Why I am relentlessly optimistic

Written by Max Osbon on May 27, 2015

I’d like to take you inside the mind and life of a 27 year old. Me, that is. From my perch as a partner in Osbon Capital and a proud resident of the Fort Point area in Boston the world looks bright, promising and full of opportunity. Here’s why.

Things cost less
People complain about high and rising real estate prices in the city but my experience has been the opposite. I pay the early adopter rate in my Fort Point rental because I signed on before the building was even halfway finished. I recently referred a friend into the building and he received two months free rent and we split a $1000 referral fee. No fees anywhere, just the opposite, gifts wherever you think to ask. Pricing is always competitive, completely negotiable and is not as advertised. Even more, 10 percent of our building is mandated “affordable.” Those units pay 1/3 of what I do.

Opportunistic people see that there are an endless number of business still waiting to be created. Whoever solves these in particular is going to do very well for themselves. (Credit: Ryan Allis)

In the device market, I recently got the Apple Watch. I call it “my $5 billion watch” because that’s how much Apple invested to develop it. Two years ago, if you could have found a prototype it probably would have cost $10,000. Yet, it is mine today for $347.

How about a discretionary item, like travel? More good news. You can get all the tickets you want, back and forth, any time, as many times as you want direct from Boston to our local paradise, Nantucket. How much? $2000 per month with Beacon Air. Sounds like a lot until you check a comparable airlines book-ahead round trip of $700.

Lastly, clothing and appearance, a style and a necessity. The competition is stiff. Forget Macy’s and branded department stores. If you haven’t already, check out Bonobos, Warby Parker, Proper Cloth and Shave Club for retail from the start up sector. Sometimes you’ll find completely custom goods at 10-30 percent off comparable prices. From where I sit, the more I know about my options and the closer I look, the better the prices get.

Things work better
I pay attention to new services that make things easier for me. I don’t own a car so local Zipcar rentals save me from paying car insurance, maintenance and even gas (Zipcar picks up the cost of gas). Uber, the transportation network, has been my friend for a year now. I take taxis, too, and ride a bike through Hubway, but Uber is choice number one for getting from A to B at a fair price, reliably…while providing freelance employment for thousands of drivers across the Boston region.

Charity works better too. I’m on my fourth annual Wall Street Decathlon this June 14th. The group has now raised over $5 million for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to fight pediatric cancer. The decathlon has added a team day to the individual competition and the event just gets better each year…with charity the real winner.

Even the news is better. I don’t mean the actual news, I mean getting it when and how I want it. Curated news is close to free and I get the Times, Globe, WSJ, Economist and articles posted by the people I follow closely right to my phone 24/7.

There are more things
Without a lot of effort you can find new things you never thought you would want or need. Yet they become instantly valuable. Examples are HourlyNerd to quickly hire MBA level consultants and services, Drafted for jobs (hiring companies pay referral bonuses for circulating job postings), Airbnb for great places to stay when I travel. The philosophies behind these services is not just to share resources, ideas and access, but also to make sure everybody wins. They make economies less transactional and more personal. We want less discord and more solidarity. Some of these things are so good you almost can’t not use them.

It’s relentless
“Relentless” for the optimist means the opportunity to see more, do more, share more, give more, and pay less is constant. It’s much easier to be relentless with each passing month it seems, as I hinted in The Power of A Favor. Relentless means my friends will get good looks at good jobs constantly through Drafted. It means efficient travel to cool destinations through Airbnb. Relentless also means you question, you ask…as in, “what is the real price?” or, “how did you do that?” You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

It seems easier to be optimistic, involved, inclusive and generous these days. Our shared experiences are fantastic, and the impact ricochets back to the giver in powerful and positive ways. I’ve even gained clients from twitter and good friends from AirBnB, for example. That’s relentless optimism at work.

What does it all mean?
I believe the world belongs to the optimists. We have more fun, stay curious, meet amazing people and make more money, too. If you agree or not, please click back to me with your comments, observations and suggestions. I am optimistic I will learn something new and useful from you.

Max Osbon – mosbon@osboncapital.com


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