Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brushing the Dust Off

It's been a few years now. I haven't fluffed the sheets of the Ol'e Dictum in quite some time. 😏  Well, that's about to change.

Sure, there's bound to be a little rust on the engine nowadays. But I think the wheels will keep turning just like they used to. 🚜

I used to have a pretty good presence on the web. Not to say I was of importance to any number of people, but that I was previously much more active than I am now. I don't post on my blog or Facebook anymore and I less frequently post on Instagram. I guess I feel like the zest and excitement of blasting my content out into the etherspace has diminished. After all, I am mostly looking for a few cheap laughs and a chance to be sarcastic. But I also enjoy having a record of some of my thoughts. I think a lot of people write so that they don't forget things. That's definitely one of my primary reasons for writing. I need to get back to that.

Things seem to have changed on-line: in the social media realm, anyways. The content is increasingly less written word and more photographic or video (think early days of facebook vs. instagram or snapchat). Fair enough, that's probably more interesting than writing. Can't say I've really ever enjoyed reading someone's blurbs unless they just seem like a lunatic. HOWEVER!! I kind of like to write some of these long, windy posts on the blog. They're definitely not important, but they're gratifying in a way, like exercise: not fun before you do it, mindlessly enjoyable in the moment, and fulfilling afterwards. It's one of those things you know you should do.

So, devoted readers, sit down, grip tight, and prepare yourself for a veritable SPRINKLING of some of the web's FINEST blogging materials from your most trusted source for fake news:


Friday, January 24, 2014

Wisdom off the Wall

I was sitting in the M.L. Rose Bar (formerly known as the Melrose Bar) last night drinking a beer with a friend. It's one of those bars where the walls are covered with vintage posters, bumper stickers, and novelty signs - chachki stuff. During the conversation, my eyes kept landing on a bumper sticker that said :

"If you can't beat someone, arrange to have them beaten." 

It's been bouncing around inside my head since for no particular reason. I don't know why it's stuck with me. The phrase is fine, but what gets me is why someone would want to advertise that devious little strategy on the walls of their bar or the bumper of their car? It's such an offhand way to address competition and ambition. I may be extrapolating a little here, but honestly what is someone thinking when they put that on their car? "Everyone that sees me from behind will know that I am the type of person to arrange a beating." "It is I who arrange the beatings when strength is not in my favor." "I read this once! In a book! Now too the motorists shall be subject to this wisdom!"

Well, anyways...yeah, people who do bumper stickers are asking for attention. Having attention drawn to your sneaky ways probably isn't good - not even that sneaky. And in conclusion, I feel like facebook posts are the bumper-stickers of the internet. 

UPDATE: (approx. 3 minutes after original posting)
I googled the quote and it comes from comedian George Carlin - not Machiavelli. It's a play on "if you can't beat them, join them". Okay, guess I took it too seriously and missed the humor. Either way, the good news is I've created original content for The Snyder Dictum.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Onto Greener Pastures

Some people find comfort in adage, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." There's truth in the meaning that an opportunity often looks brighter from afar. Over emphasizing the greenness of the grass can cause you to chase your tail and waste your time. Sometimes you really aught to stick with what you've got. But taking too much faith in this quip can be negative if it deters you from jumping the fence when that grass really IS greener. 

You can miss valuable opportunities if you don't take a chance in pursuit of greener pastures. If you want to grow, you have to struggle, venture and do things you have never done before; you have to leave your comfort zone. In a different environment or situation you face the challenge of understanding new concepts, processing new information, and engaging with new forces. Whether it's a job, lawsuit, date, vacation, investment, transaction, or something else you have never done before, you will be challenged. One must adapt. This leads to personal growth in experience and knowledge; it may even develop new skills. So, the pursuit itself is rewarding, but more importantly seizing those opportunities can lead to great benefits. 

There really can be better things, places, people, and resources in life than what you have right now. Never lose prudence, but you can't let comfort and skepticism, let alone cynicism, burden the choices that are required to get to those greener pastures. 
Cheers to greener pastures in 2014. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today's Buyer

The real estate market is expansive and, therefore, can be difficult to define. However, there are two general ways to gain insight into the market. One way is quantitative analysis: looking at the hard transaction figures, mainly numbers. Another way is qualitative analysis: looking at the types of transactions, properties, and parties involved.

The more conversational approach to analysis is the qualitative.  An interesting question that help me define the market from this approach is:
What do home-buyers want today? 

First, let me say this question is important because it is central to the idea of "beginning with the end in mind." If you are active in today's market, whether you are investing, buying or selling, you should spend some time with this principle. It is essential to identify your purpose for being in the real estate market, and equally important to weigh decisions based on their likelihood of achieving that purpose. 

To put it frankly, today's buyer wants a good deal! This should come as no surprise; buyer's have always wanted good deals. However, it is especially important in the mind of today's buyers. It is very likely the #1 item on every buyer's list is "getting a good deal." In years past, the #1 item for many may have been location, school system, safety, amenities, newness, or features of the property. But even these important considerations have taken a passenger seat to the pursuit of a good deal!

Example: In 2006 buyer's Bill and Mary may have paid an extra $15,000 because 210 Walnut Ave. had granite in the kitchen and an open floor plan. However, the same buyer's today would rather save that $15,000 and live with formica counters and an extra wall in the foreclosure for sale right down the street. 

The implications span the entire scope of the market, but the quick learners will digest this information and act accordingly. Remember, a piece of property is worth what someone is willing and able to pay for it! Make sure you're not the HIGH bidder!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

House Flips: A Simple Formula

One of the best ways to make successful real estate investments it to learn how to analyze a deal. There are various ways to analyze each deal, and if the deal is good it should be feasible no matter what way you analyze it. However, I recommend analyzing a deal from several different perspectives before deciding to proceed.

Below is a very standard formula for analyzing a flip, it is a formula called MAO (pronounced "mayo")

MAO = ARV x .7 - RC

MAO = Maximum Allowable Offer
ARV = After Repaired Value
.7 = 30% discount
RC = Repair Costs

Verbally, this formula is explained like this: the maximum amount that you would offer for a property is equal to it's repaired market value discounted by 30%, less the cost to renovate.

It is a very simple formula for quick and easy decision making. Though it may be simple, it's a safe formula to keep from making a bad investment. Never exceed MAO when making a purchase.

A common question is why the x .70?
The .7 is a 30% buffer for transaction costs, carry costs, miscalculations, and room for profit.

Think of it this way: 
  • You will essentially break even if the purchase prices is $100,000, the Repair Costs are $50,000 and you can sell it for $150,000. You're not in this business to break even. 
  • But you wouldn't even break even. There are transaction costs and carry costs of flipping a home.
  • Transaction Costs: There are two transactions in a flip: the purchase of the property and the sale of the property. As a buyer you're probably going to pay an agent 3% in the purchase transaction and as a seller you will pay two agents 3% in the sale transaction. That's 9% right there. There are also loan origination and pre-payment penalties - depending on your financing, these can vary from 4% to 10% of the purchase/sale price. 
  • Carry Costs: Rehabbing the property plus the time it takes for it to sell will typically take 60-120 days. So that's a minimum of two months and a maximum of four months worth of mortgage and utility payments. Call that between 4% and 8% of the purchase price. 
  • Worst case scenario for all of these comes to just below 30% and best case comes in around 15%. 
The moral of the story is: 

At what purchase price would the above example fit the MAO formula? 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Financing Income Producing Property

Leverage: How to turn this...

In the previous post I mentioned how to sort through potential investments to see if they met basic income generating criteria. Both of those formulas, Gross Rent Multiplier and Capitalization Rate, measure the income producing ability of a property; they make no account for the financing of the property. This post will introduce a formula and criterion for evaluating an investments ability to produce profits when it is purchased using financing. 

But first, every investor should know the value of financial leverage. If well executed, it can increase returns, and thereby fulfill the function of capital investment: maximizing returns. Given money has a time value, the purpose of leveraging is to maximize capital return in a given time period. Briefly, if $100 can produce $10 in a year and $100 leveraged 5:1 can produce $25 dollars a year, the leveraged investment is the one that maximizes returns. Of course there is more risk, but as a teacher once said: the guy making the most money is the one taking the most risk. In order to get the greatest return in this type of investing, financing (and risk) is almost always a necessity. Another benefit of financing a property is the tax benefit: the interest portion of the monthly debt service is tax deductible. (details to come in another post)

The Debt Coverage Ratio is a measure of a property's income producing ability to repay or "cover" its debt service. The formula is:

  Debt Coverage Ratio = Net Operating Income / Debt Service

Given that this is a ratio of income to a cash outflow, it is best that the quotient be as high as possible. A DCR of "1" means that the property's income fully covers its debts, but no more - it is break even. Any number greater than 1 represents an "after financing" profit. For example, a DCR of 1.2 would indicate that Net Operating Income is 20% greater than the required Debt payments.

Generally, most lenders (banks) that lend on investment properties will require a down payment of 20% and a Debt Coverage Ratio of 1.2-1.25.  There are two important point that should be taken from this:

1.) You can calculate your maximum loan amount using the following formula (i.e. you shouldn't waste your time looking at properties that cost more than this):
 If you can borrow 80%
 Maximum Loan Amount = Available Down-payment Funds x 5
$100,000 = $20,000 x 5

If you can borrow 75%
 Maximum Loan Amount = Available Down-payment Funds x 4
$80,000 = $20,000 x 4

**Note: Down-payment funds are not the total amount you have available to invest, they are separate from repair funds, debt-service funds and emergency funds. 

2.) In order to obtain a conventional bank loan, the property must have a DCR of 1.20 or higher. Here's a quick way to guesstimate that ratio: a $100k @ 6.0% for a 30/yr term will have a monthly debt service of $600. And since the minimum ratio must be 1.2 monthly income must be $720 or higher. 
DCR (min 1.2) = NOI / DS
 1.2 = $720 / $600

   ...into this!    

So, unless you think the property (or the market it's in) can bring in $720 or more each month, don't even consider it. It's a waste of time.  

Also, remember these are barebone minimums and don't include many of the other expenses that come with purchasing real property:
  • HOA dues 
  • Taxes
  • Repairs
  • Insurance (liability, and property insurance - often required by the lender)
  • Transaction costs (title search, loan origination fees, real estate commissions) 
  • Marketing costs
  • Unforeseen expenses (landlording is a different story)

Evaluating Income Producing Property

One of the most common sayings among real estate investors is that you "make your money on the front side." That means the most crucial step throughout the entire process is finding a property that meets the investor's criteria. This can also be the most difficult step in the process. Because of the seemingly endless potential opportunities, a sorting mechanism must be used to quickly and effectively remove the static and highlight the true deals.

If the investment strategy is to cash-flow a property, then there are two rudimentary formulas that can help a deal-hunter sort through the options. The formulas are Direct Capitalization Rate and Gross Rent Multiplier (Cap Rate and GRM for short). Each of these formulas has 3 similar moving parts; simply, they are a price for the property, an estimate of its earning potential, and a measure of return. Though the formulas are very similar, they are used for different purposes. 

First, Direct Capitalization Rate is more often used to determine at what rate a property will return the investment principal. The formula is:    

CAP RATE is the measure of return and is expressed as a percentage
OPERATING INCOME is the cash inflow less the cost of maintaining the property (does not include debt service or tax implications)
PURCHASE PRICE is the principal to be invested (may also include improvement costs)

More often than not, this formula will be used to estimate the CAP RATE, rather than the other two components. So then. the question is, what is an acceptable CAP RATE? For residential rental property, anything above 12% is a healthy gain (compare this to other investment returns). However, an important assumption in this equation is that OPERATING INCOME does not take into consideration debt service. Therefore, this formula is best used for evaluating cash purchases, not financed purchases. Another implicit assumption is the time frame - it is usually an annualized figure. So, CAP RATE can also be thought of as the annual return of principal - if your CAP RATE is 10%, then 10% of the initial investment will be returned each year. An alternative way to use this formula would be determining at what price a specific property meets the CAP RATE criteria (i.e. what price to buy at).

The second formula, Gross Rent Multiplier is mostly used to estimate the market value of an income-producing property. The formula is:

 Gross Rent Multiplier = Market Value / Gross Scheduled Income

GRM is the investment criteria and is expressed as a whole number. 
Market Value is the estimate of the property's current market value (note in this formula, large number is on top)
GSI is the expected (annualized) income. **It does not take into account operating costs or debt service**

Since we're using this formula to quickly sort through various opportunities, the inputs will normally be market value and gross scheduled income - pieces of information that can be estimated from public data sources. The result of the GRM formula is a a whole number, which by definition, is a multiple of one year's Gross Scheduled Income. The GRM can be thought of as the number of years it will take for a property to equate to it's present market value (i.e. pay for itself).To put it another way, a GRM of 1 is where a property pays for itself in a single year, anything lower than that and it's a 100+% return on investment. So, the lower the multiple the better the investment, and the higher the income the lower the multiple. So a decent GRM is usually below 8, but can be much lower if you get in at the right price. In order to sort through the investment opportunities, it is good to set a stiff GRM criteria and stick to it. 

Even though this formula is called Gross Rent Multiplier, it is commonly used to estimate a property's market value. However, this is market value from an investor's perspective (money driven) not an end user's perspective (utility driven). 

These two formulas can be used off the cuff on just about any situation to get a ball park idea of whether or not a property is a good investment. Though, this screening process is only the first step in investment evaluation. Another common saying among investors is that only about 1 in 10 of the properties that seem like GREAT deals actually are.  

This is a Blog about Real Estate

I am a real estate agent with Worth Properties in Nashville and have been licensed since August 2009. Since becoming licensed I have represented both buyers and sellers in over 25 transactions. I have lived in Nashville for all but 6 years of my life. 

I started this blog for an internship I had in Turkey in the Summer of 2008. I wrote a few posts during the trip and then kept posting afterward for no specific purpose. The posts were erratic and had no unifying theme.

Last week, I deleted the old posts and decided to only post about things related to real estate. This blog will have consistency and purpose. Only posts pertaining to real estate development, brokerage, and investment will be on this site.

I love this business.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2nd - Flu Vaccination

I just got vaccinated for this year's flu. Was there a shot involved? No. The lady put a "mist" up my nose and told me to inhale a weakened/active influenza virus.

Much more importantly, the lady giving the shot CAME TO MY OFFICE. This is a brilliant idea - decentralizing simple medical treatments. She had over 15 shots to choose from and all of them were pretty attractive on the spot. Some weren't even preventative shots, but health improving. She had a B-12 shot that supposedly boosts energy (as if I have a deficiency of B-12 after 10 5 hr energy's).

The whole concept reminds me of how Redbox is killing the brick and mortar video outlets - it kills them with convenience. The same goes for food carts over typical restaurants.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Never Mattered To Me

I'm notorious for denouncing sport enthusiasm. When friends tell me they're going to "watch the game," I usually respond with "why?" When they talk to me about their "team," I make sure to say that I don't watch basketball - especially if they're talking about football. Most of them usually get a laugh out of my ignorance, and that's fine; I like it this way. It would be like someone laughing at you because of your shallow understanding of this season's Gossip Girl.

It's like they're acknowledging that I don't waste my time learning about something I consider a huge waste of time. Thank you, guys.

That people attach so much interest and emotion to something that can really only end one of two ways - win or loss - unless we're talking soccer, in which case there might not be a victorious outcome at all, baffles me.

I'm too far along now to ever turn back, to try to invest the time and effort into actually caring about any sport. The only benefit I can perceive is adding another almost universal conversation topic to my inventory. But it doesn't sound all that appealing, especially because I don't like customary small talk anyways.

A final reflection: I save and reinvest an enormous amount of time every year by not watching sports. I'm guessing it adds up to something like an entire waking week annually. So, if I'm not watching sports, what am I dong? My pastimes are:
-Surfin' da web

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thinking and Doing

I do some of my best thinking behind the wheel, especially because I spend so much time driving (a hybrid). With so much time I turn ideas and thoughts over in my head. Who know's how the hell I start thinking of them, but the cool thing is I think thoroughly and deeply. And, that helps me understand things better.

You know the difference between inductive (general to specific) and deductive (specific to general) reasoning, yes? Now, realize that most of the "advice" or "proverbs" we hear are deductive.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Social Life

I've been in Nashville for a year and half now, and I've established a good social network. I have a number of good friends, and I enjoy spending time with all of them. I have several different groups of friends, and they're not all acquainted with one another. This means they're usually not doing the same thing, or in the same place, at the same time. And as most social events tend to occur in the same time frame - lunches, after work, and the ever-too-short weekends - there's a pronounced overlap of different events.

Because of the limited time I have and the variety of people to spend it with, I have a trade-off decision. In other words, who should I spend my time with and for how long? For me, the answer is to try and spend a little time with each group. This fits me because I don't enjoy sitting in the same place for too long - I like to be here, then there, then there, etc. Even when I'm at a bar with my friends, I bounce around having 2 minute conversations with a lot of people rather than a single long conversation with one person.

There's an obvious downside: I'm a little flakier than socialites of the opposite persuasion. If there's a universally liked quality, it's probably consistency. I'm not the most consistent person when it comes to being where I say I'll be on the weekend (for social events, only). The bright side is I enjoy my large, diverse group of friends. Also, this stance puts me in a position to bring the various groups together; and making introductions is a good thing.

This whole consideration is simplified in the common conversational question: would you rather know a little about a lot, or a lot about a little? Well, there's my answer.

So, I'll see you guys this weekend (for a while) (maybe) (really quick)

Also, I'm really sorry if I've ever ditched you. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Seasonal Predictions

Dictum Readers - forgive my extended posting intermission. Requests are best delivered without disclaimers or explanations. And, as I am asking you for nothing less than the divine act, I will attach no such fuzz. Though, on a parallel note, I will say that Winter is no time for blogging.

And what a "shit-ass" winter this has been. It was so bad, it's taken a full week of Spring for me to thaw the frost from my fingers and resume my noble blogging. Now that they're no longer frozen, I can deliver the message I've been carrying on the tip of my tongue lately: I hate the cold, and I hate bad weather. This is a fervent statement.

Though I wasn't blogging, I did some thinking this Winter. In the realm of self-discovery, I've realized just how much my mood and outlook depend on the weather. I've always thought that "weather chat" is excruciatingly trifling conversation. In a sense, I still do - there's hardly anything interesting or original exchanged in the "So what do you think of this weather?" platitude. However, with the persistently bad weather and low temperature, I've been most ready to squawk my disapproval because, really, I'm not talking about the weather; I'm talking about how much it pisses me off. It's a guilty pleasure.

The weather has a strong influence on just about everyone. After this exceptionally cold, record-setting Winter, the Nashville gentry is in a slump. We've all been robbed of one too many days fit for the outdoors. This extended deprivation has us all feeling entitled to some good weather and good times. There's a lot of frustrated desire in the populace, and it's been pent up for too long now. The pressure has been mounting, and with the turn of the seasons, that frustration will turn to fulfillment. After a few slow summer days and long, hot summer nights the people will be back in the high life again.

I think people are going to go NUTS this Summer, especially if this Summer as nice as this Winter was bad. That's my attempt at reading the population's behavior for the coming season. Economically, it should play out as people spending more on outdoor activities, and material goods. On a summer-over-summer, adjusted GDP, relative basis, I'm calling that there will be more consumer dollars going to: bikes, lawn furniture, grills, landscaping, drink recipes, packaged ice, coolers, beer, rafts, roadtrips, dogs, Hawaiian shirts, golf clubs, etc...

So what you need to take away from this is:
-Winter was so bad I didn't blog
-This is my official come back (woot)
-I hate the cold
-Invest in lawn furniture and coolers full of beer...the demand curve is shifting out!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Try This

Today's Snyder Dictum is: 
Tell White Lies to Improve Your Life!

Of course, the Snyder Dictum does not endorse unethical actions. However, a White Lie can be just as good for others as it is for you. Do I have something specific in mind? I most certainly do. This is an inductive Dictum. That is, from specific to general. So, the specific idea I have is this: no matter what day your birthday falls on, be sure to tell everyone that it falls on the day that best suits yours (and their interest). My recommendation is that you tell your friends (and update your facebook to reflect) that your birthday is actually on whatever weekend day (Friday or Saturday) that is closest to your actual date of birth. This way, your annual celebration doesn't detract from others' weekly obligations while allowing you to get the best crowd possible for the proper festivities. Besides, people feel good when they remember your birthday and tell you so and even better when they can actually celebrate it with you. So, don't make them remember the ACTUAL date. Give them a date tat is convenient for them and you. It will make everyone happier in the end. Sound unethical? Take it up with the philosophers. This Dictation is all about practicality.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The New Years Resolutions

In my last post, I know I mentioned my New Years Resolutions. I know the Dictum readership is dying to know what they are, and has probably been wondering I was ever going to post them. Well, just like the Tech Giants who let their consumer products brew into legends before releasing them, I too have kept any formal announcement off the market...until now:

  1. Read a book each week
  2. Get involved with clubs (Toastmasters, Junior Achievement, Chamber of Commerce)
  3. Make a minimum of $1 million in real estate sales
  4. Run the Chicago Marathon - goal pace of 7:30/min
  5. Daily exercise - get fit
  6. Keep a list of tax deductions
  7. Start BHS alumni association
  8. Lean to play an instrument (harmonica)
  9. Keep in touch with old friends
  10. Send more postcards
  11. Earn, save, and invest money
  12. Get handgun carry permit
  13. Get a mortgage

(the audience is stunned, jaws dropped, eyes like saucers....until they all start to applaud in unison, whistles blowing, tears falling, parents holding their children up)

God, blogs are so self-serving

Working Out

I've been back in the swing of exercising for the past two weeks in an attempt to meet the New Years resolution of "getting in shape." The effects of my increased exercising are dramatic. I'm simultaneously more tired and more invigorated. The physical activity keeps the body sore and a little slow, but the mind is much more alert during the day. This may sound strange, but I also feel "cleaner" in a paradoxical sense. On the outside I'm obviously dirtier because of the sweat and gym clothes, but on an internal level, I feel like my system is burning cleaner; I don't feel a weighted down by food and coffee. But again, the feeling comes with its opposite; I'm eating about 150% more. Though, I doubt it's going to lead to the bad kind of weight gain.

In just the couple of weeks that I've been back at it, my strength and lifting limits have jumped. Huge marginal returns. From experience, I know those margins will diminish as I continue to keep after it. But, I'll still be improving as I continue to exercise.

Sometimes, you just gotta get physical.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Take some time to think about fighting

Immensely gratifying to both the ego and primal drive, fighting is an alluring temptation for the masses of loose-cannon, hormone-driven adolescents with something to prove. However, after a brief moment of consideration any simpleton could realize that the temptation is hardly worth the outcome, whether it be a victory or defeat.

The adolescents in reference have highly unreasonable and unlikely expectations for the animalistic urge to fight. One such brute, unidentified, though a self-proclaimed Renaissance Man, has been heard to say, "Faces must be stronger than I think...because if I punched one, it would just break." Not only do these individuals overestimate the realities of hand-to-hand combat, they also grossly distort the consequences of such action in a society and culture, not to mention legal system, that has taken a disapproving view of the act. Rarely is there a clear victor in a common street-tussle; even more rare is the instance of the benefits, superficial as they are, outweighing the penalties and expenses of a physical altercation. This understanding is especially poignant when alternative solutions of conflict resolution are considered.

...most of what you have just read is mildly serious at best...I don't know what I was really on about...

Q: What's the opposite of a manatee?
A: girlatee

Monday, December 28, 2009

Concessions in Recognition

Today's Dictum: 
Make concessions in recognition of the shortness of life.

In pursuing a good life, we must answer many questions about our selves.

Most of us have heard of the trinity of existence: past, present, and future. Past and future are analogous to memory and expectation. But, it is the present which warrants consideration. Life in the present tense is a string of questions. A few of the most important are matters of what: what it is that we want. It is a vague understanding, but what we want is that compelling force which drives us act, that which entices us to choose.

Life in the present tense is desire. Desire is the engine of life. But, as I have come to realize, desire is limitless. We have limitless desire and finite means to realize our desires: this is the human complex. So, the question of what is important from a fundamental level, but from a practical perspective of realizing the what's of our lives we must answer many how's.

We can never satisfy desire due to its infiniteness. Though, by choosing the right how's we can achieve a best or a better. We answer our how's with rules. Some rules are rigid and unyielding: principles; others are general guides: beliefs, preferences, habits.

Since we cannot satisfy our every desire, we will always live with desire. This understanding is of crucial importance to every person. At times, it is best to live with desire and never satisfy its urgings. Some carry themselves in this manner to the extreme: the devout characters of pious lives. Though this way of living is respectable and, at times, advantageous, I do not believe it to be best. I believe the good life, or a better life, lies in flexibility.

That most limiting quality of life is time. Each day we should make certain concessions in recognition of the shortness of life, measured deviations from principle and propriety that give much more to our vitality than they detract from our morality. Without those daily allowances, our memories may be colder, our current station less gratifying and our future bleaker.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Familiarity breeds...Similarity

The only reason some people get out of bed every day is just so they can decry Sociology as a frivolous study and a collection of ridiculous theories contrived for the soul purpose of justifying an angry scholar's bias.

Clever and empowered as they are, Sociologists label these individuals "sociopaths" for their profound hate of the study of Sociology.

My name is Buck Snyder and I'm a recovering Sociopath.

You: Oh, Mr. Snyder, I didn't know. I'm very sorry. 
Me: No, no need to be embarrassed. I know you're curious; go ahead, ask away. I'm an open book here for your leisure.
You: Well...okay...I guess I am a little curious. I have always wondered how someone becomes a sociopath. 
Me: Simple enough. It happens different ways for different people, but most us start by taking a sociology course.
You: Really? I mean, who would have though...
Me: Yes, yes. Of course, next question.
You: Um, well, yeah...when did you decide to reform...that is, I mean, when did you go to...
Me: Really, your stuttering must stop; it's very crude of you to have so little bearing on a simple verbal exchange. 
You: I'm sorry...I...ju...
Me: Just stop. I first knew I was a sociopath when I realized I had been blogging conversations to myself. Though, it wasn't until a few months later that I decided to do anything about it. 
You: Oh?
Me: Yes, I was completely comfortable with being a sociopath, as most are. However, I came across a quite jarringly insightful article. It really made the difference

(You read the article)

You: Oh, now I get the title of this post.
Me: *clapping* (sarcastically)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What are you listening to this Holiday Season?

...oh, that's nice. I'm going to be listening to "Holiday Lounge."
We interrupt this edition of the Dictum to bring you an important Holiday message from our sponsor:
Can't get enough of the Holidays?!
Tired of boring old Christmas carols?
Kids keep nagging you to get hip?
Well now, thanks to Holiday Lounge, Christmas isn't so boring anymore!!!
We've taken all your old favorites and changed them!
They're Tailgate tested!!! Tailgate approved!!!
Available at (click image for a listen)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tabula Inmunda

I figured since employers don't want to look at my resume, 
I'd give them a cool color-scheme to gaze at while they
 daydream about Ivy League and MBA students.
I've also decided to call my resume my "dirty sheet"
(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Audio Visual Perfection

This is a video done right. It's highly informational, relevant, and entertaining. Respects to the BBC for producing such a concise and valuable video

As far back as I can remember, I have always thought that supply has outstripped demand when it comes to television and more recently videos. TV shows, movies, and videos have proliferated exponentially in the past half century, but the attention given to them has not grown proportionately. Though people are probably appreciating the audio video experience more these days, I believe there is a fixed amount of watching that can be done - only 24 hours in the day and only a certain number of people to do the watching. However, there is more competition than ever for this practically "fixed" amount of viewing time. But to me, it doesn't even seem like smart competition. It seems that the creators of AV media are not very concerned with the level of quality, are unable to produce quality media, or are satisfied with the results that high-volume delivers.

I would greatly prefer to watch less television at a higher level of quality. For instance, I refuse to watch most cable television series (they're mostly crap), but have really enjoyed some premium television series like Californication, Bored to Death, and True Blood. I think this BBC video is analogous to the "premium" category in the slew of YouTube dribble.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My 23 Cents

So, some (people at the Institute for Women's Policy Research report that, as of 2006, women's median annual earnings were only 77% of men's median annual earnings. I think some people venture so far as to call this "discriminatory." I can't entirely disagree; I'm sure some of this disparity is caused by pompous, he-man woman-haters and self-loathing inferiority-femmes keepin' the workin' woman down. But, given the difficulty associated with these type of people landing real jobs, especially jobs that enable them to make the hiring decision, I think that the open-discrimination policy only knocks off a few cents from the difference. What else would explain this?


For simplicity's sake, let's bear the assumptions that all jobs are the same and the skill level of every man and woman are the equal - i.e. it doesn't matter who you hire, the job gets done in the same way. Think about this from an employer's perspective! What if women really only demanded 77% of the wage of men!? Who's going to hire a man!? Other than the occasional promiscuous senator, nobody! It would literally translate into 23% higher profits. With this realization, demand for female labor would grow rapidly. And as the basic economic theory of supply and demand states: as demand increases so does price. However, we haven't seen this happen as there is still a difference between the genders' respective wages. I don't believe it's because employers haven't realized the wage disparity. My thinking is that if the job/skill level assumptions were true across the board there wouldn't be more than a 2% difference in pay - the 2% being accounted for by the conspiracy theorists.

However, those assumptions aren't true. So, the fact that women and men do different jobs and have different skill levels probably answers "why women are paid less?" It's not comparing apples to apples.
Mid-Blog Review
Is comparing men and women like comparing apples to apples?

Snyder Dictum Fact: Men and Women are different

Snyder Dictum Supporting Evidence: Anatomy, conversation topics, appearance, preferences, abilities - maybe not every woman is better than every man in the linguistic regard though the majority of is better than that of

Certain jobs demand certain genders, just as certain genders demand certain jobs. I think it comes down, largely, to a matter of preference and identity. Those same forces, preference and identity, probably explain the potential for differing skill levels between the sexes. What am I really getting at? Well, I think men and women are different in what they value (won't get into the why's - that's for sociology majors) and that is why they pursue different life paths. These different paths, taken collectively, account for the pay difference.

Yes, of course, there is a difference between "sex" and "gender." However, considering that gender roles really haven't changed since...ever (don't argue on this), what's the point in making the distinction? Ladies and gentlemen, go ahead and swallow the pill, gender and anatomy are not likely to undergo radical change in a pertinent amount of time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


There are a few thoughts that have been brewing in my mind lately. They come from the conversations I've had with my friends. They're beginning to see the place I'm at: where the sand meets the sea. The words we exchange are those of planning, the future, and contingency.

I've seen both sides of the coin when it comes to getting an MBA, the heads and the tails.

Is pursuing an MBA the traditional and conventional path? I think it is. There's safety to getting an MBA right? How good is safety? Like they say, risk is reward - whoever is successful is so because they're neck's on the chopping block and they're not flinching. Although safety may pay out in the long-run, is it really all it's cracked up to be? We live once: should it be a life of moderate success and no sign of failure or should we discard safety and embrace the potential for failure? What will make a life better? Is it a matter of the moment or the whole? Does today's comfort justify forever's complacence?

I have hopes of grandeur and luxurious success, but something in the pit of my stomach tells me that taking the "more traveled path" isn't the way to meet those dreams. I also have a voice in my head that tells me that prestige, money and material success are not true fulfillment - some part of me knows that this voice is right, another part of me knows that this voice is fear itself. Hope lies in the unknown, the uncertain. Great triumph lies on the fringe of failure and danger. To grasp what it is that I really want, I do myself no service walking in the flat plains of safety. I must navigate the dangerous path along the seaside cliff. Common sense tells us that there is no such way to achieve startling greatness by following the pack, or that we can lead the pack by following it. Plans must be abandoned and principles must be perfected in the type of life I wish to live. Comfort must be taken in the uncomfortable - that must be the home of my thoughts.

It's almost a cliche, but only because most people can't bring themselves to take "the road less traveled." Most people understand the concept: you do things differently than others. But it's so much deeper than that, especially if you're trying to live it. I think only a few people ever have lived that life, taken the road less traveled. If it's true that purpose can't be fulfilled without effort, then I think people who deviate from the norm have much more purposeful lives. Living against the grain, against convention, desire, and comfort takes more effort than most people can give. I'm sure that's why it's less traveled: a lot of people can't and don't want to live that life, or it wouldn't be practical for them to. But there are people who deviate from the norm - whether it's ability or desire or the combination thereof, I don't know. However, I wonder, I have always wondered, as I'm sure many others have, if this is the life I will live. Maybe I make things too simple, maybe it's not just two paths. But right now, from where I stand, I look ahead and see two paths.

There's uncertainty. I have more desires than I can fulfill. (important realization) The choice regarding this whole issue will be made soon enough. Well, duh. That was rather inconsequential.

Could it be possible that I have the Holden Caulfield syndrome?

Since we only ever get to go down one path, I'll live in blind ignorance of what "would have been" the better choice. But the difference between an optimist and pessimist: at the end of it, an optimist knows he made the right choice and a pessimist doubts. But before I go rambling on about attitude....let's end this post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How many for the books?

I've had numerous weekends and nights "for the books." This night qualifies as another of them. My most sincere thanks go to out all of my friends that were with me tonight. Their nicknames are as follows (btw, I have given them almost all of these names):

A. O'Sullivan: The Animal, Animal, Sully, Andy, Sleepy Boy
T. Harrington: Tommy, Tom-a-hawk, Tommington, Harringtom
S. Frost: The Triple-A, The Teaseanator, Frosty, Frostus, McFrost
D. Peregrine: Dan-o, Danny Boy, Peregrine-o, DP, Uncle Dan
S. Burks: McShelbs, McGelbs, Shelbster, Shellshock, McBurks
J. Morano: J-Money, J-Dollar Sign, J-Dollar

And for posterity's sake, me: The Snyd, Snydakiss, Buck-o, Buckley, B-Snyds, McBuck, Mister Snyder

That's the difference between friends and acquaintances...they know what to call you

The InterVIEW

So you wanna look at what's on the inside of my head, eh interviewer? Well, okay. But you'd better be sure you can deal with the answers I'm going to throw at you.

But really, what am I getting at here? The truth is that I've got a graduate school interview coming up and I want to consider what some of the questions may be and solidify my answers. That is, I don't want to craft or contrive a "this is what I think you want to hear answer," but have a more rigid skeleton to my responses. Even the best public speakers have mental templates that they play off of - so a little prehearsal (why is rehearsal called rehearsal and not prehearsal?) is in line. This post is going to be developed over the next few days, question and answer style.

Why are you pursuing this program?
Well, it's because I'm a believer in the saying, "play to your strength, practice to your weakness." I have my whole life to spend building and developing my skills. I have the goal of being the best at something, regardless of what it is. So, if that's the goal, then I have to use and develop the skills and interests that are my strengths. Just like Lance Armstrong does biking because he's made for it - I'm going to put my time and effort toward this program because that's where my strength and interest lie. It wouldn't make sense or be a good thing if we tried to meet the other's goals.
No, this is for me because I like to think, speculate, understand, and make decisions. I also do those things pretty well. I have an analytical mind. I want to put it to the highest and best use. Just like Armstrong doesn't run or swim...but bikes.
What are some of your goals?
Success is my primary goal. That is, whatever I set my mind to do, to do it well - that's founded in Eastern philosophy. But the measures of success are different than success itself. Being a product of this culture and society, money and social position are two of the most common measures. A Roper-Starch survey reported that 63% of Americans identified "having a lot of money" a primary factor in the pursuit of happiness.
I may be unconventional, but not in that sense. I hope to make a lot of money from my work and career. But like I said, success is doing something well and the result, in this case money, is its measure. So success for me isn't tied directly to money - it's about earning money the right way.
Why do you want to get an MBA now?
For me, this education is just as valuable now as it will be in 5 years. The more time I spend building math and analytic skills and acquiring soft skills the better off I'll be. I think waiting 5 years would be cheating myself of the opportunity I have get these skills right now. So, it's an issue of trajectory as well. I think I'll have more success starting and advancing my real estate career with the backing of an MBA than I would without one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've been to a few places

Catching up with old friends is something I spend a lot of time doing. I run around trying to keep relationships up and current, but geography is something of an obstacle. Though technology makes communication easier, talking to someone without being present lacks authenticity. After all, it is not a matter of communication - there is nothing that needs to be said between us most of the time - rather it's a matter of the human experience that goes along with being in the company of someone. That experience is what I call friendship, a word that due to its frequent use is so often taken for granted and rendered a platitude in the minds of many.

The blogger that I am, I feel a need to explain, or report at least, what it is I have done and why I do it. At the core, having authentic relationships is exactly why I expend my efforts to see people; it is my motive for seeing, talking, and being with the people who are important to me all over the country. It is both family and friends that I go to see, but also places. A man can form a relationship with just about anything, any sort of abstraction. My college, my alma mater, is one such entity as well as the city it is in: Winter Park. But the people and places go hand in hand, each complementing the entirety of the other. Despite that each, alone, is of value, the combination is more right.

I go to places, I see people. That is a part of my life. It has costs, but time is the currency of life. If you are like me and the meaning of your life, your goal, is happiness, then you must spend your time doing what fulfills that goal. Every life has a starting point and finish line, the time in between is what defines the existence. That is why Herodotus said "call no man happy until he is dead." It means that happiness is not a mood or fleeting emotion, but a characteristic of the entire existence, and therefore a summarizing statement of how all the time was spent.

I'm here to get happy. Ha ha!!!!

On a more literal note, I spent the past weekend in Knoxville with some of the best friends I have and ever will have. Benji, Jonathan, Jordan, Channing, - way too many to name - we were all over the place meeting people, dressing up and going 110 over the speed limit. It was a great time. Important things happened: I sacrificed beers to the gods, I bought a hula skirt for 2 cents, I ate an entire head of lettuce with gusto, I had a 40 yr old man/child punch me in the arm and then get dragged out of the bar (hilariously immature of him), and I tried to wear an Iron Maiden of a cactus costume.

I flew out of there on a Monday and landed in my current location, Winter Park! I've seen some of my other best friends while I've been here. More good things have happened and I'm definitely getting happy. I had the best cup of coffee in the world at Palmano's Cafe and sat and read for quite a while. It's the perfect place for calm reflection and thinking.

Oh, I'm reading Lance Armstrong's bio, and a quote that I jotted down today was this:
"If there's one differentiating characteristic between a man and a boy, maybe it's patience."

I also read Woody Allen's short story, The Whores of MENSA. Go ahead, click the hyperlink and read the story...estimated time 10 minutes...estimated gratification limitless. Remember, the currency of life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Side Effects of Studying

The volume of posting on the Dictum is suffering...for valid reasons. I take the GMAT (again) on the 26th. This test is crucial for me, my plans, and my future. So, I've been doing a fair amount of studying at the expense of my favorite pastime...dictating.

Well, as it is, my weakest point on the test is the sentence correction portion. Knowing I need to improve, I've been putting much time and effort toward honing my grammatical abilities. The effects of such focus manifest in interesting ways. A new favorite pastime has become...correcting people's facebook statuses.

Be on the lookout...there's a new law in town. I'll be correcting your unfortunate grammatical mistakes. This seems to kill multiple birds with one stone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

all of MY great ideas

...already exist. This is unfortunate.

Recently, I've had a lot of time to think and speculate on trends, events, people, behavior, investments, goods, services...and the result is that I've come up with some pretty good ideas for businesses. But it seems that every time I come up with an idea after which I say "yeah, I could make a lot of money from that," well, I come to find out that someone has already begun to take action...the intent being to make a lot of money, I assume.

However, the ideas are still genuine in their own right...I did come up with them without having "caught onto the trend or craze." But I tend to read an article or find a website that represents exactly what I've come up with.

The three most relevant ideas are:

1. Wooden sunglasses - my buddy Dan and I started talking about this, but they already exist (not so much in the lower-price range, a.k.a. high volume, markets) though we have found a company that's trying to get something like that going

2. Leasing/sharing of the excess capacity of vehicles - my original idea was to be applied to the motorcylces that sit in garages...unused. The owners could turn these under-used assets in to income generating capital by leasing them out to the general public with the desire to ride...analogous to the rent-income model of a house or condo...just with a hog. Brilliant idea....already taken by...ZIPCAR! Check the website to get a glimpse of what your future will look like. I can't wait for the IPO of this Bostonian company.

3. A new work location for the self-employed - I came up with this gem of an idea on my own thinking after realizing that the places I wanted to go for work (cafes) were drawing more of a crowd than simply the coffee drinkers. The home-office isn't what it's cracked up to be...requires too much self-discipline bc/ of all the distractions. That's why we see people going to Starbucks and other internet cafes for more than just coffee...people are going there to do genuine work. However, a trend that's been dubbed "co-working" started about a year back in cities such as San Francisco, Denver, New York, etc. I can guarantee that it's going to spread...think about it the next time you go to a Starbucks just to do some reading/work - you'll see a lot of other people there to do just the same thing you are, but the environment is all wrong. In this wireless and super-connected age with people working "on the go", there's less of a need for a traditional office. To a large extent, places like Starbucks with free Wi-Fi have filled that gap...for the time being. But a new physical space, one that is not a loud cafe environment, but a calmer wireless work environment will fill that growing demand. There are too many elements aligned to make the "co-working" trend take's inevitable. It hasn't started in a lot of cities, but it is sure to. I want to be an early actor and get it arranged in a city near YOU!
I read an article in entrepreneur magazine all about "co-working" and its growth - there's even a wikipedia entry for the trend. It's going to take off, I plan on being there for the ride.