Keep Minnesota Entrepreneurs in Minnesota!

Except for the fact that 11 year-old Riley and her family leave, Minnesota comes off looking pretty good in Pixar’s new blockbuster, “Inside Out.”

Inside_OutMinnesota is where Riley learned to play hockey, enjoyed going to the lakes with her family in the Summer, and loves her teammates, friends, and school (yes, school).

So, why’d the family move to San Francisco?

Because it was a better place for her Dad to start a high-tech company.

Not an Oxymoron:  “Minnesota Entrepreneur”

Unfortunately, there’s more than a little (painful) truth to that.

While Minnesota entrepreneurs famously launched such giants as Cargill, Medtronic, Target, and Best Buy, this area does lose high tech talent and capital to places like Silicon Valley.

Which is why the state is lucky to have successful entrepreneurs like David and Sara Russick, founders of local investing group Gopher Angels.

The organization identifies and screens promising Minnesota start-ups, and helps make sure that they find their employees, capital, and investors here, not elsewhere (full disclosure:  I’m a member).

Maybe in the inevitable sequel to “Inside Out,” Riley’s family will move back to Minnesota after the Dad’s start-up is bought out . . . and he starts his next company here.


“Green House” x 2

by Ross Kaplan on June 26, 2015

Milan’s Bosco Verticale

boscoNo, these two towers are nowhere to be found in the Twin Cities.

Known as the “Bosco Verticale” (Vertical Forest), the Milan project consists of two towers, 26 stories and 18 stories high, ringed with what appear to be evergreen trees.

Wikipedia elaborates:

“It is called Bosco Verticale because each tower houses trees between three and six meters which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer.[9] The plants also attenuate noise.[10] The design was tested in a wind tunnel to ensure the trees would not topple from gusts of wind.[11] Botanists and horticulturalists were consulted by the engineering team to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants.”

Home as Art/Art as Home

It will be interesting to see how the complex’s 400 units actually live, and what condo owners (and presumably inhabitants) say over time (the project opened last Fall).

Question #1:  do all those sound-absorbing, oxygen-generating trees also block out natural light, making the interior dark?

Question #2:  do the buildings leak? (keeping a vertical forest nourished presumably requires a LOT of extra water — something that’s not normally good for a building’s structure, maintenance, etc.).

But the “livability” factor probably looms largest.

Architecture buffs know that Frank Lloyd Wright’s brilliantly designed homes (including landmarks like “Falling Water” near Pittsburgh) were notorious for something else:  being (in)famously user-unfriendly, and a headache to live in (sometimes literally, due to low overhead).

P.S.: Resale prices will fairly quickly tell whether Bosco Verticale is a hit or bust.

Long-term, the best measure will be whether it inspires copycats.


Analog vs. Virtual Unlocked Doors

Once upon a time, standard Realtor advice to new homeowners, post-closing, was to change the locks:  even if the Seller delivered all known keys to the Buyer, there was always the possibility of neighbors or friends possessing a “stray.”

Nest1Now, thanks to smart homes — and specifically, Nest thermostats — there’s new advice:  make sure that any passwords are wiped and new ones created.

That comes on the heels of at least one disgruntled Twin Cities seller deciding to create havoc for their Buyer this Spring by altering, remotely, the device’s settings.

Or so I hear through the Realtor grapevine . . .

P.S.:  And yes, such actions are:  a) illegal; and b) traceable.

Also:  given that the garage door/service door is effectively the main entrance for many homeowners, it’s smart to also reprogram any garage door openers and outside keypads.

See also, “Home Thermostat as Trojan Horse”“Housing’s “Nest” Big Thing?”



Stylish West Oaks Contemporary

Where:  3480 Fairway Lane, just north of Highway 7 and Hopkins Crossroads (County 73) in Minnetonka.
When:  11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (June 23).
What:  3 Bedroom/3 Bath soft Contemporary with over 3,600 square feet.
How much:  $509k.
Who:  listed by Ross Kaplan and Karen Antone, Edina Realty-City Lakes.

This 3,600 square foot Contemporary was made for your lifestyle.


Open Dining & Living Room

The open, light-filled 1st floor is the perfect spot to entertain guests. Elsewhere, escape to read a book or just relax in the private Owner’s Suite or Sun Room. With multiple work spaces including a first-floor Office, this home is ideal for keeping in touch with clients or just managing finances.

When it’s time for a break, enjoy the sunny, eat-in Kitchen, or, work out in your own Exercise Room (when it warms up, play tennis or go for a swim just across the street!).

Convenient West Oaks is just 20 minutes from Downtown Minneapolis, yet convenient to the west suburbs and nearby shopping and amenities. Don’t miss your chance to be just the second owner of this beautiful home.


Sunny eat-in Kitchen with center island


Both Causing & Preventing Heart Attacks: Is Modern Technology a Zero Sum Game?

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Call it a “High Tech Wash” (At Least at the Societal Level) “Racing the Clock, Saving the Heart:  Faster Care Helps Death Rate Plunge 38% in Decade.”  –Headline; NYT (June 21, 2015) “A study published in 2012 that tracked women for 10 years concluded that stressful jobs increased the risk of a cardiovascular event by 38%.” […]

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Shouldn’t This Guy Really Be the Defendant?? Former AIG Chair Hank Greenberg’s Lawsuit (and Now Appeal!) Against the Feds

June 20, 2015

Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting For an Apology [Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced.] Your company’s breathtaking recklessness, greed, and — above all — stupidity(!) blow a $200 billion hole in its balance sheet, threatening the global […]

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Why Sellers Don’t Like Contingent Offers — & How to Overcome Their Reluctance

June 20, 2015

Contingency Complications [Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced.] “Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” –Garrison Keillor It can be hard enough shepherding one […]

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“No More Monkees Jumping on the Bed”: Rules of Etiquette for Sunday Open Houses

June 19, 2015

(Top) Ten Commandments (“#6. No Free Samples”) You wouldn’t think Realtors hosting Sunday open houses would have to instruct parents to tell their kids not to jump on the beds in the owner’s home. Unfortunately . . . you’d be wrong. While the vast majority of open house visitors are respectful of the “For Sale” […]

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