Finnegan is not dead

My wife and I recently went to Ireland, complete with a Guinness Storehouse tour that included a fish on a bike.  The people were in their vernacular, “brilliant”, humble and very welcoming. Every city has the 3 G’s on every corner, God, Guinness and groceries. Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny or Kinsale, are all beautiful and fun cities to visit. Driving on the right side of the car, on the left side of the road, with a stick shift in your left hand was a bit “foreign,” but fun.

Most pubs would have a small band, guitar player, fiddle and flute. They love to play 1980s American pop music with definite Irish musical overtones. Finnegans Wake is a ballet from the 1850s reflecting traditional music-hall Irish folk music. The main character Tim Finnegan had a love for liquor, falls off a ladder and thought to be dead. At the wake, the mourners got rowdy and spilled whiskey on Finnegan, causing him to “come back to life” and join the party.

The song’s death and resurrection theme plays well with the established Catholicism. However, the whiskey is really a reference to the Gaelic uisce beatha, the “water of life.” You don’t have to understand James Joyce to get that resurrection can mean many things. Getting a second chance, an opportunity to significantly improve your personal or professional life, or simply waking up from a long lull.

As commercial real estate appraisers, do we need a splash of whiskey in our face to wake us up to productivity? I recently spoke with a prospect interested in our software who said, “We’ve tried to get going with various solutions, but we always end up doing what we always do.” I suggested he move from the technician bucket (only focusing on the valuation) to a businessperson (focusing on the business of business).

Many in our vertical are uber frustrated by low fees and working more and more hours. Productivity is the answer. But change is hard. Ireland is a great example of centuries of established behavior that has recently achieved significant positive change. A heavy investment in technology has brought much of Ireland out of poverty. Some of the biggest tech players are there and Ireland is anticipated to become Europe’s RegTech hub post Brexit.

When it comes to our appraisal profession, are we asleep? “When a noggin of whiskey flew at him, It missed, and falling on the bed, The liquor scattered over Tim!, The corpse revives! See how he rises! Timothy rising from the bed, Says, Whirl your whiskey around like blazes, Thanum an Dhul, do you thunk I’m dead?” Tim is not dead, nor are commercial appraisers. Be Irish. Invest in yourself. Invest in technology. Sláinte!