Becoming a Dad, the Power of Beliefs, and Inflation

Business, Content & Updates #1


We had a baby boy on March 10, making our spunky and joyful four-year-old girl a big sister.  We are thrilled to have a growing family!  While we'd planned for a home birth, due to some blood work and high risk of preeclampsia that came in three weeks before the due date, we ended up making our way to the hospital in a bit of a rush. 

The midwife and doula were still able to accompany us, and my amazing wife Sarah still managed to do an all-natural birth, no epidural, and I'm frankly in awe.  Birth of the craziest and most remarkable things on planet earth.

Watching our four-year-old grow up each day has been one of the greatest blessings in my life, and constantly reminds me of just how incredible the world we live in is, and how amazing human beings are. 

Also, it’s fun to be stepping into full-on dad mode!


Coby Lefkowitz: Full Episode Here

I had a great conversation with Coby Lefkowitz who is an urbanist, real estate developer, writer, and consultant based in New York. We are saving the technical conversation on building and development for another time, and focused here on the culture around building well and the obstacles that come with it. We both share the idea that the best is just ahead if we can align our beliefs as a culture. Whether you are an investor, developer, architect, builder, interested citizen, or are contemplating a side hustle or career change, there’s some great stuff in this episode!

Coby Lefkowitz

Thomas Dougherty: Full Episode Here

Thomas is a friend and colleague who I met during my masonry apprenticeship in 2016. While we’ve collaborated over the years, in 2023 he officially joined the Building Culture team as head of Urban Design—and I’m so excited to have his talent and unique perspective. He is always bringing it back to the human experience.

Thomas studied architecture and urban design at Notre Dame, and focused on inner block development, which we describe in this episode. He also wrote a book on the hidden potential of alleys for development and placemaking, which you can find here.

We discuss human scale, the creation of smaller grained places that are essential for vibrant communities, how our current infrastructure is financially unsustainable, the centralization of capital, and the potential for infill development.

Thomas Dougherty


ABOVE: This post was unfortunately popular, and reinforced by most responses. Anecdotally, every builder I talk to says the same thing, and gives a range anywhere between 35% - 50%. It’s a serious problem, and one I’ll be increasingly talking about. We are going to have to rethink some things as a society.

ABOVE: Marc Andreessen, cofounder of a16z, is one of my favorite thought leaders. It’s worth reading Summer’s short thread, pointing out that excluding borrowing costs, when the country runs on credit, doesn’t accurately reflect inflation from the consumer perspective when the cost of money is, ultimately, part of the cost of the good itself. And unfortunately, this is in addition to the 40% increase in construction costs I mention above.


  1. Health: I’ve been using my WHOOP fitness tracker for over a year and really like it. It helps me understand my sleep, track what affects it (hint: alcohol destroys my HRV), monitor workouts and how my body responds to other things like meditation, or, a fun one: how stressed my body gets from speaking engagements. It’s no magic pill as you still have to make good decisions and do the work, but I’ve noticed it simply makes me more mindful of my body, and makes making better decisions slightly easier—and that’s not nothing!

  2. Podcast: I really enjoyed this episode on Invest Like the Best with Cyan Banister: Investing for a Higher Purpose. She’s a qualitative investor, functions more on intuition than spreadsheets or analytics, has an inspiring story overcoming hardship both early on and later in life, has worked with Peter Thiel at Founder’s Fund, and was an early investor in Uber and various other enterprises every other investor wishes they hadn’t passed on. I had no idea there were successful investors like her out there, and I am inspired!

  3. Book: Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. This is a Building Culture staple and one of my favorites. You do not need to be in the field of real estate, building or architecture to get a lot out of this book. I recommend it to everyone, and you will see the world with new eyes afterwards.


That’s it for today! Next issue we’ll be diving into changing demographic trends across the country, how that effects real estate, and how we are responding to that at Building Culture. Until next time.


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