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Opinion Editorials

AG shutters Agent/Genius

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agentgeniusAgent/Genius holds a lot of history

Fully 9,000 articles still live here on this site, along with hundreds of thousands of comments, and so much meaning in every single one of them. We have accomplished so much in the real estate industry. We launched REBarCamp right here, and we took on NAR, vendors, crappy antiquated products sold to agents, and we ushered in a new era of technology in an industry. There were so many flame wars that we literally had ’round the clock debates about the future of the industry. Many of the changes we argued for, members take for granted today as normal. We certainly didn’t personally change an industry, but we challenged an industry to change itself, and we give that credit to those who took on that challenge.

Going back through the early pages of Agent/Genius, especially 2007-2008, at one time we provided a platform for hundreds of writers, up to 90 at one time, many of whom we still call dear friends, and that you’ve probably seen on stage. If you search “Twitter 101” here on AGBeat and read the comments, you’ll witness the very first Twitter article ever written to the real estate industry, and see many recognizable names, and you might be surprised at some of their comments. The same goes for Facebook and many other social tools. To me it’s quite moving – they were awesome times. We were even awarded an Inman Innovator Award in 2008 that still graces my office.

I can remember when we first hit 50k readers a month, I had to hire Lani to help herd all of the cats that were writing for us, and I recall Jonathan Dalton writing “Behold the Mega Blog” just after we became a real brand with our iconic orange that you still see today in our current logo and theme on The American Genius (minus our running man logo with the slogan “are you keeping up?”)

Agent/Genius was never about me, or the individual voices here, it was always about our readers – hence my dismay at signing autographs at the Inman Conference in San Francisco; I was both honored and terrified at the same time.

I could write all day about the beautiful memories we have of Agent/Genius, but right now, we’re looking ahead. The American Genius is who we are, again, the first to see a problem in the real estate industry, and bring in other industries, who share the common identities outside of their titles, that identity being entrepreneurs. You deserved a news publication that wrote to you and still writes to you as professionals. If you read AG, then you were likely the first to know that Gowalla was shuttering, and that Facebook had snatched them up at the last minute. We’ve cut our teeth on so many stories that you heard here first, only to watch jealous competitors regurgitate the story and fail to give us our due credit or attribution (which still happens today, three times just in the past two weeks).

Taking on business has been an immense challenge worth fighting, but it couldn’t be done properly by fighting the politics of the industry in which we were born, here in the pages of The American Genius. You deserve better.

So as you see, the Agent/Genius flag is being lowered, but not out of defeat, but because we won – we’re bigger, better, and stronger than ever, and what’s coming in the very near future from us will be even greater. The American Genius raises the bar for the professionals we have served from day one, and although our growth left some behind that love the fight and fodder of insider politics, those things have no place here on The American Genius. We’ll still cover economics, housing, indicators, and commercial real estate that real estate pros should be sharing with their audience, knowing it’s truthful, accurate, and that we are typically first to publish. That’s been our mission, because our real estate, and entrepreneurial family deserves the news now, as do our nearly 5 million other readers.

I should have written this to you two years ago, but I wasn’t ready to let go. And for that, I am sorry. We’re not done with real estate, no, we’ve grown a lot, and we see publishing in the real estate space in a new light, and we’re about to turn those lights on for you.

And with that cryptic message, Agent/Genius signs off the air today, but The American Genius Network begins.

Thank you so much for eight wonderful years, for adapting, and for your strong support of The American Genius.

Founder, Publisher, and humbly yours,
Benn Rosales

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Robert Drummer

    April 7, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Looking forward to the next chapter.

  2. Roberta Murphy

    April 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Heart was first caught in throat, then it soared. LOVE AMERICAN GENIUS! It is needed now, more than ever.

  3. Matt Stigliano - @rerockstar

    April 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Farewell AgentGenius. You were my introduction to who I wanted to be in real estate and helped guide me and shape me – both as a news source and a starting point. You introduced me to some fantastic people and gave me tons to think about. I’m honored to have been a writer with you, a trek that helped kick start my love of and understanding of the world of blogging. I will always be thankful for the countless hours you entertained, informed, and debated with me. Whatever may be coming, you will never be replaced.

    • agbenn

      April 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      An original AG old school throw back

  4. jay clarendon

    April 7, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    For those of us who led the industry in hardcore real estate blogging back in 2006-2007 we will always have sweet memories of Benn and Lani and AG.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  5. Doug Francis

    April 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I remember reading every article in 2009 and thinking, “wow, there is a lot that I need to learn…” Thank you writers of Agent Genius for helping me understand the potential of reaching consumers on the Interweb. Thank you, thank you!

  6. Eric Sachs

    April 7, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Several years ago you ran a story about our new, unheard of start up. It was a great moment for us and helped us launch our company and we are forever grateful. We love what you do and the voice you bring to the real estate industry. So, THANK YOU and we can’t wait to see where you go with American Genius.

  7. Ken Brand

    April 8, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Congratulations and Thank You for all you’ve done for so many. Personally and professionally, your impact on my success has been LARGE and lasting. Long live the King AG, All hail the new King, American Genius. Benn and Lani, thank you, speed, grace and success.

  8. lorennason

    April 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Congratulations. Excited to keep reading as the chapters unfold.

  9. Gwen Banta

    April 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I’m happy for your leap forward, yet a bit emotional about letting go of the past. Thank you for everything – especially for being the skippers of my R.E. boat. You kept me on course, and I will follow my captains…

  10. Brandon Alderete

    April 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Y’all are the best.

  11. Jon Aston

    April 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Congrats on both past and future successes. XOJA.

  12. Ben Martin

    April 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    While I was never an agent, and certainly never a genius, I’m proud to have once been affiliated with AG. I’ll be in ATX in a few weeks. Let’s meet up!

    • agbenn

      April 8, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      We’d love to carve out some time! We’ll reach out for your itinerary.

  13. Lenore Wilkas

    April 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    You will be missed but I’m looking forward to the new version.

  14. Missy Caulk

    April 10, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Awesome for you and Lani, you are always ahead of the game. Thank you for training me in so many ways. Lani, the little bit of html I learned. Ha! Your wisdom and advice. So now that it is American Genius my question is, is that sorta like America Exceptionalism?

    “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.”John F. Kennedy

    • agbenn

      April 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      It’s exactly American Exceptionalism! We both love you dearly Missy, thank you so much for your contributions to the industry, and your unwavering friendship with Lani and I. You’re the best!

  15. John Lynch

    April 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Just feels like AG has always evolved in a direction that fit my need for information and challenges…. from real estate and to topics on small business. A helpful place for entrepreneurs, great content, and I will enjoy the evolution of your Genius. Cheers!

  16. Gabe Sanders

    April 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Looking forward to your evolution to a better place.

  17. agbenn

    April 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

    You’ll still get that here, just minus one industries politics. 🙂

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.

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Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always but is amplified when a crisis occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything was disrupted and people are adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when leaders game plan, strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.

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Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!

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Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

bar
But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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