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How the Heck Did I End Up Here?

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Andy Kaufman’s BarCamp Block badge

In case we’ve never met, let me introduce myself. My name is Andy Kaufman and I’m a founding member of the MyEastBayAgent team out in the Bay Area where we specialize in working with investors and selling bank owned REO properties.

If I HAD to describe myself, I’d say that I’m part snarky agent and part super geek who radiates an egoless kind of cool… but I’d rather not talk about myself, so pretend you never saw that. Besides, if you’ve seen me around on facebook or twitter, you’d probably already know most of that anyway.

One of the recurring themes that I’ll be talking about here on AG is community. Building and feeding a vibrant community that works together to help everyone achieve their goals is how we’re building our business, and I’d love to share with you how we’re going about doing it.

Looking back, I had been unknowingly doing this in some capacity for the past 15 years, but the concept that I could create abundance through building and contributing to communities didn’t really take hold in my consciousness until about a year and a half ago. Not to say that I hadn’t been exposed to the idea, but that’s when it finally clicked.

In August 2006, I was the the end of my rope. As I was immersing myself in the Bay Area tech community and building my knowledge of social media and bleeding edge technologies, I found myself migrating away from real estate. As luck would have it, I saw that Blogging Systems was hiring Community Managers to support their new product, a blogging platform which they called Community Publisher.

Community building is hard work. It’s extremely time intensive and needs to be done with authenticity and passion in order to succeed and it was soon became apparent that the model that we were working with just wasn’t going to work. As a result, in early 2007 I found myself back at square one.

Even then, with a floundering business and an abandoned blog, I knew that I had a growing network and unique knowledge base along with a burning desire to keep adding to both.

Most importantly, I had a seedling planted in my psyche that would lead me to where I find myself today. I was convinced that I could utilize social media technologies to transform my existing network into an active community and that by feeding and providing value to that community, opportunities would come my way…

…yada yada yada, now I’m here on AG. Sure, I’ll fill in the blanks as time goes by, but I wanted to spare you from what, in draft form, was turning out to be a monster of a post that no one would read completely without falling asleep.

Long story short, I’m super excited to be here and I’m looking forward to seeing you around.

flickr photo credit: brian solis / bub.blicio.us. Taken at BarCamp block.

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Brad Coy

    December 22, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Andy Kaufan… a genius? I though you knew. Great to see you blogging again and in a forum were you can really put your talents to work. I know I’ll be reading.

  2. Brad Coy

    December 22, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    err.. that’s Kaufman. Sorry Andy.

  3. Mariana

    December 22, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    YAY for Andy! (Your picture kills me, BTW) Nice to see you here on AG!

  4. Benn Rosales

    December 22, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    It’s about time… better later than never.

  5. Andy Kaufman

    December 23, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Brad – glad you cleared that up

    Mariana – you like that, eh? I’ve got more where that came from.

    Benn – pipe down over there. don’t you have a fire to go and throw gas on? 😉

  6. Mike Mueller

    December 23, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Glad to see you here Andy!
    Woo Hoo!

  7. Jeremy Hart

    December 27, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Way to go, Andy! Nice to see you on AG!

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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