up across the United States to host and house other charitable organizations by donating our vacant office space throughout our industry. So we’ve learned to take a wasting asset vacancy, if you didn’t sell it that day, it’s gone and turned that into support for a variety of other charitable organizations that need help. And so we’re going to be doing quite a bit more work in that, in that vein, we think that it shouldn’t just be something as small as us and our industry, but it should, although we in our first year of operation were probably done about five and a half, six million dollars in donations in our first year. So it’s not a small charity tecum bigger than Trump.
Frank cottle [00:40:22] But, you know, it’s it’s a real thing. And we’ve been talking with a lot of very large property companies, a lot of large corporations and even government saying, you know, when we look at your office space, we look at your all the desks that are empty because you plans on expanding but didn’t or because the market turned against you. Now you’ve got a 10 year lease and it’s half empty and there’s all this extra wasting space, and we look at all the repurposing for charitable reasons. It could go into that so, I think a lot of my own ambitions will go that direction through the next few decades.
Joe Pardo [00:41:02] Oh, that’s awesome, and that’s that’s incredible amount of charity donation that you have going on there.
Frank cottle [00:41:11] Well, we’re very, very happy, but we really think we’ve just scratched the surface, we think this can can be quite a large movement, if you will, and and it’s very environmental in many respects because you’re taking waste and putting it repurposing and putting it to use it to sort of our own recycling program, if you will. But I mean, if every airline that had an empty seat gave it away to somebody in need, if every hotel that had an empty room contributed to housing on a temporary basis, every restaurant that food was past due date or maybe they’ve overcooked the fish or something. Who knows what? And a lot of restaurants are very common within the restaurant industry they’re engaged in a feeding of the hungry program. But this can be expanded quite materially. That’s part of part of what we’re working on right now.
Joe Pardo [00:42:10] Hmm. Oh, that is awesome. Frank, how can people connect with you online?
Frank cottle [00:42:17] I think the easiest way is reach out through AllianceVirtualOffices.com alliance virtual offices, plural, dot com. Or if they just want to know about our industry, go to Allwork.Space, Allwork.Space. So Allwork.Space.
Joe Pardo [00:42:43] It’s also I will have those in the show notes at SuperJoe.com for everyone to go and check out and and is does the website enable you to get in contact with you? If you want to… If you want to, like, have your own like have your space up for rent.
Frank cottle [00:43:04] Oh, yeah, you know, we work with all variety of of office operating companies and we have a consulting group that develops sensors and buys and sells businesses within our industry and and develops licensing programs for investment groups and consults with quite, quite a number of large institutional investors from the the very largest private equity firms that you would certainly be aware of on down. So we’re we’re very, very active in all aspects of our industry.
Joe Pardo [00:43:40] Awesome. Awesome, awesome. So, you know, I I really appreciate you having on the show today, and I’d love to have you on the show again. Is there any last thoughts you’d like to share?
Frank cottle [00:43:51] No, just, you know, tomorrow is going to be warm and sunny in Southern California. You know, we’re we’re just going to have to keep doing what we do. And and, you know, we wish everybody a good evening.
Joe Pardo [00:44:04] Is is it the fire’s been affected you at all?
Frank cottle [00:44:09] No, we’ve been very fortunate. The fire has been very devastating to a lot of people. And it’s sort of, you know, South Florida has hurricanes and California has fires and Oklahoma has tornadoes. And there’s always something that you have to be cautious of and and work around. And for California wildfires. Hmm. You know, I live I live surrounded by water, so I’m kind of lucky in that regard.
Frank cottle [00:44:38] I have to I have to worry about tsunamis and things like that, but not fires.
Joe Pardo [00:44:44] tsunamis aren’t that often, are they?
Frank cottle [00:44:47] No, no and and the in Southern California, the way our coast works or the way the coast works along the western U.S. were not exposed to the tsunamis as they are in the north northern part of California or Oregon, the Alaskan coast. The kind of jet out and catch different swells in different directions. So it’s more of a local joke than than anything else. We had a tsunami last year and we all went down to the beach to watch it. Just like to tell you, you shouldn’t do. But we couldn’t really see it. We thought we saw it, but we weren’t sure.
Joe Pardo [00:45:34] Well well, thank you again, Frank. I really do appreciate you taking the time tonight to be on the business podcast. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode of the business podcast, all I could do is just ask that you share with someone who will get something out of it as well. It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my guests and it’ll mean a lot to the person that you choose to share with Frank. Thank you so much again, I really do appreciate your time.
Frank cottle [00:46:04] My pleasure. And anything we can ever do to help, always call. Thank you.[00:46:08] Thanks for joining us for this episode of the business podcast featuring Super Joe Pardo. Get more business content at SuperJoePardo.com. If you are someone you know would like to be a guest on the business podcast, send an email to Joe at SuperJoePardo.com. The business podcast is copyrighted to two, three, four Solutions, LLC.