GRTiQ Podcast: 172 Dan French

Today, I’m speaking with Dan French, a real estate expert who, working as CEO at ResProp, is at the forefront of exploring how blockchain and cryptocurrencies can revolutionize the future of real estate investment, purchase, and management.

During our conversation, Dan talks about his early interest in real estate, how he got started, the state of the market, and then we shift our attention to web3. Here Dan will explore some important themes as it relates to how web3 might be the technology that enables more people to participate in real estate investments and ownership.

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The following podcast is for informational purposes only. The contents of this podcast do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice. Take responsibility for your own decisions, consult with the proper professionals, and do your own research.

Dan French (00:18):

I think we have to collectively organize. Just like the crypto community is, I think organizing and especially during the run-up to this election, it’s very important that we elect people that are going to have very enlightened views about the use of Bitcoin and ETH. Cryptocurrency generally has to become part of the fabric of our financial system.

Nick (01:11):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Dan French, real estate expert who working as CEO at ResProp is at the forefront of exploring how blockchain and cryptocurrencies can revolutionize the future of real estate investment, purchase, and management. During our conversation, Dan shares insights into his early passion for real estate, his journey into the real estate industry, and the current state of the market.


We then pivot to discuss the potential of web3 technology in disrupting and reshaping real estate investment. Dan takes us deep into key themes surrounding how web3 could democratize access to real estate investments and ownership, offering thought-provoking perspectives on the intersection of technology and real estate. I started the conversation with Dan by asking about how he got interested in real estate.

Dan French (02:01):

Yeah, Nick, thanks for having me today. It’s definitely a pleasure to be on with you and respect what you bring to the table here and the mission focus that you have and just the passion for it. Pleasure to be on. I got into real estate, I was young. I was in my 20s and I was chasing a career in public service. What I wanted to do was build future wealth for my family. I didn’t have a family at that point and now I had four kids, but I always knew I wanted to have a big family and I wanted to be able to support them and give them a good life. So, I felt that public service was my passion at that point, it was my calling, but it wasn’t going to make me really any money. It was going to basically just pay my bills and what I wanted to do is generate wealth for the future.


That’s what real estate is really wonderful at helping people to achieve. This has been time tested over centuries or even millennia that people have done very well tend to be in real estate. That’s just tried and true. It’s only recently where a lot of millionaires have been minted through technology companies. That was where I was thinking. When one of my good friends growing up, him and his brother approached me to get into real estate. Let me pause there. That’s how I kicked it off. I was about 24 years old. So, it’s been about 19 or 20 years in real estate.

Nick (03:15):

Did your educational background in history and public administration, did that shape the way you thought about or approached real estate?

Dan French (03:24):

The traditional path into real estate, I’ve found as someone comes from the finance side of things, that wasn’t really what my passion was. As an undergrad, my passion was, I still love to this day, I love reading about history. I love thinking about getting lessons from the past by reading about the past and then applying it to the future. So, in that regard, I do think that having this critical thinking component, which I believe the history undergrad and a liberal arts training is pretty good for. There’s so many paths into real estate and it’s a tech too, right? So I don’t think that just because you have one specific thing in your toolkit doesn’t mean you’re closed off to different opportunities. It’s what you make of it. Does that make sense?

Nick (04:13):

Makes a lot of sense. A lot of my guests on the podcast have different background that led them in the direction that they are today. So, I want to narrow in a little bit what we’re talking about in terms of your career and the things you’re working on and the type of real estate. So, as listeners may or may not know, there are a variety of type of real estate. You’ve got hospitality, which might be what hotels. You’ve got retail, which might be retail centers, where you might find big box electronic stores, bookstores, things like this. You’ve got residential with your homes. You’ve got industrial where you might have warehouses and things like that. So, if we think about the wide swath of real estate types, what are you focusing on primarily?

Dan French (04:55):

Our deep background and really expertise from a domain knowledge standpoint is definitely multifamily. So, within commercial real estate, multifamily is essentially I think considered five units and larger, but we focus on more like the bigger type of properties that will be 100 unit plus type units. There’s even a lot of variety within that space. Number one, what geography are you focused on? But number two, are you focused on core deals or newer vintage deals or are you open to doing what’s known in the industry as a value add deal, which is probably an older deal? Maybe it’s ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s.


You’re pushing in a lot of capital, new capital into the deal like CapEx, and then you’re taking it to a new level. So, you’re getting higher rents, you’re repositioning the asset. So, in our background, we’ve done all kinds of multifamily, but I would say that most of what we’ve done is that value add space. So, we’re very seasoned operators. We know how to do those value add opportunities. We’re pretty open. It’s about what the opportunity set is within the market space at a given time.

Nick (06:04):

So is there some historical logic or rationale if you go back in time as to why multifamily was where you decided to sharpen the saw and build the expertise?

Dan French (06:15):

It’s about fundamentals. We look at real estate multifamily, it’s not truly optional. In office, there’s an option, especially now when we’re seeing it’s having a huge impact in the commercial real estate space broadly. So, there’s a rebalancing out of office and it’s going to balance out into multifamily and other asset classes within commercial real estate. So, going back to why we believed the fundamentals of multifamily were strong, it’s because people need a place to live. It’s not an option. The US is not building enough homes, even though we hear a lot about supply coming out of COVID. So, during their low interest rate environment, especially two, three years ago, a lot of folks and developers were getting pretty exuberant about putting shovels in the ground.


Even so, there’s still a structural gap in how many homes that the US is producing versus the household formation that’s happening. So, all that being said is that multifamily is a very resilient asset class because folks out there, some are renters by choice, some are renters by necessity, but within every single market in the US, there is a big swath of people that just need to have rental housing. So, we’re there to service that need.

Nick (07:36):

All right, that makes a lot of sense. So, let’s then talk about what you’re doing now professionally and you’re affiliated with a lot of different real estate investment and management companies. So, can you walk us through which ones of those you’re working with and your roles?

Dan French (07:50):

First of all, broadly speaking, we love real estate. We love what we do. We’re very mission oriented in our thinking and real estate can have a huge impact on people’s lives for the positive. But we look at it like an ecosystem, which is I think a very strong indication of our long-term thinking. I hope to be a differentiator for what we bring to the table, but going back, what is an ecosystem approach? To me, I think of it as three different buckets. So, there’s an operations bucket and there’s an investment bucket and then there’s a technology bucket all within real estate. So, operations is more of the people heavy part of the business. So, that would be property and construction management. These are things that every large site in the US pretty much needs. It needs some people, right?


There’s no robots out there fixing the toilet and maybe there will be some day, but not in the foreseeable future that I see within probably my lifetime, but who knows? There’s someone to help you with your lease, with your leasing experience and walk you through it and give you a tour. There’s a property manager. These are the folks that are making the property work on a day-to-day basis. We have a real estate property management firm. That firm has about $2 billion of assets that it covers. So, that’s about 13,000 apartments in Florida and Texas. We serve other owners, not just ourselves. So, that business is a very thriving business. It’s growing and again, very people heavy, even though it’s using a lot of technology. It requires a lot of human capital.


The second bucket is investments. So, real estate investments, we sponsor deals, which means that we put the deal together. So, we’re the general partner in deals and we take LPs and limited partners. They invest alongside our capital in a deal that we put together and we manage that deal. We do asset management and then we figure out the optimal time to maybe sell it one day. So, that’s the investment side. Then lastly, we have the technology side. So, if you look up, we think of it like a venture to disrupt real estate. Now I’m getting into a long answer here, Nick, but real estate is really truly a laggard in terms of the adoption of technology within the space vis-a-vis other different verticals.


There’s a lot of reasons for this, but we believe that the next 10 years should see a shift in that and technology is going to be much more broadly adopted. So, we want to be on the vanguard of that. Then to get after that play, we are incubating, launching, providing the seed capital for many different companies within that venture to disrupt real estate. So, we actually have 15 that we have launched and about 10 of them are actually being actively used and they’re growing. So, that is the ecosystem approach.

Nick (10:51):

Great. That’s why we’re talking today is listeners may be already smelling there is this opportunity to disrupt real estate and Rex and some of the technology things that you’re working on there, including integrating blockchain and some of the technology of web3, creates an interesting storyline for people that have been following or interested in real estate. I do want to ask a couple more questions before we dive deeper into that. A question about the state of real estate, so the crypto market is experiencing its own cycle right now. A regulation is a huge factor and people are watching, but when it comes to real estate and interest rates and everything that’s been going on there, how would you describe the state of the market in the US primarily right now?

Dan French (11:34):

I think the market is completely off balance and a lot of folks, especially ones that bought during COVID, they’re in a lot of trouble. So, it’s a time of a lot of fear and uncertainty and doubt within real estate. I know multifamily most specifically, but obviously office. I’m not going to really touch on any of that, but there’s a lot of rebalancing that’s happening.


So, getting back to multifamily, a lot of folks, owners of real estate assets, if they bought during this really exuberant time, which was let’s just say during COVID, right, where people were just paying a very high basis for their deal and then they put floating debt on their deal, well, now they’ve figured out that they’re probably in a lot of trouble because their basis is high and the amount of cash that the asset is kicking off is really probably all going to pay for their debt because they bought it wrong and their debt’s floating. So, their interest rate payments have gone through the roof. So, what’s happening there is that folks are off balance. They’re trying to hang out for dear life, but many are forced to sell.


So, that’s why we feel like it’s a great time to buy because when other people are fearful, we like to get greedy. That’s like a Buffett mentality, Warren Buffett. It’s all really driven by I would say most of the interest rate environment. The Fed has increased their rate by 22X, somewhat from 0.25% to the range of 5.25 to 5.5. That’s a 22X, which is wild to think about, because during the late ’70s into the ’80s, a lot of people say, “Well, that was 20% interest rate environment.” True, but it started off at 4%. The increase, which is like 4X or whatever it is, 4 to 5X, the increase then versus today in such a short timeframe of just a year and a half, we haven’t even begun to see all the long range impacts.


It’s still going to play out I think over many years. That’s just a broad generalization of what we’re experiencing now. Again, just fear, uncertainty, doubt, a lot of people hanging on for dear life, a lot of transaction volume. Certainly in the multifamily space, way down from where it was during COVID. So, less deals are trading. If people can put together deals today, they’re going to do very well because now we can buy at a basis that’s far more attractive.

Nick (13:58):

Do you think that things like COVID and this move to more remote working, did it fundamentally shift the real estate landscape or was it just a temporary change?

Dan French (14:10):

I do think it certainly will, 100% believe that. I was doing some research the other day, and so it is true that before COVID, remote work was having a year to year increase pretty much stable or increasing at a pretty solid rate. So, more people were able to work from home probably just because technology was getting better and they’re able to leverage it. However, even after COVID, when people were forced to work from home, that rate increased by 4X and it’s not coming down. So, I think people are now, they’re going to shift their housing choice based on that reality. I think it’s one of the biggest shifts, I wrote about this recently, since the Highway Act of the late ’50s during the Eisenhower administration.


That was actually a national security act where they were funding roads in the US to be able to get people out of cities in case of nuclear attack. There was no nuclear attack, thank God, but what happened was all these highway systems encouraged the suburbanization of the US. People were able to travel further, faster, and so great. That just meant people were like, “Oh, well, I can live in the suburbs now. I don’t have to live in a congested city that might be more high crime and more smog back then.” It certainly was a major thing. That transition played out in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and that was a huge change in housing choice. I would put this on par with that time period. Do you know what I’m saying, Nick?

Nick (15:45):

I do, and it does make a ton of sense. Let’s talk about what you said at the outset, which is that real estate historically over time has been proven to be a place where people can invest and generate wealth and income for themselves and their family. I want to talk about ways in which people have typically invested in that. So, what are some of the current or traditional ways? Before we talk about disruption and the things that you’re working on, what are the ways or the avenues in which people can invest in real estate presently?

Dan French (16:19):

Good question, man. I think unfortunately a lot of people’s major investment in real estate is their own personal home, which I don’t think is the proper way to think about access to real estate in terms of being part of your portfolio of how you build wealth, but unfortunately, I do think a lot of people treat their home not as shelter, but as something that’s going to make them money someday. I have trouble with that. So, that’s one way, right? Another way is that you can invest in a REIT, which is a real estate investment trust. Many of these are publicly traded. So, they’re public companies, they’re very liquid. That means you can trade in and out of them. They have quarterly earnings calls. So, it’s all public information.


All the requirements of being a public company are there. You can invest in private equity. This is maybe you know someone in your circle that puts together deals, right? They’re the general partner and they say, “Hey, I have a deal. Would you like to be a $50,000 investor in this deal or $100,000 investor?” You’ll be the limited partner, which means you’re along for the ride with them as a general partner. So, you invest in that deal, which is a private syndication, so private equity, or look, some people are slightly more entrepreneurial and they go out and do stuff like that themselves. They say, “You know what? I want to be in charge of my own deal. I want to be the GP. Let me start with single family rental.


I’m going to own a single family rental. I’m going to bank on a little bit of cashflow, but appreciation long-term, and that’s how I’m going to put together my real estate portfolio and then start doing many of those.” I think those are the biggest opportunities to get access to real estate. One more call out though I think is something I truly love, which the 2012 JOBS Act in the US really opened up crowdfunding. I don’t think they foresaw exactly how much real estate would pick that up, the provisions within that law and apply it. That’s how you have CrowdStreet, Fundrise, and all these different other crowdfunding platforms. So, now you can go on online.


Especially if you’re accredited as an investor, you can go online and peruse 100 deals at one time. So, you don’t have to have grown up with someone that’s putting together a real estate deal or live next door to someone. You know what I mean? So that is a fundamental shift over the last 10 years that I’m very excited about because it gets to the democratization of real estate, which I think we’re going to talk about during this pod.

Nick (20:00):

So when you think about the barriers that keep the common person, the average everyday person from being able to invest in real estate, clearly, there’s a capital component, maybe they just don’t have the money, but is there regulatory or anything else that creates a barrier that’s ripe for disruption when it comes to those people being able to participate in real estate investment?

Dan French (20:23):

Yes, 100%. This is where I think we have to collectively organize. Just like the crypto community is, I think organizing, and especially during the run-up to this election, it’s very important that we elect people that are going to have very enlightened views about the use of Bitcoin and ETH. Cryptocurrency generally has to become part of the fabric of our financial system, but in real estate, people are locked out, I believe primarily because the SEC promulgates these rules about who is accredited and who’s not accredited. So, accrediting in the US means that you have an annual income of over $200,000 or a net worth of a million dollars and you can’t include your home, your domicile, like the place that you live. That’s a high bar.


So, if you’re married, it’s $300,000 and $1 million of net worth. So, most people in the US don’t make this much money. People who do are very blessed and they probably already have a lot of different opportunities. So, those are the people that are accredited and they’re able to invest in any really private equity deal. So, they wind up getting access to a lot more investment opportunity, which almost reinforces the fact that they’ve already done well and now they’re able to do even better because I believe they have access to more high quality deals. So, that winds up locking out people who are rising up in their career. They have a thesis or a longing to invest in real estate, especially private equity real estate that’s not just in the public markets like a REIT, but they’re locked out.

Nick (22:09):

So there are barriers. These are SEC regulatory related barriers that prevent most people from being able to participate in real estate. As we’ve said, and I think is proven, real estate can be one of those things that can be included in a portfolio and historically has created a lot of value for people that are able to participate. So, now let’s talk a little bit about how we’re going to disrupt that and some of the vision you have for that. But before we get there, just introduce us to when you first became aware of crypto, blockchain, web3. When did you become aware of it and what were some of those original impressions?

Dan French (22:48):

I would say I really became aware of it must have been around 2016, 2017, and I think it was related to, I was going to a South by Southwest Conference, which I’m sure most people in your audience know. That is one of the bigger tech conferences. It’s in Austin, Texas, and I’ve been to about maybe three of them. They’re really great. I think they used to be even better because now I got so big. But anyhow, what I’ve noticed is that every year there’s a zeitgeist. There’s one topic that tends to dominate. If I had gone the last two years, I would venture to say that would probably have been AI, but the year that I went, it was really when ICOs were really big, but they were also people getting in trouble with various ICOs.


There was a little bit of this tokenization talk and that’s what really sparked it. Then also my business partner of 20 years, his name is Pete Rex, he’s the founder of all these different companies, and I’m a partner with him on all of them. I would say he was the first one to say, “Hey, here’s what tokenization is.” So he explained that to me and he explained what blockchain was and how that technology can be utilized, but then it really hit home once I saw all this at South by Southwest all the people talking about what the future could be.

Nick (24:12):

So talk to us about the connection then. So, you become aware of it. You’ve got a partner that has an aha moment of hey, this might be an unlock for the industry. Talk to us about the connection between what you see in blockchain and web3 technology and what you’re working on in real estate.

Dan French (24:33):

The connection of blockchain and real estate is I do think that that long-term tokenization of real world assets is going to be extremely powerful and one of the more powerful uses of blockchain technology. One of the businesses that we have actually built, so we’re putting money behind this very idea, it’s called OwnProp like O-W-N-P-R-O-P own property. So,, you can check that out. To us, that’s the intersection of people already want to invest in real estate. We’ve already laid that out and they want to be able to do that I believe in a more seamless, low friction transaction that feels like on Robinhood. If you go Robinhood, it’s very simple. You can just buy a piece of a public equity. You can trade in and out of it really fast. It’s a nice user experience. It’s delightful.


You can hop around. You can get info about a particular stock that you’re looking at, and probably that’s why it took off. The user experience and user interface were wonderful compared to its competitor set, right? So OwnProp has the same idea. Let’s tokenize a real world asset. Let’s take a hotel and we’ve done this on OwnProp. We own an iconic hotel in Austin, Texas, and we believe that we’ve tokenized the first hotel in all of Texas. So, that would be the hotel that we own. It’s called Hotel Ella. Let’s say that you stay there as a guest and you’re like, “You know what? This part of town is going to blow up. This part of town is going to be a wonderful investment opportunity. I want to be a part of this. Let me look up and see if I can trade and own a fractional piece of this hotel.”


While we were capitalizing that deal, we offered a small amount to people who found the hotel as an investment offering on OwnProp. So, that is really the whole concept of OwnProp is that real estate’s already fractionally owned, most of it. Everything you see probably have a stack of people or institutions that are invested in particular deals. We want to democratize that and allow for people to easily trade in and out of deals. The blockchain technology is the thing that actually unlocks this frictionless or much lower friction way to trade in and out because the recording of people’s position on OwnProp is all done using blockchain. It eases all that transaction of trading in and out of deals, and blockchain is a key technology that is going to unlock that.

Nick (27:14):

So if we take Hotel Ella as an example of what could be done when you tokenize real estate, a real world asset, and you use blockchain technology to facilitate transactions, what you’ve basically have created is an opportunity for people to own a share or a fraction of a hotel. It’s all recorded on the blockchain and people can trade in and out of it. If the market were to grow and there were hundreds or thousands of properties available, people could in essence be investing in and out of fractionalized real estate ownership. Is that an accurate way to think through or synthesize everything you just said there?

Dan French (27:55):

Exactly, man, maybe you can help me pitch OwnProp to people. No, that was a concise way to say it for sure, but you’re right. One of the keys is that the liquidity of trading in and out of your position on a deal, right now, once you’re in a deal, it’s really hard to get out of that deal. Maybe in the public markets, the REIT, you can trade in and out, but then you lose some of the advantages of being a direct investor in a deal, which is mostly tax advantage. I invested in Hotel Ella. I can’t get my position out of Hotel Ella, certainly not within five years. So, after five years, sometimes sponsors will give you a put option. Meaning you can get your interest bought out, but that’s even difficult to achieve.


So, the vision of OwnProp is that yes, one day there will be a highly liquid transaction platform powered by blockchain where people can show up and say, “Three years into the ownership of Hotel Ella, I would like a piece of that deal.” Someone three years in says, “You know what? I have alternative use in my capital. I need to buy my first home. I actually want my money to be taken out of Hotel Ella and it’s already got a good return, so let me take some of those chips off the table.” But you need a willing buyer to show up on the other side of that trade. So, that’s the ultimate vision of OwnProp. That’s going to take many years to build.


We need the crypto community and their crypto heads to help us evangelize that because I think that’s going to unlock tremendous value and opportunity for average people.

Nick (29:29):

It’s incredibly interesting because it does completely unlock an entire new asset class. When you think then about where we are in the evolution of an idea like this ever becoming mainstream, I know there’s a lot of friction right now, it’s early days, but just describe to us and maybe include conversations you’re having with other people in the industry. I mean, is there traction here or people pursuing this?

Dan French (29:56):

There’s a lot of people pursuing this. I think the crypto winter recently maybe tamped down some of the enthusiasm and probably even some of the venture capital flowing into the real world asset, the tokenization of real world asset space. I think it’s tamped down a little bit, quite frankly. Maybe that’s because AI is sucking all the oxygen out of the room here, so to speak. Maybe not for our audience here, but that’s a reality and it’s a trend that is going to remain extremely durable and it’s going to go up into the right. We’ve seen crowdfunding, not even powered by blockchain, have a tremendous uptick of money flowing from folks that are looking to get into real estate and balance out their portfolio.


They’re saying to themselves that “I don’t just want stock, I just don’t want to access the stock market. I want to be in real estate deals.” So we already have evidence that crowdfunding is up into the right, and I think powering it with blockchain technology to ease the transaction costs will be the next step. So, I’m very bullish. I think it’s just a matter of time. I do think we need regulatory change here in the US to make it really blow up. The vision man is that people, instead of needing $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 minimum, which is a lot of money for most people, they should be able to put $100 into a real estate deal. Maybe that $100 makes them $200, but that’s going to take a while and it’s going to take the use of smart contracts and blockchain.


It’s going to take a lot of people on a platform that allows investors to both show up and buy a deal when it’s first put together and then to trade out of that deal. Then three years later, well, someone needs to show up at the other side of that trade. So, you need a lot of liquidity of people coming out this platform and saying, “Yes, trade in and out.”

Nick (31:55):

So you’ve brought up AI a couple times and clearly the AI, every industry seems it will be impacted or disrupted by AI. Can you shine a light on what’s happening in the real estate sector? Are you seeing or adopting AI technologies? Outside of what you’re envisioning for blockchain and web3, are you using AI? Is it disrupting your operational process?

Dan French (32:20):

It is for sure, and it’s something that we’ve credited to Pete Rex, my business partner once again. All the companies that we built basically we’re envisioned as being mobile first and really AI driven from the very inception of how they were architected and conceived. Some of them were conceived back in 2020, 2021, thereabouts to even before AI was as hot as it is now. It was always taken with the approach like AI is going to disrupt things. It’s going to be helping productivity and decreasing the need for humans in the loop. Some examples of that would be we have a company called JobCall. So, JobCall is AI driven, and what it does is it handles after hours emergency maintenance calls.


So, if someone calls in, they’re a resident at a property, they have a problem, their air conditioning is out or their toilet broke. They have to tell someone that it’s an emergency. So, JobCall uses AI to handle all the resident, the intake of the knowledge of what’s happening on that site, and then it uses AI to splash that out to the right people, whether it’s a vendor or someone who works at the property and is on call. There’s no human in the loop there. So, that’s just a small example of a very small niche that AI is driving massive productivity, because you can imagine some human used to take that call and then it was like a phone tree, which is not that helpful, and now it’s AI.


That’s happening all through every single process within the real estate space, whether it’s asset management, operations, which includes leasing, and we have tools that are built out for many of these.

Nick (34:06):

When you think about disruption in the real estate industry, we’ve talked a little bit about blockchain. What other things do you see coming that will disrupt that industry? It might include cryptocurrencies. It could include something entirely outside of web3, but are there anything on your radar that signal things are going to change?

Dan French (34:28):

I think AI is huge. Two things I would point out there is the productivity improvements is going to change how we have to staff our buildings and our properties, which is going to drive down the cost of renting. That’s going to be good for the consumer because less of their wallet share is going to be consumed by their rental payment. That’s as good for people, and I think they’re going to have a better leasing experience, whether they’re a prospect or they live there. AI, it’s going to allow for things to happen much faster. That’s what people want. They want their problems taken care of. They don’t want to deal with perfunctory stuff. That’s just waste time. AI’s really good at some of that. Things tend to happen the same way.


So, you just apply machine learning to it and figure it out and just make it automated. So, that’s going to drive down the cost of how we have to run buildings, which is a huge component of the operational expense. So, I think that’s going to change the way we can invest in real estate and be better for the consumer. Then just one more call out, I do think autonomous vehicles are coming. I don’t know when, but when they do, similar to remote work, I think that’s going to also change people’s housing choice. So, a lot more people would choose to live further out and choose beauty because they can just take an autonomous vehicle into the city center or to their job and they can work the whole time. It’s just like being in a floating office. So, those are some of the big changes I think AI is going to drive.

Nick (36:00):

Dan, I only have a couple more questions for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. The first one is clearly as a sector, you mentioned earlier there’s some regulatory, some interest rate types of pressure that will shape real estate. As you span out over the next five or so years and you think about real estate as a sector, I mean, what are some of the challenges or opportunities within that space for people who either want to invest in it or participate in real estate?

Dan French (36:30):

I would say right now, it’s a lot harder to put together deals from an investment standpoint. That’s because fear, uncertainty, and doubt. This climate is people are a little bit off their footing and they’re trying to figure out where pricing is going to go, but I do think that people who buy today are going to do very well. Then longer term, I think that the convergence of so many different technologies, Kathy talks a lot about this from the ARK Investing. Whether you like her or not, I do think she’s a fascinating thinker. The convergence of all these technologies is going to have a lot of impacts that they’re not baked in yet to the thinking, I think. So, AI is going to be at the center of that node. It’s going to supercharge a lot of productivity, and then we’re going to see how things are impacted.


I think real estate has a long way to go in terms of tech adoption, and that includes the construction industry and how we build homes. So, I’m very, very bullish. I think that tech is going to, during the next 5 to 10 years, completely transform once again how people live and where they live. So, I’m excited. I love seeing it play out. I love real estate. I love serving investors. I love serving people. I love empowering people with our technology. So, it’s just an exciting time to be alive.

Nick (37:51):

Then my final question would be something for listeners who want to get involved in real estate and they’re not as far along in their career, maybe they’re just getting started or maybe they’re trying to make the leap, but what would be your advice to anybody who’s getting started in today’s climate?

Dan French (38:09):

Yeah, that’s a great question. I would say be bold, because before you know it, time slips away from you. The idea if it never gets executed is really nothing. It’s worth zero. So, I would say put yourself out there. Get into the mix. There’s so many ways to enter real estate. I mean, being a limited partner in LP in a deal is a simple way. You can then track that deal and learn. So, as you get into the deal, you should really grapple with the underwriting. What’s a business plan and why does this make sense? What are the risks? What are the mitigations?


And then once you’re an LP in that deal, track it, get the monthly or quarterly updates, and really understand that what’s happening at the asset level and maybe even fly out and see it. Or if you’re investing in your backyard, maybe preferably investing in your backyard, something you know, go visit the asset. So, basically, my advice is I don’t really care how you get started. I think you should get started because real estate should be an important part of people’s investment portfolio.

Nick (39:15):

Well, Dan, now we’ve reached a point where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10, and these are fun questions I ask each guest of the podcast every week. I do think it allows listeners to get to know you a little bit better, but also, I hope it introduces listeners to new ideas. So, they can try something different, learn something new, or achieve more in their own life. So, Dan, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Dan French (39:36):

Absolutely. Let’s do it.

Nick (39:48):

What book or articles had the most impact on your life?

Dan French (39:53):

Yeah, I’d have to say the gospel. I read it every day and I have faith that this is the way and the truth and the life. It is in there, but besides that, it’s also the greatest story ever told. So, it just never gets old. I think it’s the way that I try to order my life is according to the gospel. So, it’s got to be the most important.

Nick (40:14):

How about this one? Is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?

Dan French (40:18):

Yeah, I struggle with this one, so many good ones. I call out Saving Private Ryan, which is a movie about it starts with the invasion of Normandy on D-Day during World War II. I don’t know. I’m going to call it out because I feel like there’s a lot of people, even within our own country, who we are hating America and hating some of our ideals. I think that it’s a heroic movie. What we did during World War II was heroic. I think we’re on the right side of history in the US and we’re not perfect, but we’re the best out there. I still believe that firmly. So, that just encourages people to you know what? It’s easy to bash something including our own country, but you should seek first to understand. I think Saving Private Ryan is a really cool historical moment where our nation shines.

Nick (41:13):

If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Dan French (41:18):

Well, it had to be The Beatles, I would say Abbey Road by The Beatles.

Nick (41:23):

What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Dan French (41:26):

It’s like advice, but I likened it more to belief. That was something my parents instilled in me. They just believe that I can do anything and they told me that. You can just do whatever you put your mind to. That was super important. So, it wasn’t one pithy statement, but it was more like, just go out there and whatever you want to do, you can do it. That was really powerful.

Nick (41:51):

How about this one, Dan? What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know quite yet?

Dan French (41:57):

Oh, man. I would say keep going. You can achieve a lot more than you think you can because you have to look very long-term and most people don’t do that. I think they underestimate what they can achieve in the long-term and overestimate what they can achieve today. You got to keep going and then look long-term. You can achieve so much more than you think.

Nick (42:18):

What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Dan French (42:21):

Personally, it’s marrying the right woman has been the best life hack by far. She’s wonderful, great wife, raises a great job with our four kids. In business, it is to hire A players. It is the best. I mean, you just got to hire great people.

Nick (42:36):

Dan, based on your own life experiences and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how or why people find success in life?

Dan French (42:46):

I would say it’s grit. So, just going back to the concept of keep going, things are going to happen, failures will happen. It’s about how you respond. That’s grit to me.

Nick (42:56):

Then the final three questions, Dan, are complete the sentence type questions. So, the first one is complete the sentence. The thing that most excites me about the future of web3 is…

Dan French (43:06):

web3, I think it’s empowering people, democratizing things and putting more ability for people to have power over their own lives, their financial transactions and where they invest, all that stuff. I think it’s empowering people.

Nick (43:20):

How about this one? If you’re on X, I still call it Twitter, then you should be following…

Dan French (43:25):

Well, I would say Pete Rex. He is a fresh thinker. He’s someone I’ve known for over 30 years and known him super well personally. He is my partner for over 20 years, and he’s got interesting takes. I think he’s definitely good follow.

Nick (43:41):

Then the final question is, I’m happiest when…

Dan French (43:45):

When I’m serving others and working toward a mission I really believe in.

Nick (43:56):

Dan French, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast and for sharing some insights on the things that are happening within the real estate sector, as well as how it might converge one day with what’s going on in web3. The example you gave during today’s interview related to Hotel Ella is super interesting. I’m sure a lot of listeners are interested, and we’ll be keeping track of this. If listeners want to stay in touch with you, follow things that you’re working on, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch?

Dan French (44:22):

Yeah, find me on LinkedIn, Daniel French, or text me. I always give out my cell phone number, and some people have texted me off a podcast. I would welcome it. It’s (835) 629-1808.


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