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Can You Define “Tech Savvy Agent?”

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Graphic Credit: Scott Adams – Dilbert


Self Proclaimed

I teach a lot of technology classes for real estate agents.  I’ve long abandoned asking agents to grade themselves on their own technical prowess, each person who seemed to judge themselves “savvy” really weren’t, yet know just enough to be argumentative.  It seems when an agent titles themselves tech savvy or has their ego inflated by others calling them that, they feel it necessary to debate anyone with more knowledge.  I’ve actually had a situation recently where an agent argued with me that ListServ’s are better than Blogs, because “I’ve just finished e-PRO and they spent more time on one versus the other.”

Setting the Consumer Expectations Too Low

It seems to me that consumers do want “Tech Savvy” agents because many of them are using the internet and feel that they want to work with someone who is at least, if not more, knowledgeable than they are.  Many agents are dubbing themselves as technically proficient because they can use the bare minimum technologies required to “be an agent”, but they may do so just a little bit better than another in their office, making them the “expert”.  An agent who can use MLS and doesn’t have to pay another to load their photos, who can read e-mail on their phone (who someone else setup for them) or who can clear the jam out of the copiers are being deemed the “experts”.

Let me be clear (as someone who holds the designation) e-PRO is not the industry standard or technology education.  It’s maybe even less than the minimum needed education.  No single program or class can educate you to all the aspects of real estate technology.  Typically technology training that is gained is archaic a year later.  It is for this fact that most agents don’t even make an attempt, because they don’t want to be constantly learning.  But I can honestly tell you that the skills that are archaic now, are the foundation for today’s necessary skills.  Case in point:  I recently had to go to a DOS prompt to fix Vista 64…

What Does It Really Take?

Knowledge.  Simply put – more information and learning it constantly.  Knowing how to build a FrontPage webpage in 1994 doesn’t make you a tech savvy, today.  In my opinion an agent who knows how to work out problems connecting to a network, how to build their own videos, widgets, CD’s with information as opposed to Homebooks, how to search MLS on their phones, to get an e-mail attachment to their clients – regardless the size, how to use mapping software to find the most efficient way to show properties, etc… are valuable.  In other words using today’s technology to serve their clients in the best possible way.  Checking e-mail is the status quo, not being savvy.

How Do You Get there?

By far, finding and taking training on the basics is a good start, I actually like the “Dummies” series as well.  I hate to sound like an old broken record, but I can’t think of a better way to keep up to date on industry technologies than services like Twitter, and blogs such as AgentGenius.  Not only do these services give you information, and allow you to ask questions, but also have folks support you in the process.  WAY too few agents understand that they are hired by their clients for their KNOWLEDGE.  Lack thereof is to fail at the only task that you are hired to provide.  Most agents spend time learning contracts and negotiation tactics, but fail at all the other areas of the job that they are also expected to provide proficient services to.

Knowledge is power and is only gained through effort…. constant effort.

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Rocky

    August 16, 2008 at 7:56 am

    I admit it, when it comes to technology I really am an “idiot savant.” There are a couple of things I get, and I get them really well. Anything else, you get a “uh… duh.. um… Let me call John Lauber!” I am constantly getting how on top of “technology” I am, what I really do is regergate what I see from my online community. That is where I really learn what I am doing.

    With that said, please define

    P.S. Please keep this between us that I am not a “tech savvy” agent, I only play one online!

  2. Rocky

    August 16, 2008 at 7:58 am

    P.S.S. “regergate” is a mispelling of “regurgitate” Like a dummy I hit the submitt button when working on cut and paste. That will teach me to have the 2+2 = 5 pre loaded and not to use a mouse!

  3. Jim Duncan

    August 16, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Being “tech savvy” is also knowing what technology not to use, and recognizing the limitations of technology.

    Being tech savvy also means recognizing that e-Pro (which I too hold) is a laughable “standard.”

    Being tech savvy means knowing where to find information – whether it’s on or offline – and how to best educate yourself and your clients.

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 8:12 am

    JIm,

    “Being “tech savvy” is also knowing what technology not to use, and recognizing the limitations of technology.” — Is a great point! I use this premise when telling agents to NOT use PowerPoint during listing appointments…. or not using a “listserv” and assume that clients will find you 🙂

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 8:59 am

    ….. Let me be clear – I am not against PowerPoint in listings; however it needs to be appropriate. I believe that listing appointments should be two step. The first is visiting the property and just listening to the Seller. The second is the presentation and the agent needs to figure out in the first meeting if the Seller is going to be receptive to a “show” for the presentation or they would rather just interact with you…

  6. Amy Webb

    August 16, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Couldn’t agree with Jim more, and Twitter is where I draw the line. Maybe it is generational, but to me Twitter is all bling and no substance..not to mention, narcissistic.

    The other thing one needs to watch out for it mistaking the ability to employ technology with the ability to communicate. You may be hired for your knowledge, but if your client cannot understand what you are saying, the knowledge is useless: sometimes being too far ahead of a client on the tech curve can be alienating. Technology gives you the tools to deliver your message but it is up to you to deliver it well.

  7. Judy Peterson

    August 16, 2008 at 10:34 am

    The whole tech savvy moniker is meaningless. The day is gone when one course, class, or e-book can tell us how to use the tools of technology to get the job done. Change is so rapid. Funny, we don’t praise a mechanic because he’s socket wrench savvy. But still we need a standard of measurement so that consumers can make an educated evaluation. Many agents don’t care to learn even the minimum though. I’ve seen multi-million dollar properties with nothing more than an MLS sheet for marketing materials. Go figure!

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Amy,

    I suppose I am cautious about folks who draw lines based on assumptions, rather than experience. It’s not for everyone, and I am not nearly as active on Twitter as I was at one time. I don’t agree that Twitter isn’t any more narcissistic than writing a blog, having an opinion or commenting on a blog.

    I FULLY agree that agents need to know how to communicate ALL knowledge in a way that the consumer can handle. This is no different than explaining a complicated offer to purchase in layman’s terms or telling a consumer that they have right to choose the title insurance company, as opposed to reading Title 9 of RESPA to them.

    Communication with consumers is a entirely different post 🙂 However it’s a good reminder!

    Oh yeah…. “Generational” isn’t really the cause, personal preference is. It’s why I think MySpace is useless and rank right up there with floor duty and open houses. Several of the best tech writers and users of Twitter are considerably older than I am and the folks who I learn the most from on twitter and many other venues.

  9. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    August 16, 2008 at 10:50 am

    “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” -Aristotle

  10. Brad Nix

    August 16, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Your ‘Tech-Savvy’ tips are perfect details for Item #9 on my list of 10 Advanced Skills: https://agentgenius.com/?p=3542

    I echo what Jim said about “knowing what technology not to use” and further add that you can hire many of these tech tools to be done for you. But also know that ‘authenticity matters’, especially when sending emails, blogging, or using twitter. Having your assistant do these things may not help you build a community of business opportunities.

  11. Amy Webb

    August 16, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Greetings Matt:

    When I said “draw the line: I meant, of course, where I personally draw the line. If you find value in Twitter, that is great, To my mind, it is not a useful business tool with a good return on the effort: I have difficulty envisioning how it might 1) add to the quality of the service I provide a client or 2) contribute positively to the image I project as a professional.

    And I do think there is a large substantive difference between the content of a blog or website ( even one heavily weighted toward opinion and commentary which not all blogs are ) on one hand and twitter on the other..Twitter might be fun, but I see it more as a diversion than a vital tech-tool or a meaningful platform for sharing ideas and information.

    Again, just my 2cents!

    Amy

  12. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Amy,

    Ok, I completely see where you’re coming from now. Twitter’s value to me, other than fellowship, is that it let’s me connect with other RE folks, but I RE folks are my clients, as an instructor. When I was a Realtor, I don’t know that I would have seen it as a tool to aid my business either. Least not one that I couldn’t have done without.

    Great conversation! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

  13. Bob

    August 16, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I have difficulty envisioning how it might 1) add to the quality of the service I provide a client or 2) contribute positively to the image I project as a professional.

    @Amy – Twitter is used by some as a modern day party line. For many of us, adopting twitter for that purpose doesn’t seem to have much ROI, but Twitter can be leveraged to increase your online image if you have online content that people who follow you find valuable enough. That is the real value of micro blogging. Get your recent content out to people who may find worth linking to.

  14. Amy Webb

    August 16, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    @bob

    Yes, I can see the value of twitter for networking and “google juice” for sure…I think the distinction I am making is between
    A) skills/tools which enable me to do a better job for my client, research, communicate, problem solve and market properties for sale effectively and versus
    B) skills/tools which benefit my career/self-promotionm

    A real estate client who is looking for a “tech savvy” agent ( the subject of the original post ) is probably a lot more concerned with the former than the latter!! …Whereas as agents – particularly tech savvy ones 🙂 – we see the need for A) and B) !!

  15. Bob

    August 16, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t think as many purposely seek out “tech savvy” agents as some would have you believe.

  16. Todd Waller

    August 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Matt Thanks for the article! Once had an agent “challenge” me on my lack of E-Pro designation. After showing the agent 650 Google indexed links to one of my listings, the brow-beating ceased.

    Bob Consumers may not purposely seek out the “tech savvy” agents, but they sure love the results when they “trip” over us! [and by “trip”, I mean find us through some active marketing efforts ;-)]

    My two cents: agents these days are now called on to be data filters/miners and marketing gurus. With , point #9 about where consumers go for information could not be more poignant! Real estate agents NEED to have a grasp of data flow, data structures and technology simply to ensure they are doing everything possible to meet client needs.

    If we as agents are not utilizing the low or no cost tools that web2.0 has coughed up for us to assist in getting the word out about our business, listings, properties, buyers needs, etc, we are simply not “doing all that we can do” in this rough market.

    And that’s what our clients want and deserve: our best.

  17. Elaine Reese

    August 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I’m supporting Amy’s position. I’m one of those that considers myself pretty “tech savvy”, but I became distracted last year with too much time spent around the water cooler of social media, thinking it would help my business. My business suffered greatly because while I was connecting with other agents, I wasn’t connecting with those wonderful people who actually pay my bills – home buyers and sellers.

    I had a wake-up call, so I went back to basics by incorporating my WP blog as ONE of the new tools in my marketing plan, albeit the most important and most effective tool. I do everything in my blog that the “experts” say to not do. All I care about is providing information that keeps the public coming back … and some of them even comment. But most importantly, it’s generating business (up nearly 40% vs 07).

    It’s not enough to KNOW the techie toys, it’s knowing how to use them to actually put money in our pocket. Otherwise, the ROI is very poor.

  18. Ginger Wilcox

    August 17, 2008 at 12:37 am

    “Tech savvy” is not one point in time, it is an ongoing process. If you don’t continue to learn new technologies, you can quickly become a dinosaur. Perhaps the e-Pro designation would be better if designees had to get continuing education each year on the latest tools to enhance their business.

  19. Bill Lublin

    August 17, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Matt; Great Post – technology is something that needs to be investigated and assessed so that each person can use the tools that work for them.

    The use of power point on a listing is a great example – there were tech companies with very complex slide show presentations available a few years ago. I think that they failed to really gain traction because the technology was the focus instead of the relationship building and information exchange that needs to take place in a listing presentation.

    @Ginger You are proof that you can be lovely and smart! – Being tech savvy means playing with new toys as they come out and knowing what you want to keep and what you want to discard (and knowing that those things change as time goes on)

  20. Kim Wood

    August 17, 2008 at 7:04 am

    RE: Twitter from the comment stream…….. if you read my twitter stream, you will quickly find that I am very “me”…. with that said, I have received three leads from Twitter. One sale closing in October. Yep. It’s worth it to me!

    RE: Tech Savy – My Ginger bud said it almost exactly the same as I was going to…… You must be a quick learner to constantly stay on the top of technology and the “new” thing. Evaluate platforms/programs/etc as they come out and know which ones to discard.

    Adding one more thing, however, is that you also have to stay where your consumers are…. I’ve found this last week, that many of them are just getting facebook accounts. That’s sort of “old news” to me, I guess I’m glad I didn’t discover it was myspace!

    The moral of my comment……….. you have to stay ahead, in, and a little behind the “norm” for tech to reach consumers.

  21. Judy Peterson

    August 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I agree, Bill, that the technology can get in the way especially in the circumstance of Power Point Listing Presentations. Yuck.

    We should always keep professional goals foremost so that technology is one of the tools we use to help our clients and consumers. That’s only possible when there’s a high degree of mastery though. Trust me I love my toys as much as anyone, but technology should follow not lead.

    The term, “tech savvy” in real estate was once a point of differentiation, but it’s become neutralized, in part because there are not enough performance standards. The really exciting news today is the growing value of “community” and the area I’m interested in growing my skills. Thanks for this discussion. It’s really central to what’s happening in the real estate profession.

  22. Matt Wilkins

    August 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I also agree that part of being tech savvy is knowing which systems will save you time and money while keeping current, future, and past clients wanting to come to you to use your knowlege and services.

    One of the most useful tech investments I have made this year is a Tablet PC. I can now create an offer, have the clients sign, and send it off to the other agent without ever having to print off and rescan a document. This definately saves time in the field (while keeping the offer halfway legible).

  23. Jeremy Hart

    August 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Amy, I’m on the other side of the fence of your comment – at least as it relates to things like Twitter. I don’t know when I first signed up, but in the grand scheme of things it’s been about a year, I think. In that time, I’ve closed two pieces of business, lined up another buyer AND am working on a new business idea with one of those folks. So to me, definitely worth it. In fact, in the last two weeks I’ve had six appointments with both buyers and sellers, all from Twitter and my blog.

    I can say that for a while, it really seemed like a drain because I wasn’t seeing any activity from my efforts (at least from a dollars and cents perspective). The education I was receiving, however, was having a tremendous influence though. I guess it doesn’t truly matter WHAT you do, as long as you’re willing to just get out and DO.

  24. Doug Devitre

    August 19, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Knowledge is power. I see too many people struggling either because they don’t know what they don’t know about technology. A client expects a level of service and the agent cannot deliver. I also see agents struggling because of the curse of knowledge. They know too much about technology as the curse absorbs time, money, energy, and creativity from getting the job done i.e over-participation in social media (I suggest find one or two and that is it).

    Profile of home buyers and sellers reports a mere 5% of agents are chosen because of their technology skills sadly behind honesty, reputation, and neighborhood competence. What does that mean?

    Technology makes agents worker smarter, learn faster, save time, and creates a unique experience for the buyer/seller client but why isn’t technology at the top of the survey?

    My two cents

    Learn how to use technology, implement the technology, define rules how you will use the technology, and outsource the technology if you can. Go to classes, conferences, blogs, and suck everyones’ brain. Ask this one question, “What is the best thing you learned from this?” Take the stuff you will implement and eliminate the rest.

    If you can’t figure out the details find someone who can.

    Stop thinking about it.

    Go sell a house and thank me later.

  25. Daniel Bates

    August 20, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I don’t twitter, never even been to the site and I’m certainly am not an E-pro. I do, however, run two successful blogs (one of which I created by myself) and incorporate the internet in ever level of my real estate career. The problem with saying you’re tech savvy is that most of the public isn’t savvy themselves and are just as impressed with a E-pro title. Results are the only way to prove the difference to them and that’s what the truly savvy do.

  26. Missy Caulk

    August 27, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Matt, I guess “tech savy” is in the eye of the beholder. To the consumer, that is just looking on the web for a home, they have never heard of most of these sites. I am actually surprised at Todd’s comment where I consumer was questioning the e-PRO designation. No I’ll say shocked, most consumers have no clue what those things mean. I know we’ve had that discussion before.
    Yea, I have it but never helped, the class when I took it was way too easy.

  27. Melanie

    September 27, 2008 at 3:30 am

    As a technically savvy individual, I come from a technical background and spent time as an Estate Agent, the level of mis-information and lack of knowledge of even basic computer systems in South Africa is frightening. Some estate agents cannot see the value of a decent website, never mind email.

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Opinion Editorials

Apprenticeships: How focused training can jumpstart your career

(EDITORIAL) Apprenticeships have been a buzzword recently, but if you haven’t looked into it, we asked the experts to tell us all about them.

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When President Trump announced he’d be opening up more federal dollars for apprenticeship programs to improve the economy, business owners’ ears perked up. That interest is now trickling down to employees, especially people considering a new career or a pivot.

I had a meaningful conversation last year with the folks behind Digital Creative Institute (an apprenticeship program that seeks to bridge the gap between higher education and job experience in the digital marketing field) not only to learn about their plans to impact the central Texas market, but how apprenticeships could alter the workforce in years to come. Will the model supplant internships? What of coding schools or hell, even higher education? If you ask Europeans, they’ll probably say yes, while Americans are new to this old term.

To dig into how apprenticeships could speed up a career move, we reached back out to the folks at DCI and asked them to spell it out. Alexis Bonilla from their leadership team penned the following:

Maybe you graduated with a B.A. in theater, started a blog, and found a great love for marketing. It could’ve been that you had a passion for video, but instead of finding yourself creating films, you found yourself telling a brand’s story. Or, by some stretch of the imagination, you went from scientist, to teacher, to social media strategist. All of these are real stories that belong to real people. The two things they have in common:

  1. They all started somewhere completely different from where they would end up.
  2. They all used apprenticeships to transform their careers.

The key is to find that one thing you love to do and run after it full force – because the truth is – you’re probably going to spend over 90,000 hours of your life working at it. Only about 30 percent of adults are actually engaged or excited about their work. You can either spend that huge portion of your life doing something out of “because you have to” or learn how you can invest in a career that will keep you on your toes – constantly learning and actively growing.

Digital platforms are always changing, and lifelong learning is becoming absolutely necessary. If you think about it, most Chief Marketing Officers among companies today didn’t start out by being formally trained in automation software, paid search, Google Analytics, or other digital tools. That’s because much of it didn’t exist when they started their careers. They most likely engaged in a very intentional learning process or self-styled apprenticeship. Their willingness to learn turned them into the best in their field, and the same can happen for you.

We’ve identified a few myths that might be holding you back from standing out among your peers and how you can come out on top!

Myth: You can only find a position in the field you majored in.
Truth: Your major doesn’t determine your career path.

Only 27 percent of college grads actually have a job related to what they studied in college. The fact of the matter is this – a lot of people don’t want to continue their learning once they have their Bachelor’s degree. Typically, if they do, they pursue graduate school, whose students often face challenges that are similar to what undergraduate students experience upon graduation.

This whole idea of “once and done” is over, to the extent that leaders in our government are recognizing it and working on implementing new, innovative ways of learning in the United States.

A few ways you might work on reinventing yourself as you establish or change your career:

  • Start freelancing – We know that working for free doesn’t sound great on paper, but the portfolio you’ll come out with is all the ROI you’ll need. When you have a variety of experience, whether it be a branding project you pick up, a video you edit, or a logo you make for a friend, employers recognize that as experience. Just be sure to pick up projects that are relevant to the direction you’re looking to take your career.
  • Perfect your resume.
  • Turn your work into an awesome portfolio – It’s one thing to do the work and another thing to organize it in a way that is visually appealing to an employer. Around 53 percent of employers say that your resume is not enough. You’re going to need that extra differentiator, so invest in crafting the perfect portfolio to have a place for all of that hard work. We recommend Pathbrite for an easy digital portfolio experience.
  • Connect with a learning community – Whether it be early post-grad or a drastic career change, apprenticeships are a perfect way to engage with a community that pushes you and challenges you. And what if we told you apprenticeships can take the place of graduate school?

So you’ve probably been asking yourself: “What is apprenticeship?”

The historical or traditional definition for an apprentice is a person legally bound to a master craftsman in order to learn a trade.

Think professions such as carpenter, electrician or welder. But those were the old days – apprenticeship is now applied to all professions and modern skills.

Apprenticeship has evolved into more of a partnership: where one person learns a trade or skill by working with someone more experienced. Think of an internship, where you’re at a company to accelerate your learning while you’re still in school, but more advanced, long-term, and with deeper levels of commitment. Instead of being at a school, you’re at a full-time paid position, applying your learning hands-on with the support of a learning coach, mentors, and instructors.

Myth: Between my Bachelor’s degree and staying up to date with online articles, I’m already set to advance my career.
Truth: Coaching and mentoring are two of the best investments you can make for your career after professors are out of the picture.

I’m willing to bet that a lot of you have had a coach of some type in your lifetime. Whether it be a sports coach, a choir instructor, an invested teacher, or even a driven parent, you’ve had someone in your circle of trust that pushed you toward your goals. Well, a career coach isn’t much different.

It’s easy to come up with reasons as to why you don’t need one. “I’m too old for a coach”, “it costs time and money that I don’t have”, “I’ve been through college and got all the help I needed”. You can make all of the excuses you can think of, but it’s pretty hard to argue with the results.

What does the development process look like with a career coach?

You define tangible goals, your coach guides you through practical ways to achieve those goals, and after a defined period of time you evaluate your progress. The retention rate is extremely high. Generally, people are extremely happy with what they gain from having a career coach. Fully 96 percent of people who were coached say they would repeat the process and 86 percent said they at least made their investment back.

What’s holding you back from identifying a coach or mentor and reaching out for support?

Myth: Post-college education isn’t necessary to be successful in my career.
Truth: Rigorous self education, graduate school, and innovative learning like digital apprenticeships are essential.

Continued learning and specialized training are valuable to your career. They are so valuable, in fact, that multiple governments are either investing, or beginning to invest, in new, innovative models.

For example, if you’ve been to the UK, you’ll know that apprenticeships are a big deal. A huge percentage of workers develop their skills through an apprentice-like experience. Since 2004, the U.K. has been actively creating more apprenticeships through supporting employers. The huge success of apprenticeship programs led to the creation of a National Apprenticeship Levy that requires almost all employers to offer apprenticeships.

AAA Apprenticeships has successfully scaled their digital apprenticeships to serve 6,000 apprentices in 22 locations across the country – now it’s time to apply that to the U.S.

Why don’t we have a similar model in the U.S.? It’s harder for businesses to start apprenticeships on their own when it isn’t their core competency – but apprenticeship programs are popping up to fill that gap.

The Obama Administration earmarked $100 million to create more examples of modern apprenticeships. The intention is to fuel more success stories through individual programs around the country; creating positive momentum for a larger movement and scaled strategy.

President Trump recently announced a $200 million plan, nearly doubling what was invested last term, to create more apprenticeships.

This is just the beginning of a major movement to make marketplace aligned learning more accessible. But don’t wait for some new national program to support your learning path, start owning your learning today by outlining a strategy to continuously develop yourself into a highly sought after digital expert.

So don’t wait. This is for anyone that finds themselves in a place to pursue a new job or launch their career. Ask yourself, “What’s next?” Take that step – it’s worth it.

If it’s something you’re interested in, the first digital marketing specific apprenticeship in the U.S. has launched – and right here in Austin, TX. Digital Creative Institute’s next Austin cohort launches in January 2018.

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Opinion Editorials

Is working less the key to productivity?

(EDITORIAL) It’s that time of year where we obsess about our habits and productivity, but maybe we’re overthinking the whole thing…

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The “work smarter, not harder” mantra has for a long time been, in consensus, about a simple truth: the massive amount of work that we have is kicking your productivity in a few ways, for example:

  • Our never ending work load is further exacerbated from technology that removes the boundary of work and home.
  • The addiction of multi-tasking makes us feel good, but for the most part leads to massive inefficiencies because our brains aren’t designed to do that – they just switch rapidly (and clumsily) between different activities. A little primer is here.
  • We have competing roles and priorities – spouses, caretakers, gig economy participants, careers, business owners, realtors, clients, professionals, friends, dog owners, cat servants – that engage us and that give us more and more to do.

And the never ending work spiral leads to a number of troubles – inferior work, emotional breakdowns, inappropriate Netflix procrastination, sleep deprivation, burnout, relationship troubles, and more. Basically – it sucks for your health.

Having too much to do, sadly, for many of us is a fact of life. There are a few ways to help get around it by working less (aka streamline your efforts):

  • Have a to-do list – they are awesome. Put it in a planner, use outlook or Google Calendar, etc.
  • Use a science driven list like an Eisenhower Matrix! What’s that you say? Glad you asked: an Eisenhower matrix pulls from the wisdom of Dwight Eisenhower and encourages you consider what is Urgent (as in what requires urgency, immediate attention), and what is Important (tasks that contribute to our long term). It’s a simple 2*2 Grid. Basically it helps move away from the idea that we conflate urgent with important, and we are basically always in a highly reactive and “shocked mode.” I like this tool because it’s a great way to prioritize – lean more about it from our buddies at Trello.
  • Engage delegation and love it. Can you pass it on to someone else? Can you use it as an educational or teaching tool? Does it have to be your mess?
  • Eliminate things that don’t bring value – in one of my favorite books “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life,” Mark Manson puts it brilliantly: What problems do you want to have? What things can we get rid of? We do things out of obligation or a feeling of “I must” that doesn’t correspond to reality.
  • Embrace automation. Whether it’s auto-bill pay or automatic deletion or automatic lists, if you can automate it and it gets the quality you want – engage it. If you use social media a lot – can you schedule your posts? Can you automatically reblog content? Or go crazy, get a Roomba.
  • Practice self-care, dude. Eat better. Go workout. Walk in the middle of the day. Get on your workplace wellness plan. Sleep. Repeat healthy behaviors.

In general, the assertion that we do too much is very true.

Most of that comes from the overwhelming sense of “now” that we experience. Take a breath and explore what you can do to either eliminate, delegate, or prioritize effectively so you can spend more time doing what’s important, and maybe eventually, we can marathon TV shows guilt free more often.

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Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

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Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

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