Behind The Facade – Episode 1 Transcript
What’s up guys, this is Gavin Gallagher and welcome to the very first episode of Behind The Facade. I guess I’m your host – what am I here to talk about? Well, I’ve been threatening to do this for a while, but this is really just a short intro/teaser trailer if you want to call it that and I just wanted to give you an idea what to expect from this new podcast. I should start by saying it is a business podcast. At least that’s the category that I’ve chosen to describe it. And to be more precise, I’m going to call this a real estate and property show. But it’s going to be slightly different from the other ones that are out there insofar as I am going to focus on the mental game, the crucial mindset, behaviours, strategies that you really need to implement to succeed as a successful property investor/developer, to build wealth, to assemble a world class asset portfolio capable of weathering anything, all the ups and downs – we certainly know a lot about that at the moment. I’ve gone through a number of recessions. We’re going through a once in a lifetime Black Swan event, I think you call it – that is of course COVID-19.
Now I’ve been putting off doing this podcast for quite a while. Primarily the reason behind that was, I always thought that making a podcast and listening to my own voice was a little narcissistic. Second of all, I couldn’t quite put a finger on what it is that I wanted to talk about. I had already established, what I called the PropTech Innovate podcast. I did that about two years ago – it didn’t really go very far. I just kind of ran out of things to talk about when I realised there were already some very interesting people out there talking about proptech and innovation. So I decided let them carry on doing what they’re doing – they’re very good at it and I’ll try and find something else that I’m particularly adept at talking about.
Having shared so many stories with my friends and my peers, they all encouraged me to hit this record button, so here I am today. I’ve been in the real estate/property industry sector for about 25 years and I have all the scars to prove that, a narcissist really only ever tells you the stories that make them look good. They’re always flawless. There’s there’s never a story about the failures, it’s only ever stories about successes that no mistakes ever made, blah, blah, blah. That’s not what you’re going to get here. You are going to get the warts-and-all version that a lot of people don’t talk about, and it can be painful to share that at times, but I’ve found that when I do share it – I usually share it with small group of people and when I’ve done that in the past – they’ve said to me that it’s very helpful, that they’ve kind of learned from that, so the intention here is to basically provide some value, help you guys maybe sidestep some of the pain and suffering that I went through. To pick up the habits, the lessons, the tips, that I’ve picked up over a long career.
So the three areas that I’m going to cover as part of these discussions that I have are going to be in the area of innovation – I haven’t completely abandoned the proptech story, but I’m just not going to be so narrow on that hole topic, the next area is inspiration. And by that, I mean, I want to tell you stories and have discussions that inspire you, and that could be inspiration in the form of learning about a certain type of style or a theme that’s kind of coming at the moment, or it could simply be informing you about some of the mistakes I made and maybe it inspires you to do something different. I also look at the area of impact – so the tagline for this podcast is real estate investment, innovation, impact. The impact is really what is it all about? Why are you here? Why are we doing all this? Is it just to put money in the bank? Or are you trying to leave some sort of a legacy behind for your family? Or it could mean the benefits that you bring your community or the world in general? One of the areas that I am very interested in because I have four kids and my teenagers are particularly keen on the environment and sustainability, being green and things of that nature. So I want to obviously make sure that I’m doing my bit. The real estate industry is 40% of all greenhouse gases. So if we can bring down that that’s gonna make an impact.
But also one of the areas that I’m trying to make an impact is in mental health. This is an industry that has enormous amounts of suffering if you get it wrong, and I can speak to that having seen it. I’ve also had close relatives of mine take their own lives, it’s actually happened twice in the last 20 years to cousins, uncles, people that were close to me and it was completely shocking at the time, I had no idea that they were struggling with this. This is an industry that if you go into it with your eyes closed and you’re not aware of the risks, you can end up in a situation where taking your own life actually seems like a viable option. And I’ve seen the effects of it on the families afterwards and stuff, so from my point of view, I really want to try to help you sidestep this kind of pain and suffering and help you build the resilience, the mindset, the strength of character that you need to survive in this business.
It’s all fine when it’s going up, but you really need to think about what happens when it turns around and goes down. And if you believe that you’re going to see all the signs before anyone else, and you’re going to be out of it before anyone else, then you’re deluding yourself – that would be a thing that I would suggest that you take a moment to reflect on. Do you really think you’re the smartest person in the world that you can see stuff that nobody else can see? We all get caught by these things and I would say, I think it’s highly unlikely anybody predicted in December that COVID-19 was going to cause a worldwide lockdown. At the moment, there are 3.9 billion people in lockdown, which has more than half the world’s population – if you go back to 1950, there were not that many human beings alive on this planet! It’s just an insane time and nobody could have expected it. It’s very hard to weather that kind of a storm, but if you take these strategies into account, you would hopefully find yourself able to weather the storm better, at least than you would if you, like me, make the mistakes that could be avoided.
For those of you who are wondering about the experience that I have and whether it’s relevant to what you are trying to do, I’m going to let you know that my experience ranges from buying single houses and trying to flip them. I’ve also gone and I’ve bought a house with a bit of land on a built a house on it or extended the house or built two houses or three houses. I’ve done that a couple of times. So that’s the kind of smaller scale developments and investments, which I guess some of you guys will relate to. Now on the other side of the spectrum, I work in a family business that has been around for 50 years. This business has built a number of very large and I guess you would call them world-class assets. I currently run East Point Business Park, that’s where I am recording this podcast from now. East Point is a business park or an office campus with 40 acres – it’s taken us about 25 years to build it. I’ve been involved since 1999 when my uncle died unexpectedly. I had to step into his shoes as director on the board. This is a big park with about 50 corporate occupiers in the region of 9,000 people working here normally on a day to day basis. At the moment, I would say if we’ve got 40 or 50, that’s, that’s a lot because we’re in the middle of this, COVID-19 locked down.
In terms of other experience I’ve also done a bit of traveling. I mean, I’m recording this from Dublin Ireland, which is my hometown, but I spent a number of years abroad. First of all, moved to the South of Spain. I took my family down there. I got involved in a retail, a waterfront commercial complex that I fell in love with and was of the view that I was going to turn into a very, very high class Puerto Banús type boutiques, Gucci, and Prada and all that. That didn’t work out for me. That was one of the big mistakes of my career. I also went and I’ve bought apartments in New York city. I’ve been involved in the construction of a very large office building, a headquarters for Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai. And I also spent time in Ghana, in West Africa, setting up for the construction of a second headquarter building for Standard Chartered in that city of Accra. They were very, very exciting projects – I really enjoyed working on them, but I didn’t stay involved in that Ghana one because it just stretched on for years and years.
I went to Qatar and I spent about a year and a half living in Doha, working with my local partner. We looked at a number of projects ranging from housing, to offices, to retail. And then I moved to London and I spent about a year and a half in London during which time I started getting involved in student housing. So you can see, I have a wide range of experience across the board from tiny projects to really big, large projects that required investment in the, in the tens of millions. So I’ve gone through all of that, I’ve been a promoter where I raised the money myself. I’ve been project manager, development manager, I’ve gone through all of those different roles. So hopefully you’re gonna find something, some relevance in my background and perhaps it’ll help you connect with me in some sort of a way.
I don’t wanna make this podcast too long, so I’m probably going to leave it there. Just to say that I hope you found this first episode interesting and engaging and I hope it’s convinced you to stay tuned for at least the next one. If you like what you’ve heard so far, I would ask you please to subscribe to the podcast – I don’t know what you’re listening to, whether it’s iTunes or Spotify whatever, but also if you could leave me a review because that’ll help me move up the line in terms of the algorithm and the suggestions and just get it shared out there amongst people. And if you could actually, it would be great if you could share it with any friends or colleagues you think might find it useful.
Lastly, if you want to reach out to me, if you want to suggest any topics that you’d like covered, you have any questions. Please send an email to email@example.com now that is probably gonna confuse you, but I also have a YouTube channel called PropTechTV – I put videos on that, not dissimilar in fact you’re going to see this launch of the podcast on my YouTube channel if you want to see the visual of this office here. You can also find me on my website which is gavinjgallagher.com and I’m on all the social media platforms that you can expect – I have a Facebook Page, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m also on Twitter and I’m on Instagram.
So that’s it guys, I hope you found this useful. I hope it’s over you’re all good, stay healthy. And I look forward to speaking to you in the next episode. Thanks a lot.
Listen to the Episode: