Dan Pink

“There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”

I’m always on the lookout for great ideas about helping others, success, and improving motivation. Every week I get an email from TED.com showcasing some of their featured talks. If you have never checked out TED.com, you should. They collect the best and brightest minds in technology, science, education, and research, and film these passionate people talking about their area of expertise.

One of my absolute favorite videos is by NYT bestselling author Dan Pink.  I’ll let you read about him on his website.

In his TED video, he talks about outsourcing most work, and freeing yourself up to do what you do best.  Plus he backs it up with research that shows that the fundamental reward system in today’s workplace is broken and doesn’t correlate to the majority of cognitive work done today.

Don’t believe me – take 15 minutes and listen for yourself.

From his TED talk in July 2009.


Warren Buffet wants to buy 100,000 single family homes

Transcript of Warren Buffet’s video about buying 100,000 single family homes:

If I had a way of buying a couple of hundred thousand single family homes and had a way of managing them, the management is enormous, is really a problem because they are one by one they aren’t like apartment houses. I’d load up on them and I would take mortgages out at very very low rates. but if anyone is thinking about buying a homes – five years ago they couldn’t buy them fast enough because they knew they were going to go up but now they don’t buy them because they think they are going to go down and interest rates are far lower. It’s a way, in effect, to shorten the dollar, because if you take a 30 year mortgage and it turns out your interest rate is too high next week you refinance lower, and if it turns out it’s too low, the other guy is stuck with it for 30 years. So it is a very attractive asset class now.

If you are a young individual investor at home and you have your choice between buying your first home or investing in stocks where would you tell someone is the better bet?

If I thought I was going to live, er, if I knew where I was going to want live for the next five to ten years, I would buy a home and I would finance it with a 30 year mortgage. It’s a terriffic deal. And if I, literally, was an investor that was a handy type, which I am not, and I could buy a couple of them, at distressed prices, and find renters, I think that’s, and again, take a 30 year mortgage, It’s a leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset now. And that’s as attractive an investment you can make.

Jakelope Ranch

A few days ago I had the opportunity to preview a great listing by my friends over at Austin Modern Living.

This custom built home by the owner and designed by KRDB Architects is one of a kind, with all kinds of personal touches, and incredible details.

Featured in Dwell, the Statesman, and other publications over the past few years, the ranch is situated on 6+ acres, with waterfront access, and is extremely private.  And has tons of custom mid-century modern features.

There are so many custom details in this house. I don’t really know where to start, so let’s start at the beginning. The path from the house to the front door is covered by a custom trellis and Texas Native plants. Living out on the ranch means lots of outdoor time, so there is a bocci ball court, a covered patio with an outside fireplace, a round stone patio, an outdoor dining space, a lap pool with cover, outdoor shower, and a trail that leads down to an active stream.

The front door is in the Frank Lloyd Wright Style, non-desrcript, and sort of hidden, and a little tunnel like, but very spacious. The entry way opens up to a large, spacious, and light open floorplan with a living space, a dining space, and an open kitchen separated by a custom designed island (kitchen on one side – elegant display case on the other). There is a great space to read a book or listen to music off to one side, and easy access to the office, spare bedroom, garage, and full-size utility room/pantry.

Tucked off to one side is an incredible staircase – more triangular than spiral, where you can move up the three levels. Windows at top light the structure, and custom L-shaped bookshelves climb up from the floor.

The second level is dominated by the master suite – with an hallway like closet (with built-in laundry chute), a fantastic master bath with soaking tub, and a shower for two. The bedroom is extra light and spacious with views of the hill country through the large windows and elevated patio.

Continuing up the staircase, you end on the 3rd floor observation deck with more stunning views of the Texas countryside.

Overall there is lots of room for mid-century modern furniture, lots of wall space for artwork, and of course the entire house is energy efficient, and built green using sustainable and reclaimed materials.

The garage is large enough for several cars, as well as a workshop/design studio (the owner who built the place is a fantastic artist). Plus, all the rainwater is collected in a gigantic cistern for use around the property.

This custom home is a stunning example of mid-century inspired modern custom architecture. Secluded, but not isolated, with lots of entertaining room, and lots of custom details you have to see to believe.

Just click on the thumbnail to see a bigger photo  – and be sure to comment on your favorite.

Mom Caves

What is a Mom Cave? A Mom cave is a place for mom. Styled after the term Man Cave, the ladies decided it was time for a room all for themselves.

For some, A mom cave is a private dressing room where the Chanels and Louboutins live when they aren’t having a night out. A high end closet with padded seats, incredible lighting, and mirrors that make you look great from any angle.

For others it’s a craft room on steroids. Vintage white desks with neatly organized ribbons, paper supplies, and other supplies to make life more beautiful.

But, most of all a Mom Cave is a private retreat areas where the guys aren’t welcome, and the kid’s don’t dare enter. An interruption free zone with her favorite music, scented candles or incense, or whatever else her heart desires. A place for great conversation, or quiet reflection, or whatever Mom wants.

Only a few years ago the Kitchen was Mom’s place. Mom could go hide out in the Kitchen, because it was a separate place in the house, isolated from the living and dining room. But today, Kitchens are now gathering places, media centers, and the center of activity for the family. They have open floor plans, and are the hub of activity for the family.

So where is a mom to go? Of course there is always a luxurious bath, but interruptions can be embarrassing, and after a few minutes the water starts to go cold. Dad’s have their garages or game rooms, or big screen TV rooms – lots of different options.

Mom Caves can be as small as a nook in a corner of a room or a re-purposed closet, to extravagant 2-story luxury hideouts. Whatever She wants. Most have a social element, where the ladies can gather, gab, and socialize. A place to follow their dreams and passions, no matter how big or small.

My wife has a Mom cave. She had one long before our child was born. Full of bookshelves with her favorite books, an antique writing desk with different kinds of stationary for all occasions, a chase lounge, and even a chandelier. It is totally off limits to me (unless she needed something heavy moved), I need an invitation to enter the space. It’s her retreat, and I respect that. We all need a place of our own.

A mom cave differs from a man cave in that the guy’s room is full of high-tech gadgets, oversized TVs and leather chairs, and may have a refrigerator full of beer or even a bar with liquor. In contrast a Mom cave is typically decorated in whites, pinks and other light pastels. Generally there are multiple seating options, so the ladies can dish while they knit, craft, or do other hobbies.

Here are a bunch of Mom caves I found while surfing around the web.

Pink Mom Cave

Cote de Texas

Yellow Mom Cave

Sewing Mom Cave

Mom's cave

Mom Caves

Country Living Craft Room

Mom cave

Mom Cave Saffron and Silk

Love Megancom

Apartment Therapy

Dressing room mom cave

First time home buyers and the federal programs

This is a guest post by Gabriel Knight.

There are many such people who cannot afford to buy homes of their own. They may not have the affordability to buy a house using cash or they may not have the ability or eligibility to take out of a private mortgage. In such situations the different programs offered by the federal government may prove to be of some help for you. While trying to obtain a mortgage, you should ask important mortgage questions and answers. This is going to help you with home buying.

Federal assistance programs

If you are a first time homebuyer, and if you are having problems in obtaining a home loan or if you don’t have cash, you may be able to avail of different kinds of assistance programs. For example, there is the down payment assistance program that helps the first time home buyers with gaining down payment agaisnt a home.

The person who is selling the home assists the person who is going to buy the house. That is the seller gives some portion of the proceeds of the sales to the buyer at the time of the closing. However, as per law, the seller of the house cannot have any extra fees during the closing.

You may also be able to get the government grants that can help you with buying a home as a first time home buyer. In order to get these grants, it is important for you to know from where you are going to get the grants. These grants may help you with making the down payments and in addition, also pay for the closing costs.

There is another very important thing that you should know before applying for the grant money as a first time homebuyer. As per the HUD or Housing and Urban Development, the first time home buyers are the people who haven’t been in possession of a home in the last three years. Only if you can pass this test, you may find it easier to get a grant as per your needs with regards to home buying.

The greatest advantage about grants is that even if you have bad credit, it cannot stop you from qualifying for the grant money. In addition to this, if you can get an FHA (Federal Housing Authority) loan, the chances of you managing the mortgage with the grant money becomes easier.

The agency that provides the help to the first time home buyers through the down payment assistance program is the FHA or the Federal Housing Authority. If you apply for a home loan with the FHA, it becomes easier for you to get the loan. This is because the FHA offers loans even to those people with high debt to income ratio (standard of 29/41 percent). This standard is quite high in comparison to what the other lenders require you to have.

So, you can see that there are various options that the federal government offers for the first time home buyers.

W Residences Austin

When I travel, I always check to see if the city I’m visiting has a W hotel.  I’ve been staying in them for years.  My first visit was to the Chicago W when my brother was in law school, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  The fun, upscale vibe, the luxury touches, the whatever/whenever button on the phone, it all fits us and the way we like to travel.  Now you can live at the W Residences Austin.


The Austonian

Dominating the Downtown Austin skyline is the Austonian, a luxury high rise in Downtown.  683 feet (208 m) tall with 56 floors, the building is the tallest in Austin, and one of the most green, too.  perched on the corner of  2nd and Congress the views from this building are incredible – the Capital and UT tower to the north, and Ladybird Johnson lake to the south. (more…)


If you are looking for homes for sale in the 78759 zip code, you will be looking in my favorite part of town, Northwest Austin.  Many of my favorite neighborhoods are in the 78759 zip code.  Situated in north west Austin, there are lots of tree-lined streets, some areas with rolling hills, and even a few of the houses have great views to the west and the east.  There are also lots of great schools here, too.

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The Domain, one of Austin’s more upscale shopping centers is in the 78758 zip code.   There are also a lot of houses in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range, as well as many more affordable condominiums.  78758 is a North Austin neighborhood, and is close to many services, and only a few minutes north of downtown.


Many people call 78756 central Austin, and for good reason.  It’s right in the middle of town, there are lots of great single family homes, and the sense of home ownership here is high.  Lots of great shopping and services are along Burnet road, many are local Austin stores.