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Opinion Editorials

How to “Go Green”




Apparently, my last article put some people on the defensive when I pointed out that they don’t live in the greenest city in the country. Fear not! With a few simple steps outlined below, you could do your part to help boost your rankings for next year.

What does it mean to “Go Green”

Unfortunately, “Going Green” by definition is very elusive. This article will not certify you for any type of green credentialing. If you just want to “Go Green” in order to gain more business, you’re missing the bigger picture. I am simply encouraging you to try to do what you can.

It’s so easy

There are a few things you can do that will help to make a big step in the right direction.

  1. Use ALL of your paper. Since so much of your business has moved online, you are probably still using paper to write notes on. As techie as I am and as much as I love email, I still write notes on actual paper. Use the back, use the margins, write in between notes you’ve previously written. Working for a title company, I see how much waste is created in this industry (we still don’t print double sided). According to RISMedia, “It is estimated you can save 20% on paper by everyone following these simple rules. This can save $70 per employee, per year or $7000 in just a 100 employee office! An employee in a typical business generates 1.5 pounds of waste paper per day, most of which is NOT recycled.”
  2. Turn off lights. Depending on the type of bulb determines when you should turn it off. My office faces west, but I honestly get enough light through the windows that I don’t need to even turn on my lights. My coworkers think I either forgot to turn them on or I’m simply not there, but when I tell them I’m saving power, they at least think about it.
  3. Work from home. I know many of you pay desk fees so you want to get your money’s worth, but working from home saves significantly on mileage which in turn impacts emissions.
  4. Change some bulbs. I still talk to people who think the compact fluorescent lights (CFL) provide an inferior light. My parents used to joke that I wanted to house to look like an operating room, so I love lots of great light. I have changed all of my bulbs (I’ll admit, except for the dimmable ones) with CFL’s. They’re cheap now. Costco has them for great prices. They don’t go out nearly as often as incandescents. Dimmable ones are now available, I just can’t find them anywhere on me. When I’m done here, I’m going to order some online. According to Energy Star, “If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.”
  5. Turn off your computer and accessories. If you leave everything on 24/7, you are spending an average of $138 per year per computer. Your peripherals are still drawing power even though they are in standby. Consider the Smart Strip (Oprah even recommends them), which uses your computer as the “command appliance” and when it turns off, it completely shuts down power to your peripherals as well. They pay for themselves within about 4-6 months in most cases. Check Amazon, since they are frequently out of stock from the manufacturer after the Oprah endorsement.
  6. Buy Energy Star. The next office mini-fridge, printer or computer should be Energy Star. I’m not saying you should replace every single product you have, but when it’s time, spend the time to look up which products are best since they will pay for themselves in the long run. The Energy Star site will even tell you how much more efficient one product is compared to the next.

Little steps. None of these are expensive or difficult or dramatically life changing, but they all help. For those of you who are doing it, thank you. If you have more ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments.

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Jim Duncan

    February 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm


    I actually just got back from recycling and buying a few CFL replacement bulbs. One of the best posts I have ever seen is this post by Seth Godin because of its simplicity and for how it resonated with me then and still does today.

    I was driving on the Taconic Parkway last week and noticed a Porsche Cayenne and a Ford Edge were keeping pace with me. I was driving my Prius and getting about 51 miles per gallon. The other two cars were averaging about 20 each. Here’s an analysis I just grabbed from a random website:

    Even though I drive over 35,000 miles per year, a CX-7 would only save me about $300 per year over an Explorer Limited V8 (with regular at $2.40 and premium at $2,60). Even though the Edge will run on regular, and probably achieve a bit better mileage than the CX-7, it would probably only save me about $900 per year on fuel vs the Explorer Limited V8. For someone who drives more typical distances, the annual savings would be less than half those amounts.

    Notice the lack of “times a million” math.

    If we figure that the average driver in the US does 20,000 miles a year, I’m going to use about 400 gallons of gas. A car getting 20 mpg is going to use closer to a thousand gallons. Figure that there are about 100 million actively driven cars in the US, which means that the net difference if “everybody did it” has the potential to save 60 billion gallons (600 times 100 million) of gas. A year.

    Read the whole thing.

  2. Brad Coy

    February 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Great post Nick. If your taking a look at going “Green” in your office and home, also take a look at furthering your education in RE with They have set up a great curriculum that you and your clients can benefit from.

  3. Nick

    February 22, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I keep that Godin post bookmarked, it’s a great one. I tried to stay clear of car recommendations because people get very heated about that one around here. But, if you’re open minded, consider a hybrid for your next car too 🙂 The Camry Hybrid does great for a sedan and the Highlander or Ford options are decent for those of you who need something larger. Even if the mileage isn’t significantly better, the emissions are.

  4. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 22, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Thoughtful post, and there is no issue more important than the environment. A few years ago, I didn’t care. Now I care, and it is because of informative articles like this. I’ve been hot on as of late, to save paper by opting out of catalogs I don’t want and will never buy from. My wife and I have tested our limits by sharing a car. It forces us to walk more, and even though it is a bit of a hassle at times, it’s working out.

  5. Jeremy Hart

    February 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks, Nick!

  6. Nick

    February 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    For those of you who are interested in “greening” your car, here’s the 2008 list of Greenest (and Meanest) cars.

  7. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    “Who Killed the Electric Car?” is a documentary definitely worth watching. I would love to see Congress pass a law requiring 10% of cars be zero emissions by a certain year. I am also glad to see the Asian auto makers moving forward in this area. Hopefully, the demand will continue to grow.

  8. Why did nobody mention the vegetarian lifestyle? It is dramatically better for the environment.

    I actually did a rough calculation based on an article I saw that showed that when I drive my two vegetarian daughters and myself in my 14 MPG Landrover I am having less environmental impact than my friend driving two omnivores in his Prius.

    Strange but true!

  9. Marilyn Wilson

    September 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Great post. If you would like some other thoughts about go green strategies specifically for real estate you can download our WAV Group white paper called Make More Green by Going Green at

    We tried to provide simple, tangible and affordable ways to reduce your environmental impact while using your greenness to grown your business at the same time.

    Happy greening

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?



Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.



Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?


At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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Opinion Editorials

How a simple period in your text message might be misinterpreted: Tips to improve your virtual communication

(OPINION/EDITORIAL) Text, email, and IM messages may be received differently depending on your communication style and who you’re communicating with. Here’s some ways to be more mindful.



Black woman smiling in communication talking on phone and laptop in front of her.

Life is full of decisions, learning, hopefully some adventure, and “growth opportunities” through our careers and work. One that some of us may have never considered is how our text, email or IM communication comes across to the receiver – thus providing us a growth opportunity to take a look at our own personal communication styles.

It may have never occurred to us that others would take it a different way. After all, we know ourselves, we can hear our voices in our heads. We know when we are joking, being sarcastic, or simply making a statement. The way we communicate is built upon how we were raised, what our English teachers stressed, and even what we’ve been taught through our generational lens.

NPR put out an article recently, “Are Your Texts Passive-Aggressive? The Answer May Lie in Your Punctuation”. This article discussed what to consider in regards to your punctuation in text.

“But in text messaging — at least for younger adults — periods do more than just end a sentence: They also can set a tone.” Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and author of the book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, told NPR’s All Things Considered last year that when it comes to text messaging,”the period has lost its original purpose. Rather than needing a symbol to indicate the end of a sentence, you can simply hit send on your message.”

While it may seem silly that the receiver would think you are mad at them because you used a period, here are some things to consider in our virtual communication now that we are all much more digital:

  • There are no facial expressions in a text except for emojis (which, even then, could be left up to misinterpretation)
  • There’s no sound of voice or inflection to indicate tone
  • We are emailing, texting, and sending instant messages at an alarming rate now that we are not having as many in-person interactions with our colleagues

Gen Z (b. 1995 – 2015), who are the most recent generation to enter the workplace, grew up with much quicker forms of communication with their earlier access to tech. They’ve had a different speed of stimulation via YouTube videos, games, and apps. They may have never experienced the internet speed via a dial-up modem so they are used to instantaneous results.

They also have quickly adapted and evolved through their use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok. The last two platforms are designed for pretty brief attention spans, which indicates our adaptation to fast communication.

Generational shaming is out and uncomfortable but necessary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion are in (which includes ageism). You can’t just chalk it up as “those kids” don’t understand you, or that they need to learn and “pay their dues”.

So if you are of an older generation and even a manager, here are some considerations that you can take regarding your virtual communications:

1. Consider having yourself and your team take a DiSC assessment.

“The DiSC® model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and to adapt their behaviors with others — within a work team, a sales relationship, a leadership position, or other relationships.

DiSC profiles help you and your team:

  • Increase your self-knowledge: How you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
  • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict
  • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members

This quiz is designed to help you identify your main communication style. It helps you to be more conscious of how your style may come across to others. Does it builds relationships, or create silent conflicts? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change, but you can adapt your style to best fit your team.

2. Always ask your direct reports about their preferred method of communication (call, text, email, IM, meeting).

Retain this information and do your best to meet them where they are. It would also be helpful to share your preferred method with them and ask them to do their best to meet you where you are.

3. Consider putting composed emails in your drafts if you are fired up, frustrated, or down right angry with your team.

You may feel like you are being direct. But since tone will be lost virtually, your message may not come across the way you mean it, and it may be de-motivating to the receiver. Let it sit in drafts and come back to it a little bit later. Does your draft say all you need to say, or could it be edited to be a little less harsh? Would this be better as a meeting (whether video or phone) over a written communication? Now the receiver has a chance to see you and have a conversation rather than feeling put on blast.

And finally, be curious.

Check out Lindsey Pollak’s books or podcast on the best ways to work with a variety of generations in your organization. Lindsey is a Multigenerational Work Expert and she does a great job explaining her research to drive multigenerational workplace success. She gives ideas on what all employees, managers, and even corporations should consider as we experience so many generations and communication styles in the workplace at the same time.

You may laugh that your children or employees think you are mad at them when you use a period in a text. But there’s a lot more behind it to consider. It may take adaptation on all sides as communication styles and the “future of work” continue to evolve.

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