San Diego: it’s not New York. It’s not San Francisco. Not Austin. And yet it was here that I met more young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs doing real, meaningful work than other visits.
These weren’t the kinds of stereotypical start-ups one might imagine on the cover of Inc. magazine: no ping pong tables or kegs in the kitchen. These were real level-headed businesses with simple philosophies and humble goals. Above all else, San Diego’s young entrepreneurs weren’t wasting their time obsessing over the things they could not control. They were identifying niches, getting to work, making money, and enjoying the ride.
Getting introduced to the hustlers of San Diego was not done through a guide book nor extensive Google research, but rather a vacation rental company called Bluewater Vacation Homes, who represents about 70 luxury homes up and down the San Diego coast. The vacation rentals range in size and amenities, but Bluewater treats them all with the same white gloves. Little did I know that the moment I booked a Bluewater rental, I'd gain access to way more than just a property. I’d be entering a lifestyle. And I’d be doing it with my mom.
When predicting the future of labor, I’m from the hustler school of thought: that as computers and automation begin to eat away at the foundation on which many conventional industries were built, it is the entrepreneurs — those who hustle to create for themselves — that are on the upward trajectory. It’s these entrepreneurial paths that will ultimately reign supreme.
And through the course of my travels, one unexpected but fascinating side benefit is seeing the various ways that destinations and their residents seem to be dealing with the shared economy.
In NYC, for instance, hardcore protests against Airbnb made the mere act of mentioning “vacation rentals” an uncomfortable and at times even embarrassing thing to do. In Barcelona, a city-wide Uber strike created major traffic jams that caused me to miss several important meetings.
As an unbiased traveler I’m simply attracted to cities that embrace the way I like to travel. And in the end, shared economy options simply offer a good product at a good price. Hopefully, municipalities around the world can agree that smart regulation is the keystone that allows eager entrepreneurs and patrons to connect more freely. That when done properly, small business innovation seems to benefit everyone involved.
San Diego: Deconstructed
Each destination and host has multiple layers to its success. So we decided to pull back the curtain and share commentary on the people, places, and best industry practices that made Paul Becker and Brady of Bluewater Vacation Homes so unique.
The Learning Corner
1. The Primary Mission
Property managers sometimes struggle to figure out who their "primary" client is: is it the owner of the property, or the guest themselves? At Bluewater, they believe that it has to be the guest -- this was something we learned from Luke at the beginning of the full episode. Learn here how the logic breaks down.
2. Do You Stay in Vacation Rentals?
When we travel, staying in other vacation rentals can provide great insight.
3. The Beauty of Anti-Scalability
Figuring out the little things that will not scale is a core philosophy of the Limited Edition Theory. Here, we break down some of those elements that, while more expensive and less automatable, Bluewater uses with great success.
4. Upgrading To Software
Paul started out like all owners and managers: from scratch, above his garage. He was using excel documents and realized there needed to be a better way if he was to play out real success.
5. The Dream Job
In our industry, many people do what they are super passionate about, they're incredibly good at it, and it earns them money. That is basically the picture-perfect definition of the dream job
6. The Regulatory Elephant in the Room
San Diego has been dealing with tough regulatory battles now for some time. In this clip, Paul explains some of the more challenging elements of that predicament, but also the importance of a fighter mindset.