Posts Tagged “broken windows”

Newsflash. I own four small apartment buildings (well, for now, the banks own them, my wife manages them, and I’m legally and financially on the hook when bad things happen). For me, managing rental property and software development teams are not nearly as disjointed activities as they may seem. A tragedy of the commons, for example, can happen in either place.

A tragedy of the commons occurs when a public resource is overused or misused by individuals each acting in their own interest, where each instance of overuse or misuse has a greater benefit to the individual than the incremental harm it does to the public resource. Eventually, however, this can cause the resource to be spoiled beyond recovery. Hence the tragedy. For concrete examples, think overfishing or global warming.

My wife and I differentiate our properties by keeping them well-maintained. We pile on the amenities (AC, dishwashers, hardwood floors, rehabbed kitchens and baths). And, initially, we threw in freebies (free Internet access, free laundry, free applications). Well, applications are no longer free, and neither is the laundry.

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