Uncommon Person: Jim Stuart

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Jim Stuart is Uncommon.

Jim is the Founding Partner of Matter, a community-minded real estate development group (check out their work). He is restless with a journey that has resulted in the formation of numerous real estate and consumer facing companies. Jim has also been recognized by E&Y as Entrepreneur of the Year in Southern California and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Builder and Innovators Award from Goldman Sachs.

We asked Jim to share some uncommon sense from his life and career.


Bulldog Drummond: What value, phrase or uncommon truth do you live by?
Jim Stuart: Seek first to understand.

BD: What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
JS: Although cliché, raising three amazing daughters that exhibit the best in personal values and human compassion.


BD: What gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s your purpose?
JS: Now that I am in my 50s, I have a different appreciation for the gift of each day and the comfort of living in Southern California. I am an early riser and always anxious to see what great memories I may craft and where I might find new inspiration.

As for finding purpose, that seems to be the great quest of all of us. I don’t think there is a singular answer other than recognizing that we have an innate desire to feel important. To feel like we matter. Wait, that would be a great name for a company!

BD: What’s the most useful question you ask often? Why?
JS: As I have more experience in life, I have realized that evidence and data are the perfect companion to my instincts and enthusiasm. I am more contemplative now and when new ideas pop into my scrambled brain, I sit with them for a few days to see if they stick. I ask myself over and over “does this matter”? (There is a trend with this word!)

BD: What makes you uncommon?
JS: Humility (how ironic to say that). I am always amazed at how many people believe they have all the answers and operate with misplaced confidence. I was not immune to that thinking early in life, but I now realize that I am constantly wrong, and the best thing I can do is embrace my fallibility and know that my strength comes from finding the answer.

BD: Can you tell us about an experience that made you who you are?
JS: As young parents, my wife and I were faced with our then 18-month-old daughter being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that required immediate lifesaving surgery. At that point, the universe showed me how all of the hedonistic and selfish pursuits I had believed to be important, were in fact meaningless. Life is a precious journey and while we all know that to be true, that clarity was seared in my memory from that day forward. I know I became a better person and father from that moment on.


BD: What are you working on that you are excited about?
My partners and I are developing large, mixed-use commercial real estate projects that put connectedness and community at the forefront. It became obvious to us that we are bringing to life tomorrow’s new neighborhoods and with design intention, we can instigate moments of serendipity and inspiration. The world has become overly toxic and disconnected from one another and the built environment is a great place to start reminding each other of the sheer joy of being on this planet together.

BD: Tell us about a positive daily habit that you have.
JS: I keep a gratitude journal that has helped teach my brain to be on the lookout for all of the positives that contribute to my life each and every day.

This interview was captured pre-COVID.

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