How To Research Any Topic
Recently, I shot a video called 10 Things To Do Before You Become an Entrepreneur, and one of the points was learning how to research because in the world of business, there’s a lot of research you’re going have to do.
The better you are at gaining the information to make a sound decision, minimizes risks, increases return,
which is exactly what you want as a business owner because it gives you a longer span to be in business.
In this episode of Valuetainment, I’m going to explain to you how I research. I’ve been researching for a very long time, and eventually you can get better as this skill, but it’s very, very important to make it a habit.
Three different reasons why people typically will do research.
#1. Pure fun and entertainment.
For instance, we’re at a restaurant last night in Miami. It’s 10:30 at night. All of a sudden, conversation comes up about the greatest basketball player of all time. No one is going to make money off this. That’s for entertainment. That’s just for talk.
#2. Self education.
I want to know more because I want to be educated for me. This is not, let me express my point why I believe Tom Brady is the greatest, not Joe Montana or whatever the debate is. Self education, I’m just doing it for myself.
#3. To make better decisions.
Whether it’s marriage, business or finances, we want to make better decisions in every aspect of our lives.
The 6 Steps for doing research:
#1. Choose the topic.
What’s the topic? Marriage. Buy real estate or rent a home? Politics, sports, whatever it is. Move, when we wanted to move to Texas, that’s our topic. We want to move to Texas. Why do we want to move to Texas? So that’s the topic.
#2. What are you solving for?
For instance, I’ll give you an idea of what I mean by this. Let’s just say, you are thinking about real estate. Well what are you solving for? Are you solving for income? You want to have long term income so you want to buy properties so you have a lot of income for 20, 30 years from now, because you own all these properties. Is it for flip because you want to buy and sell, and make short term money? Is it equity? Is it partnership? Is it to go into business with somebody because you want to figure out a way to do other business with them long term. What are you solving for? So that’s the first question you gotta ask yourself on that.
What are you solving for, for sports? This is for kicks. Let’s just say, let’s figure out who is the greatest basketball player of all time. What are we solving for? Is it, who had the longest lifespan that I can bring him in, he can be the face of my team for 20 years? Is it, a person that I can count on last minute to take the shot, who has got the killer instinct? Is it the guy that knows how to mess with the other guy’s head to make him lose, and this guy beats him? Is it a guy that can go out there and dominate a game, and win it, no matter what it is, and have a great season or stats? What are we solving for? Then it becomes relationships? Are you solving because you want to marry this girl? Are you solving because you want to date this girl? Are you solving because … Want do you want to do? So you’re figuring out what you are solving for.
#3. Go get as much data and stats, as you can possibly get.
I had a guy that was afraid of getting married. I said why are you afraid of getting married? He said everybody gets a divorce around me. Go get the data. What causes it? Why does this happen? Get the stats. Get some data. Last night, the whole thing about the greatest of all time. Step number one, what’s the topic? NBA’s greatest player of all time. Number two, what are we solving for? What player, had the longevity, that performed, won championships, etc. Typically people talk about Michael Jordan and LeBron James when debating.
It used to be Kobe, it’s no longer Kobe. Last night I pulled up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This guy was a 19 season all-star. He shot free throws 72% as a guy that big, 72% free throw. His last nine seasons, listen to this stat, his last nine seasons, not one season, did he play less than 70 games, which means he never got hurt. This guy averaged 16, 17 rebounds in his first 5, 6 years, career I think is 11.9. Team point average, he was 26, 27 career. Six MVPs, six championships. Those are stats.
With real estate, if I’m wanting to buy, let me get the stats on I want to buy a house in Austin. I want to buy commercial real estate in Austin. What are my returns between Houston and Austin? What are the stats here? What does the trend look like? What does the trajectory look like? Who is moving to this city? What city is attracting more companies? Which city is attracting more headquarters? Which city has the middle America families?
I had a conversation with Grant Cardone recently and he’s got a half a billion dollars of real estate holdings. He said he’s going to Houston to go out there and invest in some properties. I said what are you solving for, middle America? He said yes. My clientele is $1,200 a month rent. He’s very specific on who he is looking for. He is solving for $1,200 so here’s averaging out, in this area, middle America makes $55,000. I want to go into that market because these guys don’t buy. They’re gonna rent, passive income for me etc…
So you’re gonna get as much stats as possible.
#4. Hear opposing views.
Let me tell you what I mean by opposing views. What’s opposing views? Let’s go through the entertainment part. Somebody who’s an absolute MJ fan, and can not stand LeBron, somebody who’d an absolute LeBron fan, can’t stand MJ, and somebody that’s a Kareem fan, Magic fan, Kobe fan, I want to hear the different views on what they’re saying. These are opinions, opinions. I want to hear a guy that absolutely doesn’t believe in real estate investments. Doesn’t believe in it, he thinks you should rent. I want to hear his views. Why? I want to hear this guy that says you’re the biggest dummy if you don’t go out there and invest into property. Tell me why.
If it’s politics, some people only watch CNN. Some people only watch Fox. Some people only watch MSNBC. Some people don’t watch anything. Some people don’t follow any of politics, but let’s just say I want to figure out a better way to see an issue. I’ll turn on one channel, will say, Donald Trump just made a historic move when he went on his tour, and he met, no president in history … And then I’ll go on the other channel. CNN will say, this is by far, the first time a president has made such terrible decision to put the country at risk. I want to hear both. I want to hear opposing views.
Marriage, I want to talk to somebody who believes in marriage. I want to talk to somebody that doesn’t believe in marriage. Faith, I want to talk to somebody that’s a Christian, an atheist, a Scientologist … It’s what I did back in 2002, 2003. I went to every single religion, and I went to Scientology all day. I’m there for 12 hours asking questions. I went to Jehovah. I went to El Dias Mormonism. I went to Judaism, Muslim, Christianity. I went to everything because I wanted to know. I wanted opposing views on what this person thinks about this person, what that person thinks about this. I went into the experts.
Keep in mind, back in the days, one thing about getting stats I want to add up on, add on that I didn’t talk about … Back in the days, nobody could come and say an unknown source told us that President Obama was the person who leaked. You couldn’t say unknown. You had to have a confirmed person that said something. Nowadays, the media can use unknown for every single thing. So I can literally do a video right now, and tell you an unknown source told me that Magic Johnson is running for president in 2020. I can say that, and I can not get in trouble for it, and no one is going to say, hey it’s all right … Who wants to be this unknown source? I don’t have to give that to you. Back in the days, you had to. When you are doing research, and you’re hearing views, I don’t pay attention to the unknown. I want to know who knows. I want to know it’s a credible source. I want to know who the name is of the person that believes, and what is their credibility in the marketplace. What do they think about this? I want to know that. By the way, on both sides.
I remember being in California, I was invited to this very, very, very wealthy $3.9 million man’s house. It was in Malibu. I went there and it was fascinating night because here was the democratic presidential campaign manager for Clinton, Bill Clinton, and here was the republican presidential campaign manager for Bush. Both of them won. Bush Jr., GW, and Bill Clinton, and they were going at it. I mean that hour and a half for me was … I’m just listening to these guys going at it, because both of them have credibility. Both of them helped somebody become a president. Both of them gonna talk a lot of shit to each other. Both of them are gonna say what’s wrong with this person, what’s wrong with that person. You can just kind of watch this battle go at it. You learn more in that, then you do just somebody without any credibility because this guy is holding the other guy accountable.
Number five, number five … Once I do my research on whatever it is … We want to move to Texas, I’ll go through it with you right now. Topic, moving to Texas, instead of California. Number two, what are we solving for? A good place for headquarters. Texas has the most Fortune 500 headquarters in America, tied with New York. California is number three but it’s dropping off because more headquarters are leaving. Okay, so better headquarters. State tax, Texas has no taxes, California has got 13.3, 9.3 to 13.3. Texas, zero state taxes. What else are we solving for? Lifestyle for my employees that are working there will be better because they can save more money, I can pay them more. What else are we solving for? My family, good community, I’m a capitalist, entrepreneur, this is a good area. Why don’t we do this?
That was number two right. Then I go and get the facts. Let’s get the facts. 13.3 taxes, dot dot, all these stats. How many people … For every one person from Texas that moves to California, two people from California are moving to Texas according to Time Magazine. So why is this happening? According to these stats, Texas offers more this, California offers more this. Then I got the stats. Once you get the stats, then I hear opposing views. I want to hear what people from Texas are saying about California. I want to know what people from California are saying about Texas. Specifically with Governor Petty, who was the governor of Texas, and I want to hear what Governor Brown, is governor of California, is saying about Texas. I want to know both views.
#5. You go to two people close to you, that you value their opinion, and you present them your research.
You’ll let them come back and say, well I don’t know about this Pat because the one thing you’re not looking at is dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. He’s right, that makes sense. Oh I think I agree with you Pat because look John, what you’re saying over this because, one of the things that I don’t agree with you that I agree with Pat is the fact that this …But Pat, the one thing I don’t think that you’re looking at is the long term effects of this decision that you’re making because of the money can be put in another place.
#6. Come up with your own conclusion.
Your own conclusion consists of what you believe the best decision is gonna be made, and what you believe your best opinion will be on a move to Texas, on marriage or staying single, on buying or renting, on being a capitalist, a socialist, or a communist, a republican or a democrat, on being an atheist or a Christian or whatever it is that you want to be there, on LeBron, on Jordan, on Kobe or Kareem … Then you make that decision. Face the worst case, best case.
What’s the worst case, best case? Best case, I believe this is the decision that I need to start buying properties because I’m going to have some income going long term. Worst case, it completely flops because the market tanks, and I lose my income, and I didn’t make the best decision for myself. Okay, can you handle the worst case? Yes, then go. Best case, I think MJ is the greatest basketball player of all time. Worst case, LeBron wins three more championships, then people say he’s got six, and he’s been to the championship two different teams, four times, no one has ever done that before. He’s got all these stats, he’s that, he’s … Maybe this is the way, Jordan got kicked out of the first round three times. LeBron’s never gotten kicked out of the first round. That’s a pretty strong argument right there, and I’m an MJ guy. I’m a Kobe guy.
So this is what I believe in. I’m comfortable with this. Then you go take a stand for whatever you believe in, whatever you’ve done based on your research, knowing that you’re still going to have opposition based on whatever decision you’re making, but it makes sense to you. By the way, what I just told you, some of you guys may say, Pat this makes no sense with career or business. I mean you talk sports and all this other stuff.
Well lets talk about my career, in 1999 I’m working at Bally Total Fitness. I knew that the way to go was to learn sales. Then I knew, I had to learn how to manage salespeople. Then I knew, I had to be an entrepreneur. Then I knew, I had to learn how to treat my business as a CEO, because if I don’t, I’m going to flop. I knew that. So once I knew I was gonna be in sales, then I had to ask myself, what industry.
So if I wanted to find out the industry, what am I solving for? I wanted an industry. So in ’99, I wanted an industry, where I could have a life, and I can go do whatever I want to in my life, and have my kids here, and my kids can come to the business. I want to have a good family. I want to be able to do those things. I want to be very wealthy. I want to have money. I want an income that’s gonna pay me for the rest of my life. I want freedom. I want control. I don’t want to constantly be selling a house Sunday, so I eliminated real estate. Then I went through process of elimination. I got a ton of research I did on the stock market, why people were getting Series 7s. In 1990s why people were getting Series 6, and 63s, and 80s. Why people were getting insurance license in the ’70s. Why people got their real estate license in 2000s.
I wanted to find out all these stats. I wanted to find out what the real estate trajectory looked like every decade, and why is it that for every two decades real estate does bad, then we have one great decade, then two … You go back in the last 10 decades, you’ll see that trend which two bad, one great. Two bad, one great, two bad, one great. We just had a great decade in the 2000s. That means we might have two more bad decades. The 2010s and 2020s, and 2030 becomes an explosive decade in real estate. I just started doing this research to get the numbers. I made a decision to go into this.
Video time stamps:
00:37 – The three reasons people do research
1:22 #1 What’s the topic?
1:44 #2 What are you solving for?
2:59 #3 Get as much data and stats as possible
5:18 #4 Hear opposing views
10:26 #5 Go to two respected people and present research
11:01 #6 Come up with your own conclusion
This is the process I’ve used, all these years for research and what I teach my team.
Some people may say, what sources do you use, internet, google, all this other stuff? I mean again, that’s the credible sources. When I hire people, I look at their social media. I look at their LinkedIn. I look at their Facebook. The higher the level is, the more research I’m trying to do. We’re calling references. We do a background check, because I want my odds in my favor. I have two other people that interview with them before we make a decision to bring them on board. We ask specific questions that I may bring, another person may bring. We may give them a challenge before we hire them, because that process has worked for us. You gotta also learn to research on people, but every single thing you do, if the importance of the decision is high, it requires more research. If the importance of the decision is low, it requires less research to make that decision.
So, I hope today you kind of got a chance to get into my mind, and see how I process issues when we’re researching a topic, and hopefully these six steps can help you as well, when it comes down to doing research on anything in your life, business or personal life. So if you have any questions about today’s episode, make sure to comment on the bottom. If you haven’t watched a video that I did called 10 Things To Do Before You Become an Entrepreneur, I highly recommend you going and watching that video so you understand what gave birth to today’s video.