The FORT Podcast: Jason Baxter

Chris is sitting down with Jason Baxter, President & COO of Fort, to go in-depth on ways that Fort is growing with a focus on speed and innovation. They dive into the importance of “C.O.R.”, using Culture Index for hiring great talent, as well as Fort Operating System. They also discuss how their use of artificial intelligence and outsourcing software systems allows them to monitor new deals in real time without manually searching for each one. Listen in on their conversation about the process of raising a fund, the idea that bigger is not necessarily better, and how Fort is leveraging remote talent to expand to new regions without opening new offices.

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01:46 – What is C.O.R.? How do you encourage a team to adopt the C.O.R. mindset?
13:14 – The Culture Index for Hiring
19:15 – Use of Fort Operating System (F.O.S.)
23:30 – Watson, Stemmons, and Streamlining Communication
36:13 – Getting Smarter About Raising a Fund
38:14 – False Precision in Real Estate Investments
53:05 – Profitability > Size

Episode Summary

Baxter commenced the dialogue with an emphasis on the significance of adopting strategic approaches within the realm of real estate, specifically highlighting the optimization of costs and the leveraging of negotiations across extensive property portfolios. He illuminated the benefits of housing a purchasing analyst within the team, drawing attention to their pivotal role in securing optimal costs through effective negotiation and strategic purchasing practices. This innovative approach was presented as a tangible solution to the inherent challenges associated with negotiating on a project-by-project basis, showcasing the advantages of being able to negotiate from a position of strength and scale.

The conversation then seamlessly transitioned into an exploration of the transformative impact of data on real estate investment strategies. Baxter underscored the unprecedented accessibility of data in today’s digital age, emphasizing its potential to guide systems toward identifying successful outcomes through pattern recognition. He highlighted the imperative for a foundational understanding of data analysis within real estate investment firms, showcasing the capacity of data-driven strategies to significantly enhance decision-making processes and investment outcomes.

Delving deeper, Baxter addressed the evolving nature of information flow and data collection within the real estate sector, underscoring the monumental shift from informal, fragmented communication to a more systematic and organized collection of actionable data. He emphasized the transformative potential of this transition, noting its ability to convert previously ephemeral interactions and information into valuable assets, thereby enhancing business operations and strategic planning.

In the final segment of the podcast, the focus shifted to the strategic management of real estate assets. Baxter emphasized the advantages of leveraging a portfolio of assets for enhanced capital performance, illuminating the potential benefits of presenting a more appealing proposition to larger buyers and thus benefiting the entire portfolio. He underscored the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach to real estate investment, aiming to optimize returns across the entire portfolio and ensuring the strategic management of assets.

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