Ben Caballero – Founder, President & CEO, HomesUSA.com

As published by the Wall Street Journal and as independently confirmed by Real Trends, Ben is the #1 real estate professional in the U.S. for 2016 in two categories — number of real estate sales transactions, and cumulative transaction (dollar) volume.

Ben has been the top-ranked agent in the nation in these categories since 2012. He is the first and only agent in U.S. history ever to exceed the $1 billion mark for residential sales transaction volume in a single year.

His 2015 sales of 2,491 homes totaled $1.022 billion. His lifetime production exceeds 20,000 sales valued in excess of $6 billion, which makes him the most productive residential real estate agent in history, and his numbers are still growing.

Ben is an acclaimed innovator and technological pioneer within the real estate industry. His drive to leverage technology has allowed him to reach unprecedented, historic levels of sales. Ben has developed HomesUSA.com’s proprietary platform that aids him in servicing his clients. His individual record-setting production is only possible due to the efficiencies it enables.

Ben received the 2014 Pinnacle Award for Real Estate Entrepreneurship, presented by Keller Williams Realty. He was named Most Innovative Real Estate Agent by Inman News in 2013 and finalist in 2016. He is CEO of HomesUSA.com and is on the board of directors of the Greater Metro MLS, MetroTex Association of Realtors. A lifelong realtor and former homebuilder, Ben has been a real estate broker since age twenty-one.

Tell me about your background.
I’m from Tampa, Florida. My father was a first-generation Cuban. He married my mother, who was from North Florida. My mother actually came from one of the founding families from North Florida. Both families were from very meager economic backgrounds. In fact, we didn’t have running water in my home until I was ten years old. My father and his brother built our home from the pine trees that grew on the six acres my parents bought. They cut them down, hauled them to a saw mill, had them cut into lumber, and built our house. Both my parents became real estate brokers. In my early teens, I pretty much decided I was going to become involved in the real estate business. My parents believed in education, so they sent me to Catholic schools. Because of our economic conditions, I joined the military service right out of high school and served four years in the air force. My last station was Oklahoma City. While I was there, I took some courses at the University of Oklahoma. When I came to Dallas at twenty-one, I passed my broker’s exam.

Were your parents successful brokers?
My father’s business morphed into an investment business, where he bought homes and seller financed them for buyers and created a decent income for himself.

Did your parents work together or for separate companies?
My parents started out together, but they got a divorce, and my mother moved to Houston and got out of the real estate business.

Did your parents leave behind a business for you to run?
No. I was in Texas when my father died at the early age of fifty-seven, so it was really just up to me and my sister, who lived in North Florida, to wind down his business in Tampa. I managed the mortgage collections until the homes were eventually sold or paid off. But it wasn’t a fortune by any means. It was very modest, and it was spread out over a number of years.

What was your first real estate project?
When I moved to Dallas, I didn’t know anyone. I had no connections and no friends. All I had was my wife, $500, and a car I borrowed from my mother. I remember thinking that I planned to be a millionaire by my thirtieth birthday. To me it was very doable because I was only twenty-one and it seemed I had plenty of time to make that happen. My first real estate related project was an apartment rental service. The idea for it came as a result of searching for a place to live. I didn’t know one part of Dallas from another, so I just drove around trying to find a place to live. Finally, after two or three days, we went to an apartment rental service. They did find me a place to live, but they were so rude and condescending that I said to myself, “These people really need some competition.” So I decided at that moment to start a rental service to compete with them just as soon as I got my real estate license, which was three months later. In the meantime, I began by driving around in the borrowed car with no air conditioning, visiting apartment builders and managers and using payphones to solicit their business. To my amazement, and one of the things I love about Texas, no one asked me who my father was or where I went to school. They just listened to me and most said something like, “Well, okay, young man, sounds good to me, have at it.”

I remember setting up files on Thanksgiving Day with my wife. She was unhappy about working on a holiday, but I was so intent on getting started, I just insisted. The office consisted of a telephone in a very small room with a borrowed desk and chair. There was a sofa, end table, and lamp that I’d bought using our new Sears charge account. On December 1, I placed a thirty-day ad in the Dallas Morning News. The phone hardly rang and I did no business. I sat there until just before Christmas. When Christmas came, we were so broke that we had to use that Sears account to buy a few Christmas presents for my wife’s family. My wife had a friend from her hometown living in Dallas who was driving back home to Oklahoma for Christmas. We caught a ride with them because we couldn’t afford the gas. The day after Christmas, I said, “I have to go back to Dallas.” Everyone said, “Why? You don’t have any business.” I said, “I know. I just have to go.” So they took me to the bus station and I went back to Dallas. I went into the office on December 27, and the phone started to ring and just kept ringing and ringing. Suddenly, I was very busy.

Was your phone ringing because of the advertisement in the newspaper?
Yes, but it was just a seasonal thing. At the time I didn’t know about seasonality in real estate. People living in apartments, or anywhere, don’t really move as much in December. After Christmas, people have an interest in moving. In the real estate business, the first six months are the most active months. Inventory and sales all escalate then. In the last six months the business slows down, and that was something I didn’t realize at that time.

So you mentioned you were targeting, specifically, apartment builders in the Dallas area?
Yes, there was a big apartment construction boom going on at the time. Apartments weren’t the three hundred to four hundred unit structures we have now. They were typically built by homebuilders who were building twelve to fifty unit buildings. That was the trend at the time, so the builders were accessible.

So you’re contacting these builders. Why do you believe your clients hired you, when you didn’t have experience at all?
The apartment rental concept was new at that time, so no one had much experience with it and, looking back, that must have worked in my favor. It was kind of the beginning of the apartment business in Dallas. I also benefited from the mindset in this part of the country. It’s an acceptance and a willingness to take people at their word, and if someone says they will do something, they give you a chance to do it. If you have an idea, they don’t look at you and ask, “Where did you go to school?” “Who do you know?” “Who is your father?” “Where do you live?” I found all that to be a non-issue in this part of the country. It gives a young and ambitious person, like I was, a great opportunity to grow and prosper. I sincerely believe a great part of the success I’ve had is related to being in Dallas. If I’d been in Tampa, I don’t think I would’ve had the same opportunities as I had in Texas. I was just very motivated. I had all this energy and excitement, and I saw everything as an opportunity and just went for it.

Was the concept for HomesUSA.com there in the beginning?
No. Only the government and a few large corporations had computers, and the Internet wasn’t even a thought, so the technology that made HomesUSA possible didn’t exist. I work with Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in Texas’s four major metropolitan areas; I couldn’t do that without the Internet. I can service builders in these four major cities, or any place in the United States for that matter, from our one location with a high degree of efficiency.

When did you transition to selling residential homes?
A few years after I started the rental business, I decided I knew enough about the apartment business that I could build an apartment building. I was driving around one day when I came across two old houses on a busy street. They were adjacent to each other and zoned for apartments. I managed to buy them and built an apartment building. A little while later, I found another couple of lots around the corner and bought them too. About that time, I met one of my apartment rental customers, an apartment and homebuilder, and we built the second building together and developed a friendship in the process. That resulted in our forming a partnership to build custom homes. The plan was to build homes until we could build apartments. This gentleman was older than me, and after a few months, I realized that he wasn’t really interested in building any apartments. He was just looking for someone to pal around with. One day I confronted him and asked, “When are we going to build some apartments?” He said, “Well, we don’t have any land.” I said, “Okay, I’ll find some land.” I got out the newspaper and started looking at the land classifieds. No land was advertised, but below the land classifieds were the lot classifieds and there was a small, four-line ad for fourteen acres of zoned apartments that had been placed in the wrong classification. It was on a freeway that was opening and I thought it was a great opportunity, just what we needed. I presented it to my partner and he gave me a lame excuse for not liking it. At that point I realized he wasn’t serious about building apartments with me, so I bought it. I was able to buy it because I could assume a five-year interest-only loan. After I bought it, I lucked out again because the city rezoned it for offices. I held it for about four years and sold it for a $500,000 profit, which was a lot of money back then. From there, I started my own homebuilding business and built homes for a number of years. When interest rates went to 22 percent, I decided homebuilding was too volatile for me, so I got out of the building business and didn’t do anything for a while. Then, one day, a gentleman who had sold homes for me, who had gone to work for a large national homebuilder, called me. He said, “Ben, my company is offering a 7 percent commission for anyone that will buy homes from people who buy one of our homes.” At that point, the market was really bad. It was worse than the crash in 2008-2009. Builders were going out of business left and right. Home values were dropping faster than people could lower the list price. Builders couldn’t sell homes because the people that wanted to buy their new homes couldn’t sell their own homes, and if someone could afford two homes, they didn’t want to. So, this homebuilder was looking to facilitate new home sales by having someone guarantee the sale of the buyer’s current home. I looked at that and thought, “This could be a good business.” I started that business and did it for a number of years. While I was doing that, I noticed builders were not putting homes in MLS. I called them and said, “Let’s try putting your homes in MLS.” I did very well guaranteeing the sale of homes until the subprime crisis. I could see the real estate business was starting to go south around 2003 or 2004. Homes were being sold above their value because sellers were being asked to add thousands of dollars to the sale price and then give it back to buyers in the form of down payment assistance, which artificially inflated prices. Fraud was rampant and it didn’t take a genius to see what was coming.

I withdrew from the guaranteed sale business and started emphasizing my new business of listing homes in MLS for builders. As the business volume increased, it soon became difficult to maintain quality. I was getting faxes, phone calls, and emails from builders requesting new listings and changes to existing ones. My manual system consisted of binders of listings and few controls. It was beginning to get sloppy and inefficient. At that point, the Internet was coming into maturity. Technology was being accepted by builders. It became very clear that what I was doing would be greatly enhanced by a platform that was Internet-based. So I began development and, after a few failed attempts, I launched HomesUSA.com online in 2007. It was a terrible time, because as fast as I could recruit a builder, they would go out of business. For a while, I was losing builders faster than I could recruit them. Even national builders like Kimble Hill went out of business in 2008, as well as a lot of local and regional builders. Things finally settled down, and we came out of that and kept improving our system to what it is today.

Describe your average client.
Our target client is a volume builder. Our average client builds two to four hundred homes per year. We have one builder who builds thirty-five hundred homes annually and operates in Texas’s four largest markets. We have some builders who build less than one hundred, but not many. The company that builds two to three homes per year is not our target client. I would say our ideal client builds at least fifty homes a year.

What is your primary source for new clients?
I’ve found builders’ decision makers to be very insulated. It’s not like I’m selling roofing materials and they have a structured purchasing department. We sell a service and we usually go through a vice president of sales or a marketing director. To complicate builder recruitment, marketing people sometimes perceive us as a threat to their job security.

We have a gentleman who is responsible for business development and we have an ongoing marketing effort. But it’s one of the toughest sales I’ve ever had because of the structure of the building business and the insulated decision makers we deal with. Despite that, we have over forty-eight different builder brands we work with in Texas’s four largest markets.

Do you spend most of your day focused on business development?
No. I spend most of my time managing the process, including our customer service representatives who interact with the builders daily. The rest of my time is spent working with our software developers, who are constantly improving the platform. I’m also busy planning and thinking how to create a better product for our customers.

Do you have competition?
No competition with a platform like ours. But we do have competition and they fall into two categories: builders that manage their listings in-house and the tens of thousands of Realtors® who can enter listings with MLS.

Many builders believe that putting homes in MLS is just an item on their checklist. As long as their listings are in MLS, they don’t really ask many questions. They don’t have any frame of reference other than a MLS listing is a MLS listing. The reality is if their listings are not in MLS in a timely manner or the information is inaccurate and incomplete, their MLS listings are not going to be as effective. I’ve done multiple case studies that show, without exception, that we can improve builder profitability by reducing their inventory’s average marketing time by fifteen to forty days. I am positive that our process is an economic boon to the builders that adopt it. The proof is we rarely lose a customer, and the customers we have are extremely loyal, grateful, and happy with us. In any business it’s common to receive complaints on a regular basis, but for us, we get a lot of compliments. It’s gratifying to have that type of feedback from your customers. We find that our best ideas come from our customers. We listen carefully to their comments and suggestions and, almost without exception, incorporate their suggestions into the platform.

Builders that hire us see an increase in efficiency because instead of having two to three people managing this MLS process, their sales counselors can manage their MLS listings. This is how it should be because sales counselors are more in tune with their product. They know what needs to be done, and they can take care of changes quickly and track their listings easily. A request to change the price of the home can be sent to us at 5:30 PM on a Friday afternoon and it will get done. That is usually not possible when the process is managed in other ways.

How did you come up with your pricing strategy?
Our pricing is volume sensitive. It’s also a function of the market and the competitive factors. I look at our cost, the competitive situation, and the services and results we deliver. I assure you our fee is a very good value proposition for our client.

Do you also have agents who sell the houses you list as well?
No. Builders have their own sales and marketing departments and don’t need us for that. They are very good at selling their own products. What they do want is for Realtors® to bring them buyers. While builders have many marketing channels to reach consumers, they have few marketing channels to reach Realtors®, and it is Realtors® that sell 80 to 85 percent of all homes. As part of our service, we have a lead capturing and forwarding service that sends consumer inquiries directly to the builder. We are not competing with builders for the sale. To do that would be a conflict of interest because we would become the buyer’s agent and the listing agent. We represent builders as their listing agent and do not represent both sides.

How important is reputation in business?
Extremely important. Homebuilders are a very small community. If your reputation is damaged, you’re not going to have an opportunity to work with many people. There’s just too many others they can do business with. Given a choice, no one wants to do business with someone they don’t trust or believe.

What’s an average workweek like for you?
To some degree, I’m always working. When I get up in the morning, I check my email while I’m having my first cup of coffee. Because the platform generates many requests at night, I like to check what has come in overnight. When I’m driving to work, I usually have the radio off because I’m thinking about what I have to do that day. On weekends, it is not uncommon to spend time planning or working on a project. I do so because I enjoy creating and problem solving. I really feel like that I’m helping our industry by providing a good service. It’s satisfying and it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. For example, recently I heard from a third party that had met with my largest client. They informed me our mutual client told them how much they liked what we do for them and that they see us as a valuable part of their team. Hearing feedback like that makes my work worthwhile.

Do you ever feel like you have to sacrifice family time for the business?
Well, my son is grown. He’s very self-sufficient and very successful. I feel like I did a good job there. My marriages haven’t been quite as successful, but I don’t think it had anything to do with my work. I have quality time at home, but we don’t have to be under each other’s feet at all times. We make it a point to go out to dinner on a regular basis. Go dancing a little bit. We have a nice home that we enjoy. We have a very pleasant life.

Do you have any family members in the business?
No. My son lives in Manhattan, and my other family is in Florida. My only sibling is my sister in Florida, and both my parents are deceased. I have some cousins, nieces, and nephews I see occasionally, and who are important to me, but neither of us have family here.

How many clients do you have?
Currently we have forty-eight builder brands and growing. I say brands because some builders have more than one brand they build under. So far this year we’ve acquired nine new clients mostly by referrals, including two good-sized builders in Austin and one in Houston. Much of our new business is the result of employees moving from one of our clients to a new builder. When they see how their new employer is managing their inventory listings, they call us and we make them look good to their new employer.

These are all builders in Texas?
Yes. We have not been able to move out of Texas, although our platform is certainly scalable. We can serve builders anywhere in the U.S., regardless of their size. A national public builder could use our platform and have a dashboard that would allow their management to monitor all of their divisions in real-time. My ultimate goal is to recruit national builders like D.R. Horton, Pulte, Lennar, and Meritage. I see our services as a utility that can save builders a lot of time and money, both directly and indirectly.

What do you think is missing? The introduction to the right people?
One of the biggest obstacles is the fact that we are the only one doing what we do. When you’re in that situation, you don’t have anyone else telling the story. You’re the only one pushing the narrative. When you’re by yourself, your credibility can even become a factor. It becomes, “Who are you?” “You can do what?” “I never heard of that.” “What are you talking about?” “You’re saying you want me to use you on what kind of scale?” “We don’t have any history like that.” It’s just too big of a leap of faith for some of them. If I had three to four competitors out there and we were all fighting for it, it would be different. For example, I drive down some major streets and they’re lined with car dealerships. They’re all there together for a reason. They all feed off each other. There are some streets in Dallas where there are restaurants on both sides of the street. I’m the only one out there that is promoting this type of service and it’s a lonely feeling sometimes.

How many employees do you have?
Counting our developers, we have eleven at this time, but will add as we grow.

How do you manage all of your clients?
It varies, but most of our clients are very, very busy. As long as I’m not hearing from them, no news is good news. If they have an issue, they have no qualms about calling me and I like that. Occasionally, I’ll get a call from a division president or sales or marketing director because of an issue they’ve been told about. When that occurs, it’s usually a misunderstanding or they’ve been given bad information. I almost always quickly resolve their issue to their satisfaction because this is our specialty. We are experts in what we do.

You founded the National Association of Real Estate Professionals. Why?
There are many reasons, but in summary, real estate portals engage in practices I consider bad for consumers and the industry. Some of the practices by portals are manipulation of the data given to them by agents, the sale of superlative designations to agents without any objective criteria, and not updating data. These are just a few things they do that I disagree with. To them the consumer is simply a commodity, a lead to be sold to anyone willing to pay for it. Portals don’t create a single sale. They commingle listings with “for sale by owners” and people who aren’t licensed agents. If you’re interested in a home and want to contact someone who has information on that home, you can’t do it unless that person is paying for the privilege of receiving that contact from you. Sellers want to see their home on the Internet, where millions of people can see it, anytime they want. Zillow says they have over a hundred million unique users per month; that’s over a billion unique users a year, but only five million homes are sold in a year, so who are these unique visitors? And many of the homes on the portals are not available.

Another major concern is that portals provide a vehicle for agents to bypass the National Association of Realtors®’ Code of Ethics. In my opinion, Realtor.com is the worst offender because they use our association’s Realtor® registered trademark, but as a Realtor®, I can’t use Realtor as part of my company’s name. I can only use it to indicate I am a Realtor®.

In January 2015, the Broker Public Portal was announced with the intent of creating a national nonprofit portal that would be everything the for-profit portal wasn’t. Its first objective was to raise funds to support the initiative, which it achieved within ten weeks. In April 2015, the Broker Public Portal project announced the election of its board of managers. Broker Public Portal is making good progress and nearing an agreement for development of their Internet infrastructure. In light of these developments, NAREP considers its objective in good hands and fully endorses its initiative. In lieu of NAREP’s pursuing a separate and parallel effort, NAREP urges its members and all interested parties to support the Broker Public Portal project.

What are some of your daily habits that have contributed to your success?
I wouldn’t describe my daily activities as habits necessarily. I work to stay current with what’s happening in my industry and my business. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve our platform. I try to eat healthy, get rest, and avoid excesses. The last couple of years, I’ve been going to the gym three days a week and have a trainer. I think that helps me to stay in good condition both physically and mentally.

Do you believe in the Law of Attraction?
Those words mean different things depending on the discipline, but I believe what Charles Haanel wrote in The Master Key System (1912):

“The law of attraction will certainly and unerringly bring to you the conditions, environment, and experiences in life, corresponding with your habitual, characteristic, and predominant mental attitude.”

Yes, it is natural to relate to people with similar mental attitudes. So we socialize, hire, and marry those people. The bottom line is that our life is the result of our mental attitude.

Personally, it took a particularly difficult period in my life to have come to that conclusion. The light came on when I realized my failures were due solely to my decisions and actions. I realized I was capable of being my worst enemy because I know myself better than any enemy ever could. No one could hurt me quicker and more destructively than I could. This helped me to understand that wherever I was in life was because I chose to be there. Another light came on when I realized my self-destructive actions were the result of a mental attitude rather than conscious decisions. Then I understood I alone am in control of my life and what happened to me was because of me alone. As uncomfortable as it may be to accept unconditional responsibility for my problems, it was better than blaming others for problems they didn’t create and then waiting for someone else to fix them.

Do you set goals?
Yes, goals are important when they advance us toward our life’s purpose. I’ve learned goals are achieved easier when in harmony with our purpose because we are less likely to be distracted by the difficulties encountered in pursuing them. Goals are something we can achieve; purpose is how we live our life.

What are some quotes that you live by?
It’s not a quote, but I believe in practicing “constructive self-interest” or capitalism. Success is not a zero-sum proposition. One person’s success doesn’t diminish anyone else or their success. To the contrary, constructive self-interest contributes to the success of others. The opposite concept is socialism. If there is any doubt as to which concept is valid, then make a list of the contributions each has made to the betterment of mankind. Some people believe constructive self-interest is destructive and that is a very destructive belief.

How about some principles you live by?
I believe in personal responsibility. We should take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. We should not expect something for nothing. I believe many of the ills of our society can be traced to our government giving people something they didn’t earn. I will never accept anything I didn’t earn unless I’m totally helpless and unable to take care of myself. We all have setbacks and disappointments but to let them define your life is a destructive choice.

How do you define success?
Success is an individual thing. To me, it means being happy and content. I’ve been fortunate to have a son who has never given me any grief, so I feel I’ve been a successful father. He’s been a source of pride. Not everyone is that fortunate, no matter how hard they try. Sometimes their children are not going to reward them in that way. Other than the military, which I didn’t like, I’ve never had a job. So I’ve been unshackled and able to pursue whatever I chose to pursue. To me that is a liberating feeling and a form of success. I cannot imagine being limited in the decisions I make for myself. I think being able to decide how to live your life and live it in that way is success, provided you do it in an honest way that doesn’t hurt anybody.

What is the key to success?
As I stated earlier, success requires purpose. Purpose is the real objective of your life. Without purpose, you can’t have vision, passion, drive, or the willingness to make the sacrifices success ultimately requires.

Did you always know you would be successful?
I never considered I wouldn’t be, although I never took success for granted. I believed that if I worked smart enough and hard enough, I would be successful.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
With purpose, adversity becomes less daunting. Purpose enables us to see adversity as a learning opportunity rather than a loss. After you overcome an adversity, you have a sense of accomplishment. Of course, losing a loved one or being the victim of an accident is an adversity that can’t be changed. But there are many who have used even such painful losses to repurpose their life and create great good.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Not to give up or give in prematurely. Perseverance in the face of disappointing news is difficult. Quitting and blaming our failure on something or someone is easy. We often hear of highly successful authors whose first book was rejected by dozens of publishers before receiving an acceptance letter. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb by testing hundreds of materials before discovering that carbon filament worked. Whether in business, life, love, or war, success is rarely achieved without perseverance.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve always felt compelled to learn. Some of the subjects I’m particularly interested in are history, physics, financial markets, evolution, and the origin of the universe. I find these subjects fascinating. I also enjoy watching basketball and football.

What makes a great leader?
Leaders must be fair and respect and teach those they lead. Filter your actions with the question, “How would I react if someone did or said that to me?” Realize not everyone thinks like you. Don’t judge quickly those you lead. Expect the best from them and you’ll get more than if you expect the worst. When you determine someone isn’t a good fit, release them with a kind word and regrets that it didn’t work out. Just because they weren’t a good fit in your situation doesn’t mean they can’t be a good fit somewhere else.

What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Decide what you want to accomplish with your life. Do you want a paycheck or do you want to become an integral part of something important? If you want the latter, then start your new position by showing up with a good attitude. Be an asset to your employer. Become so valuable they can’t live without you. Do more than your share and more than is expected. Study your employer’s business and learn all you can about it and its competition. Do these things and some day you could be running the company or you could even own it.

There is a story of two friends that went to work for the railroad. Twenty-five years later, one was the CEO and the other was still on a maintenance crew. The difference was that the one on the maintenance crew went to work for an hourly wage and the CEO went to work for the railroad. This type of thing happens too many times to ignore. If you want to be successful, earnestly work for your employer, and you will stand out and be recognized because too few truly work for their employer.

What advice would you give to those people starting out in the real estate business?
My advice is simple. First, answer your phone and emails. You never know when that next person trying to contact you is going to be a big opportunity.

Second, specialize and stay with your specialty. Too many people start out doing one thing, then get bored or hit a bump or think the grass is greener in another industry and they change careers. When doing that, they forfeit much of what they’ve learned, lose their industry contacts, and must start at the bottom again. I chose real estate when I was a teenager, and I stayed with it in some form or another regardless of market conditions. I’ve transitioned into new businesses but they’ve always been real estate related.

Third, be flexible. Technology enabled me to take my real estate career in a direction that was not even a seed of a thought until the Internet came along.

How about to those who don’t have access to the capital or connections and want to be a homebuilder?
If you don’t have the financial strength, you’re not going to be able to get the financing. If you can’t get financing, you’ll have to ally with someone who can. You can get a partner, a backer, or an investor. Either you’ve got it or you must convince somebody that has it to join you.

Do you believe the American Dream is dead?
The American Dream has more than one definition, so to be clear, the definition I believe in is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From this concept comes the American Dream concept that I believe in. Specifically, that American upward mobility is possible because anyone has the freedom to attain their own version of success, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into. I also believe the American Dream is not a gift to which we are entitled because of where we were born. It is something we attain because we are free to advance through our efforts.

The American Dream has nothing to do with geography; it is the direct result of freedom. It is a dream available to all truly free people. The dream became American because Americans are free. Our freedom was purchased at great sacrifice by those before us and has enabled us to achieve a success never seen in history. For our dream to continue, it must be defended and no sacrifice in the defense of freedom is too great. If in doubt, ask anyone who lives without it.


This interview is an excerpt from American Dream: Interviews with Industry-Leading Professionals by Jason Navallo.

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