This post was first published on the Change Order Group website.
The post is clearly a parody, since we love Brad Hargreaves and consider him one of our publication’s top fifty authors. His companies Common and General Assembly are providing their revolutionary “Common Solution” for neutralizing the Urban Problem. Like me, Brad knows how important it is to rid cities of bullies, miscreants, and other undesirables who make us feel sad or uncomfortable.
But Brad’s innovations aren’t limited to the field of eugenics.
With his revolutionary #proptech companies, Brad is providing private equity flows a complex matrix of operational and capital layers that milk as much money from consumers while creating a smokescreen for Capital Market investors eager to hide vacancy rates, lest it disrupt real estate bond and derivative markets.
Like his mentor Adam Neumann did so successfully at WeWork, Brad has built Common to funnel, launder, and siphon a mix of private equity and complex debt structures, all while giving developers an ostensible market pipeline to justify new stock. By the time anyone realizes there’s no durable market, executives have enriched themselves to the point where it does not matter —many move onto the next thing while the companies they sold burn (waddup Chris Kelley of Convene!).
Banks bury losses, Fed adds more zeros to the kitty, kicks can further down the road, the news cries for more jobs, economic growth, and investments in innovation to make America great again (“great” usually being represented by 1955, 1997, or 2012, and only great for white people). Brad and his Yale (HBS, Wharton, etc.) buds make the decisions, pay themselves handsomely, invest in their companies, and apportion emergency funds from their summer homes when those investments don’t work out. Gotta spend money to make money, you know.
To be clear, we love Brad, and this is clearly a parody. However, the information contained, screenshots, emails, and facts are morbidly true.
Reason 1: Brad Is From a Poor Family Living in a Log Cabin in the Hinterlands of Canada’s Northwest Territories
He’s from the burbs of Atlanta. He built his first multimillion-dollar startup, General Assembly, right out of Yale with fellow classmate Matt Brimer and some people whose names I refuse to research. GA sold a few years ago for $412M cash from a Swiss multinational investing entity. Magdrical Enterprises, I believe.
From these humble roots, it’s quite clear the $113M Brad has pulled in for Common is the result of pure pluck and determination. I wonder how anyone could question this. Brad’s physiognomy and high pitch voice, underscore this Renaissance man’s self-evident gravitas and nobility.
Reason 2: Brad Loves Girls and Colored People
Brad is a paragon of today’s inclusive CEO.
Brad actually scored a real life woman for his board…and what a woman. He bagged none other than de Graftio Deputy Mayor and meaningless-RFP-master, Alicia Glen. Ali came out in the role swinging with her woke-wash workhub RFP. Because the private sector has been begging for more RFP’s for years!!!
When Common planned to move into Harlem, they made the culturally sensitive choice to give the building a black facade. Good thinking, Sophie and Jen!
Brad loves old people too! He replaced his junior Capital Market bro, Stewy Jawitz, with a more senior, mature bro.
Former part-time Starbucks barista and current Common Capital Market bro and CFO Simon Jawitz brings an unmatched level of maturity to the #propetch #optech juggernaut startup. He is also blowing up the curve in the otherwise Logan Runned-startup.
Simon provides a deep Rolodex of old, panicked, landlords and building owners desperate to fill units and hide losses. Brad and Simon have created a Common sticker that, once applied to an empty building, makes it seem like the owner has a plan for filling units. With cybers!
The $113M is partly used to shore up the discrepancies between projected returns on master leases and collected returns in a flooded urban rental market. Nowadays, building owners and operators are so desperate, they must enter hybrid service contracts with Common; this prevents the cash-light Common from absorbing too much risk when buildings stay clear or clear out more…again. The old guys have faith in Brad, but there’s only so much a 30-something year-old dude can do with tens of thousands of vacant units.
Another old man who loves Brad is an old friend and mentor of mine, San Francisco developer Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests. Patrick was always fond of easily-financed master-leased projects — mostly with high-price urban colleges, and homeless housing, in the case of the project we worked on together. The campus housing he develops relies on a heavy churn of rich overseas students — ones that stopped flowing during the pandemic. Patrick needed someone to fill empty units, and he turned to the young Hargreaves for his “common solution.”
I wish he had asked me first. I would have told him Common is not profitable and loses upwards of a million dollars a month, which is a lot for a VC-backed company with such a big balance sheet. Its recent absorption of Starcity, a panic move on that company’s part, only increases its rent load.
Reason #3: Brad is Soooooooooooo Smart.
He knows all about stuff. In 2018 he was peddling a keynote presentation about Common co-living and the sector’s resemblance to historic residential hotels.
If I didn’t know better — but I do — I’d say that keynote outright plagiarized the research I did published in 2017 Dwell Magazine about the housing crisis and roommates.
It also bears striking resemblance to the residential hotel piece I wrote and researched on behalf of aforementioned old guy, Patrick Kennedy . It’s widely agreed that my research provided the basis for Project Homekey, California’s hotel-conversion program for citizens experiencing homelessness.
But providing $2800 West Elm-furnished converted SRO units is cool, too.
[Personal note to Patrick: thanks for all of your help, seriously. You should have trusted your gut and helped me; you punked out and chose the politically convenient choice. You know Brad is a lightweight. Lastly, the Grecian Formula makes you look kinda pathetic.]
Reason #4: Brad is So Original.
The name for your new company, NOAH — where did you and Peter Stuart, conceive of such a great name? Did Peter, who was building out Change Order Group with me at the exact same time in DC, somehow find one functioning brain-cell? Or did you two jank the name from my 2017 post of the same name — because that’s how you do?
BTW, I didn’t come up with the NOAH name either. I took it, and credited, David Neiman. Pro tip for the future to Brad: take time to acknowledge people in meaningful ways, or it’ll bite your concave ass.
Reason #5: Brad is so gracious.
The way you thanked me for introducing you to Jennifer Castelonos from Hanley Wood for getting you the keynote at Multifamily Executive in 2017 — preceding your $40M C-Round later that year — especially when she was coming to me for an intro to Chris Bledsoe and I sold her on you….
Wait, how did he thank me? This post is a gentle reminder of how I helped him. I’m sure Brad is planning something big. I like cheese, Brad! And cash! I will accept cheese-for-cash for select easily-stored, aged cheeses.