Monthly Archives: December 2018

Think Like an Egyptian

By Sharon Scott Wilson, RRP

In his best-selling book, Making Ideas Happen, Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, Scott Belsky writes, “Ideas don’t happen because they are great – or by accident. The misconception that great ideas inevitably lead to success has prevailed for too long. Whether you have the perfect solution for an everyday problem or a bold new concept for a creative masterpiece, you must transform vision into reality. Far from being some stroke of creative genius, this capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone. [Emphasis added.] You just need to modify your organizational habits, engage a broader community, and develop your leadership capability.

Just think about that for a second. Anybody – you, your kid, your best friend – anyone can make ideas happen. Belsky says, “Everything in life should be approached as a project. Every project can be broken down into just three things: Action Steps, Backburner Items, and References.” This is how the Egyptians built the pyramids, one brick at a time. Surely Leonardo da Vinci had more ideas than one person could possibly handle; but by taking action, he produced some of the finest art the world has ever seen.

My friend and a loyal Resort Trades supporter, Kevin Mattoni, gets things done. I remember when he first came to us and spoke of his new business, C.A.R.S. I first met Kevin in 1992; I believe it was in Sarasota. He was a partner with Sharon and Richard Cunningham, founders of Cunningham Property Management. Today, he is managing partner of the company. At that time, Kevin was responsible for finding an answer for the financial needs of a number of timeshare resorts that had been impacted by the S&L fallout in the late ‘80s. The original developers of the resorts had defaulted on their acquisition construction loans, the banks were now the owner, and the banks were not willing to fund the resort’s operational expenses. The properties and all the deeded owners were in jeopardy. Kevin needed to immediately generate income to remain open.

ACTION STEPS: As Kevin tells it, “Everything started with organizing the inventory to implement rentals, then sales, then all the legal work to inevitably sell out the inventory. Because we had no funding, we needed to rely on our industry contacts for advice, advertising, marketing, everything.” The result is all the Cunningham managed resorts are operating today, continually receive the highest ratings, and are financially viable.

The next challenge Mattoni took on while managing The Cunningham Family of Companies and their asset recovery division was how to gain industry recognition and obtain executed agreements from resorts in several states to efficiently and economically resolve their delinquent intervals by using non-judicial foreclosure. The launch of Cunningham Asset Recovery Service (C.A.R.S.) was the result.

ACTION STEPS: When Kevin had the idea for C.A.R.S. his goal was to make the entire process easy for the client. He based his service on utilizing the software that resorts were already using, an accounts receivable program. Kevin developed an easy program to track the status of every existing and potential client. “I don’t have the best memory and didn’t want our success to depend on that. Working with management software already in place and then bringing in what was needed for tracking, sending emails, surveys, it allowed me to stay organized.” The result is that C.A.R.S. is one of the leaders in providing these services to associations, developers, and lenders. “This was all accomplished within 3 years”

It wasn’t a miracle that produced the Mona Lisa, raised the pyramids, or established C.A.R.S. As Mattoni says “To turn dreams into reality, we need to work and live with a focus on efficient action, getting something accomplished every day as if our livelihood depended on it.

Sharon Scott Wilson is publisher of Resort Trades and Golf Course Trades magazines.  Her firm, SharonINK – providing clients with B2B and B2C content – recently became a subsidiary of The Trades Publishing Company.

George H.W. Bush & Anthony Bourdain: Lessons Learned

By Sharon Scott Wilson

The recent passing of Anthony Bourdain and George H.W. Bush affected me deeply. I am still not over Bourdain who hosted the hit television commentary series on CNN, “Parts Unknown” and committed suicide in June. After news of President Bush’s passing, I found myself weeping almost every day. I wept not only for Bush, but for Bourdain, as well…and, most likely for my own mortality.

It seemed to me that each of these men had such exceptional qualities; they each had a quiet dignity. I am holding onto a sense of regret that I had not better appreciated them while they lived.

Yes, I’m sure that Bourdain had his moments when he terrorized his staff and tortured his loved ones. I remember hearing him refer to himself as an a**hole. One of his crew said of him, “Sure, he was a d*ck; but, he was our d*ck.”

Although I did not vote for him, President Bush appealed to me as being a dignified, idealistic gentleman. He may have appeared to have been almost too milk-toast to survive in the rough waters of American politics…or, any communal gathering for that matter. (Take any homeowner association as an example of political rancor and discordance, for example.) Of course, I have lately come to learn that self- restraint takes more strength of character than hot-headedness, vitriol, and sharp-shooting remarks.

One of the lessons I wish to learn from them both is how to truly connect with people. Take Bourdain, for instance. He touched people. He had genuine respect for and interest in those who, like himself, overcame great odds. Bush was famous for writing personal notes and letters to perhaps thousands of individuals.

We read in littlebaomay’s comments to Bourdain on Instagram: “Happy to be touched by you in what you stand for and what you pursue. To know that you were going to shoot our restaurant, felt like winning a lottery or a dream manifested. To meet you and to instantly know you are exactly how I thought you would be. A hero exploring the truth through food and travel. You beat the harsh hours of being a chef. You beat the heroine. You beat the cocaine. You made a life of yourself inspiring millions, living a dream life with truth that not many know how to live….” She writes further about the curse of depression, which was Bourdain’s final blow; his invincible challenge. At last she writes, “Love him and celebrate him. Remember him for his work but also spend time to read and learn more about depression because we can still share awareness in protecting those around us. Thank you @anthonybourdain.”

We get a more direct life lesson from President Bush: “Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course.” (Courtesy of #WebNerds on Instagram.) The Washington Post wrote, “In 1988, Mr. Bush gave a list of the qualities he most cherished to Peggy Noonan, who wrote his speech accepting that year’s Republican presidential nomination. They were: ‘family, kids, grandkids, love, decency, honor, pride, tolerance, hope, kindness, loyalty, freedom, caring, heart, faith, service to country, fair (fair play), strength, healing, excellence.’”

Two very different men and, yet, vivid reminders that each of us will leave a legacy. For what will you be remembered, do you think? I hope to be remembered for having Bourdain’s insatiable curiosity and creativity, joined with a love for people. Plus, I would love to be known today, even while still alive, for any and all of the qualities listed Bush listed for Peggy Noonan but chiefly for tolerance, hope, kindness, and loyalty.

For whatever qualities we wish to be remembered, we need to exercise them every day. As the Bible says in Proverbs 23, verse 7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

Photo Credit: (c) 2013 Sharon Scott Wilson; Autumn, from "The Door Series."


Bluegreen Vacations stocks jump

Bluegreen Vacations made the news last week: “The Motley Fool” ran an interesting article on November 27, 2018, “Why Spirit Airlines, Bluegreen Vacations, and StoneCo Jumped Today.” As you might imagine, it was all thanks to clever stock moves. Here’s what they said, “Bluegreen Vacations saw its stock climb 17% in the wake of the decision of its board of directors to implement a share repurchase program. The vacation ownership specialist and resort manager said that it would buy back as much as 3 million shares, paying no more than $35 million toward repurchases. With the company already 90% owned by BBX Capital, the limited float means that the 3 million share authorization represents more than 40% of outstanding shares held by the public. Interest among investors in companies specializing in timeshares and other vacation real estate has been solid lately. However, with the share price jumping so far, Bluegreen might choose not to make any repurchases under the program unless the stock falls back.”