Welcome to CORE 10, an off-the-cuff interview series with prominent CORE figures. Read on to learn more about this week’s guest, CORE broker, John Harrison.
Who is the living person you most admire? Elon Musk, Tony Robbins and Tyler Perry to name a few. I most admire people who have come from nothing and created something or who have creatively ventured to change their world with massive impact.
Who is the most interesting New Yorker you know? My wife, Christi Harrison. She has been a teacher at two of the most prestigious schools (Trinity School and St. Ann’s) and still manages to bounce around the city so frequently with our 3 kids. She absolutely dominates the tireless cycle of getting out there and exploring/enjoying this amazing city.
What is your earliest New York memory? I first visited New York City in 1996 and arrived 3 days before the “Blizzard of ’96.” I remember the transformation from the nosiest and busiest city I had ever visited to complete quiet. To this day, the city remains a place of extremes but there is certainly a lot of vibrancy in that spectrum!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? My father always used to say that he “needs a hole, not a drill.” This mantra, paraphrased from economist and Harvard University professor Theodore Levitt is often used when selling a function vs focusing on a product. In real estate the product is extremely important but the underlying drive on what a client is trying to achieve is paramount. So much of NYC real estate can be confusing, misleading, irrational, or sometimes seemingly “unfair.” By getting to the essence of what a client really needs, we can determine the best tools and tactics to ensure their success.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
My family, for sure. I’ve gotten to travel quite a bit, I’ve enjoyed some tremendously rich experiences but my wife and 3 kids are still the greatest. For many, living life in the city with kids can seem challenging, but sometimes it feels like we have cracked the system and absolutely love it!
What are your three most treasured possessions?
I am a bit of a sentimentalist, so I place enormous value in all of our old photo albums, the art my kids make, and various special tools or items that have been in the family for a while. One of my favorite such items is an attache that I use most of the time that my father probably started using in the 1970s.
Name a movie, book or work of art that changed your life.
Schindler’s List is one of my favorite movies. Oskar Schindler begins as an opportunist with a seed of compassion that enables him to benefit while “helping” others. As the story unfolds, however, we find a man that realizes the only treasures worth anything were the lives of those around him.
What’s your greatest extravagance?
Coffee. I probably buy it too frequently and own too many forms of coffee equipment, but I love picking it up everywhere I go.
What’s your secret talent?
Troubleshooting and fixing things. As a child I would take things apart to figure out how they worked so that I could put them back together. As I grew up I began applying that same concept to various other endeavors. In the high-tech world I would use software and strategy to solve business problems. During some of my work in international corporate expansion and growth, I was able to troubleshoot strategies across language and cultural barriers. I LOVE getting the chance to chat with fellow agents and brokers about problems that pop up along the way.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Just so you know, I am not an attorney.” I feel like I am always giving disclaimers about not being an attorney or licensed financial adviser, or any number of other things. I love that I get a chance to partner with people in some of their biggest personal and business transactions. My clients place a lot of trust in me, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help them flourish. Clients have asked me to serve as witness to marriage, to help mediate spousal relationships, to help determine which financial investments to divest themselves of and where to place new investments, how to structure legal entities, and how to protect themselves of liability, how to overcome building violations and restrictions, and how to make alterations that will yield the best returns. I am always willing to do what I can to help a client thrive, and I am quite thankful to have a team of great people that can help when we need the proper professional support.