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?  

If you liked this article you might like

Move Into Public Storage

Make Some Room for This One

Bull Market Is Igniting These 4 Stocks: Extra Space Storage, DISH Network and More

Bull Market Is Igniting These 4 Stocks: DISH Network, Extra Space Storage and More

REITs Will Be All Right Despite Rising Rates