In this latest interview, I had the opportunity to speak with entrepreneur and author, D. Sidney Potter. His new book, The Essayist, intimately explores the real estate market.
Channeling writer and poet Jack Kerouac from his famed book, On the Road, author D. Sidney Potter is on the road in over a dozen cities during a five year period in which he writes about – in essay form, the real estate bust while working as a mortgage operations consultant for such Fortune 500 companies as Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, Deloitte & Touché and Accenture.
His writings are an insider perspective that takes hard punches at the banking industry, while criticizing the American populous in its naiveté in so willingly drinking the poisonous Kool-Aid, known as subprime mortgages.
Read more about our conversation below.
- Hello! Please introduce yourself to our audience.
The name is D. Sidney Potter and I hail from Pasadena, CA. In short, I’m a former commercial real estate broker turned writer.
- What inspired you to want to become a writer?
To bring a voice to the weak and disenfranchised.
- How’d you decide on choosing a niche market, like real estate writing? Is writing about the industry that you work in therapeutic to you?
Writing sort of happened in an accidental type of way. If not but for the Real Estate Crash of 2007, my writing would have been largely confined to real estate offers and counter offers. But because of the resulting financial chaos I experienced, it forced me to reconcile my transgressions. That naturally flowed into an extended written exercise that has continued the last several years. Ultimately, I financially rebounded, but not without the scar tissue to show for it.
- You often critique realty from an “insider’s” perspective. What are some of the topics that you explore in your essays and why?
What is meant by an “insider’s” perspective is that people like me took advantage of the easy financing offered in the early 2000’s and thus had an intimate understanding of the pro’s and con’s of being a market player. That baseline knowledge of the real estate mortgage industry transformed itself in writing about the very laws being passed after the crash, and by extension just a treasure trove of topics to write about.
- What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while writing your essays, and how did you rise to overcome that challenge?
The biggest challenge was holding back the reins when it came to articulating a certain point of view. Many in the financial markets who are columnists can easily veer into an overzealous mode that lacks credibility and objectivity.
People start to tune out (either it be the left or right), if they can sense that a writer is unable to back up their position with sources. Being aware of that pitfall, if I go hard and fast on a topic matter, I back it up with respected industry sources and published statistical data so as not to have my position come across as a rant – as opposed to a well reasoned editorial.
- Before you write, is there a special process that you go through? If so, please tell us more about that.
No real special process I go through. There are some writers I personally know that have certain techniques they engage before they start to write. As such, I do not begrudge those that employ a methodology that suits them. Whatever floats your boat.
- Any expert tips for other writers out there?
It would be against my intuition to offer expert tips to writers, and probably very silly.
- Future goals?
Future plans call for more writing – and ideally in the book to screenplay adaptation of what I’ve already written, which are four books total, with two already published.