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Where Is Gen Y?



So we’ve all heard at least one place that Generation Y is huge, important, young, arrogant, etc.  I’m Gen Y and I’m not the only person here who is, but I was doing a mind-catalog of others I know in the industry, and couldn’t think of too many other Gen Y professionals.  There are a ton of Boomers and Generation X, but not much Gen Y.

People Buy From People They Trust

We’ve heard it all before, but if it holds true, don’t most people trust people they can relate to? Can’t I relate best to someone else who has also grown up on the internet, had a blog and thinks it’s okay to text message during a date?

Note: The average age of my close group of friends is actually 40+, so I don’t 100% fit the stereotypes.

Gen Y Is Missing From This Side Of The Table

Are all of the Gen Y people the programmers at sites like Trulia and Redfin? Do they work in the IT departments for John L Scott and Keller Williams?  I sure don’t see too many young peoples faces on postcards.

I know when I worked for a title company, we had a couple of Gen Y’ers a few more Gen X’ers, but a large number of people much closer to retirement with no replacements coming soon.

I’ve even asked using the correct hashtag via Twitter during the Inman Connect New York Conference for a show of hands of Gen Y people and have heard from 3.  That seems odd to me, a conference focusing on the changes needed in the real estate industry yet the largest (real estate buying) age group of our country isn’t represented adequately.


Do we need to diversify our work teams? I completely understand the value of experience which is why I’ve never refused to accept professional help from someone because they were older than me, but I also know age does not equal wisdom. Should the smart, experienced agents, mortgage brokers, appraisers and title people need to scout out younger people to join their teams, learn the real estate skills (since odds are they already have the online marketing skills) and help really move the industry into the future? Or are Gen Y’ers too fickle and prone to changing professions that it isn’t worth the time to train them?


I’ve spoken to groups of real estate professionals about generational marketing many times, the average age I would guess to be around 55 and even though I promote a multi-generational marketing approach, I get cheered when talking about marketing to Boomers and jeered when talking about marketing to Gen Y’ers.  “They’re just going to do it themselves since they think they’re smarter” is something I’ve heard more than once.

Generation Why?

Why aren’t there more Generation Y people on the professional side of real estate?

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Dan Connolly

    January 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Okay so what is the age difference between GenY and GenX? Oh and when will GenZ be here?

  2. Missy Caulk

    January 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I am a bummer, but in some cases I know more than my kids. They know more than me in some things, like showing me at Christmas how to program my IPod.

    My teams ages run from 28 to 62, but I give the first time home buyer and U of M students to my younger one, they have fun and text all the time.

    I’m not sure age in years have anything to do with it but more of a desire to learn new things.

  3. Paula Henry

    January 8, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Nick – Two of my chilren are Gen Y. Both were in real estate, one as a licensed assistant and the other unlicensed. Neither enjoyed it. One thing I have noticed about this generation is, they work to live and their freedom and fun is important to them.

    As are their friends. If you et the opportunity to work with them, once you have earned their trust, they are loyal and will refer to their friends. They trust their friends!

  4. Nicole Lahti

    January 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I’m a Gen Y and have been in mortgage for 3 years (straight out of college), and I’m oftentimes the youngest in the room at sales meetings, trainings, CE classes, etc.

    I think why generally see less Gen Y in real estate is because our higher education system can be a Fortune 500 factory. We’re sold on the cool title, company expense account and travel opportunities big companies offer straight out of college; not the sacrifice and rejection (which is loathed by Gen Y) it takes to become a young entrepreneur.

  5. Linda Davis

    January 9, 2009 at 7:13 am

    It’s simple.
    Look at the tons of research on the character traits of the average Gen Y. Then talk to some of the most successful real estate professionals and ask them what it took to get there. You’ll have your answer.

  6. Brad Rachielles

    January 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Disclosure: I am a 1946 Boomer that has stayed knowledgable on tech.

    That said, it may not be important because it appears to me that the whole world will beat a path to one who gets results. A lender posted on Facebook that he was writing a 4.5% loan and said that everyone came out of the woodwork, regardless of catagory.

    Nick, I liked your post. Have you done any research on other entrapreneur based fields outside of “tech” or real estate/loans that may indicate that Millenials are thriving as independant owners/contractors? I see and agree with Nicole’s point about corporate emphasis in schools. Maybe that is where the changes should take place.

    Or, could it be possible that Generation Y so strongly believes in generational division that they have trouble seeing themselves doing business with clients with a diverse generational characteristic because they have been so preconditioned. There has to be a better thought than that!

  7. Debra Sinick

    January 9, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with Missy’s comment about the difference being not just generational, but the willingness to learn and change.

  8. Elaine Reese

    January 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned money. It takes quite a bit of money to start-up and stay in this business – whether or not a sale is made. It may require being able to live for 6 months without a paycheck. Perhaps, the Gen Y’ers just don’t have that kind of savings. Especially, if they have to start paying off college loans.

  9. Benjamin Bach

    January 10, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I’m 25, and have been in business for 3 years now.

    Our firm of 100 associates is owned by a 32 year old.

    A few of us in the top 10 at the firm are under 35.

    Maybe we’re the exception, but Gen Y does pretty well around here

  10. Nick Bostic

    January 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    @Dan – There still isn’t a very clear definition on time periods, but the most widely accepted I consistently see is 1977-1998. Generation X is 1965-1976. Gen Z probably won’t exist because Gen Y was actually meant as a put down to say that we were not really different from Gen X and just the next group to follow.

    @Missy – I agree with the desire to learn, but I also think those doing the educating need to evolve. My “research” is anecdotal, but most of my friends spent more time in college because they enjoyed learning. They also had more altercations with instructors because the information was old and outdated. So again, my anecdotal evidence suggests Gen Y has a great desire to learn, but no tolerance for incompetent educational systems.

    @Paula – I would definitely agree that a work/life balance is key to my generation, but wouldn’t being a real estate agent be a perfect occupation? You set your hours, you’re your own boss?

    @Nicole – Thank you for joining the conversation, I’m glad I’m not alone here 🙂 I would agree that higher education promotes the (outdated) Fortune 500 mentality. I think everyone I keep in contact with that I graduated from college with has been sorely disappointed by the Fortune 500 promises that haven’t come true yet, and I think this reality will get passed down.

    @Lina – I have read and conducted my own research into the character traits of Gen Y. Driven, motivated, understanding that 401k’s/Pensions/Social Security won’t exist when they need them so they must make their own future, a desire to learn, a want to be respected by their boss/coworkers, knowledge that there is a future in their career. I’m sorry, I don’t see how this doesn’t work with a real estate career.

    @Brad – Very true, people will go where they get results. I go to the best realtors, lenders, appraisers, etc I can find. But I would also like to get to know these people, maybe even consider them friends. People are traditionally more likely to hang out with their direct peers. Generation Y has definitely been fed a mentality of getting the corporate job, but I think many are seeing that it isn’t working out as promised and more are looking for a better life. I’m not sure Gen Y is the only one that believes in generational division, and in my day job, I see the most push back to NOT cross generational lines from older generations.

    @Debra – When I teach classes about using Craigslist and other online marketing options to Boomers, I get so much push back and resistance. The Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers in the room are much more willing to learn and change.

    @Elaine – Gen Y is also one of the most likely to be willing to move back home out of school, so coming up with seed money may actually be easier for many. I personally moved back home after college, had my student loans and a new car paid off and savings for a down payment in less than a year, and I know of many other Gen Y’ers who have done the same. Many, including myself, were told by heads of departments that we’d easily be making six figures immediately upon graduation, which isn’t realistic, so perhaps it’s the fear of making NOTHING that is keeping Gen Y’ers from jumping into their own business.

    @Benjamin – Excellent job, thanks for sharing a great example!

  11. Paula Henry

    January 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Nick – You would think real estate would be the perfect business; while I hate to admit it, maybe it was their role model at the time – ME – who left them not liking the business.

    My son likes the security of a paycheck and benefits which allows him time off to enjoy the beach and mountains.

    My daughter – well – girls just wanna have fun 🙂

    Funny – you mention moving back home – my son did, now 26 , has now moved out. My daughter – now 22, is still at home.

    Maybe it is the fear of making nothing – there’s only one way around that – face the fear and move beyond it.

  12. Matt Goyer - Redfin

    January 16, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Sorry I missed your raise of hands on the #icny during Inman! I was at Inman and I’m also 29, barely qualifying me for Gen Y.

    For those interested, Redfin has a good number of Gen Y folks both on the engineering side (those who build the website) and on the real estate side (the agents.)

    I think people my age identify more easily with an agent who speaks their language. That is knows how to crunch numbers in Excel, emails over calling, and understands the power of blogs and Twitter.

    You’ll see this reflected in Redfin’s website by us including the tools that Gen Y has come to expect and by showing our agents in more casual outfits instead of a suit and tie.


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Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.



pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.



Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos



African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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