The End and the Beginning
A few months ago my ole Bosses went to some fancy conference in which they learned insider secrets on how to be the best mortgage bankers in all the land. It sounded pretty lame to me. But apparently something happened there, and somewhere between Dallas and Houston on the ride back from the conference, one of them had an idea. Within four minutes of arriving home in Houston and kissing their wives and putting their suitcases away, each Boss had called me with the idea.
“Hey! Let’s have a Save the Blog party!”
“Save the blog?” I asked, holding the phone with my shoulder and stroking my fine cat Harold. “Why does my blog need saving? I’ve got like a good ten readers, at least.”
“If you can’t get fifty people to show up at a Save the Blog party, we’re going to take the blog down! It’ll be awesome!”
I stopped petting the cat. “What? Why is this awesome? Y’all want to take me down?”
“It’ll be great!” they chimed.
So the good news is, dear readers, they are throwing me a party. The bad news is they don’t think y’all will come, and the worst news is they think it will be such a hoot to shut me down if y’all don’t show up.
Readers of America, help me out! Come to the Save the Blog party the evening of June 13th! Save Just the Assistant!
More details to come…
In the meantime, please read my interview with the founder of Envoy Mortgage, David Zugheri. I know, you’re thinking it will be lame. It’s not though. David is a funny guy and even hugged me after the interview (probably so I wouldn’t write awful things about him). Read on!
Why Aren’t You the CEO?
An interview with Envoy Mortgage founder, David Zugheri
Just the Assistant: First things first, David. If you were going to hire someone to go on Envoy Mortgage’s Circle of Excellence trips as the official blogger, who do you think would be the best person for that job?
And if you need help, here are some good articles that a lot of people in the industry are reading that discuss this very topic:
David Zugheri: Probably James Beaver. James knows his stuff.
[JTA note: James Beaver is my boss. James Beaver will NOT be the blogger.]
JTA (glaring): James isn’t available. Let’s move on because you clearly aren’t cooperating here. What made you decide to start a mortgage bank?
DZ: I was passed over for a position in my former company in 1997 and I felt stuck. And the only way to unstuck yourself is to go out and grab life by the horns. At the same time, Dana was getting shot down by another mortgage company.
[Just the Assistant Note: Dana Gompers is the other founder. I have not interviewed him but once I saw him at Memorial Park and introduced myself. My husband was with me and wearing short shorts, so it was a little awkward.]
There were a lot of people we looked up to in the industry, and we thought, they don’t know much more than what we know. But we had more desire than they did. Both of our former companies told us, “If things don’t work out you can come back,” and that motivated us. We also wanted more control over the process.
JTA: Okay, so I don’t understand, if you started this company, why aren’t you the CEO? If I started a company I would totally be the CEO.
DZ: Our company had reached 350 employees in 13 states. It was the responsible thing to do to bring Rick [Thompson] in to add structure. It’s like this: you can be a great hair dresser, but that doesn’t mean you’d be great at running a salon. You could be a great mortgage banker, the best mortgage banker there is, but that doesn’t mean you’d be a good branch manager or regional manager.
JTA: So your company was growing like crazy?
DZ: Yes. When the financial meltdown happened in 2008, we saw that as opportunity. We started growing so fast that we needed help.
JTA: What do you do when people don’t do what you say? Do you fire them?
DZ: I just talk to people. I say, “Hey, I would do that, so why shouldn’t you?” I always lead by example.
JTA: If I had your power I would just fire them.
DZ: You wouldn’t talk to them? I think you’d talk to them first.
JTA: No, I’d totally just fire them. So listen, why do you have that big glass wall in the foyer of the corporate office? That’s so weird. Why did you do that?
DZ: We thought it conveyed transparency.
JTA: But it’s so awkward because this one time I came to corporate and all these world leaders were sitting in there in a meeting and I felt so self conscious in the foyer, like I should be sitting up straight, but not too strait.
DZ: Well it’s also fun when we have parties. Some people can hang out in the foyer and some people can be in the conference room but you still feel like you’re all together.
JTA: Hey, that sounds fun! When’s the next party, hmm?
DZ: Uh, ah…in four and a half years when we celebrate our 20th anniversary.
JTA: You’re a really powerful man, so I’m wondering, what does your house look like? I imagine your house all white. Is it all sleek and minimalist with big black gates at the front and guards? Are the guards armed?
DZ (rubbing his face in agony): First of all, I don’t even have a house. My kids have a house. It’s their house.
JTA: Ha! Do you make them pay your mortgage?
DZ: No, but I should. My house is not white. It’s, it’s, there are so many toys. So many toys… They stick their drawings on the walls, and the toys…
[JTA Note: He then showed me a picture of his son in a playroom. Did you ever see that movie Escape to Witch Mountain? Remember all the toys? It was like that. Or like on Big when he buys all those toys. I didn’t post the picture here because I figured somehow I could get sued, but you get the idea.]
JTA: Do you dream about mortgages?
DZ: Absolutely. Well, mortgage stuff, business dreams.
JTA: I’m really sorry about that. You should try it out here at the bottom because I just get to dream about flying and my pets talking and stuff. Okay, finally, is there anything you want my readers know?
DZ: Yes. They are in on something that is going to be big. Just the Assistant is going to be huge. Rush Limbaugh started somewhere. You’re going to be big like him. You’ll have your own radio show.
JTA: Actually, I won’t. The ole Bosses are threatening to take me down. Well, thanks for your time, David! It’s been a hoot. Now go answer all those phone calls!