American teens and those older have typically learned the quip – ‘Don’t assume. Because when you assume, you make an Ass/U/Me.’
It seems there is a fair amount of assuming going on in manufactured housing.
When one looks at the evidence, facts, and money trails – as we must in publishing and business development services – there are assumptions that have made an ass out of much of the industry, and it has been occurring for some years.
Let me promptly admit that this writer made false assumptions in MHVille too. Getting sucker-punched is no fun. Beyond college, the MHVille University of Hard Knocks slugged some of my prior assumptions into reality, yielding a proverbial double PhD for me. That’s painful, but potentially good for thee.
How so? Because there are only two ways to learn, your own experiences and from the experiences of others who already know.
While some assume, there are others quite grounded. Some see reality, like the status quo and current trends in manufactured housing. Others see reality, but are concerned, neutral, or oppose the trajectory of our once far-greater-in-scope-industry.
For those who think and plan – as Warren Buffett does in terms of 10 years, 20 years, and forever – it changes things. Numbers of retailers, communities, and others operating in manufactured housing may have a one-year budget. But they may in fact behave as a day to day, weekly, or month-to-month manner of short-term thinking.
If two parties were equal, then the long-term strategic thinker can eat the lunch of those who behave in that fashion. Because as soon as someone or some operation is identified as a short-term planner, that makes them vulnerable to those who think and act for the long haul. If two parties aren’t equal, and the superior party thinks long term, look out for the little guys.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones spoke of flexible planning. He was right. We all can benefit from a plan, but it should be adaptable
This past week, several events occurred that reflect the painful risks of short-term thinking. There are risks too for those who don’t learn the lessons of industry or general history, which is frankly another form of long-term strategic understanding.
Buffett studies history. He studies business, biographical, other histories, and trends. How about you?
When we launched MHProNews we had a plan. Part of it was to become the dominant trade media platform in manufactured housing. That was accomplished in the first few months. We didn’t do that by targeting for elimination anyone else. Pardon some pride, but we outworked others and gave a superior news and views product.
Warren Buffett is savvy about many things, and that is part of why he is uber-rich. He developed his strategic Moat and long-term thinking models. He only wanted to invest in businesses and industries that made good sense. Low risk, maximum control, and steady gains.
Buffett says he reads 5 or 6 hours a day. Then, he also has phone and other conversations. He takes in a tremendous amount of information and insights. Capital is deployed when he thinks the circumstances are right. As thousands of MHVille independents learned, capital can also be slowed or even stopped, and that can choke the life out of independents. Call it “Conquest Capitalism” ©.
Note that we as pro-free enterprise advocates, normal capitalism is the historically most proven system on the planet. Let people be as free as possible, and earn money honestly serving others. When we put out a better news and views product, what happened? Others followed suit. Because we didn’t drive others out of business, several boats were lifted. That’s how a healthy free enterprise system works.
But as soon as strategic, arguably monopolistic moats are at play, it changes the dynamics of everything. It is no longer a free market if the markets and politics are rigged. As we noted weeks ago, there are monopolies forming across a range of industries. We are not alone. We credit those other sources on or off the record, because those other sources in and out of MHVille deserve credit for educating us.
Never forget that much of the purported ‘information’ that comes from several other sources in MHVille has been weaponized. The mix of accurate but spin, or just plain false and misleading, can’t be easily known if there are no cross-checks. That said, unlike some, we’ve not advised our readers not to read anyone else, or anywhere else. The brilliance of the founders on freedom of the press was to allow competition in information too.
Look at what others say. Look at what we’ve published. Consider both objectively. Apply some history, common sense, and business savvy. If you do, we think you’ll be back here for more news and views.
That’s why we’re still the runaway #1 in our industry for professional readers. If you’ve got it, better tout it.
5 years ago, something happened to me that made me step back and question what I thought I knew about the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Some things never made quite made sense. It was taking a long time for MHI to do some seemingly obvious and simple things. But it frankly took a specific shock – a gut punch – that made me seriously ask deeper questions.
The right questions lead one to look at the evidence, trend lines, and money trails. That began the steady evolution of my understanding of the Arlington, VA based trade group. That in turn helped me better understand an industry I’d successfully performed in for over 20 years at that time.
To understand MHI, one must also understand Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, their other sister firms in MHVille, and of course the so-called Oracle of Omaha.
After years of careful study, fact-checks, and analysis – what once was perplexing, is now quite clear.
What people say, and what they do are not always the same thing.
Warren Buffett may say something that is or isn’t — accurate, just, or true. When Buffett is speaking, or his surrogates in Knoxville or Arlington do so, think of them like you would any advertiser. Trust a claim only after verifying it. Caveat emptor. We cite sources, and evidence, so that you can verify us too.
For example, we’ve found factual errors about manufactured housing in Buffett’s annual letter. Why has no one else questioned them before?
If Buffett wanted the Manufactured Housing Industry to grow rapidly, he could have turned on the marketing juice any time he wanted to do so after he made his early acquisitions in 2003. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway can afford the best psychologists, sociologists, entertainment with product placement, educational, marketing, media – you name it – experts.
But that didn’t happen. Which begs the question, why not? So, the obvious logic must be, that rapid growth was not his plan.
Slow growth while limiting the market size are arguably shrewd ways of steadily gaining market share. That can allow buying others out at a reduced value, slowly over time.
The truth was hiding in plain sight. It wasn’t hidden. Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison just said it flat out, on camera, and it takes under 20 seconds to see it.
Slowing the industry’s growth, or even allowing it to shrink also means that periodically Berkshire and their extensions will watch as others fail. Think about that point. That slow growth process also arguably helps avoid federal antitrust regulatory scrutiny. So others have said to our trade publication. You can now look at the years of evidence.
This was the market share at about the time of the “Smoking Gun” letter from Tim Williams. See the report and video, linked here. Facts, evidence, following the money, it all matters.
See the most recent – and revealing – reports below.
Then ask yourself, is there another plausible explanation? Or was slow growth the plan, so that more consolidation and steadily greater market share would occur?
We’ve learned to listen, check the evidence, history, and the trends. We may not like all that Buffett says or does, but we read him and consider what he says through a variety of prisms.
That’s just one reason why Mark Weiss’ article – “the Illusion of Motion” ought to be required reading for all who want to see robust growth. The output of other articles from Mark’s electronic pen are worthy of careful consideration too. As an attorney is trained to do, he’s systematic. Weiss uses facts and evidence-based points on their website, like their latest report, linked further below.
“A promise is no better than the person or institution making it,” said Warren Buffet, per Kid Dynamite’s World. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Buffett is quite right about this claim. Which means one must look at the evidence, that is presented herein and further below.
We made a strategic decision years ago to think long term, but to do so like a chess player. There are times in chess when – if you watch the board carefully – an unexpected opportunity opens. If so, a rapid victory can be achieved. Flexible planning.
Think long term. Invest more time reading and pondering the evidence of what you read. When we launched MHProNews, we used to say ‘read 15 minutes a day.’ When we later began publishing MHLivingNews, we said a total of 30 minutes day was more like it.
Now, I’m not sure how someone could hope to survive long-term without at least an hour a day of thoughtful – not rushed – reading. It may take two hours a day or more for some. But wouldn’t it be worth it for those who want to know more, to grow more?
If you have ambition, then read, view, ponder, and digest. Ask the questions and consider the topics others in MHVille media routinely avoid. We tackle and scrutinize topics the sycophants of Omaha-Knoxville -Arlington are afraid to go near. It’s arguably why after all the opposition that was thrown our way, we are still the runaway #1. We earned readers trust the slow, hard way. Or was Buffett put it, “A promise is no better than the person or institution making it.” In media, I’d say swap promise for “report and analysis” and you’re spot on again.
Then get your team to read more too. Readers are potential leaders. Knowledge is potential power. Knowledge plus the necessary resources, plus the correct plan, a never quit mindset, and motivation, those can move mountains over time. Don’t believe me? Ask Warren Buffett.
Everything we do has a simple goal. Honorable, honest, profitable, sustainable industry advancement. That’s achieved via satisfied consumers willing to tell a friend the good word about manufactured home living.
Proving by word and deed that more has been done before, more is being done elsewhere, and thus more can take place in manufactured housing once again. Never forget, Legacy Housing stated in their IPO that they would be investing in retail, because they saw what other producers tell us routinely. There are not enough retailers.
Legacy clearly believes in the future potential of the business, because they are raising capital to expand their retail base. In a housing market that sells over a trillion dollar a year in housing, why did manufactured homes sell under $8 billion in 2018? When you study the facts, the picture becomes clear.
More distribution, with more lending, and more placement options will lead to greater levels of production. But the opposite is true too. Keep in mind that once a cunning strategist – say, Warren Buffett and his MHVille crew – knows how to achieve something, that also means that they know how to block someone else.
An MHI member asked me to do a 400-word executive summary. Good luck with that, beyond saying ‘the system is rigged.’ How do you sum all of this up in 400 words without sounding looney? Which is why Matthew Kelly was so right about superficiality. There are some things that simply cry out for a deeper dive.
Warren Buffett didn’t say it, but another successful business guru did. Want to understand something enough to benefit from it? There is no substitute to investing the time needed. Buffett says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day. Wow…but look were that time investment got him.
We’re true believers in manufactured homes and living. Each analysis, report, and fact-check fits into that framework. Some are current events, but each report always has the long-term in mind. Management by Objective (MBO). Goal and solution orientation, planning and execution (GASOPE). How does X – or could Y – fit into the bigger picture and the broader plan?
With no further adieu, let’s dive into the hot linked headlines from the week that was. 3.3.2019 to 3.10.2019.
What’s New on the Masthead
What’s New from MHARR
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
“We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)
(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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