David Friedlander’s 2019–2020 Real-Estate Focused Sh!t List
This post was originally posted on my personal blog.
I have most of a first-draft that outlines the events of the last year and a half, which, for anyone close to me, knows have been the most difficult of my life. In the spring of 2019, I had a thriving real-estate innovation consultancy, an unrivaled professional network and reputation, an amazing and adventurous relationship with my two boys, superior health (running 5:23 miles), a serviceable relationship with one of the New York City’s most trophy-esque woman, and a boundless future to forward to. A year later, I was living out of my van, stripped of my reputation, cash, credit, and, most devastatingly, all access to my children. After my public backlash against the myriad assaults on my previously-stainless life and character, I was abandoned by the majority of friends, family, friend, and colleagues.
While writing out my tale of woe, I got bummed out. I’m so tired of dwelling on how I’ve been wronged. How, like someone out of a paint-by-numbers movie script, I’ve been vilified for standing true to my values and sense of humanity, and I’ve done so in the face of a bald feeding-frenzy by global-wealth on the global-poor and the planet’s remaining resources. It’s exhausting to repeat myself and I am moving forward.
But not without saying a word or two.
The person that said there’s always room at the top was telling that to some chump below him to keep the top-dweller aloft in perpetuity. There are finite material resources on this planet, a finite amount of investment capital (despite appearances and behavior), and there are limited spaces at the top.
It’s my intention to make a lot of room at the top for me, my network, and our good work. We are going do develop meaningful projects with sound economics that serve people and planet. Full stop.
That means a bunch of present-day, nogoodnik top-dwellers, their culture, and their objectively bad ways of doing things must fuck off.
So without further ado, here’s a list of some people and institutions that I believe need to be removed from leadership and positions of influence in 2021. Most of these folks were in my immediate circle. I’m sure there are worse people out there. I just don’t know them as well.
David Friedlander’s 2019–2020 Shit List (hastily edited and might be updated):
- Dror Poleg is an Israeli carpetbagger whose main development experience is malls in China and helping BS companies raise absurd amounts of dumb venture capital. He sidles up to taller and cooler CEO-types like Chris Kelley (and me, I suppose) to seem more important than he is. He does this while delivering ambiguous and useless market proclamations, whose main value is providing plausible deniability for venture-heists. For example, he was responsible for coming up with the bullet points in Convene and Breather’s pitch-decks, which allowed those idiotic businesses to raise idiotic sums of investment capital. He knows nothing about real issues like climate, affordability, and place-making. The reason is that he’s a mouthpiece for a culture that up-and-moves when the going gets tough — he alone has slithered from Israel to China to Southeast Asia on to NYC and — you just know — Miami, as that’s where most scum seems to settle nowadays. By holding Dror up as an intellectual leader, the real-estate affirms its grasp on a system of develop/raise and dump; a system fueled by dark-global-wealth buying useless assets and raising for companies that are at odds with the trajectory of humanity, e.g. Alfred. He’s also a lousy friend. The guy deserves to be shunned, and shunned repeatedly.
- Ollie’s Chris Bledsoe is a snowflake-fragile investment-banking bro with fatal managerial and interpersonal liabilities that make him a liability in any role, especially a leadership role. His inability to get Ollie into any real Cap-stack is a reflection of his incompetence and lack of grit. Rather than doing what needed to be done to make Ollie work, he propped up losers on his team like his brother, who almost brought the company down with his illegal Airbnb operation or Andy Levin, his biz dev director who was shopping for other jobs while ostensibly building Ollie. Chris also aided and abetted people with ambitions diametrically opposed to mine — he did so in spite of my friendship with him, which extended way longer than it should have.
- FullStack Modular’s Roger Krulak is not a construction startup revolutionary, but a frantic, silver-spooned tyrant who establishes credibility by intimidation and Ratner-paid ads in The New York Times and the WSJ. After three years of consulting for FullStack Modular (FSM) — doing so under the pretense that we could source deals together — Roger created nothing but chaos. Roger couldn’t get a deal at Dollar General, much less one that involved high-rise steel volumetric modular construction. He churned through employees with a quickness. Here’s my personal Roger coup de grace: after I excused myself from my gig at FSM for various personal and professional reasons, and after I found a replacement for my services, Roger stiffed me on my final bill. This is the boat-owning guy with owned homes in Chelsea and Scarsdale. It’s no wonder all of his projects fail: he pays no consequences when he does, and he probably feels good about cleaning up his own wreckage (am I right, family?). Roger Krulak, you’re a gonif and can go to hell.
- Common’s Brad Hargreaves is a soft-chinned, culture-killing plagiarist. His first win was General Assembly, a trade school that set up the conditions whereby all the sexed-out LES open-mics were replaced by NYC Tech Meetup Investor pitches filled with HB-1 shrimp-dicked-boy programmers with $5,000 headphones. Rather than supporting cities and their existing constituents, he neutralizes them with his “Common” housing solution — the perfect place for transient coders to thrive. I was regrettably responsible for getting Brad the keynote at the 2016 Multifamily Executive conference. Hanley Wood’s Jennifer Castenson came to me looking for an intro to Chris Bledsoe, and I directed her to Brad instead. This happened right before Brad began his raise-marathon. If he ever thanked me for this opportunity, I seem to have missed it. He later retooled a white-paper of mine on the residential hotel and used it as his main circuit presentation. Last year, he and Peter Stuart at Outlier Cap built NOAH while the latter was working with me building The Change Order Group (shame on me, fuck you Peter!). NOAH is the name of a 2017 essay I wrote on Medium. Brad is a piece of shit and most of his cred now is on the backs of the shitty operators like Alicia Glen, the Jawitz family, and Dan Doctoroff who obliterated anything sacred in NYC and replaced it with a $100M, institution-made facsimile.
- Fuck all the big developers and landowners like Two Trees (I’ve had private audience with David Walentas), Related (I’ve long been critical of Hudson Yards), RXR (I was tight with their innovation guy, Matt Boras), NYU (I was well-known to their real-estate and architectural schools), and many other big New York players who watched and profited from NYC’s multi-decade descent into ruin. Two Trees never had a climate plan, much less tenants for their waterfront behemoths. Same goes for Hudson Yards. I was close friends with NYU professor Mitch Joachim — a philandering manchild living off the fumes of his MIT PhD thesis — and colleagues with the real-estate grad school professor and NYC development gadfly, Scott Robinson. Both men are egomaniacal fools and reflective of NYU’s commitment to looking like they’re doing something. What they’re actually committed to is figuring out the cheapest way of cranking out Chinese Nationals undergrads at $200K/year to the school and their extensive real-estate holdings.
- The New York Times, WSJ, Buzzfeed, Dwell Magazine — once all so chummy with me — want nothing to do with scripts that undermine the existing neoliberal, international-trade economic power structure. Looking from the inside, I saw how these institutions are beholden to deep corporate interests; how they increasingly confuse dopamine-inducing polemics with actual news; how their advertorial is becoming indistinguishable from their reportage. They’ve never been serious about climate, social-justice, economic inequality, or me. They print the stories for hits. After my travails, these outlets, always so-friendly to treat me as a confection, wanted nothing to do with me once things got too real. I saw from the inside — and shared as such — that the bias coming from these pillars of liberal media are every bit as skewed as the nonsensical right. Shout outs to Conor, Laura, Will, Ginia, Sarah, Penelope, Jonah, Moses, and Katherine. Y’all suck!
- Most PropTech VCs are worthless. They think because they cut debt-backed checks for stillborn and/or predatory startups like Alfred and Opendoor, that they are the shit. Most of these guys — MetaProp’s Zach Aarons and Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace come to mind — rely on bravado, airs, buzz-words, and fitted shirts as proxies for competence, comprehension, and accomplishment (they’re none of those things). If you’ve thought to yourself, “boy, that VC sounds more like an arrogant dipshit than a sagacious tech expert,” it’s because that’s what they are.
- Fuck most accelerators, which have become multi-level marketing scams, reliant on a constant churn of startups with zero market viability. Like slot machines, they rely on outlier successes to establish their worth. Like the slots, it’s the house that wins. Their main market is “How I Built This” repeat-listening twenty-four-year-old founders. Some good companies come out of accelerators, but that’s because they’re good companies, not the accelerator program.
- Phil Levin and Culdesac must be avoided. I’m sorry I ever shared ideas with this midget of a man, who’s building shitty bungalows in the desert.
- Florida, Arizona, and Connecticut.
- iBuyers, single-family-rentals, and the entitlement industry.
- Every self-styled YIMBY data-scientists on Twitter. Special shout out to Comic Book Man impersonator, Ben Castaneda Thypin.
- So far down the shit-list, they’ll require their own future blog posts are Graham Hill and Martin Ditto.
- Special shout outs (some real-estate applicability) to my lady torturers, deceivers, and their enablers — J, J, P, M — I’m done with you (as much as I can be). You can all go fuck yourselves now because I won’t do it. I know there is a special place in hell for your despicable acts, and karma is realer than real. I’m going to enjoy watching you all go down without doing a thing — in much the same fashion you did the same to me .
- Random: It’s not right for a small population to have second and third homes when most people can’t afford one home; it’s not right to spend more on personal pets than helping strangers, especially ones with kids; related, the needs of human parents should come before dog parents; video games are every bit as harmful as guns in our society, and much more culturally accepted; veganism and vegetarianism is causing a fertility crisis and leading to a crisis in masculinity; that fake meat, reliant on futures-trading and international trade-agreements, is gross, bad for the planet, and its founder is full of pea-slop and shit; and so on.
- John Manoochehri for being soft and dumb. I wouldn’t have put you on here if you hadn’t said it was cool.