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Growing the Conversation at AG



Although we spent last night dreaming of all the ways to punk readers of Agent Genius, Benn thought we should keep things on the up and up. So, today would be the perfect time to make an announcement so big that either your head will pop or you’ll feel called to go eat ice cream!!! Keep reading…

Recently, a commenter came out of nowhere and mixed things up right away. Always on point, thorough and often funny, these comments have catapulted a new blogger into the forefront of rational thought in the real estate blogiverse. Benn invited him to come join and we are proud to announce Bill Lublin as the newest contributor on AG! This Philly Real Estate Broker has joined the fold to speak amongst the best and brightest in the real estate conversation.

bill lublin=new AG contributor=genius!

Things to know about Bill Lublin

(1) “I can get in a disagreement with someone and then take them out to ice cream.” Yes, that’s a quote from Bill. Seriously.

(2) Instead of whining about the status quo, Bill is very hands on with leadership- he’s a 2008 Chair of the Professional Standards Committee, a member of the NAR Risk Management Committee, and the Chair of a Presidential Workgroup. Dang, when do you sleep, Bill??

(3) Bill’s no dummy (or at least the bio on his website that I’ve copied and pasted from says so)! He has a degree from Penn State, has a bunch of letters on his business card (GRI, CRBM, etc) and is the former President of the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS, was appointed to GPAR REALTORS Hall of Fame in 1998, and has been a State Certified Real Estate Instructor since 1979! Sounds like an overachiever to me, let’s beat him up for his lunch money! (just teasing, Bill- you can keep your lunch coins)

(4) Bill used to be in Cirque De Soliel and had to quit on account of his real estating taking up too much time.

One of those things is false, but the other three are impressively true! On a serious note, I had a long conversation over the phone with Bill today and learned that despite his heavyweight credentials and leadership roles, he is an extremely down to earth guy with an awesome sense of humor and will appreciate ice cream and Cirque De Soliel being mentioned in his debut.

Please help us in welcoming Bill Lublin to Agent Genius!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Bill Lublin

    April 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    So much for setting expectations low enough for me to meet them – 🙂

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    April 1, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I am incredibly happy to see Bill join the family! I finally get to be a big brother, awww…. It’s just not the fact that I am no longer the rookie author; but I have REALLY enjoyed Bill’s insight and comments on many posts. Awesome to have you to read!

  3. Andy Kaufman

    April 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Welcome Bill!

    Can’t wait to hear about the cirque.

  4. monika

    April 1, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Well… I can’t wait to read more. So Bill will you be in DC in May?

  5. Rob Aubrey

    April 1, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Welcome Bill. Look forward to some Philly slant. You can take the boy out of philly

  6. Jim Duncan

    April 1, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Well done, Bill. Welcome.

  7. Daniel, the Real Estate Zebra

    April 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm


    It’s not nice to tell falsehoods about people being in the GPAR Hall of Fame. 😉


    Glad to see you aboard. Loved your comments, now looking forward to your posts.

  8. Vicki Moore

    April 1, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Welcome to the crew. Looking forward to hearing you stir it up.

  9. Liz Luby

    April 1, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Bill…you don’t waste any time! Nice work. I’ll be a faithful reader. Best, Liz

  10. Jay Thompson

    April 2, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Excellent!! I didn’t “meet” Bill until recently, but have been impressed with his candor and humor (and he writes really long comments — longer than me!)

    Welcome aboard!

    Penn State huh. I used to work with Joe Paterno’s son. Not that that really matters.

  11. John Lauber

    April 2, 2008 at 5:25 am

    That’s super Bill. I live and work just outside of Philly myself. I definitely need to keep an eye on you now. Looking forward to your posts.

  12. Mark Lesswing

    April 2, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Bill, you are as engaging in print as you are in person!

  13. Laura S Flournoy

    April 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Me too!
    …. I didnt see an answer to Monika about DC in May?
    Will you all be there? And will you attend the Gen X & Y work session?

  14. ines

    April 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Penn State??? PENN STATE!!!! there goes the neighborhood.

  15. Bill Lublin

    April 2, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    @Matthew – always wanted to have a big brother – but boy are you old 🙂
    @Andy- I worked the Cirque in the Show “O” – I was the guy that cleaned the big bucket of water
    @Monika – Yes I will be in DC and hope to see lots of you guys there too! I would love to have the opportunity to actually meet the faces in front of these beautiful minds!
    @Rob – But you can’t take the Philly out of the biy…. What street did you parents grow up on? I may have sold a house there 🙂
    @Jim – Thanks You got me started – Is this a case of be careful what you wish for? 🙂
    @Daniel – High Praise from the worshipful Zebra!
    @Vicki – Thanks – Hope to live up to the crew’s high standards!
    @Liz – See what an inspiration you were?
    @Jay – Working with JoePa’s son – being next to greatness (I mean he was next to greatness working with you !)
    @John- Loving the Rock! – I have a house in East Pikeland I need to get sold – 360 Western Rd- Check the MLS and hook me up please!
    @Mark – Thanks for your kind words – we’ll talk in May 😉
    @Laura – I fly to LA tomorrow so I was remiss in getting on line today (actually had to do office stuff- what a drag) Yes I will be there and I would love to attend the session if it doesn;t conflict with Rosk Management or professional Standards Meetings (I had that commitment first) but I hope to meet as many of the geniuses as possible
    @Ines – Yes, Penn State (Formerly the Farmer’s High School of Pennsylvania founded in 1855) – Not the first time I made values plummet by my mere presence –

    Thank you all for your welcoming remarks and your patience with my fumbling attempts at writing, and thank you Lani and Benn for your invitation as well as your warmth and encouragement – you are all truly special people

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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.



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.



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.



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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