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Olivia Ramos 🎻 the female pioneer powerhouse behind Deepblocks (#9).

Episode 9 🍍90×9.co

Olivia Ramos the founder and CEO of Deepblocks, an AI platform for modeling and analyzing commercial real estate development projects. She is a graduate of all three Singularity University startup programs, GSP, Incubator, and Accelerator, and was the only female participant in the DARPA Innovation House program. Among her many accomplishments, Olivia holds the following degrees:

  1. A Master’s of Architecture from Columbia University,
  2. A Master’s of Real Estate Development from the University of Miami,
  3. A Bachelor’s in Architecture from The University of Florida and
  4. A degree from The Design and Architecture Senior High.

Recently added to her long list of achievements, Olivia just ranked among Inc’s top 100 Women Building America’s Most Innovative and Ambitious Businesses. Are you ready to meet Olivia in today’s episode?

You can unlock your free trial of Deepblocks over here. 




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Olivia Ramos Founder & CEO of DeepBlocks

Olivia Ramos 🎻 the female pioneer powerhouse behind Deepblocks (#9).

Olivia Ramos the founder and CEO of Deepblocks, an AI platform for modeling and analyzing commercial real estate development projects. She is a graduate of all three Singularity University startup programs, GSP, Incubator, and Accelerator, and was the only female participant in the DARPA Innovation House program. Among her many accomplishments, Olivia holds the following degrees:

  1. A Master’s of Architecture from Columbia University,
  2. A Master’s of Real Estate Development from the University of Miami,
  3. A Bachelor’s in Architecture from The University of Florida and
  4. A degree from The Design and Architecture Senior High.

Recently added to her long list of achievements, Olivia just ranked among Inc’s top 100 Women Building America’s Most Innovative and Ambitious Businesses. Are you ready to meet Olivia in today’s episode?

You can unlock your free trial of Deepblocks over here. 




Listen to this podcast on your favorite platform:

iTunesSpotifyBreaker
OvercastPocket CastsRadioPublic



Introduction

Welcome to the 90×9 podcast, here we talk about the who, how & why behind explosive startup growth. I’m your host, Adi, previously I was the Fast Growth Executive at the million dollar pineapple, the main sponsor of this show. Now, thanks to you lovely people for bringing explosive growth to this podcast, I’m officially the Head of Growth & Operations at 90×9. Really? Yes, last week we passed more than 2000 plays in Paris alone. Exciting times people, we are officially playing on 9 platforms in more than 10 countries! So thank you for tuning in and sharing with your friends. 

A quick note about our main sponsor: if your startup is ready for explosive growth, then you want to checkout The Million Dollar Pineapple, the only Consulting Firm to specialize in growing startups to $1MM in revenue within 2 years guaranteed, GUARANTEED. If your startup is ready for this type of growth then go to 1in2.co, I will include this link in the show notes & now for today’s episode. 

Adi 🍍

Hello, lovely listeners. Welcome to another episode of the 90×9 podcast. Today we have Olivia Ramos on the show with us.  I found out about her startup after a guest from one of my speaking engagements reached out via LinkedIn to inform me that his friend was a genius and I had to check out her startup.  For those of you who do not know about Olivia and her startup, he’s right. 

Olivia Ramos is the founder of Deepblocks.  In short, Deepblocks is the first comprehensive AI-powered real estate platform to combine 3D modeling with financial projections.  Real estate developers, brokers, and architects love the platform because it not only consolidates all the tools into one stack, but it condenses work that previously took teams of architects, brokers, analysts, contractors, and banks months to do into a matter of minutes. Yes, we will include a video tour of the platform in the show notes

Olivia, Thank you for joining us today. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Olivia🎻

Thank you, Adi, for having me. I’m a big fan of the podcast and your work as a Growth Hacker. I am the founder and CEO of Deepblocks. I was originally born in Havana, Cuba, and I came here in 1993.  I was a violinist when I came here and I tried out for the symphony, and they put me as the first chair. And so, at 10 years old, I figured that was as much as I could do with the violin and I stopped playing and went into the arts. I went to Design and Architecture Senior High.  My mother was an architect and she told me if I wanted to do fine arts, architecture was a good choice. I really loved architecture and I thought there was a lot of potential for it to change the world. I earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida, and a Master’s degree at Columbia University, and realized that the real estate developer had a lot of power over the architecture. So I got a second Master’s in Real Estate Development at the University of Miami. Then there was this glitch in the system where I was accepted to a program with DARPA, and designed big data navigation software at DARPA. Then at Singularity University, I was able to test combining architecture and real estate development with artificial intelligence, and that’s sort of where Deepblocks was born. 

Adi 🍍

First chair at age 10, that’s incredible! I had this really weird interaction a few years ago, when I was a fellow in the Venture Lab at IE Business School. One evening, we had a few investors visit to listen to four startups pitch. One investor, who I had come to know quite well, walked up and pointed at the youngest investor and asked, “Do you see him?” I nodded. “My company loves people like him.  Young, professional musicians and athletes, your brains are hard-wired to work until you achieve giant goals that the rest of us just gawk at and think are unbelievable until you set a new standard.”

Olivia 🎻

I’ve been very, very fortunate. 

Adi 🍍

How would you explain Deepblocks to someone you just met at a coffee shop?

Olivia 🎻

Right now, anyone who would want to know what they can do on a piece of land where they are standing, that they own for example, would need a team of architects, brokers, analysts, and contractors to give them an idea of what could be built, what is existing, and what the potential return on investment is.  That’s really hard to put together if you are only a landowner, or even a broker, who wants to make the best sale on a property. With Deepblocks, you can just press the button and it gives you all the tools and all the different assumptions that go into the financial analysis. And that’s the hard part. People know what the rents look like and they know what people are selling around them, but they don’t know the financial calculations and modeling techniques to put those two things together.  And that’s what Deepblocks does.

Adi 🍍

Even with a lot of the approaches people use today.. you’re in Excel, you’re having to go to a bunch of professionals, which can get really expensive, and you’re relying mostly on comparables around you.

Olivia 🎻

Exactly.  And even with those professionals, the architect doesn’t really touch the financial part, and they should understand what the connotations are in their design.  So this also helps architects understand more of the financial side and the developers better understand area configurations. 

Adi 🍍

So not only is this platform amazing for people who are looking to see what they can do with a piece of land they own, this is also something that industry professionals can use to understand the bigger picture of what they’re working on.

Olivia 🎻 

Yes, all the way up to the city level. You can analyze entire portions of the city and understand if you’re optimizing the zoning for economic reasons, or what the right incentives are for affordable housing, for example.

Adi 🍍 

My Gosh, that’s incredible. How old is Deepblocks?

Olivia 🎻

It was incorporated at the very end of 2016, right before we got into their accelerator. So we’ve been coding since April 2017. A little bit more than two years.

Adi 🍍

How many cities are you in now?

Olivia 🎻

Right now it can be used in over 1,000 U.S. cities.

Adi 🍍

How long ago did you come up with this idea?

Olivia 🎻

This idea was born at Singularity and it was in a conversation between the original cofounder, Bernard Leon and I. He wasn’t from that background and I had to draw this giant map of how it works from when you look at a piece of land, all the way down to the construction administration.  It was this giant web of all these industries coming together. He looked at it and said “Why can’t AI do this? Because all of it is connected. It’s all a series of calculations that are currently completely fragmented.” And when he said that it all became so clear. It felt like my mind got woke a little bit. After that I thought, this is what we have to do. So I think that was the birth of it.

Adi 🍍 

That’s very cool. I love those ‘aha moments’. We’re sitting on pieces of the future. Let’s put it together.

Olivia 🎻

That’s exactly how it felt. 

Adi 🍍 

What made you decide to pursue this idea? You had the ‘aha moment’ and then think, “This should become a company.”

Olivia 🎻 

Before that, I was obsessed with combining these things. I taught finance and architecture in three different universities.  I was starting to write a book about having to combine things from a theory perspective. I just didn’t have the tools to put all those things together before understanding how the technology works, how AI works, and how big data works. So it was 10 years of frustration coming into this ‘aha moment.’ And then it was like we have to try, because we have that inspiration. 

Adi 🍍 

You hear people say, “Oh, I have no background in this, but I want to start a startup in a 

completely different industry.” Then they wonder why 90% of startups flop, including theirs. Then you hear the stories of people who have been chomping at the block for a decade before they have this brilliant idea that they finally bring to fruition, and that’s one of the startups that is going to succeed. They didn’t roll over, get out of bed, or hop in the shower one morning and decide to launch a company. They spent a decade of blood, sweat, and tears in the industry, figuring all the pieces out before bringing this forward. 

Olivia 🎻

Exactly. I worked for architects, developers, financial institutions, brokers, and then for DARPA, so I sort of understood the whole thing. And construction, I actually worked in construction. So all those pieces were fragmented, but very clear to me, and Singularity helped put them together. 

Adi 🍍 

You obviously are a big picture person. What are a few of the questions that crossed your mind when you prepared to launch – because you launched this summer, right?

Olivia 🎻

Yes, we launched this summer. Startups, I think, have a tendency to wait until something is perfect, but I think this product is never going to be perfect because everything is changing very fast in the industry and in the market. So we said, “Can this product help just a little bit in the market?” We decided that it can. In the larger scale, that’s how we thought about the company as well.  If we try, even if we fail, whatever we do in the process, can it improve the way it works in the industry? And so both scales, the products scale and the company scale, have been our motivation to continue to push product and build product.

Adi 🍍 

Your product gets better with time because it’s learning from each project.

Olivia 🎻

Yes, our product is unique in the sense that it crowdsources every user interaction, every product, every project that’s built.  It learns from it. So it tells other people, “Hey this worked in another project.” It could be a product from London that it’s learning from, and then it says “Hey, there’s some situations in Miami where this could also work.”  It’s making this web of insights into what will make a profitable or successful real estate project across the world, and then connecting the points in terms of what insights can help. 

Adi 🍍 

It’s kind of like Waze, with how Waze had the best navigation system because it was constantly crowdsourcing.

Olivia 🎻

Actually Waze was one of our biggest inspirations. 

Adi 🍍  

Really? Do you hear that Waze founders?

Olivia 🎻 

(laughs) Thank you.

Adi 🍍 

What were a few surprising lessons that you have learned when you started Deepblocks? 

Olivia 🎻

We wanted to scale very quickly, and we started doing the complete opposite. We were like, let’s do one city well, learn it well, and then scale it fast. But that’s not really scaling. So we scrapped everything that had local information and created a product that can be anywhere as long as those professionals understood the information. Then we saw what cities were using it the most, and then in those cities we began to bring in more information. That was a good lesson. It’s not just about bringing it everywhere. It’s about understanding how to balance scale and information that’s needed. Then it’s listening to the market and understanding that customers wanted more information, figuring out how to bring it in to many cities at the same time, and how to scale that work. We have a team in India doing a lot of the mechanical torque, and people in-house managing those teams, because we couldn’t do that in-house. And also understanding how to make their work go really fast so we can scale more local information faster.

And then the last thing I will say that was a harsh reality was principles or culture of the company becoming the most important thing over talented people. So we’ve had to fire a few amazing people just because they didn’t fit the culture that we wanted to grow.

Adi 🍍 

At The Million Dollar Pineapple, we would always ask people questions to figure out who they were as a person and I was talking to other founders of startups who asked, “Why do you do that? Why don’t you ask skills questions?”  I told them skills can be taught; character can’t be. I mean, it can, but that person has to really want to change their character, and they are going to learn skills much faster than they’re going to learn a new characteristic. 

Olivia 🎻

It’s really hard to change that. So we’re looking for people who come in, who want to join the vision, and who want to work as a team. That’s a completely different attitude. 

Adi 🍍 

If someone wanted to apply to your company, where would they connect with you? 

Olivia 🎻

On our website.

Adi 🍍  

How many people do you have on your team right now? 

Olivia 🎻

Right now we are eight full time, and we have four amazing summer interns. They are high school students who completely changed the way we work. I think that’s a big lesson.

Just because people are young, and maybe inexperienced, they can still bring in so much value. So they’ve applied bots. They’ve been able to automate all the data that is coming from the product and from the website. 

Adi 🍍 

At one of the startups I am working with right now, I am considered one of the younger people. I’m used to having two machines that just run bots all day, every day. And here they’re like, “You want to do what with a bot?!” 

You have eight full time people.  You have four interns phase in, change your life, and phase out. Now you have your eight core left. How do you keep the fire alive with that team of eight?

Olivia 🎻

I think this is really good and unusual for Miami startups specifically, but everyone has equity in the company. Everyone already invested some of it and are continuing to invest.  So they feel like they’re owners and they feel like they have a say in what we do together. Everyone votes on what we do. I think that keeps everyone engaged and wanting to do the best possible work, and that’s what we’re doing.  So keeping everybody engaged and having tools and methods to continue that engagement; daily stand ups, and weekly company stand ups at this size are manageable, and one-on-one meetings on a more personal level to see what they want.  So keeping communication, complete transparency, and always assume best intentions. That’s something that Pascal Finette taught me at Singularity and I have always kept it close.

Adi 🍍  

The overcommunication is the one I am working on right now because I just assume when somebody can read my body language, that they can also read between the lines of my writing, and that’s not always the case. 

Olivia 🎻

It’s hardly ever the case, but it’s important. (laughs). 

Adi 🍍 

Life is a learning process. 

What did you do before Deepblocks that you feel equipped you best for this?  I mean, you’ve been working within the industry for a decade and your mom’s an architect, so you were born into this. 

Olivia 🎻

Yeah a little bit.  Actually our CEO Jeff Millett and I were just talking about this yesterday, and we both went to the Columbia University Architecture program.  That program was so intense, everyone stayed up for five nights before finals, and three nights a week without sleep was definitely normal. Even though I would never do that again – and I don’t recommend that to anybody – it prepared us and we are both now leading this company.  It prepared us to know that whatever it takes, we will do it, no matter what. Even though we have a very good life-work harmony, or life-work balance, we know that whatever it takes, we’re going to do it. That helps us pack the most in those eight hours of work. So I think with that education they gave us 200% of what they knew we could do.  That was the big training to run a company because you have to really try to do a lot more than you know you’re capable of.

Adi 🍍 

My father is a commercial architect and I remember when I was a kid, every Thursday night he would pull an all-nighter.  He said his brain worked best when he just kept that rhythm up. He started it when he went to RISD, and then he just kept going that way throughout this career.  Well, until he had to slow down when he had to get a double bypass…so maybe don’t copy him completely. 

Olivia 🎻

After that Master’s degree I felt like I had died.  I do an all-nighter now and I’m done for a week. We try to implement that at the office.  We work from 9 to 6, 10 to 7, or 8 to 5, but that’s it. Maybe once a week… I can see how you’re still out of it. I need my sleep.

Adi 🍍 

That was a horrible habit I followed, picked up, and brought with me to college. 

Olivia 🎻

You don’t do that anymore?

Adi 🍍 

If I’m working on something creative-based, I can’t do more than 8 or 10 hours.  But if I’m working on something that’s code-based, it’s just easier for me to sit at the computer, go into the zone for like 20 hours straight, and then pass out for a day and a half, than it is for me to do eight hours, go to sleep come back, eight hours.  I just need to push it all onto the computer and then I can die for a day and a half.

Olivia 🎻

I can see that with writing too, if you’re writing a book or something.

Adi 🍍 

Yeah, maybe.  If it’s creative copywriting I need to take a lot more breaks, just let it sit.  There’s this woman who does writing for the FSO, Foreign Service Officer Program, and she says when you first start out with writing, you need to let it marinate, like a steak. 

Olivia 🎻

That’s true. 

Adi 🍍 

You write, leave it for a day, and come back.  Tweek it a little bit, leave it for a day, and come back.  Now that she’s been doing it for five decades, she can crank something out in a hot minute, but she said when you start out to just give yourself time.  I was like, how do you do this? She was like, “I’ve been doing this for longer than you’ve been alive. Slow down.”

Olivia 🎻

Yeah.  It’s like the violin. You have to start slow with the scales and then play violin. 

Adi 🍍 

Yeah, exactly.  First chair violinist at age 10, I still can’t believe it.  That’s incredible. 

Back to Deepblocks.  What were some obstacles that you faced early on, when you first started building out Deepblocks?

Olivia 🎻

The decision to build things fast versus building things right.  There’s one strategy, which is that you need to take things into the market very, very quickly to understand if that’s what your customer wants.  Learn how you missed the mark, because it’s never going to be perfect. So to do that, you have to acquire a lot of technical debt in order to go fast. It’s this balance of wanting to go fast, but we don’t want to build it three times, or we don’t want to have too many bugs.  And if we build it right the first time, we might be totally missing the mark and then we have to build something else. This is an obstacle or a challenge that’s super interesting and something that we deal with on a daily basis. 

Adi 🍍 

I like that way of looking at it; technical debt. I’ve never heard that term used before. 

Olivia 🎻

We use it every day.  Our lead engineer says, “You know this is gaining our technical debt.”  I know, I know, but we need it for our market! So it’s is daily conversation for us.

Adi 🍍 

Where did you hear that term?

Olivia 🎻

Nick McCrea, our lead engineer has been saying that from the beginning; “I’m warning you if we do this…” and he’s been right.  He has a really good understanding of what the technical debt is, and that’s huge. You have to understand how far you can push the product, before you have to take care of the debt.  So it’s really something to manage. It’s like a mortgage, you get money from the bank but you have to understand at what point are you overleveraged, and there’s no turning back. So he’s been an amazing resource to do that.

Adi 🍍 

That’s a great way to look at it to frame that growth problem. 

What are some tools and tactics that you use to manage your time?

Olivia 🎻

Slack has been amazing.  Targetprocess, also.  With Targetprocess, people don’t know of it as much, but it is mostly used by an engineering team.  It’s super intricate about what tasks are blocking other tasks, so that the engineers can pick up tasks that are not blocked that can be done in parallel.  It’s a really great way to manage engineering mostly. The business side hasn’t really adapted to it. I think we’re going to now try Trello on the business side, because you don’t need as much intricacies and infrastructure.  I remember one day Slack went down for the day, and it was like it was the end of the world and we didn’t know how to communicate. We were all in the same room and we could just talk to each other. It was such a cluster. 

Adi 🍍 

We had that too.

Olivia 🎻

Something else to manage is giving more time to decision-making, rather than just doing things on the fly.  I think it’s really frustrating for the teams for me to be rushing like, “We have to launch this, we have to finish the design.”  And I think as a leader, you have to step back and let them figure it out, and give them time to think. 

Adi 🍍 

At the startup I’m working with now, the founder is always saying, “I want you to have three priorities this quarter.”  Three this quarter? I’m used to having 18 rabbits that I am chasing at the same time with one gun! He’s like, “No. Slow down.  Three this quarter.” I’m having to learn what your team already knows. Slow down. Make the decisions. Make the plan.

Olivia 🎻

Yes, usually the team knows it, I just have to learn.  I am feeling the pressure to bring things out, and go faster.  There’s a saying in Spanish, “Vísteme despacio que estoy de prisa,” which means “Get dressed slowly because I am in a hurry.”  And that’s how it should be.

Adi 🍍

Let’s dive into the platform.  Deepblocks has been designed to learn from each new project. That’s incredible.  Could you just give us a quick overview of how this works? 

Olivia 🎻

Yes, as people understand what the project should be, that’s like a two year projection, with new construction projects especially.  They’re there for a future market, which is really interesting data in terms of where the markets are going to. So when you have this data for thousands of cities, the AI begins to understand: What are the city needs? What’s the demand for housing? What is the demand for pricing? What are the terms people are expecting?  And so it begins to understand what each city needs and because it knows the zoning and the population demographic, it can begin to optimize for the user and say you’re planning to build 300 units, but it will be optimal to build 250. So you can get in closer to that truth because it is not just about what the return on cost is on paper, but what will the market absorb.  It’s almost like finding a good product market fit for real estate. I’ve never thought of it that way until this conversation, but the product allows you to do that. The more it learns, the more precise it gets with what you’re going to put in the market. 

Adi 🍍

That’s incredible.  If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s using Deepblocks for the first time, what would it be?

Olivia 🎻

I would say be open minded, because it’s combining different industries.  So I would tell the architect to be open about understanding the finances.  And we make it super simple. It’s the back-of-the-envelope, it’s income minus expenses, it’s net-operating income divided by the cost, and you have your return on costs.  If you just learn that, and it’s super easy math, you can understand what the consequences are every time you make a move in architecture, and give your clients a better return on cost with your design.  That’s a powerful thing. So I would say be open to the financial portion of the design process. And then I would tell the brokers to embrace the whole thing; embrace the zoning and the financials. If everybody was having the same conversation, then you get to the optimal faster and get better results.

Adi 🍍

That’s very cool.  What does the scope of work look like for non-Deepblocks users?  If someone decides, I’m not going to use this platform. I’m not going to be cutting edge.  I’m going to do it myself. What are they looking at doing?

Olivia 🎻

You’d be surprised.  It’s very common and there’s two schools of thought.  One, I do this, and I don’t need to understand the rest of it, which I think is unfortunate.  Two, I do this with my intuition, the whole thing. I do it in my mind. And what happens is, because there hasn’t been tools that combine these, developers have had to grow this intuition of if this will work.  Except if they’re wrong, it’s a huge risk and a huge liability that could lose a lot of people’s money in the process. So I think people are using their intuition and really risking the project, the funding, and what would happen, or they’re doing it right, but it’s super expensive.  So they’re getting architects to do multiple iterations on what can be done, which takes many weeks.  They’re getting their analysts to continue to work with the architect. They’re getting a contractor involved to get quotes going.  They’re very preliminary, but if they do it right it takes a very long time, like months, to put this thing together to find an optimal product.  That never happens. They never get to an optimal product because it takes too much time and it’s too expensive. As opposed to an AI, that can tell you at least 1,000 options which you’re never going to pay to do, and tells you, “These are your top five.”  So the process of doing it right is way too expensive to find optimization, or people are just saying, “It’s my intuition. Let’s go with it.” And that’s very, very risky. So it’s expensive or risky. And that’s sort of what we’re trying to medicate. 

Adi 🍍

So now the conversation that you’ve had about how this needs to be automated makes sense. 

Olivia 🎻

Absolutely, yeah. 

Adi 🍍

Let’s talk funds.  You were funded startup.

Olivia 🎻

Yes, we have raised two seed rounds.  What we learned from that process – and I think this is something that every founder can take with them – is to find out who knows about your industry, because there’s so many people that could be investors.  People would say, “Oh my friend’s a doctor, and he is super successful!” Yes, but if they don’t know about real estate, they are not going to invest. So going only to the people who understand what you’re building and who understand the industry and the impact you can have are the only people you can persuade to listen to you when you don’t have a product, a team, or anything.  So we took this shitty little demo that we did at the beginning, and I told the engineer at the time, “Hey, all you have to do is make this model move and make the numbers change, even if it’s not real.” People understood that and people understood the future of that, and that’s how we got two rounds of investments.

Adi 🍍

I worked with a startup a few years ago that was an alternative energy.  They were asking this one woman from Black Rock about advice for finding investors for the project.  She’s like, do not go for anyone that’s not in that industry, because then you have to sell them on your industry before you can sell them on your startup, and you just want to sell them on your startup.  So I think that’s very, very good advice. I think a lot of people don’t realize that when they’re first jumping into looking for an investor. 

Olivia 🎻

Yeah, and if you go to VC, ask them how many of your LPs in our case are in real estate, because they’re going to throw it back at them and make a decision based on the experts in the team.  So if they don’t have many LPs in the industry, they are not going to invest, so don’t waste your time.

Adi 🍍

One of my really good mentors, a good family friend, has a seed stage VC fund that only invests in Insurtech because he’s always, for several decades, only worked in insurance companies and startups.  But that way when he walks in and looks at a startup, he could tell you in 10 seconds; “Yes, this will work. Do I like the CEO?” He will spend the meeting finding out, and that’s how he structures it instead of, “Oh, let me take some time to figure out the industry, and then some time to figure out the startup, and then some time to figure out the CEO.”

Olivia 🎻

It’s too risky.

Adi 🍍

It takes too much time.  If you have so many options in front of you that you can understand quickly, go for those.

This is a fun one.  We’re going to preface this with a legal disclaimer that neither of us are wealth management advisors, and you should always double check with a wealth management advisor before following any advice that you hear on this podcast.  Also, check with any other type of licensed advisor. But here’s the question: I’m going to say if your sister, your imaginary sister, was to look at investing in real estate, what would you advise your sister as the most effective strategy to find a good real estate investment?

Olivia 🎻

Copy all that disclaimer on repeat. But I received really good advice from Avra Jain, who was a mentor in graduate school, is now an investor, and has been along for the ride these last 10 years. She said, “If you wouldn’t live there, don’t invest there.”

Adi 🍍

That’s brilliant.

Olivia 🎻

In a way, that’s the same as if you don’t know the industry, you’re not going to invest in the startup in that industry.  So if you don’t know the neighborhood, if you wouldn’t live there, and grow there, don’t invest. That’s huge. Also, there’s all this talk about down markets and up markets, but there’s always good deals in any market.  There’s always someone who wants to get rid of their property. There’s always someone wants to leave the country. This happens a lot in Miami and as long as what your buying has equity, which means the price is lower than its value, you’re getting a good deal. So finding those are always good advice.  And running a lot of options – If you want to invest in real estate, learn how to do a back-of-the-envelope. That’s what we provide in our software, but you can do it literally on the back of an envelope or on the back of a napkin. Learn how to do these calculations and understand the landscape of zoning and market data, and make good decisions based on the potential returns.  It’s really easy math.

Adi 🍍

Or just use the Deepblocks platform.

Olivia 🎻

You can do that too.  For one-time users, there is a 14-day trial and in 14 days you can definitely figure it out.  You don’t have to pay for it, just use it for 14 days. 

Adi 🍍

I saw that.  After I went through a 100-hour Udemy course on how to make those calculations myself, I found out about your platform.  Final question, and then we’ll let you go. If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be and where would you put that billboard?  It can’t be “Download Deepblocks.” 

Olivia 🎻

Nothing to do with Deepblocks?

Adi 🍍

Nothing to do with Deepblocks.

Olivia 🎻

What I would put on a billboard has to do with how I would hire, or our strategy for hiring that we spoke about earlier on.  It’s principles before personalities, because we want to keep a good strength on our culture, and the values that we want to have as a company or even as a human being, and not disturb that with any personality.  If somebody comes in and they’re very talented, or very powerful, but they have a very shitty personality, I’d rather not work with them. That’s in life and that’s in business as well. So keep your principles very strong, and don’t allow anybody, no matter what they’re offering, to break that. 

Adi 🍍

I really appreciate how you keep bringing this back, the company culture, because so few people talk about that and it’s so key.

Olivia 🎻

Absolutely, if you don’t have a strong company culture when it gets stressful, you will not get through it.  Right now, we’re going through a time where we’re raising money and bringing in new product at the same time, and one of them has to work.  The pressure is huge and everybody’s feeling it, but everybody comes in with the best attitude. We’re going to solve this, we’re going to get to it, and we’re going to do our best.  And if you don’t have that kind of culture, you’re screwed. Forget about it. There’s no way you’re going to get through the tough times. 

Adi 🍍

That’s very true.  Thank you for joining us today and Julio Poppe, thanks for introducing us. 

Olivia 🎻

Yes, Julio.  Thank you. 

Adi 🍍

Until next time, guys.

Outro

Hi All, thanks so much for joining us for another episode of 90×9, which is sponsored by The Million Dollar Pineapple if you enjoy this content and would like to hear more, don’t forget to subscribe, rate & review this podcast. It helps us to get more amazing guests on here to share their knowledge and experience. After you rate & review we have a special gift for you. Visit 90×9.co/resources and confirm your review to gain access to some exclusive resources curated and created just for you!

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About your host Adi Pineapple 🍍

Adi Soozin recently transitioned from working as the Fast Growth Executive at The Million Dollar Pineapple to the Head of Growth & Operations at 90×9. Over the past decade she has worked as an on-call consultant and marketing freelancer for more than 300 companies throughout 48 countries, across 6 continents. The fastest she has grown a company is from $0 to more than $100,000,000 in sales in less than 5 years.

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