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Greetings from the Epicenter of Real Estate Blogging

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What you learn quickly when you’re a real estate blogger in the Phoenix area is you’re not lone. Last night I discovered another half-dozen local bloggers while trying to find someone using the Arizona Regional MLS’ basic IDX feed.

The above photo features some of the area’s best and brightest – oh, and also the rather large man in black on the left. Not pictured is Dru Bloomfield, one of three bloggers who all work in McCormick Ranch, a subdivision in Scottsdale. John Wake, making an odd clawing motion in the back left, and Irene Hammond (in the pink) are the other two.

(Incidentally, if I disappear, please tell the authorities to start the investigation with the Scottsdale agents, none of whom agree with my contention that their city’s overrated.)

Up front are Christoph Schweiger and Steve Belt. Heather Barr is nearly eclipsed by me, at least as much as someone so shimmery can be eclipsed. Chris Butterworth is behind Irene and in the back right, with the cast on his right arm, is the unstoppable Jay Thompson.

Helping Each Other Build Their Business

You’d expect for us to be hyper-competitive and not up for such gatherings in an online market as competitive as the one here in Phoenix. But with one glaring exception, nothing is further from the truth. Since those pictured aren’t trying to put a price tag on their own marketing expertise, we share ideas freely.

Entering the Phoenix real estate blogging world now is a bit different than it was a couple of years ago when I started. There was the other dog, not quite so rabid as today. There was Jay. And that was it.

Now? Let’s just say when we get together again, we’re going to need another couple of tables … and at least another couple of hours to spend sharing our passion for the market and for our blogs.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Matthew Rathbun

    April 1, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Agent meet-ups are great. I love getting together with folks outside of my market area to discuss the industry. It’s even better with food and drinks! I’m glad you all had fun!

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    April 1, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    I should have said Dru’s not pictured because she was holding the camera.

  3. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    April 1, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    So I bet you got VIP seating when you told the hostess that you were a group of influential real estate bloggers, huh? 😉

    It’s important for people to see the value in sharing ideas- when great minds come together, they will raise the bar, meanwhile the people clinging tightly to their ridiculous competitiveness will be left to follow the new bar set by the people they were attempting to exclude/squash/squander by being exclusive. In modern times, inclusion is the key to success.

  4. Dru Bloomfield

    April 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    It was a great time… my head is spinning from all the simultaneous conversations. High energy. Camaraderie. Market updates from around the valley. Thanks to you and Steve Belt for twittering this meet to life.

    We’ll discuss Scottsdale later!

  5. Steve Belt

    April 1, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I couldn’t have been more thrilled by the reaction that we received from folks that heard about lunch as Jonathon and I were twittering. What a really cool way to generate “buzz” amongst colleagues, and an even better, to find how enthusiastic we were all to meet each other. I didn’t talk to anyone that didn’t immediately jump at the idea to want to meet. Due to table arrangements, I missed out on any meaningful discussion with Master Jay, so for that reason alone, more gatherings are necessary. And just to make sure Jonathon feels the most comfortable, it almost has to be in Scottsdale.

  6. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Fabulous time. Needed to be longer, with more beer. But the company was great. It’s nice to share and meet new folks.

    Thanks for finding me in the parking lot Steve, otherwise I might still be driving around…

    Next time, Tempe? Queen Creek?

    I’ll go anywhere, its worth the drive.

  7. Christoph Schweiger

    April 2, 2008 at 9:05 am

    This was long overdue! Let’s do this again sometime soon because I need to catch up with the other end of the table.

  8. Shailesh Ghimire

    April 2, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Sniff sniff….

    I feel left out…. I only help finance your borrowers purchase… sniff.. sniff….

    🙁

    I don’t mind sitting at the other table by myself just so I can say I was there… sniff sniff

  9. Steve Belt

    April 2, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Shailesh, I sure hope someone invited you. If not, it was a pure oversight, not intentional, totally a mistake on my part, and I take full responsibility for the error.

  10. Jonathan Dalton

    April 2, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Nah, this one’s my bad, not Steve … I was keeping this one for agents because if we invited a mortgage guy then we’d all just leave him with the tab.

    Wait … what was the logic in that one?

    I’ve not talked to the folks about another but I’d like to think we could make this happen again in the near future and expand it out a bit.

    Oh, and yes, I need to get us a round table. Got it.

  11. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I’m pretty sure there are nothing but round tables in the East Valley…. 😉

  12. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Here is the code to frame the free ARMLS IDX:

    BUT, the user HAS to have their URL in their ARMLS profile, or it won’t work.

  13. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Gak, the tag doesn't work...

    Try this. (Add a "" at the beginning and end, and replace "XX123" with the actual agent ID)

    frame src=”https://armlsidx.vstone.com/?agentid=XX123” width=”510”

  14. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Sigh. Stupid WordPress. See this link: https://www.armls.com/pdfs/ARMLSAgentIDXHowTo.pdf

  15. Jonathan Dalton

    April 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks, Jay … I think he has it registered wrong but can fix it. I’m still pushing him to Killer IDX. It may not work the best for most of us here, but for him it would be fine.

  16. Bill Lublin

    April 2, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I just want to know who broke Jay’s arm – 🙂

  17. Gabe Sumner

    April 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Very neat! I would’ve been interested to attend this. Although I’m not a REALTOR, instead I’m a web programmer with a lot of experience dealing with IDX MLS systems (specifically ARMLS). Perhaps that makes me part of the problem? 🙂

    Cheers,

    Gabe Sumner
    Scottsdale, AZ

  18. Dru Bloomfield

    March 26, 2011 at 12:22 am

    As we get ready for REBCPHX3, it’s amazing to see how much the social media landscape has evolved, and how much the local community has grown. Little did we know…

  19. Steve Belt

    March 26, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Indeed Dru…little did we know.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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