David Gutierrez and Stu Grazier met while attending the Naval Academy and have stayed close ever since. Stu and David were stationed apart for most of their careers in the Navy except when they were both stationed in Naples, Italy. Around this time, they started to discuss their plans for the future and decided to go into business together, focusing on real estate investments.
They emphasize the importance of choosing partners and friends wisely and also celebrating each other’s successes. They were very intentional about formalizing their business partnership. They spent a lot of time discussing core values and what should be done in various situations, such as if a deal does not appraise or if either of them have an opportunity too good to pass up and the business has to dissolve. They also discussed how to separate their friendship from the business and continue to have conversations to ensure they are both bringing their best selves to their relationship.
They emphasized the importance of having these conversations before officially entering any business partnership. Comparing it to getting married, where you need to know what the other person wants and have a plan for any contingencies.