Ken was convinced that I needed to join him in self-storage. All I could think of was cinder-block facilities on the side of a highway with El Caminos and razor wire. I was certain that I did not want to go from the world of high tech to a world of absolutely no tech.
Those of you who know Ken know that he is a very persuasive individual. He took me to California to see some recently developed, third-generation storage facilities. These beautiful facilities were nothing like what I had imagined. I quickly realized that this was a product that I could stand behind and that I would be proud to own.
In 1998, I joined Ken. He had and continues to have an unparalleled understanding of real estate and the storage industry. I came to the table with experience building a company from the ground up, and together we started on what has been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life.
After joining Extra Space Storage, I was not satisfied accepting that this was a sleepy industry, impervious to the rapidly changing world of technology. We began recruiting talent out of the high-tech world to build a team that could harness technology and build a world-class organization. It was the only way to take a company with a server room that consisted of a single computer in a broom closet to a publicly traded REIT with a cloud-based platform that is not only best-in-class in the storage industry but rivals top-tier companies in the high-tech and retail spaces. I will add that this team is still largely intact today.Now, I said that I was searching for an answer to what could so severely divide the performance of storage companies, and I have come to only one conclusion -- technology. Technology is the enabler that is driving the results of well-performing operators, and it is the bane of other operators who have yet to harness its benefits. Thomas: Self-storage is somewhat "boring" in that the business model does not typically have many highs or lows. How would you define your company's seemingly "boring" but profitable business model?