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Why I’m Not at Bloodhound Unchained

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Here’s the first thing you ought to know about me … I don’t believe my own press clippings. Well, assuming I had any press clippings in which to believe. I am as aware as anyone of my place in the wider world of the real estate blogosphere (in which I have a decent foothold) and the greater real estate world in general (in which I’m scrapping like everyone else, but keeping busy through a large degree of hard work).

So it was with considerable surprise that I found myself being asked repeatedly if I was going to be at Bloodhound Unchained. Those who read me here or on my home blog ought to know the answer and the primary reason for it. But beyond that, here’s the thing …

The agenda just didn’t excite me.

Now … I have the utmost respect for Brian in attempting to put an event like this together and I have great respect for nearly all of the speakers asked to provide the content. But at the end of the day, the content wasn’t worth the financial outlay.

Transparency Moots the Presentation

When I switched domain names last week, I lost all of the backlinks to my blog. I started talking to my one-time web designer about a possible fix and we scheduled time the next day to diagnose. Then I went home, looked up the information on .htaccess redirects on Google, and fixed it myself.

All of the information I needed already was on the web.

If I have questions about investing, I can call Jeff Brown whenever I like (unless he makes the choice to not answer my thrilling calls.) I also have a mountain of posts he’s written that also can provide me the information I need.

Andy Kaufman and Brad Coy gave what I heard to be a great presentation about Twitter today, the basics and the possibilities. Except I can go through the archives here and in a number of other places on the web and read similar information. It may not be the same quality of what Andy and Brad presented, but at a savings of a couple of Benjamins, I’ll take the free option.

Blogging for Business? I don’t believe it’s taking anything away from Laurie and Teri if I say I’m already doing this every single day. And Laurie’s blogging playbook as it were has been reviewed and dissected as much as anyone else’s.

From the outside, there appears to be little being offered that can’t be found somewhere in the real estate blogosphere free of charge. And with that gone, what’s left is a discussion of the ancient Greeks and their relationship to the modern-day agent. (Still chewing that one based on the snippets I saw.)

Oh, and for the record. I keep my phone in my pocket. But that’s a different story.

A Decent First Attempt …

I’m not the target demographic for BHBU, or so I’ve been told a few times. That leaves me wondering what the demographic might be since most agents trying to get their arms around much of Social Media Marketing can’t overcoming their fears/concerns/worries long enough to start a blog much less open a Twitter account.

And I tend to wonder where those less-connected agents who want to become more connected would have heard about the conference in the first place. (Since the word on the street is that the conference was filled to about one-third capacity – word I’m still trying to verify with a third source, it seems many didn’t hear of it.)

When I started writing my blog in earnest two years ago, Ardell DellaLoggia asked me what I knew about the Bloodhound Blog. The answer? Not a thing. It was the blog for just one of the several boutique real estate firms here in the Valley.

Hell, your average agent doesn’t know about Inman Real Estate Connect either … this was learned when I mentioned I was speaking at the conference (not Bloggers’ Connect, for those who dismiss RE Connect as only a blogging conference, but at the main conference on Thursday) and I was met with blank stares.

Those are the reasons I don’t believe my meager press clippings on success here in the real estate blogging world. Success here doesn’t necessarily translate to being an 800-lb. gorilla in the real world of real estate.

Word is there are going to be more of these conferences and if that’s the case then I think there needs to be more unique content, not much of what can be found elsewhere. All of the information on Zestifarming and the like has been written in depth online. At least to me, there needs to be something more – something new, something unique.

Something that will cause people looking for ways to build their business to take the dollars dedicated toward marketing their own business and their clients’ properties and instead invest it in yet another sure-fire training session.

And perhaps that’s another reason I skipped the Bloodhound Unchained. After sitting through enough training sessions promoting the one best listing presentation or the key to attracting buyers, or even the classic Tommy Hopkins “I’ll just note that here on the paperwork” and alternative of choice, I’ve become hardened to the conference concept.

If I weren’t speaking at Inman I wouldn’t attend because there’s not a sufficient ROI. It’s nothing personal, no indictment of the conference, but a financial choice I make.

Every dollar you spend either is going to help you make more dollars or not. And all that you do either has the potential to generate income or it doesn’t.

For some, BHBU may result in more dollars in and the twin eight-hour days may turn into tangible income. Not so much here.

It’s not that I know all that’s being taught. Clearly, I don’t. But I know enough that the potential incremental increase in business didn’t justify the expenditure of either the time or the dollars. I need a higher return if you want my money – not to be told what I already know, that my success or failure is in my own hands and no one cares which way my career happens to fall. And certainly not to hear about the Greeks.

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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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Greg Broadbent

    May 19, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I guess you are not going to get a Christmas card from them this year…

  2. Victor LUnd

    May 19, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    My first impression when I opened your post was to think that you were not going to attend because it was sponsored by Zillow (first impression given the Zillow banner at the bottom of the jpeg).

    We may or may not go at this point. It may be a good place for us to network to get more bloggers to read our blog, given that we publish so much industry research on it that can help agents. The agent bloggers can help to create groundswell so the studies get good readership. Thankfully we get good coverage by Inamn, Inman Blog, 1000wattblog, RISmedia, RealTrends, RealTown and Realtor Association blogs….so the word gets out pretty well. I think that the combination of those sites must hit all of the attentive agent bloggers.

    One of the disconnects in real estate today is that the majority of real estate agents are over 50 and barely online, and the majority of home buying and selling customers are under 50 and always online. Brokers are embracing social media at a calculated pace by trying to recruit bloggers (and anyone else with a license). I wonder if many big brokers will be there recruiting blogger agents to help hem reach the online audience.

    I will be watching the twitter stream to get a feel for the show. If it goes well this year, maybe it will be worthwhile next year. But hey, you never know – it is only a 1 hour flight.

  3. BawldGuy Talking

    May 19, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I look at it as a matter of preference. I’m a real estate investment broker, not a web guy. Also, as a recent repeat of 2 1/2 Men addressed, when the satellite dish goes screwy, I call ‘the guy’. I don’t care to research it, though, like you, I know it’s there to be found.

    Guys like you, those who know what they’re doing technically, AND have the desire to be more hands on, would be wasting your time here at Unchained.

    Results are the name of the game, as you and I always agree with that statement. And as I’m wont to say, (sometimes over and over) nobody gives a rat’s patute how you and I skinned the cat, until they ascertain there were indeed cat skins on the wall. Then they’ll buy us beers and listen to our completely different techniques.

    Our stories may be different, but our the ending will be the same — a naked cat.

  4. BawldGuy Talking

    May 19, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Greg — I’d never ever send Jonathan a Christmas card. Right Jonathan?

    He’d send me one though. 🙂

  5. Missy Caulk

    May 19, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    But you are meeting some for beer, right?

  6. Thomas Johnson

    May 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Thanksgiving cards are the way to go.
    1. They beat the holiday rush
    2. You never get caught in a faux pas like that.

  7. Brian Brady

    May 19, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Jon…you ARE predictable

  8. Genuine Chris Johnson

    May 19, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    what are you here to give?

  9. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I can guaranty that their will be some who attend that leave wishing there was more to what Greg and Brian had to offer. The same will happen in San Fransisco this summer, and Las Vegas this fall. That’s because, with all due respect to Brian & Greg, or Joel, or myself, there’s about a hundred real estate professionals who know about as much about this stuff as any of us (JD included). Further more, those hundred are also the most likely to go to a conference like this, or criticize it from afar.

    Jonathan, I’ll be the last to argue why you should go to a conference like this. It was at Inman last year that I realized I was one of those 100 who, like you, benefit little from the content of these seminars. But the real world connections I made were worth the money alone. Even if I wasn’t speaking at Inman this year, I’d still go. In fact, I purchased my ticket before being invited. I would have gone to unchained this as well, if I didn’t have a conflict I can’t get out of. The personal relationships alone are informative enough, and I’ve found there isn’t anyone who I can’t learn something from.

  10. Vance Shutes

    May 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Jonathan – Being a newbie to the blogosphere, and AG, I can certainly understand your not being here at BHBU. But, to trash the Greeks? Not cool. You had to be there to understand. You’re already on solid ground. I need the lever to move the Earth, which Greg provided. But again, you had to be there to understand. BTW – what’s the “press” in “press clippings”?

  11. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Nothing wrong with predictable!

    Consumers like to know what they can expect when they purchase a service. As a consumer the decision to not attend unchained is founded on the same reason I stopped subscribing to BHB. Now that – was predictable!

  12. Frank Jewett

    May 20, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Success here doesn’t necessarily translate to being an 800-lb. gorilla in the real world of real estate.

    Amen. Lately I’ve been seeing the term “RE.net celebrity” tossed around as if it was a job description. I was involved in multimedia in the nineties. Many who were losing money in that business transitioned to the lecture tour circuit as expert speakers. Fortunately the RE lecture circuit isn’t lucrative enough to enable brokers and agents to quit their day jobs, at least not at the moment. We don’t need more gurus, we need role models who use technology to make money in real estate.

    I operate on a much smaller scale, teaching classes at the local board and working with a few offices in my neighborhood, but I experience many of the same problems, so it’s not simply a failure to get the message out. If I teach ten agents how to blog for business, three will get excited, but I’m lucky if even one follows through. Too many agents are still hunter-gatherers rather than farmers. As soon as they get a lead, they quit farming, with a great sense of relief, only to be left empty handed when the deal closes or the lead doesn’t pan out. It’s not a technology problem, it’s a consistency problem. Ninety percent of door knockers and cold callers quit, too.

    The crowd will follow the business. I don’t want to challenge the RE.net celebrities to prove how much business they do, but brokers and agents here in Santa Clara County will get interested when they see one of their competitors using social networking, blogging, or podcasting to do big numbers.

    Right now I’m fighting that chicken-and-egg battle. I need to help someone use technology to become a top producer before the crowd will be interested in adopting technology. The client base here is very tech savvy, but so far few agents have used technology to gain a meaningful advantage when targeting those clients, either through marketing initiatives or online transaction management.

    We’ve got a long way to go.

  13. Brian Brady

    May 20, 2008 at 1:29 am

    “As a consumer the decision to not attend unchained is founded on the same reason I stopped subscribing to BHB. Now that – was predictable!”

    Yes. It was.

  14. John Wake

    May 20, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Jonathan, it’s worthwhile. I missed the entire morning with business but yesterday and the afternoon today were valuable.

    I get the most out of hanging out in the hall and chatting people up. I picked Russell Shaw’s brain for about 20 minutes, got Brian Brady’s take on the current Phoenix market and met Jeff Brown for the first time.

    I even picked up a few tips from the presentations!

  15. Bill Lublin

    May 20, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Jon;
    I didn’t think your post was as much about BHB or Bloodhound Uunchained as it was the enormous amount of conferences we in our industry have to choose from, and our need to “pick our fights”.

    In my case, I attend May & November NAR meetings, March Century 21 Meetings, April and September REOMAC Meetings, Semi Annual Meetings of a National Broker’s Brainstorming Group, 3 or 4 additional meetings in Chicago for the NAR committees I serve on, and qwuarterly local MLS BOD meetings (I serve there). I go to these meetings because I believe that they will either make me better at running my business, be a source of new business, allow me to acquire new tools for my business, or are part of my commitment to contributing to our industry.

    I have never attended, “Inman Connect”, “Real Trends Gathering of Eagle’s”, “Rismedia’s CEO Retreat”, Respro’s Annual Meetings, or “Bloodhound Unchained”. Its nothing personal, and sometimes I sort of want to go to each one – to meet some people or see what might be there that I couldn;t find elsewhere, but as organized as my company is, as many systems as we have in place, its just difficult to be away from your business too often, am I believe that my attention to the business is a good thing for the company.

    With the exception of meetings of National organizations, most of these conferences are profit centers for the people creating them (as they should be), and to your point, each of us have to decide if the cost of attending, in dollars and time, is worth what we may bring back from the meetings. I think its a really valid point. I don’t think your post was an “us against them” post (though some of the response seemed to feel a need to defend the conference- which I don;t think you attacked), nor do I think you had anything negative to say about the event, other then it wasn’t for you – and that’s a personal choice –

    I hope that I read you correctly and it can be at least a partial answer to Genuine Chris’s question “what are you here to give?” Not that you need my help to be understood 🙂

  16. Jim Duncan

    May 20, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Agreeing with Todd about the personal connections –

    Having gone to the past two Inman Connects, (I wouldn’t go if I weren’t invited – it’s expensive!) I agree that I haven’t gotten that much frankly from the meat of the conference, but the personal relationships have proven invaluable.

    I would have liked to have gone to BHBU, but thanks to Twitter and Youtube and blogs and … I’m able to see the highlights. But I didn’t go to dinner with the folks who ate mediocre Mex food last night – and that’s probably among the most valuable moments of the conference.

    Being able to email or call Todd rather than “that guy who writes Lenderama” or Jay or Dustin or any of the others whom I have met there has proven invaluable. Email/Twitter(now)/comments start the introduction that a handshake and a beer cement.

    Have I sold a house because of what I’ve learned at these conferences? Doubtful – but I have better relationships and better knowledge and knowledge base from which to draw – and that makes me a better Realtor.

    and on this –

    Hell, your average agent doesn’t know about Inman Real Estate Connect either … this was learned when I mentioned I was speaking at the conference (not Bloggers’ Connect, for those who dismiss RE Connect as only a blogging conference, but at the main conference on Thursday) and I was met with blank stares.

    Good! I’d like to think those of us here and there are better than the “average” agent! 🙂

  17. Greg Broadbent

    May 20, 2008 at 6:17 am

    Beer is always good. I am in more of a wine mood myself.

    Thanksgiving card…..not sure it has the same effect…I should have gone with Holiday card. As far as I know everyone celebrates something they can call a holiday.

  18. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Jeff – I still get my share of Christmas cards, Yiddish blog posts not withstanding

    Missy – I ALWAYS am available for beer

    Brian – All of us are predictable to some degree. I choose Yiddish over Latin, though.

    Chris J – Ummm … an opinion.

    Todd – I absolutely agree the personal connections make the trip worthwhile. Which is why I went drinking with some Sunday (and would have been more if I’d picked a better locale … so how long is that free beer offer good for?)

    Vance – if you found value in the content, then you made a wise choice in coming. I openly admit a Tom Hopkins seminar helped me turn things around once upon a time. I don’t use much of the material anymore but it opened my eyes and I believed I could do this job.

    Larry – there are valuable things to be found on BHB, but they’ve been harder to find amongst the advertising for BHBU and the general shouting.

    Frank – It only turns into a job description if you’re able to parlay your role as an “re.net celebrity” into a consulting/teaching gig. Which has been Greg’s plan for some time. Brian’s conference but it follows the exit strategy Greg discussed while talking off topic to re bloggers at the Ranch House restaurant in Mesa a year ago.

    John – Take what you’ve picked up and implement it, my friend. Then send the west side referrals my way. 🙂

    Bill – You’re a wise man. Right now the big push in my office is to go to RE/MAX Convention in March. Aside from the fact my liver may not survive it, I don’t see the point to spending close to a $1,000 I could invest elsewhere, either in business or in taking the kids to Disneyland (where my liver is safe.) The personal connections are invaluable but the question for me is whether they’re worth the cost. And thanks to wonderful things like blogs and Twitter and Facebook and such, the connections are being made whether I meet someone in person or not.

    Jim – I’m not expecting much from the Inman Conference. If I weren’t invited, I wouldn’t be there. Again, the expense doesn’t justify the whole thing at least if it stacks up comparably to any of the other conventions I’ve attended. When I was at C21, I only attended convention because the broker paid for registration and I had flight vouchers to Vegas.

    Greg – Jeff’s just havin’ fun with ya. But I’m not on that holiday card list.

  19. Vicki Moore

    May 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I get your point about finding everything on the net. Sometimes I just get sick of doing that. I would have gone and gladly paid for a conference like this to hear someone speak who had filtered through all of that. Having learned what I have without help, it’s a ton of work to find the answers I need. It depends on the knowledge you start with, your level of understanding and ability to implement what you find on the net.

  20. Russell Shaw

    May 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I think that attending various conferences is more a matter of staying current and constantly improving. There are very few events I’ve attended where I didn’t learn something worthwhile. Sometimes what I learn is little and sometimes big – but even those little things can add up into something big.

    I am constantly looking to see how I can “solve the problem” of making my business better because whenever I start to think I am “there already”, I know I am sliding backwards.

    For me, this particular event has been a real eye opener. I had no idea what I didn’t know. Getting to hear Mary McKnight and Laurie Manny speak was just wonderful. Laurie went over her site, telling what she used to have and why she changed it to what is there now and then Mary took sites at random and told why what was good was good and why what was bad was bad. Wow.

    Why yes, I will be changing my entire internet look and methods – why do you ask? 🙂

  21. Andy Kaufman

    May 20, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Honestly, when I plan to attend a conference, I already assume that I’ll be familiar with most of the material that will be presented. When I signed up for Unchained I wasn’t expecting it to be the end all, be all of all real estate conferences. What I did expect was to be able to spend time with some of the brightest, forward thinkers in the real estate industry and that’s exactly where BHB Unchained has delivered.

    Getting to hang with Rudy Bachraty, Jeff Brown, Keller Koehler, Teri Lussier, Brad Coy, Brian Brady, David Gibbons, Jeff Royce, Geno Pietro, Mary McKnight, Laurie Manny & even the Big Dog Greg Swann himself (among with countless others) has been an amazing, invaluable experience.

    We’ve all interacted with each other online and we all have this frame of who we think each other is and it isn’t until you get to spend some time together, belly to belly, in real life that you get to experience the essence of each other and that adds an extra layer of context to those relationships.

    Did you know that Rudy was a DJ in NYC back in the day and has 1000’s of old school hip hop records on Vinyl? Neither did I, but that’s freakin rad and helps me understand who Rudy is and provides another social object that we can connect over.

    It’s the people are what make the conferences and there are some rad people here. That’s why I’m SO looking forward to BarCamp and why I’m SO appreciative for our sponsors who are allowing us to put on an event of that magnitude and keep it FREE to participants.

    Hope to see everyone there!

  22. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Good points, Vicki Russell and Andy …

    I guess I’m just not the demographic. And after reading the proclamations of how earth-shattering the conference itself was going to be, I expected something more. Just haven’t seen it.

    On the social aspect of things, if the true tangible benefit comes from the happy hours, then why have the conference at all? Just have the meetups and save a lot of time and energy …

  23. Jim Duncan

    May 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Jonathan –

    If you didn’t have the conference, what would you take a break “from”? 🙂

  24. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I’m not nearly smart enough to come up with a clever reply, Jim. You win. 🙂

  25. Barry Cunningham

    May 20, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    “I guess I’m just not the demographic”…….and hence..your answer. that is why you did not attend and why others did. Doesn’nt much mean anything more than that.

    I have been hearing that word quite a bit latley..demographic…seems not so long ago in a land near Sparta I began mentioning it a lot..but that was P.T. (pre-turd)..seems Russell is coming around 🙂

  26. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    You’re doing it again, Barry … shit, now I’m going to drink at lunch. 🙂

    Demographics are flimsy concepts … there is your desired demographic and your actual demographic. At least, that’s my theory on all of it.

    You target a certain group, you think you’re reaching that group and then there’s the group who actually are paying attention. One of my websites in a retirement community is a case in point. We had thought we’d find children of residents (potential or current) and we ended up reeling in Canadians by the bushel.

    Sparta’s overrated, by the way, unless you like wrestling. Athens was where the intellectuals found their stimulation.

  27. Athol Kay

    May 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    It took a while, but the Romans beat the Greeks. That’s why the pro-Greek guy quotes latin. 😉

  28. Barry Cunningham

    May 20, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Aaaahh Jonathan..but you miss the part where the Greeks enjoyed the Roman bathhouses. Now there’s some serious Greco-Roman rasslin! There’s a demographic for you.

    I digress but why do you dislike demgogrpahic analysis? I mean we all do need to define a niche don’t you agree?

  29. Frank Jewett

    May 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Aren’t these short, social-networking comments (emoticons are a dead giveaway) supposed to be tweeted? :p

  30. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I don’t dislike demographic analysis, Barry … not at all … I think it’s extremely valuable, especially if done on the fly to compare what you wanted your demographic to be to what it actually is.

    As I said, I never expected my website to become a magnet to Canadian buyers but that’s what happened. Aiming for a particular demographic took me an entirely different direction.

    Sorry if that’s not coherent … ran out of blood pressure pills this morning and waiting for the refill!

  31. Barry Cunningham

    May 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Jonathan..how did the Canadian buyers find ya..send me some info..would love to pick your brain on that! Fill me in they love florida

  32. Jonathan Dalton

    May 20, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Come to Inman SF in July and I’ll tell ya all about it. 🙂

    They came through a site dedicated to a retirement community, and then I started the marketing on my blog to further increase the flow of buyers. You’ll be getting the other side of Canada … eastern Canada seems to go to Florida, western Canada comes here.

  33. Russell Shaw

    May 20, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    P.T. (pre turd). Nice. Really nice. LOL !!

  34. Barry Cunningham

    May 21, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Jomathan..Eastern Canadians Got it! And so I guess I’ll be heading to your blog to read more.

    Russell..thought you might like that! 🙂

  35. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 21, 2008 at 6:41 am

    #32, & #34
    Jonathan – Barry

    Probably got something to do with the migration paths of “Snow Birds”. .>)

  36. ines

    May 21, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Jonathan – now you’ll have to do a post on Canadian Business – although I get dibs with Florida since I’m your Genius Colleague…..so don’t give it away to Barry 😉

    Seriously….I get a lot of Canadian Business here as well and as Larry said, it does have a lot to do with the migration paths of “Snow Birds”.

    As for Unchained – I agree with some of what has been said – I would do those conference for the networking alone. Beer with Bloggers at NY would have been enough for me (although I don’t drink beer)

  37. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    The entrance fee would buy a lot of beer … or mojitos, Ines. I wish I’d been able to participate more in the social side and I could have had my scheduled allowed. Downtown Phoenix is only 20 minutes from my home office, after all.

    As for Canadian buyers, they aren’t all that different than anyone else. They want someone they can trust. They want someone who understands their needs. And they want an agent who knows to take off their shoes when viewing a home.

  38. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Larry – EVERYTHING to do with the migration path of snowbirds. I got an e-mail from someone in eastern Canada the other day, either Toronto or Ottawa (one of those places where the hockey team didn’t last long) and kept wondering if they were lost.

    Not that I’m not happy to work with eastern Canadians, mind you, but the costs of airfare alone are considerable higher coming down here than going to Florida.

    Of course, avoiding locations with 120-mph winds could be a selling point for the desert but that’s another story for a time when I’m ready to duck what Ines and Barry throw at me.

  39. Barry Cunningham

    May 21, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Ines pulling AG rank on me! That’s just cold! C;mon..I’ve been playing nice. Share the love Jonathan!

    Hurricanes only come once in a while and we stay inside and have parties! 🙂

    The whole “dry heat” thing makes me chafe. And Shaq said it was unbearable. See he plays there but lives here!

  40. Mark Eckenrode

    May 21, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    i’m with andy on this one in that i didn’t expect to learn much new from the material but will always accept whatever is new. the real gold always lies in the folks you get to meet… the meeting of genius minds (whether you get social media or not, you are still genius) is what pushes individuals, companies, and industries forward.

    what does need to be praised is that fact that this was an unproven event, not heavily marketed, on an “obscure” niche in real estate… yet people still came from across the country to attend. that is testament to the influence of social media.

    if you weren’t able to attend (heck, even if you were), feel free to grab my mindmap notes of the event at HomeStomper

  41. Ines

    May 21, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Hurricane Parties are THE ABSOLUTE BEST! …..plus, 120-mph winds are for babies….we like to live on the edge and go surfing before a big storm hits – it’s what makes Miami MIAMI! (did you say take the shoes off?? huh?)

  42. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I’ll take a party with hurricanes over a Hurricane Party any day of the week.

    Mark – nice work with the updates during the conference.

  43. Mark Eckenrode

    May 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    hey jon, no problem. glad you got value from the twitters. i’m planning to attend RE Bar Camp so will do the same thing there.

  44. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I will see you there, Mark … I’ll be late arriving, but I’ll be there.

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?

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A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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