My name is Ben. I work as a real estate developer, teaming up with architects, contractors, and urban planners to create new buildings. My book The Birth of a Building: From Conception to Delivery is a widely-used introduction to the subject.
In my free time I’m a serious student of data science and graphic design. Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn, and sign up for my quarterly newsletter below to hear about things that have made me think, as well as early drafts of projects I’m working on.
Strong Towns: Every Building is a Startup
ACRE: How Affordable Housing Works
ACRE: The Birth of a Building
I’ve read great books on real estate finance, architecture, construction, and urban planning. But they all begin from the vantage point of a specific discipline, and that’s a bit artificial. So after graduating I began work on an interdisciplinary book that would give the reader a sense for how all of those pieces work together.
Part One discusses the “birds and the bees,” or why people create buildings in the first place (focusing on finance and urban economics). Part Two discusses the “pregnancy and delivery” process. It has been adopted at several leading universities and is being considered for corporate training as well. See here for details and here to buy.
As a graduate student, I created an online interview series (two people on Skype) with leading developers, architects, urban planners, engineers, lawyers, and others. The conversations on that site played an enormous role in helping me understand the industry. After I graduated, I found it more difficult to find the time to edit these interviews and also found it slightly harder as a non-student to get people to come on. At the moment, the series is on pause but I’ve got ideas for perhaps bringing it back some day. For now, enjoy the fantastic interviews that are still posted there.
When I got to business school, I became very frustrated with my attempts to learn financial modeling. In the years since then, I’ve designed a development model that’s user-friendly and flexible. Because the The Birth of a Building discusses modeling, several early reviewers have asked me if I can share my model with them.
As a result of those conversations, I’m thinking about making a short (three to four hour) online modeling course to teach beginners how to build the model I have developed. But creating a course like that would take time, and there are plenty of other courses out there, some taught by friends of mine. To gauge interest, I’m putting up this sign-up page. If you’d be interested to hear more about the course, sign up below to be notified when it’s available. And let me know what you think might make such a course a great experience for users.Let Me Know When It’s Ready