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Opinion Editorials

DO NOT Read This if You Hate Using the Internet or Hate NAR




What is this junk?

“Net neutrality” isn’t just a term for tech nerds with tape on their glasses, it’s a real life battle internet providers are having with the public and internet users globally (you’re a user- you’re on the web right now, right?). Net neutrality is not a new fight but it is one that is becoming louder by the day as people learn what it is and how easy it is to rally behind. Without net neutrality, internet providers can govern your use of the web- not just what you see but how you use it and with what equipment! This isn’t a pretend problem pulled from the novel 1984 people, this is real. defines net neutrality:

“Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.”

This is a game changer for your biz AND your clients definition:

“Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for residential broadband networks and potentially for all networks. A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams.”

How is it a game changer?

If net neutrality isn’t in play, your internet provider can charge based on use, they can block certain sites or equipment meaning your use is governed. This is critical if you’re a blogger, use Twitter or any other site because it can become functionally restricted and cost prohibitive to use the web as providers are attempting to create a false sense of scarcity (like the diamond industry did once upon a time). We’re all here promoting the use of the web in some form or fashion be it helping each other, or telling a client we’ll promote their home online (and hope that it hasn’t become to prohibitive for consumers to use).

NAR supports Net Neutrality:

I want to take a moment to applaud National Association of Realtors’ policy on net neutrality:

“Five principles to guide lobbying efforts on any legislation to require broadband providers to adhere to net neutral practices: 1. consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice; 2. consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; 3. consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network; 4. consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers; and, 5. network providers should not discriminate among internet data transmissions on the basis of the source of the transmission as they regulate the flow of network content.”

For those reading at NAR, I ask, how can AG readers get involved in getting behind NAR and the net neutrality policy? Are there any active campaigns NAR is working on or any incentives where help is needed?

Twitter opinions:

I asked a simple question on Twitter and here are a few of the results (told you people felt strongly about it, I didn’t find ONE person in favor of the internet providers):


Most people are supporters of net neutrality and there are a handful in the real estate industry who will gladly speak up and stand alongside NAR in the battle against the scams that internet providers are proponents of to save the internet! The real estate industry is not a quiet one and will NOT be quiet on this issue.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Greg Cooper

    June 7, 2009 at 9:34 am

    While I am HIGHLY in favor of NN, it’s another moment when we are forced to spend time understanding ‘what it is, how it works and what the ramifications are.’ I realize this issue seems simple but not all that SEEM simple are so. For example, the cynic in me wonders will NAR REALLY keep it’s and all of it’s partner’s ‘hand’s off.’ Considering the behavior of, Homegain, etc., over the years, I wouldn’t put it past either of them one bit to be net biased versus neutral. Oh to be back in the days where I thought we all played fair and were just out to do the best for our clients and customers.

  2. Joe Loomer

    June 7, 2009 at 9:37 am

    After the whole MIBOR debacle, it’s nice to see a post with a positive slant on the actions of the NAR. Hopefully this will be the first in a series of posts by you, Lani, and others from AG and the various blog and news sites that seem to command the most agent presence.

    The ground swell that precipitated the appointment of Jay to the MLS committee will hopefully be repeated for this issue.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Ruthmarie Hicks

    June 7, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Net neutrality is something that I have been concerned about for a very long time. The opponents have catchy soundbites that are very, very misleading. The real danger was during the Bush administration – they supported internet “freedom” – that is the freedom of broadband companies to “control” the internet. The Obama administration has been very supportive of net neutrality.

    One of the biggest dangers for agents who blog was that such a change would absolutely favor the big sites such as Zillow that are flush with VC – they could pay their way to the top of the pile – content notwithstanding.

  4. Mike Price

    June 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    This issue has been around for some time now. I’ve tried to bring it up several times in different forums but it hasn’t gained the traction it should. I think NAR has done a good job in trying to get the issue front and center, I know they have tried to do a few things through CRT as well. So hats off to NAR, I agree with their position and look forward to their success in spreading the word through the membership base.

    As a former ISP executive, I understand SOME of the concerns that the current providers and TELCO’s have, but left to their devices, they will use their considerable lobby skills and deep pockets to create off ramps to the so called information super highway and the toll booth will be considerable to reach the content that is highest in demand.

    I believe in letting the web continue to grow as it has for the last 15 years or so. Screwing with it now will only kill one of the best opportunities we have to pull our economy out of the crapper. I’ll continue to do all I can to help educate people on the issue.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    June 9, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they (ISPs) were just looking to pull the same coup phone companies pulled so long ago. Remember when you paid for what you used and not for what you thought you might use? Best trick ever. Cell phone companies start the trend and then land-lines (what’s that?) came along with minute packages.

    Imagine the net going back to the old days of AOL with per minute charges.

    I’d go back to fax machines.

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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.



strong leaders

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.



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!



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.

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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