Episode 043: Simon Ziff
Today we have with us Simon Ziff, the always effervescent president of the Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, one of the industry’s preeminent boutique real estate capital advisory firms, with offices in New York as well as Miami, Los Angeles and Boston. In addition to being a gem of a person, a master of his real estate domain, a truly obsessed Penn State football fan and a man who may cry if one mentions the movie Field of Dreams in his presence, Simon has been described as “a hillbilly at heart,” and by himself as a fashion trendsetter as he proudly has taken credit for the suit-no-tie look many of us have made part of our workplace wardrobe.
At 2:08, Simon Ziff touches upon living life in a positive and healthy way, and the impact music has had on his life. At 4:32, Simon shares that trust is at the center of Ackman-Ziff’s culture, and the value in a strong and talented team. At 7:21, Ziff discusses risk and return as the basis of analysis, losing business to competition, and being reputationally focused. At 9:24, he talks about playing the long game, developing relationships, and the Ackman-Ziff team. At 10:12, Simon advises that he is more comfortable investing in debt versus that of equity in this current cycle, and notes Ackman-Ziff being agnostic to the asset classes they work on. At 13:55, Ziff describes what Ackman-Ziff looks for in job candidates. At 17:19, he points out that he is proud of the women working for, but not satisfied with the percentage of women working, at Ackman-Ziff. At 19:40, Simon touches upon whether an “impatiencence” exists amongst the younger generation today versus that of the past. At 20:48, Ziff gives his take on whether it is safe to invest in NYC today. At 21:42, he dishes on his lists for everything, as well as organization and planning. At 23:32, Simon speaks on “building it and they will come.” At 25:36, Ziff notes his preference to hit “singles and doubles” versus home runs. At 28:20, he touches upon working hard and surrounding yourself with talent. At 29:38, Simon dives into learning, improving and growing everyday. At 31:14, Ziff takes us back in time to growing up in the 1970’s in a small town, and attending Penn State in the 1980’s. At 33:20, Simon Ziff closes out the podcast with the message “it’s here and now.”