As a homeowner, you may wonder how much your home is worth. After all, your home is likely your most valuable asset. While many factors contribute to a home’s value, understanding the basics can help you make informed decisions about your home’s worth. It’s also important to have someone who empowers you to make buying or selling your home simple, transparent, and economical.
In this episode, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert Price talks about how he built Bōde from the ground up and how it modernized real estate in Canada. Bōde has everything you need to buy and sell your home with confidence. It is a radical shift in how real estate is bought and sold.
Get in touch with Robert Price:
If you are interested in learning more about passively investing in multifamily and Build-to-Rent properties, click here to schedule a call with the CPI Capital Team or contact us at email@example.com. If you like to Co-Syndicate and close on larger deal as a General Partner click here. You can read more about CPI Capital at https://www.cpicapital.ca. #avabenesocky #augustbiniaz #cpicapital
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About Robert Price
Robert Price is one of the founders and the CEO of Bōde, a new peer-to-peer real estate platform that just launched in Alberta. Previously, Robert was a senior executive at Alberta telecom disruptor Axia, which brought high performing low-cost fiber infrastructure to customers in Alberta, the US, France and Singapore. Robert thrives in leading high performing teams who deliver amazing customer experiences and meet critical revenue objectives. With Bōde, he’s brought together an all-star team, including his father and sister, that is shaking up the real estate industry like never before.
Bōde: Modernizing Residential Real Estate In Canada – Robert Price
We have another incredible show for you. If you can please do us a favor, like and subscribe to our show because it helps us continue to build our channel and allows us to keep bringing you some great expert guest speakers like the one we have on this episode.
The show is not monetized. We are not charging you a fee to be here. There’s a lot of time that goes into finding the right guests, bringing them on the show, and adding value to you. All we ask is to please like, subscribe, share, and possibly make comments, and all that great stuff. We have Robert Price with us. I connected with Robert on LinkedIn like how I connect with most other people. I go out looking for a great guest to bring on but our conversation was not about him being a guest.
I enjoyed what he’s done in a great company he’s created and I’m like, “We have got to get this guy on the show because this company is a blue chip prospect and it could change the whole way that real estate is being traded.” Especially for us because of your background as an agent for over ten years and myself being a real estate agent for more than sixteen years. I thought this would be a pretty cool topic to discuss with our guest.
I can’t wait to learn more about Bōde, the company that we are going to be discussing, but also about Robert and how he built this company from the ground up. A lot of people are going to get golden nuggets from that as well.
We will do our Ten Championship Rounds so people can see his perspective about those questions that we put everybody under the gun.
A little bit about Robert. He’s the Founder and the CEO of Bōde. It is an online real estate marketplace that launched in Alberta in 2019 and expanded to Greater Vancouver. Bōde directly connects with buyers and sellers to work out a deal on their own time, schedule, and terms while saving tens of thousands of dollars in commission fees.
Too bad for real estate agents.
We believe this interview with Robert will bring great value to passive and active investors looking to think outside the box when selling and/or buying real estate. Thank you so much for being here, Robert.
Thanks for having me. It’s quite an honorable and humbling intro. I’m very excited to be here and chat some more about tech, innovation, and real estate in general.
Welcome to the show. We are here to discuss your company Bōde, the platform you have created to revolutionize real estate purchase and sales. Let’s start with you. If you don’t mind. Please tell us about your background and your starting business.
Out of university, I went into a company called Axia. We built fiber optic networks so that was a high-performing connection directly to customers, government facilities, businesses, and other carriers. In Alberta, we built what’s called the SuperNet so it’s the 17,000-kilometer fiber network and then we took that same model and applied it to France, Singapore, and Massachusetts.
We put together a disruptive approach to creating empowerment and choice for customers. Whereas the typical traditional telcos and cablecos would try to sell you a bundled package that we are all used to in our homes. We unbundled that and said, “Forget the copper and cable. Go fiber and give people that high-performing connection to what we call the Global Option Market,” which is now what we know as the Cloud.
This all sounds pretty obvious now but back in 2005 or earlier when we got this company going that was quite a transformational way of thinking and quite a futuristic approach to believing that it’s going to be the Cloud and the Global Option market of services that are going to change the world in that respect. I spent my career there.
Post-university, I plan to be there for 6 to 12 months on a short-term contract. I liked it and then by the end, I was running the North American services and growth organization. We sold it in 2018 to Bell so that was a great exit for our shareholders. That allowed me to turn loose with some of the best Axia talents to build Bōde.
Isn’t that a consistent story that you hear from a lot of entrepreneurs? You look at Elon Musk selling PayPal and then trying to solve a problem that exists out there. It’s the same thing with Uber. Uber’s CEO also exited a different company that started. It seems to be a consistent story. When I listened to the story of Uber’s CEO, they sat back and said, “What is a problem we could solve?”
There wasn’t a certain asset class. They didn’t have any certain focus that they wanted. It was broadly speaking, “What is the problem we can solve?” What was it about real estate, particularly on the purchase and sale side that interested you for you to then allocate so much time, resources, and dedicate your whole life when you started building Bōde? How did that come about? Why real estate?
In my case, it was a personal experience. It was me buying and selling my last property in Calgary back in 2017. I was still in Axia at this time. I was looking for a modern solution where I can control the process and know that I’m going to do a lot of the work anyways. I’m going to look at pricing and locations. I’m going to run my filters and find exactly what I want on the buyer side. On the sell side, do similar work in terms of understanding values, positioning it, staging it, and doing all those things.
I wanted to have a modern way to control that experience, similar to what I would have if I was booking a flight or if I’m booking a hotel, or even trading stocks. I wanted that experience in real estate because it’s a big transaction. It’s going to make a lot of sense for me to be smart about it and what I found was that it didn’t exist at all. It was not an option so I did what pretty much every Canadian does and hired an agent. We went through this whole process on both the buyer and seller side and I felt like he was in my way.
He was playing telephone tag on his schedule versus the cell agent schedule. We are asking questions back and forth with four parties because there are two agents on both deals. He’s pushing paper. We get to the negotiation and I’m saying this exact thing, “I know I have done the work on this and you are my mouthpiece in this deal,” so to speak. I wrote him a $50,000 check at the end and I felt like he got in the way administratively and I was in all of the intellectual work.
That’s where it came from for me was the fact that experience and the amount of money that I paid for it is crazy for where the world is now. That wouldn’t be true many years ago when there was no internet and all the inventory wasn’t available. You didn’t have the pricing, the data, and all these other tools available to you. You didn’t need this human network. You didn’t need these agents finding other buyers and doing the analog things that they used to do.
The problem is over that same period, home values have gone up dramatically and commissions have stayed the same percentage-wise. Agents are earning 3 to 4 times what they were earning many years ago, doing less work at the same time. Half the Canadian market is not happy with that. We estimate that there are at least 50% of Canadians would prefer to sell with little or no advisory services.
That’s where the problem came from, my own experience and then diving deeper into it. I said, “This has a big chance to change this industry to make homes more affordable and to empower buyers and sellers with the capacity to take this on with high-tech solutions that automate a whole bunch of the administrative side of it.”
When I used to sell real estate back in the day and this is one of the largest transactions that they were going to be doing in their life. They take it by the heart so personally, and it’s everything to them. To have 23,000 real estate agents to pick from here in British Columbia to try to find the right one who they believe is going to hopefully have their back and relay exactly how you said, “I know exactly what I want,” and put their heart and soul into it can be anxiety-ridden for them to hand over this huge task to somebody to take over that way. This is something that’s close to home.
With 23,000 real estate agents, they can pretty much choose from the pool of 1% because there’s 1% of realtors that do the majority of the transaction so now there’s a bottleneck and most of these guys are too busy to answer calls and what have you. Going back to the question that I asked and the answer you gave. Not only are you solving a problem, but it was also a problem that you faced. It was cool that you answered in that way.
It’s also realizing that a lot of people probably face that problem.
Real estate is one of those basic needs of human beings. You are going into a type of a business that’s one of the human needs but also most of the real estate is that retail consumer which they are buying either primary residence or selling. That’s where the majority of the real estate is taking place. Solving that problem within that space is huge.It makes no sense that the seller is paying the buy-side agent in any scenario. They have nothing to do with each other. It's the buyer and the buyer-agent that should have the relationship. Click To Tweet
Allow me to quickly decipher from someone who’s been in real estate for many years. Let me decipher this idea of a broker. Are brokers needed in real estate transactions? Absolutely, I would say, but there are certain transactions that need the broker much more than the average person or family selling their condo downtown Vancouver or a home in a suburb. The attention and care you need for that, and for us, for example, buying a $50 million asset from a broker on an off-market deal, that broker has leverage against us because he’s got deals that are off-market. He’s got a track record. We have got to beg, plead, and take him out for dinners to be on that list.
That relationship is much greater than, “If you have got a condo downtown where the prices are obvious and it’s not that complicated. It’s pretty much putting it on an MLS and hoping that it sells.” I wanted to decipher the need and importance of having a broker for people who are reading. In my opinion, I get bad feedback from lots of real estate agents.
We are realtors ourselves so we can relate. I wanted to dive in quickly to the system of Bōde. How can somebody sign up to Bōde? What is it like for them? How do they build confidence that they are going to be okay doing it on their own?
Maybe touching on the previous point. A big part of the founding premise of this is that if people are empowered with the data, the tools, and all the critical information so they are not at an information disadvantage or a market disadvantage. They could be successful. What we found is our sellers sell for 1.3% more than an agent-based service because they are confident in their numbers. They are willing to be patient and wait for the right numbers.
Do they sell more NETA fees?
That is what they listed for versus what they sell for. The list-to-close ratio is 1.3% higher and that’s because, at the end of the day, that last $30,000 or $40,000 to a home seller is a lot of money in equity but to the agent, that’s only hundreds of dollars of their tens of thousands of commissions. Their incentive is to pressure you into accepting early offers. In our model, we don’t do that. We give you everything that you need and then you are making the call. That’s a critical aspect of this. We didn’t start with the founding principle of we don’t like agents or we have something against agents.
We started with the fact that it’s the industry that has broken in the sense of there’s no real competition, as you say, 23,000 agents. How do they differentiate themselves? Everybody has their photos. They are on bus benches, they offer the same rates and they offer similar brands. How do you even determine who to go with?
It’s become commoditized and that’s emblematic of the lack of competition that’s creating choice for customers, which is a big passion of ours. It’s not believing that agents are going away overnight with his business. Instead, it’s saying that it’s better for the market and Canadians if they have a choice like Bōde because that gives you an alternative to what was otherwise, this big ocean of agents.
Coming back to your question, the way that it works is you can buy and sell. You can buy any property on our site that is on Realtor.ca. We are technically a brokerage so we get all realtor listings across Western Canada, roughly 40,000 listings. As a buyer, and somebody did this in Vancouver on a $1 million property, you can make an offer and purchase any realtor listing using the Bōde marketplace and save all of the buy-side commission. Where it’s at is at 4% to 5% depending on where you are in Canada. You are saving $20,000.
Our buyer is saving $20,000 of commission by offering using our platform. That’s taking inspiration from a number of other countries around the world that don’t have buy-side agents at all. In Scandinavia, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, there are no buy-side agents. In Canada and the US, I know that’s where you guys mostly operate.
Two agents on the vast majority, 95%-plus of deals so instantly, we are doubled in terms of commissions what a lot of the rest of the first world is. That is one of the things we are most excited about unlocking. It’s a buyer being able to make offers on any property for free and then on the sell-side, you are able to list your property. We have an automated listing flow to go through.
Talking about price or input price and descriptions. We will upload and take professional photos and measurements for you and upload those right into your listing, and then you are able to go live in about ten minutes. That’s about the amount of time it takes. Once you go live, we populate your listing on Realtor.ca, Zillow, and thousands of other sites in addition to digitally marketing to a target audience for that specific property.
Our goal is to invite the best of both worlds. Invite agents. As a seller, you are allowed to decide what buy-side commission you offer if any. We are also aggressively investing in finding self-represented buyers and that’s a big part of where our savings come from. We find thirteen times the self-represented buyers than the typical agent service because when they take the agent proposition they are putting the listing on Realtor.ca and inviting other buyer agents.
That benefits them because they want to be buyer-agents themselves so that continues that two-sided agent experience. We are trying to find as many self-represented buyers and when you do, that’s free. In the end, you pay us 1% upon sale. If you don’t sell, no cost to you. We will eat that cost because we want to keep our incentives fully aligned with our customers.
When someone lists their property on Bōde. A Bōde subscriber comes in, sees that property, and ends up being an in-house transaction. Is the savings all consumed by the seller or is the buyer also saving here?
If it’s a self-represented buyer, they are paying $0, and then the seller is only paying 1%. Versus the 4% to 5%, that’s the big savings. On average it is 50% because we do have agents also coming in and making offers also on-platform. You designed it so that agents can make online offers too but what we found is when an agent is involved, the seller saves about 20% on the buy-side commission as well. They are offering a flat rate or they are offering $1 and negotiating something or full commission and negotiating something at the end.
It’s been interesting to watch that happen with sellers where they are saying, “I will offer full buy-side commission and now you have offered $450,000 on my $475,000 listing.” I will accept that offer if the buyer pays the buy-side agent directly. It’s been interesting to watch that. That’s another topic but that is the way it should work.
It makes no sense that the seller is paying the buy-side agent in any scenario. They have nothing to do with each other. It’s the buyer and the buy-agent. That should be the relationship in terms of the commercial aspect of it. They should pay them directly for the services they provide. That change alone at the regulatory level would be helpful to Canadians in a variety of ways.
I remember when I was a real estate agent. Sometimes there would be a discounted brokerage. I worked for RE/MAX so we were the highest cost if you will. When we would go to a listing with a discount of brokerage, right away we’d have to have that conversation with our buyers. It’s like, “We will have to negotiate the commission and everything like that.”
It seems like the tables are turning a little bit more like that and buyers are willing to hopefully step in and start paying some of the commissions for the work that the real estate agent is doing for them. That’s cool. On the selling side of your platform, you can incentivize realtors to still come and work with you and you decide to negotiate from there.
Our goal is to get our seller the best deal. What we often see is a buy-side agent competing with a self-represented buyer but our seller is able to say, “I know my total bill to this when you include the cost of the commissions is X versus it’s free over here of Y.” Often they go with a self-represented deal because there are no buy-side costs in there when they are neck and neck in an office situation. To me, that’s creating integrity in the marketplace.
Our goal is to drive more transparency and more integrity in these transactions and unlock what has been the agent lock on how this all works. Empower the customers. Let them choose what they want, and what level of support they want. The agent has to compete for that service as opposed to agents doing everything.
We, as customers, have to work around their locks in the way that this industry has manifested. It’s a psychological change and it’s all about the customer at the end of the day. That’s the golden rule. When you have that in mind, as opposed to the incentive of keeping the industry the way it has been, which is where the agents are, then you end up in a good competition that adds value to the market.
Talking about agent lock and talking about monopolies that exist, let’s talk about MLS. How do you guys plan to get around MLS, which is the number one monopoly that agents hold both in Canada and the US?
We use it. As we are a brokerage, we do get access to MLS and we get all their listings. We get all the data that the agents get. Our listings go on Realtor.ca or MLS and we are able to have all their listings on our site as well. That’s a big part of why we are a brokerage. It is a monopoly in that sense but it makes sense for us to be part of that on the inside of the industry with our membership in the community.
We pay our fees, we are regulated, we have audited trusts and all the things that a typical brokerage would have. The difference being at the regulatory level, we are not providing advisory services to clients. We are providing tools, data, contracts, and everything they need to be successful so that has a different regulatory status but fundamentally, MLS is part of our value proposition.
Talking about data, CPI Capital has a weekly newsletter that sends out to our investor community and it’s also my newsletter on LinkedIn, which has 1,000 subscribers but I know how much work goes into collecting data to write my weekly newsletter about different topics. Talk to us about collecting this data. Talk to us about the possibility of your team internally putting together data to make it user-friendly for your buyers and sellers to come into your platform and utilize that data.
Our organization was put together with that in mind. Our chief revenue officer is a mathematician and an economist and we have data scientists that work on this as well. The constitution of our company is different from a typical brokerage, where you have a broker and a bunch of salespeople because of how different our model is.
From a data perspective, we have three data tools, market data, sold data, and comparables. Market data is what’s going on in your community. How do I compare community X versus community Y, sales, trends, inventory, and all of that? It gives you a broader perspective on how your community is working against other adjacent communities.
Sold data is going back in some cases a decade-plus of all the transactions that have happened on that particular address, the amount that they sold, and the timestamp of when that happened. You have that background, and also some pictures or links to their address, so you get the full picture of what happened.
Comparables are patent-pending algorithms that we put together. Through the algorithm, you put in some basic property information and it will give you active and sold listings. They give you a percent, the top five of each. What is most comparable that’s active in the market and what is most comparable that has sold with pricing and additional data behind it. That is effectively automating what an agent does when you ask them to send comparables. We have automated that.
We believe it’s better because we don’t have any agendas in terms of what we send. It’s using the raw market information, providing that objectivity, and giving you those pieces of information. Three of those tools all work in concert to give you a multi-dimensional view of values. Our customers like them. It’s all available for free and important for both the buyer and the seller, depending on where they are at to get smart about values. Often when we have a peer-to-peer transaction, no agents are involved at all. They are using the exact same information which expedites the close of that transaction because we are both looking at the same information as opposed to, “My agent told me this. My agent told me that. It’s different comparables set.”
No. They are using all the same information so it takes the emotion and the misinformation out of it and it has the two focus on finding a number that works for them. Anytime, it’s our buyers and sellers doing it directly. Those are the best deals we have. Often, they become friends, which is interesting when you typically never meet the person. In the old process, you never meet them. In our world, they are having dinner parties together afterward.
I was going to say that I would be like, “Come over for some dinner. Let’s negotiate a nice and beautiful deal.” I have a question for you. I was thinking about this because it’s fantastic for people wanting to buy or sell. For example, I no longer have access to the MLS. My license expired long ago but still, in some cases, we have properties and we want to see what’s going on in the market. What’s our property’s worth right now? How about for people like us who aren’t wanting to buy and sell right now but we want to keep track of what’s happening? Maybe we want to pull up some comparables and instead of trying to call our realtor friends, maybe we can have access to your platform. Talk to us about that.
Those tools that I walked through are real-time updated and are available for free. Provide an email because our regulations required us to date it that way but once you want to sign up for a free account, it’s available to you at any time for any purpose at your convenience forever. That’s one of the big things we are excited about. Exactly to your point, even when you are not in the transaction mentality, how else do you track one of your biggest assets?
In Canada, 70% of our net worth is tied up in our home and yet we wait for what would be a tax assessment once a year or pay $500 for an appraisal, which is expensive and inconvenient or ask an agent to send you some stuff. Typically, the agent only wants to work with you when you are serious about buying and selling. One of the roadmap things that we are excited about simplifying even more is you should be treating your home like it’s part of your portfolio from an asset perspective.It's all about the customer at the end of the day. When you have that in mind, as opposed to the incentive of keeping the industry as it has been, you end up in a good competition that adds value to the market. Click To Tweet
How often do you check your stocks when you have your public equity? In my case, I’m looking every couple of days. Those are all much smaller bets than the house that I own in terms of total financial impact. We want to empower people to have awesome real-time access at any point to understand the value of their home, which also allows us to make smarter decisions on when to sell, when to buy, and what’s going on. It’s one of our most passionate pursuits.
Even with the interest rates rising, the market is going to affect how the markets going. You can keep track of what’s happening with the prices and determine everything going on there. That’s cool.
I had some more questions about the company itself. Building a company and growing it. I keep making comparisons with Uber. What I think is a great comparison is this idea or concept that we call revolutionary but it’s such a great concept that others might have tried this in the past or there might be other companies trying to present this service. How does Bōde differentiate against those companies or are you guys the first to offer such a service in Canada?
We are the first, as far as we know globally, to offer this fully online high-tech experience to automate buy and sell transactions in the model we have described. The previous people that have looked at this have always come from the agent-first mentality. What are the ways that we can innovate agents? That is a different mindset. If you have all of this functionality, this technology, and the data, then you don’t need the agent at all.
We have a different company composition because we are a tech company that is technically a brokerage. Other companies have always started with the mentality of you have to have an agent. We will offer an agent for less money or will try to have a call center, the likes of Purplebricks. We will try to automate and streamline and create economies of scale with agents. Instead of them all being local, we can maybe get some aggregation there. Redfin does the same.
You end up with a compromised experience, in my opinion, because you still have all of the experiential flaws, you are still dealing with the person at every step of the process. You still have, “What about scheduling?” I have got a call into a call center to try to get a hold of somebody to ask a question. How do I make sense of all this? When an offer comes in, am I aware that I’m getting all offers? Have I got it right away? Think of all those different challenges.
It creates huge inefficiencies still so it hasn’t solved the efficiency problem and they end up still having many buy-side agents coming to the table as well. Effectively, they are still getting the full buy-side commission going as they are paying that full buy-side rate so you don’t end up saving much in the end as a result and you don’t have a great experience.
In your Uber example, it wasn’t taxis that created Uber. It was a guy that came at it from a fresh perspective with no baggage, in terms of what works and what doesn’t work in the industry. It’s a clean slate and that’s much where I came at this from with the other founders who don’t have real estate-specific experience. They have tech experience but we are able to come out with an uninhibited view of what would work and not get mired or bogged down. If you are starting with that other agent-based mentality, then you keep getting stuck.
Let’s talk about growth. You started like Uber starting in a small demographic. You started in Alberta and now you are working in the Greater Vancouver area. What are the plans? What’s your growth? Is Bōde in the startup phase? Is it cashflowing? Where is that at in that space as well, if you can talk about both the growth and what stage is it at?
The growth has been really exciting. We grew by 400% in 2021 poised to more than do that again in 2022.
Is that geographically, revenue, or subscriber growth?
That’s revenue. We have launched the interior of BC as well so we now have about 80% of the British Columbian market. We are on the cusp of launching in Toronto. That will be Ontario and plan to be across all the significant Canadian markets in the few years as well as looking at American expansion. It’s been a lot of fun riding this wave of growth and seeing how much customers love what we do.
The number one thing that gets us out of bed in the morning is feeling and having customers say, “I knew it wasn’t that complicated. I have been told that it’s complicated for years.” For me going through this process and taking it on directly is so much easier than I have been told. It’s what I always believed to be true. Financially speaking, we are at this point of trending towards profitability, which is exciting but our main goal is to get national coverage and to start to earn significant market adoption in all the key markets.
Are you guys planning to go through an IPO and become publicly traded? Is that within your plans as well?
It’s certainly an option for a company like this. It’s a great public company because it’s a challenge that people fundamentally understand. We certainly have it as an option in the future but it’s not necessary to make the company successful. We will evaluate that over the next few years.
Let’s get to the next segment of our show. We are also going to ask our friend how you can get in touch with him but let’s get to the next segment of our show.
The Ten Championship Rounds to Financial Freedom. Go ahead. Whatever comes top of mind. Here’s the first question. Who was the most influential person in your life?
In the financial domain, I would say that it’s probably my dad. He’s an entrepreneur himself. He produced many successful businesses. He built his whole career from scratch.
He was connected to Husky Mobile or some goliath of an oil company.
Husky Energy. He was the CEO of Husky Energy when he was 28.
The actual Husky, the gas station that we see or that’s different?
That’s the same company. Lots of great insight and he is the guy I can always go to on any topic.
What’s the number one book you recommend?
Number one book for financial resources?
No, it can be for anything. All these questions are for anything in life.
It can be for personal growth.
When that question was asked, I recommended Sapiens, which is about the evolution of human beings from the start so it can be any book. It doesn’t have to be financial.
In my case, I have read so much during the day. I don’t casually read that much but I do love podcasts. I find that the Sam Harris Podcast is an awesome source of politics, the way that your mind works, the way that you think about happiness and utility of your life, lifestyle, global issues, and geopolitical challenges. He’s a brilliant guy and one resource I like.
You have got to let him know to take that challenge from Mehdi Hasan and take that debate challenge, which has been hiding for years from doing. Let’s go to the next question.
If you had the opportunity to travel back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy the moment. As an entrepreneur, you are always looking to the next milestone to the next milestone.
You call that Arrival Fallacy.
Live, enjoy, take the odd time to take a deep breath and feel great about what you are doing and enjoy what you are doing, at the moment. Get some utility from that. Get some brief satisfaction from the pursuit of what you are doing is big and challenging but at the end of the day, life is short. Don’t get too focus on the future. Enjoy the present.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the journey. The destination will come. If you like it or not, it will come.
What’s the best investment you have ever made?At the end of the day, life is short. So don't get too focused on the future. Enjoy the present. Click To Tweet
It’s going to be Bōde. I was also an early investor of Symend. I don’t know if you have heard of the company but it’s one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. I was the advisor and investor there. They are poised for IPO and have globally expanded. It’s a cool company and a great investment for me.
What’s the worst investment you have ever made and what lessons did you learn from it?
I haven’t lost any money on any investments, which is at least a big part of my luck. I have only broken even. It always makes sense. I’m naturally a long-term guy. I’m looking at the fundamentals. Look at the long-term opportunity and treat it that way. I made a couple of short-term investments that I thought could make a quick return and ultimately, they didn’t. For me, it’s keeping that long-term perspective.
That leads me to my next question. How much would you need in the bank to retire today? What’s your number?
For me, I think of it a little differently. Once you have made enough money to cover your bills, be able to put food on the table, have power to your home and put clothes on your back, and have the basic necessities covered, I have never thought that any additional money changes my level of happiness.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It goes back to that.
For me, it’s about the impact and about making the world a better place. That will take different forms. That can take the form of Bōde, which is a for-profit company, but also nonprofit, and other community-centric businesses. I don’t have a number but I don’t think of it that way anyway.
You look at it more of cashflow, rather than a net worth idea. As long as the cashflow is there to allow you to do other things.
If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, who would it be?
It would probably be Michael Jordan because he’s a fascinating guy. He’s been through so much in his life and his career. He essentially changed sports forever in a variety of ways. It’d be interesting to be asking him about what happened in his life and get a sense of how he thinks.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing today, what would you be doing now?
Sports or something that you always enjoy doing. What would it be?
I played Division I tennis in the US and at school. I knew I was never going to be good enough to go pro. You know that when you are 14 or 15 years old because you have to stop going to school and dedicate your life to it at that age. It’s a big hypothetical. If I was good enough, I’d still enjoy being on tour for sure. That’d be a lot of fun to play in the pro ranks.
Book smarts or street smarts?
Street smarts. The people that are close to me often say, “How did you get to that? I read this whole book on this topic. It’s a 300-page book on what we talked about. You grasped it and got to the same conclusion that I got to in a five-minute conversation.” I can’t fully describe what that is but it’s intuition. It’s the ability to make sense of complex issues and deal with things as they come at me. I’m quick on my feet and that is probably my biggest strength.
Last question. If you had $1 million cash, and you had to make one investment today, what would it be?
I’m going to emphasize this question because it’s a particular question. You have got $1 million and it’s very liquid. You can make one investment, and you have to do it today. What would it be? The markets are closing pretty soon here too.
I would probably sink it into Bōde.
Grow your company and help lots of people.
That’s a man who believes in his company. That was great, Robert. I appreciate it. Thank you for coming on and sharing what Bōde is up to. If you do go hyperbolic, this will go hyperbolic so we can’t wait for that. We got you on here and discussed it. We love the idea. It’s like I said, in that initial connection we had on LinkedIn and the initial call that we had. I’m like, “This is something that I want to share with others,” so we are glad that we got you on here.
All great companies and businesses are built by solving a problem. This is on another level. It’s cool. If you could let everybody know how they can reach you, that’d be great.
Bode.ca is our website but feel free to hit me up directly on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active there. Those are the two main ways. I enjoyed this conversation immensely. It’s a lot of fun. I’d love to do it again sometime.
Thanks for being here.
Thank you. Cheers