Noelle Marcus | A Surprising Solution to the Housing Crisis

Nesterly co-founder and CEO Noelle Marcus looked to the past to find a novel solution for the affordable housing crisis facing Boston and cities around the world.

The site connects people who need a place to live with those who have extra room in the house. With rents sky high – and going higher – in urban areas, it’s a service made for these times.

But for this MIT alum, Nesterly isn’t just a company… it’s a social movement.

Tune in to find out…

  • An unlikely “roommate” relationship that works
  • Why grad students are Nesterly’s top users
  • The benefits of intergenerational home sharing
  • Why Boston was ideal for the pilot project
  • And more

Listen now…

Episode Transcript:

David Elmasian: Welcome to the Hub of Success. I’m your host, David Elmasian. Today I’m with Noelle Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Nesterly. Nesterly is a home-sharing service launched in Boston last fall that pairs up older adults with empty bedrooms and graduate students who need an affordable place to live.

Noelle is a recent graduate of MIT, where she earned a master’s in city planning. It was at MIT that she formed the concept behind Nesterly and launched a successful pilot program with the city of Boston. Prior to founding Nesterly, Noelle was involved in many community and volunteer organizations. Welcome to the podcast, Noelle.

Noelle Marcus: Great to be here. Thanks so much, David.

David Elmasian: Great. So, let’s get started right at the beginning here with Nesterly, Noelle. So, how did it all start?

Noelle Marcus: So, Nesterly started while I was a graduate student at MIT. I went to grad school for urban planning because I had been working in New York City and really felt the impact of the urban housing crisis. It was a really, really, really expensive place. I was working for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and for the mayor’s office and worked on an $8.2 billion affordable housing plan and just realized that we needed more solutions to address this housing crisis than we currently had.

David Elmasian: So, an 8.2 billion plan, huh? Just a little project, huh? So, give us the short version of what that plan was all about.

Noelle Marcus: So, it was thinking about how do we incentivize private developers to construct more affordable housing, what levers and tools do the city have from vacant properties to tax incentives, and then also, how do we preserve the affordable housing units that already exist?

David Elmasian: Right, yeah, because traditionally, New York City’s had a lot of subsidized housing or other terms.

Noelle Marcus: Correct.

David Elmasian: I’m sure there was a lot of stock of that. So, did that program ever come to fruition? Did it complete? How did it end up?

Noelle Marcus: They’re still working on the plan. It was a 10 year plan. The goal was to build and preserve 200000 units, additional units of affordable housing in New York, and already across the country and New York City is even worse, half of all renters are paying an unsustainable amount of their income on rent. So, they’re what the federal government calls rent-burdened. New York is even higher than that. So, 200000 units sounds like a lot, but it’s still not going to make the impact that the city really needs to make it an affordable place for every day.

David Elmasian: Sure. Well, because there’s what, how many residents in New York City? Do you know?

Noelle Marcus: There’s about 8.8 million residents in New York City.

David Elmasian: Right. Yeah. So, like you said, 200000 sounds like a lot, but in the bigger scheme of things, it’s really not that much at all. It goes back to an old term that I remember my parents used to use, and the term was called house poor where they had a property, or like you said, a rental unit and almost all of their money was going towards that property. They really couldn’t afford to live or eat at times, it’s so bad.

So, getting back to Nesterly, you came up with this idea while at MIT. How did it actually go from being an idea to more than that, whatever more to that was? What was the first steps?

Noelle Marcus: So, while I was a student, I came up with the idea and I actually saw fliers around the halls of MIT for a business competition, a competition that was just for the School of Architecture and Planning to come up with business innovations in a built environment.

So, I pulled a team together and applied for this competition and really never looked back. It was the beginning of starting Nesterly. I ended up writing my master’s thesis on the topic. I partnered with the Age Lab of MIT, did a nationwide survey on the idea, and really dug into what the potential impact of Nesterly could be and what the viability of the business model was.

Then, we started just entering competitions across Boston, across MIT and Harvard, and we graduated having won a number of social impact competitions and we got into mass challenge, the local mass challenge in Boston, and we hit the ground running. Within two weeks of graduating, we had a signed partnership with the city of Boston to launch a pilot.

David Elmasian: So, hold on a second there. So, within two weeks of graduating, you’re working with the city of Boston for the pilot project. So, that didn’t just, like I said, snap my fingers and, oh, by the way, it happened. That was obviously some work involved in there. How did you make those connections? How did that all come together?

Noelle Marcus: I think it went really smoothly because my background is in public service, and so when I was thinking about this idea, I was really coming from the perspective of the city. What can we do to make the city a better place? What does the city need? The city and mayors across the country are desperate for innovations around solving and addressing the housing crisis.

Nesterly is just a way of better utilizing the existing infrastructure that we have and creating essentially new units of affordable housing at no cost to the public. So, I think that perspective made it really easy for me to talk to policy people and convince them that this was a worthwhile investment.

David Elmasian: Okay. So, it’s always about right idea at the right time. For the people that are listening that even though they heard my intro and they’ve heard you speak, if you’re walking down the street and you strike up a conversation, you’re at Starbucks or whatever, and somebody says to you, “What do you do?” and you tell them and they say, “Oh, what’s that?” How do you answer? What’s the 30 second version? I won’t say elevator pitch because I’m sure you’ve done that plenty of times. If you want to use that, that’s fine, but really, in essence, what’s the short version of what it is?

Noelle Marcus: So, what we do is we connect older households who have extra space in their home to young people who are looking for an affordable place to live. It’s basically intergenerational home sharing.

David Elmasian: Right. Okay. So, as I aptly put it, and I’m not the first, it’s Airbnb for older people and younger people, right?

Noelle Marcus: That’s right.

David Elmasian: Is that kind of a quick summary? All right.

Noelle Marcus: And longer-term.

David Elmasian: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so not like Airbnb like, “Hey, I’m going to stay here two nights,” and whatever.

Noelle Marcus: Exactly.

David Elmasian: So, every enterprise has challenges in it. What do you feel is the biggest challenge at this stage of where Nesterly is?

Noelle Marcus: So, Nesterly is taking an age old idea of intergenerational home sharing. This is not a new concept. We’re bringing it into the digital age. So, the challenge is that our society today, we’re very much segregated by our age. We’re used to not necessarily living with our parents and our grandparents. This has become the norm, but this is only in our recent history.

So, I think the biggest challenge, my vision is to create a movement around this. As people get older, they know that they can easily and safely bring in a younger person, make some extra income, have a new friend, make a friend, help someone get their start, whether that’s finishing school or starting a new job in a new town, have access to the jobs and opportunities that an urban environment provides, and also get some help around the house.

David Elmasian: Right. So, in you and I talking about this, you identified a group of individuals that are prime targets for this service. That’s grad students, right? Why grad students? Why do they need this and why do they want to participate? What’s unique about grad students?

Noelle Marcus: Grad students often come from other cities and other parts of the world to a new place, and Boston has a lot of universities-

David Elmasian: Yeah, there’s a couple.

Noelle Marcus: … and a lot of grad students.

David Elmasian: There’s a couple schools, I think, yeah.

Noelle Marcus: It attracts people from all over the world and they tend to be excited about living in a real home with a real local person, and also we tend to find people on Nesterly that are more civically oriented. So, they’re excited to help someone out. They’re excited to be useful. They’re excited to live in a home with a dog or a garden and not just live in a dorm and really be in a neighborhood and feel like they’re contributing.

David Elmasian: They’ve gotten past that undergrad phase, like, “Woohoo, I’m not living with my parents anymore.” Now, they realize they want more than just that, and there’s economics involved as well, too.

Noelle Marcus: Exactly. So, the bottom line is that schools and tuition are more burdensome today than they’ve ever been. Boston and the surrounding areas are just getting more and more expensive and unsustainable for people to go to school and pay tuition and live here.

David Elmasian: Right. So, if somebody’s listening and they’re thinking to themselves, either themselves personally or they know somebody that, “Wow, my grandmother, my mother, myself, I have this 3000 square foot house and I’m living here by myself, but do I really want a stranger living with me?” How do you guys overcome that fear, which is a legitimate one, right?

Noelle Marcus: Yes, definitely, definitely.

David Elmasian: So, what’s the process that you go through to make sure that something bad doesn’t happen?

Noelle Marcus: So, the process to join the site is you log in and you create a profile. You create a listing, and then everybody who joins our site, both the households and the renters, the graduate students, go through our screening process before you can connect or talk to anyone. So, we have a multi-tiered screening process. We check references. We do background checks. Often, we’ll interview people, and they complete an application.

So, only then after all those checks are made, then you can securely chat through the site. We’re really there throughout the duration of the matching process. We’re there throughout the duration of the home share.

David Elmasian: Right. So, it’s not just some electronic process. It’s a hands on approach. You meet all the parties involved and you do as much due diligence as possible. So, the other factor that kind of struck me when you first introduced this to me was the fact that it’s not just that it’s anybody, although it can be anybody, but primarily grad students. Not to say that there can’t be some crazy grad students out there, but these are young individuals that are, like you said, hardworking, motivated. They have a lot going for them and they’re seeking situations like this. They want to be helpful. So, it’s not just somebody off the street like Airbnb where it’s like, “Hey, I need a room for tonight.”

Noelle Marcus: Correct. It’s at least 30 days. It’s a minimum of 30 days and the average stays will be six months, nine months, a year, or longer. So, this is real home sharing. You’re actually sharing a space for a long time, and that’s why we’re very different from a service like Airbnb that’s geared more towards tourism. We’re actually creating affordable housing, whereas many policy makers and academics look at Airbnb as something that’s removing affordable housing from cities.

David Elmasian: Right, right, yeah. I know that’s been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason, right, because it really is doing that. I mean, not to get off topic, but recently somebody came to do some work in my house and as we were chatting, he said, “Yeah, I just bought this building in Southie,” I think it was, “And the whole point of it was that we’re going to Airbnb the whole building.”

So, it was formerly three individual apartments of two bedrooms each, and now all of sudden it’s, I don’t know, 15, I don’t know, one bedroom, I don’t know how you define it, short-term rentals. So, yeah, three’s not a huge number, but I’m sure that’s multiplied by how many numbers that the city may or may not be aware of. I’m sure there are a lot that they’re not aware of.

Noelle Marcus: Exactly. So, with Nesterly, just in the city of Boston and Cambridge, they’ve estimated, Trulia has estimated that there are about 90000 spare bedrooms in the homes of baby boomers.

David Elmasian: Yeah, I got about four in my house.

Noelle Marcus: Yeah. So, if you just think about the simple economics, increasing the supply will decrease the cost for everyone. So, we need to increase the supply of affordable housing. Airbnb takes many residential units off the housing market and turns them into commercial units, essentially. What we do is actually increase the supply overall, so hopefully decreasing pressure on housing across the city.

David Elmasian: Yeah. So, you mentioned the pilot program with the city of Boston. What was that process like? I know, like you said, they were motivated. Do you ever meet the mayor? Did you do the whole meet and greet thing at any point during that process or no?

Noelle Marcus: So, actually in June, I was invited as one of five companies from across the country. I was invited. I applied and was selected as one of five companies across the country to pitch in front of 250 mayors at the US Conference of Mayors. So, the night before that, I actually was able to meet Marty Walsh and shake his hand.

David Elmasian: Yeah. Hold it right there. His name’s Marty Walsh, it’s Marty Walsh. Come on, you got to get the Boston thing going here.

Noelle Marcus: Marty Walsh.

David Elmasian: Marty Walsh. All right, that’s better. Okay. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Noelle Marcus: So, I got to meet Marty, and then the next day at 10:00 AM on Sunday morning, I pitched in front of 1000 people and 250 mayors, and then was voted as one of the winning teams on the spot by the couple hundred mayors in the audience.

David Elmasian: That’s so cool. That must’ve been a little nerve racking talking in front of 1000 people and 250 mayors throughout the whole country, right? Did you give a speech? Was it a presentation? What was it?

Noelle Marcus: It was a pitch. It was a Shark Tank-like pitch.

David Elmasian: All right. Was it 30 seconds? Was it a minute? What? How much time did they give you? Do you remember?

Noelle Marcus: It’s a blur. It’s a blur. I think I had 10 minutes on the stage.

David Elmasian: Right. So, how did you prepare for that? Do you remember?

Noelle Marcus: I had to do a lot of pitches to get this off the ground. We graduated last summer with about $15000 in the bank trying to launch a company, and all of that came from business competitions at MIT and in New York, 2500 here, a couple thousand there. So, we had spent a lot of time kind of crafting our pitch. It was exhilarating as an urban planner to be in front of so many mayors sharing this idea that I had.

David Elmasian: Oh yeah, right, kind of the holy grail a little bit, right?

Noelle Marcus: Yep. It doesn’t get better than that [inaudible 00:15:45].

David Elmasian: All right. So, let’s go back to MIT. So, you get your master’s in city planning at MIT. Other than its reputation, which I’m sure was a lot to do with it, why did you pick MIT?

Noelle Marcus: That’s a good question.

David Elmasian: I stumped her.

Noelle Marcus: You stumped me. Why MIT? Why not MIT? It’s the oldest planning school in the country. It’s the largest and it’s voted the best planning school in the country, and also, I had always had an interest in entrepreneurship but as a woman and as a public servant, I was kind of intimidated by this space, but MIT really has a reputation as being a place for innovators and having an ecosystem of entrepreneurs. So, I knew I wanted to participate, but I didn’t know how I would. It was really my last semester that we won this business competition over at the little school of architecture and planning, and I said-

David Elmasian: The little school.

Noelle Marcus: Yeah. I said, “Well, maybe we could go over to Sloan.” I got some confidence from that and we ended up doing very well at Sloan, getting really involved in the Martin Truss Center for Entrepreneurship. I was a Sloan fellow last summer and got a lot of support and recognition from that school and realized that places like Sloan and Harvard Business School, they really need different types of people to become entrepreneurs. I think public servants, architects, urban planners can add a lot of value and solve real problems. That’s what the business community really needs are people that care and have the skillset and the way of thinking about society as a whole.

David Elmasian: Sure. Well, as you know now, being an entrepreneur is not all that it’s cracked up to be at times, right? It requires a lot of passion. It requires a lot of determination. People tell you you’re crazy. You’ll think to yourself you’re crazy, and I’m speaking from firsthand experience, right? So, having that background I think and that support system certainly I’m sure helped you through the process. Having the backing of MIT and the resources there I’m sure helped in that process as well too, right?

Noelle Marcus: It did, absolutely. We could not have done it without-

David Elmasian: So, it sounds like you made the right choice picking MIT. Not a bad choice. So, your time while you were at MIT, my experience in any school that I’ve ever attended, and I certainly didn’t attend MIT, there’s always been one or two professors or people that kind of you said to yourself, “Wow, that one really had a positive impact on me or really taught me something.” Is there anybody that you feel that way looking back on your time there?

Noelle Marcus: I had a lot of great professors. What I’m most proud of is that I feel like I made a lot of friends, too. The professors at the School of Architecture and Planning, they care so much and they’re so passionate about their work. Yeah, it was an amazing experience. I had a wonderful professor. I had a few wonderful professors. Albert [Sithe 00:19:10] was a really excellent professor. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard and he’s really passionate about affordable housing and really practical in what the constraints are, what the economic constraints are, and he has been really supportive of the idea.

I also had a professor, Ingrid Gould Ellen, who was visiting from NYU, who’s also an urban economist. She’s an incredible policy person, and so she was my thesis advisor. Yes. There’s been many great … I communicate regularly with the professors that I’ve worked with.

David Elmasian: Well, it’s a great resource, right? I mean, how else would people … The average schmo like me is not going to get access to those great minds, so that’s fantastic that you have that ability. So, this … I’m going to use the word mission … I know it’s a business but it’s really, in my sense, in talking with you for the very short time that I’ve known you, it really seems like a mission for you. Why is it so personal to you? Why are you so passionate about it?

Noelle Marcus: So, when I started working for the city of New York, it was the first time I really worked on housing policy. It’s a pretty wonky space, but I think the underlying principle that everybody deserves housing security, not just privileged people, but everyone, that really resonated with me.

David Elmasian: Okay. Well, that’s a good reason. So, here you are in Boston. I’ll admit, I’m a little biased, right? So, now you’ve spent some time here. I know you travel. What’s it like going back and forth to Boston and New York all the time? Does it get old real quick? What’s the difference? There’s always this Boston/New York rivalry. We won’t get into the whole sports thing. I promise we won’t, but what’s it like, now that you’ve had exposure to both?

Noelle Marcus: So, as I mentioned, I came to Boston after working for the city of New York and went to grad school here for two years. The partnership with the city of Boston happened so easily. We worked with the Housing Innovation Lab, and Boston just made so much sense. We really decided this was the community we were dedicated to serving first.

Since launching Nesterly, we’ve been in press all over the world. There’s no one else doing anything like this. We’ve been in press in Argentina and Japan and the UK and France and thousands and thousands of people have written to us wanting us to expand in their city, but Boston is our home and where we got started in and we know that the city is rapidly aging, that there’s a lot of students here, that the city, the mayor is dedicated to creating more affordable housing and making this a really age-friendly city. So, it’s an important place for me to be the hometown of Nesterly and also I love New York. My grandmother lives in New York and I think I’m a New Yorker-

David Elmasian: That’s okay.

Noelle Marcus: … deep down.

David Elmasian: That’s it, that’s it. Podcast is over. No, I’m joking. I’m joking. No, it’s okay. Ever since we won the World Series, it’s okay between Boston and New York. We won’t get into that. So, you do spend some time in Boston. We don’t want to make this all about Boston. What do you like about Boston other than the obvious stuff, the schools and all the rest? I mean, is there any redeeming qualities? I’m grasping here, Noelle, but trying to get some props for Boston.

Noelle Marcus: Boston is a really lovely charming city. Yeah, it’s really easy to be here. It’s a very friendly place and I love the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

David Elmasian: You didn’t mention there’s lots of wicked smart people, right?

Noelle Marcus: Everybody’s wicked smart. I love Boston. It’s laidback compared to New York.

David Elmasian: I’m turning her. I’m trying, guys. I’m turning her. All right. So, back to Nesterly. I’m probably not saying this right. Are you guys considered a social enterprise? Is that the right term? Am I using the right term for that?

Noelle Marcus: That’s the right term.

David Elmasian: Okay. So, describe to me and to everybody what a social enterprise is.

Noelle Marcus: So, a traditional enterprise has a fiduciary responsibility to investors to prioritize the bottom line. For us, we are a business. We are a for profit company, but our mission is to create more affordable housing in urban areas and to help people age in their homes and age in their communities. So, that’s why we exist. We don’t only exist to make money. We want to make cities better places.

David Elmasian: Okay. Well, that’s a good reason. So, all this didn’t happen by accident. So, like we talked about earlier, it requires a lot of determination and a lot of persistence, a lot of time and effort. My sense, and again, let me step back for a minute. You and I met for the first time today face to face, but we talked on the phone. I’m not a good storyteller. Tell the story of how you and I first came to talk with each other. There’s a method to my madness here, I promise. Go ahead.

Noelle Marcus: Yeah, of course. We were in fast company in February, I believe, and we had a young man named Adam reach out and he said, “I want to intern with you this summer. I think I can add value.” We probably had 100 of those kind of emails. We’re a very small team, but I had a good instinct with Adam, and so he came and spent the summer with us and did an incredible job and he reached out to you on email and said, “Help tech Boston. This looks really interesting. We are working with older adults and one of the challenges can sometimes be technology and access to technology.” So, he reached out and he came to me one day and said, “You won’t believe what happened. He wrote back. He wrote back. I can’t believe it. We have a call with him.”

David Elmasian: I can’t believe I wrote back, either.

Noelle Marcus: Yeah. He’s like, “I can’t believe he wrote back. This is amazing.” I don’t know how many people he emailed over his internship. He didn’t tell me, but he reached out and we had a call. I realized how similar our work is. We’re working with a similar population and there’s a lot of parallels to the challenges that we’re addressing and that’s how it happened.

David Elmasian: Yeah. So, like I said, I don’t want to make this about me because it’s not about me, but it’s true. So, I get a lot of those emails every day. I’m sure you do as well, too. I honestly don’t know why I respond. I really don’t. It’s one of those things that I can only explain to the certain instincts that I have in life, and sometimes you just say, “Hey, let’s see how it goes.”

So, yes, you’re absolutely right. I responded to it. I listened. Within 30 seconds of hearing you, I said, “Wow. This woman is really trying to do something special here.” I really felt that strongly. The timing wasn’t great. We only had a very short period of time to talk. That wasn’t by accident because I didn’t want to dedicate a lot of time, because honestly, I thought it was some sales pitch or whatever, but what came across was I said to myself, “This is a very passionate person with a great cause and she’s really going to make it work.” So, when I got first exposed to it, and as you and I talked more about it, that just come through more and more and more and more.

So, just like I asked why MIT and all that, and sometimes we don’t know the answers to whys, but now that I’ve had more time with you, I realize how much of a really genuine, caring person you are. What made you the person that you are? Why take on this big, big challenge of Nesterly and the things that you do? You mentioned that you spend time with your grandmother. So, you don’t just talk about it, you actually do this. Most people aren’t that deep. They’re more shallow. What makes you so committed to this and just in general?

Noelle Marcus: So, I came from a family that really valued what was the impact I was going to have on the world. From day one, those were my role models. We had to figure out how to give back. I had been in public service for a long time for my whole career working in nonprofits and working for cities. I’ve never felt so passionate or more excited or more driven to do what I’m doing.

I know that if we’re successful when we’re successful, this is going to really impact a lot of people and not harm anyone. It just has the potential to help the city, help the city at large, help the young person create opportunities in their lives and access housing, and I really believe in intergenerational friendships and intergenerational relationships.

I grew up on a little island in Canada and there were only 1000 people on the island. If you didn’t necessarily love the four people in your grade, you had to make friends with other people of other ages. That’s been a really important influence on my life to have friends of different ages. My grandmother is really important to me and I think we’ve lost that today in our society a little bit. There’s just a lot of potential there and I think people are hungry or opportunities to interact with other people and help other people.

David Elmasian: Right. Yeah. Well, like I shared with you, growing up as a child, my mother’s mother lived with us. I didn’t think there was anything unusual about it and I did get a lot of benefits out of it. I think I shared this with you. When I was sick and tired of my parents or they were sick and tired of me, which is very normal in every parent child relationship, I spent some time with my grandmother and we played cards or we did whatever.

It gave me perspective. I got to hear her stories and she got to share things and hear what was going on in my life. I think it’s a wonderful experience and I think that’s great that you’re trying to, I don’t want to say bring it back like it’s gone, but it definitely isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. I think this is a wonderful mission that you’re doing.

So, you’re going to make this work. When it becomes mainstream, what’s your vision? Paint a picture of how you see the world as a city planner with Nesterly being part of that when it comes mainstream.

Noelle Marcus: So, mainstream, we’re a global movement. We want to be operating in every city around the world that could benefit from this. I think the big challenges, the obvious challenges we’re solving are creating more affordable housing, better utilizing the existing infrastructure. So, we have a denser city, which has a lot of benefits from sustainability to more connection, innovation, all of these things, and then we are just a more interconnected place. We live in a society where people are taking care of each other, they care about each other.

David Elmasian: Are you trying to say that the government isn’t going to provide that for us, taking care of us? No, I’m joking. Go ahead.

Noelle Marcus: That’s the other thing is that this is a bottom up solution, so if you need some extra income, you have some extra space in your home, maybe you live alone and you don’t love living alone but you want to stay in the house that you’ve raised your family, this is a way that you can make a decision and you can make the choice to bring someone in and to give back to your community in this way.

So, I think more connection between generations and more giving back to your community and showing people the pride that you have for your home and the pride that you have for your community and being able to express that is a world that I would like to see.

David Elmasian: Well, the more that you’ve exposed me to this idea, the more that I’ve had time to think about it, you hit upon something that I think I said is very unique, which is it’s all wins. There’s really no loses in this whole equation, right, because like you said, you have older people that have excess capacity that is really just space that’s not being used, there’s energy costs, there’s property taxes to pay, there’s rent to pay, and it’s unused space.

You have this segment of the population that wants to be in there but right now can’t so they’re using alternative methods, whatever that may be, living with somebody else or spending all their money just for rent or what have you. You have these energy costs. You have the government that really cares but doesn’t kind of care, and if they care, they really can’t solve it easily. So, everybody wins in this equation. I think that’s a wonderful thing. We don’t see that most times. It’s usually somebody’s winning and somebody’s loss.

Noelle Marcus: Exactly. I went to MIT and did my master’s in urban planning because I had felt the impact of the affordable housing crisis and I thought that was one of the biggest issues that we had to address. Since working on Nesterly, I realized the bigger challenge that I think we’re going to face as a society is how we take care of our parents and how we take care of our grandparents. This is the fastest growing population in Boston.

David Elmasian: It is.

Noelle Marcus: It’s the fastest growing low income population in Boston.

David Elmasian: Unfortunately that’s true, too.

Noelle Marcus: It’s not just Boston, it’s pretty much every city in the United States. I think that we need a lot more innovation in this space. We don’t have a lot of solutions to the challenges that are going to be coming at us, and I think we need to help our parents and our grandparents and eventually ourselves in aging with grace and aging with choice and independence and we need more options. Otherwise, it’s our parents and grandparents that we’re going to see suffer.

David Elmasian: Well, like the point that you brought up earlier, which is it seems to be out of favor or was out of favor, this intergenerational living arrangements. That went away for whatever reason and we can probably talk endlessly about why that happened, but what’s nice now is if there are people like yourself that have a similar mindset that thinks that, well, it is normal for this to happen.

Like I said, that can become the new norm and I think that’s the part that really excites me, looking at it from a distance, because I’m certainly not involved as much as you are and can see it as well. Not only that, I didn’t go to MIT for city planning, so I can’t figure these things out quite as well. So, I think it’s fantastic what you’re doing.

Noelle Marcus: Thank you.

David Elmasian: So, let’s move on to something a little more fun, all right? This is an easy one for you. Some of the things, I already know the answer, but I’m not going to give it away. I want you to tell me. So, the segment we have now, because unfortunately I am an IT guy, I can’t help myself, is called Check Your Tech, all right? Simple questions. Don’t be nervous. So, iPhone or Android?

Noelle Marcus: iPhone.

David Elmasian: All right. Mac or PC?

Noelle Marcus: PC.

David Elmasian: Facegram … Facegram. See, I’m old. Facebook or Instagram?

Noelle Marcus: Instagram.

David Elmasian: All right. Alexa or Google Home?

Noelle Marcus: Neither.

David Elmasian: Netflix or Hulu?

Noelle Marcus: Netflix.

David Elmasian: Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

Noelle Marcus: None of the above.

David Elmasian: All right. Gmail or Outlook?

Noelle Marcus: Gmail.

David Elmasian: All right. Now, this is the most important question. If you only have one you can pick and the ice cream is either vanilla or another flavor, which flavor are you going to pick?

Noelle Marcus: Vanilla.

David Elmasian: All right. I’m glad you had the strength to admit that. All right. Well, great. Well, Noelle, we can talk for very much longer, but we need to wrap things up. I appreciate you taking the time to tell and share your story with us. If people want to participate in Nesterly, because they’re looking for housing or they have housing, what’s the best way for them to go about doing that?

Noelle Marcus: Www.nesterly.io. You can sign up right there. We have our number on the site, as well. Give us a call. Reach out. Sign up. Create your profile and join this movement that we’re making.

David Elmasian: Great. Well, you’re listening to the Hub of Success. Again, I’m David Elmasian. Thanks again, Noelle, and thanks for listening.

Announcer: The Hub of Success Podcast is sponsored by Applied Synergy Group. Discover how to get unlimited technology support for one low monthly fee at AppliedSynergyGroup.com.