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Is That a Foot in Your Ass or is That the RE.NET

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This quote…

Regardless of what I say here or elsewhere, the incestuously cliquish part of the RE.net will insist that it is talking only to itself. Okayfine. [sic] I am talking only to the ninety-and-nine. If your objective in reading BloodhoundBlog is to build and improve your business, do not do as they do. Don’t treat people as leads, and, whatever you do, don’t treat them like idiots. Don’t insult them to score points with your buddies. If you find you’ve stepped in shit, admit it at once, clean up what you can and move on. Greg Swann

… is proof that the ego of Greg Swann has been allowed to swell over.  You’re absolutely right that we are often to polite in how we encourage others.  In Lani’s post regarding the Black & White video you’ll note Lani’s point was not so much about the message of the message, but the delivery.  I’m not sure how anyone can mistake an observation like that for bragging that it is the way forward or call it pandering.  Many do not like being on camera- so here’s an alternative versus steal this idea for your own.

Ego is ego.

When I created agentgenius.com it was based on the idea that large group blogs were blogging to the consumer was actually false.  Consumers do read the blogs agents create, but rarely opine.  So my idea was, if agents would just be themselves and speak as they would normally speak, they might grab a real consumer market share.  I also wanted a blog that removed the self-serving condescending ego from the mix- just straight up conversation related to real estate.  which led to the creation of the ag badge (shown below and seen on sites all over the Internet).  It’s pretty clear on agentgenius.com that we speak to each other, but from a consumers perspective, you rarely see a conversation about how much wealth the writer made today off of the backs of consumers.  We’re (the professionals) are not as obsessed with the commission as others portray, and we’re regular professionals like everyone else. We’re honest and to the consumers who read us, that’s priceless.

The idea that Greg believes we do not know our audience is actually absurd, and further proof of arrogance.  We write in the proper perspective, and in that spirit we leave room for our consumer to discern their own impression of the profession.  We believe that this honest approach in the long run will turn more readers in, than out as we are not blasting our opinions at them as many blogs do.  In fact, I place reader comments in the most expensive real estate on the page- for the world to see.  Not many blogs even bother to give the slightest bit of attention to the passing consumer or the agent commenter as “an actual contributor” of agentgenius.com, but we place it front and center.  We also participate in the we follow rule to reward those that contribute by comment.  I do not know of any other blog that is more comment contributor focused than we, even if that contributor is an actual consumer. Further, we make it quite evident that the photo of the AG contributor comes dead last as the point of agentgenius.com- whoever contributes is genius and ultimately the point.  In other words, we might know a thing or three about a thing or two.  The fact that we’ve elivated to the point we are in less than 100 days aughta give anyone pause.

We do not care about the opinions of other blogs, and our stats prove that we’re doing many things right- is there room to grow?  Absolutely, but we do not need to backtrack (as many group blogs will) to try new directions (to be honest about who we’re writing to or who we are), we simply move forward from an honest foundation (we’re just talking, you’re welcome to chime in)- and many large blogs have begun to get that what agentgenius.com is doing must work,  and the talent here isn’t ramming their beliefs down peoples throats or using a bully pulpit to spew radical hatred of all things real estate.  It’s an honest discussion of an agent failing in their market, observations by a mom about her son, a showing gone crazy and how the agent and client had a laugh together.  The material of agentgenius.com absolutely relates in many ways to everyday people- consumers like us.  And I give a hearty “go f’yourself” to anyone who says otherwise and doesn’t understand that our mission is to relate to our consumers.  We represent the industry from coast to coast, and honestly, I’m proud of the contribution here, and this contribution is just that, a contribution rather than an oppressive “you can’t argue with me”- you’re right, but it isn’t that we can’t, it’s that no one cares enough to bother.

Greg is right that folks should speak up when something is bad, but in this instance, it wasn’t badWe’re not wrong, and we’re surely not going to admit shit when the smell is obviously on your carpet.  If you think we’re endorsing a clever approach to a video message, you’re f’n right on that fact- and in a nice way, many are begging for alternatives to some of the previous video attempts made by even our own, Daniel Rothamel, among others. 

Criticism is welcome, but that’s about all that is tolerated.  Honesty with the consumer will always be celebrated, no matter how harsh or sweet the delivery.  Greg Swanns contribution to real estate, the consumer, and the profession is invaluable, and my remarks here should not be misunderstood.  I’ll stand behind genius when I see it, but we’re not about to sit by and be talked down to like some child flying by the seat of their pants. 

You mind yours, and we’ll mind ours.  If you think you’ve ruffled the feathers of AG, you’d be dead wrong, you’ve only solidified what agentgenius.com is all about. 

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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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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Benjamin Bach

    December 21, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Amen

  2. Larry Yatkowsky

    December 21, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Was Mr.Swann’s post or the video more rigtheous?

  3. Teresa Boardman

    December 21, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Yawn. I have a bad Blog and Greg said that it is evil. Yawn,it is still there. The world and the internet are both really big places. Many people have opinions. and so . . yawn, bye having trouble staying awke through this one.

  4. Todd Carpenter

    December 21, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    I doubt Greg is going to apologize because I don’t think he’s wrong. I don’t think you’re wrong either. It’s just an opinion. Greg may have come on stronger than he needed, but the underlying point remains.

    I watched the movie for the first time in my feed reeder. I think it was Joel’s post about it, but it could of been another as the movie was all over the place. At first glance, I didn’t like it at all. It actually made me roll my eyes a bit. After reading all the positive comments, I just assumed I must be interpreting it wrong, and decided to bite my lip.

    But Greg’s comment reflected my opinion dead on so I finally decided to speak up. “Don’t overprice your home” might be good advice, but it comes off as low-balling. RE.net was all up in arms over the way Dubner & Levitt portrayed the industry in Freakonomics, but this sort of advice reinforces their position.

    I’m not an RE agent, but I understand the frustration of trying to list a house when the owner thinks it’s worth more than it is. I get it. But the other way to look at is, I don’t need to employ an RE agent to sell my house for less than it’s worth. I can do that on my own, or even get Redfin to do it. I work with agents because I want to get the maximum value possible out of my home. I trust an agent to know the market well enough to do that.

    I’d have to say, if the first thing an agent told me was to, “not overprice my home”. My reaction would be, “why is this guy already low-balling me? He hasn’t even seen my house yet.” To top off the movie, Daniel never even looked me in the eye when he said it. It’s the opposite of all his other great videos.

    I don’t really know if Gregg is attacking AG in his last post. I took it to mean that Daniel never should have put it on HIS blog in the first place. I also didn’t take it as “GREG SAYS X, and that is the way of things”. I just took at as his opinion. Maybe the context depends on if a reader looks up to him, or over to him.

  5. Charleston real estate blog

    December 21, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Well said Benn. I find it very comfortable here and I’m sure that was another goal you had in mind. Thanks, Howard

  6. Robert D. Ashby

    December 21, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Benn – I would tend to echo somewhat what Todd has to say. I do not take “sides” in this controversy for similar reasons. Neither are “wrong” as I stated in another comment.

    I do like the direction Agent Genius has gone in providing quality “consumer” content with a no BS approach. That is why I was willing to write here and take pride in doing so.

    As for the video and Greg controversy, I only state that it is good to focus on your targeted audience and know who that is. Here at AG, I write a little differently than I do at my own blog so it works a little better for your audience. Controversy, if properly directed can attract more “targeted” readers. Misdirected though, it can be destructive.

  7. ines

    December 21, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Different audiences, of course! Are we giving the negative opinion too much importance, definitely!

    There’s a saying in spanish that says “cada loco con su tema”!

  8. Missy Caulk

    December 21, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Hey,I like Greg, I like the video, I posted it on my blog. https://AnnArborRealEstateTalkc.om.

    Someone sent me Greg’s rant, but I had already read it, and it is the truth, I have turned down 8-10 listings this year.

    We get it, sellers don’t. Any bit of encouragement is good.

  9. Ines

    December 21, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    What I don’t get is how the message of “don’t overprice” can be misconstrued as “low ball” – we need to pay attention at the way the consumer can interpret or misinterpret the message.

  10. Vicki Moore

    December 21, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I thought the video was cute and creative. I’m lost by the insulting nature of Greg’s post.

    We have gone from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market in lightning speed. Not all sellers have been able to grasp such a dramatic change.

    I write what interests me and makes me laugh. Agitating and aggravating my audience is not my intention, but sometimes it happens.

    BTW: Don’t tell me what to do. I can think for myself.

  11. Innocent Bystander

    December 22, 2007 at 12:05 am

    See what happens when Kelman gets invited to the “Today” show, Swann merely gets the crumbs at Fox Business, and Rothamel decides to produce his own show on YouTube? Swann gets cranky, and Rothamel has to bear the brunt of it all. On the sidelines, Kelman is watching this soap with that trademark phony smile on his face.

  12. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    December 22, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Greg Swann’s Point Is?

    1. Daniel’s first point: Buyers care about what the house is going to cost them.

    This from Mr. Swann: (emphasis added via quotes)

    Our customers are telling us in no uncertain terms what they want: More! Newer! Better! Faster! “Cheaper!”

    But even though too many homes are on the market, some of them are selling.

    Which ones? Those homes that offer the greatest “perceived value to buyers.”

    And where is that value perceived? In the quality of the home or in a “bargain price”.

    One of the things I like best about listing appointments is listening to the sellers tell me what is wrong, in excruciating detail, with each one of the competitive listings.

    At the end of the rant, I’ll say, “You’ve sold me.”

    “Wh-uh-what?”

    “You’ve sold me. You’ve looked at each one of those houses like a buyer would, and you’ve told me why every one of them is overpriced. Now tell me why buyers won’t say the same kinds of things about your home?”

    2. Daniel’s second point: Don’t overprice it. This means price it to the market. Not “bargain price it” or “low ball it”.

    Mr. Swann again:

    We tend to be very careful about the listings we’ll take, because we want our homes sold in four days or four weeks, not four months.

    But that leads us to “the most important thing you can do to make sure your home sells while others languish: Price it to the market.”

    I want to talk about some innovative marketing ideas, but “no amount of marketing can overcome a too-high price.” If you are unwilling to “price your home to the market”, you might as well spare yourself the agony of listing it.

    So Swann’s point is what? There is no point as far as ideas go. They both expound the same ideas.

    Is it that Daniel uses simple sentences & crude drawings? Maybe he ought then condemn Hugh MacLeod’s cartoons or Kris Berg’s stick figures. Perhaps the haiku is next. Oh, that verbosity was beheaded.

  13. monika

    December 22, 2007 at 6:52 am

    I liked the video as well. Simple and to the point. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

  14. rudy

    December 22, 2007 at 9:47 am

    priced to sit

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Opinion Editorials

DNA tests are cool, but are they worth it?

(OPINION EDITORIAL) DNA tests are all the rage currently but are they worth potentially having your genetic makeup sold and distributed?

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Over the last few years, DNA testing went mainstream. Companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have offered easy access to the insights of your genetics, including potential health risks and family heritage, through simple tests.

However, as a famously ageless actor once suggested in a dinosaur movie, don’t focus too much on if you can do this, without asking if you should do this.

When you look closely, you can find several reasons to wonder if sending your DNA to these companies is a wise choice.

These reasons mostly come down to privacy protection, and while most companies do have privacy policies in place, you will find some surprising loopholes in the fine print. For one, most of the big players don’t give you the option to not have your data sold.

These companies, like 23andMe and Ancestry.com, can always sell your data so long as your data is “anonymized,” thanks to the HIPPA Act of 1996. Anonymization involves separating key identifying features about a person from their medical or biological data.

These companies know that loophole well; Ancestry.com, for example, won’t even give customers an opt-out of having their DNA data sold.

Aside from how disconcerting it is that these companies will exploit this loophole for their gain at your expense, it’s also worth noting that standards for anonymizing data don’t work all that well.

In one incident, reportedly, “one MIT scientists was able to ID the people behind five supposedly anonymous genetic samples randomly selected from a public research database. It took him less than a day.”

There’s also the issue of the places where that data goes when it goes out. That report the MIT story comes from noted that 23andMe has sold data to at least 14 outside pharmaceutical firms.

Additionally, Ancestry.com has a formal data-sharing agreement with a biotech firm. That’s not good for you as the consumer, because you may not know how that firm will handle the data.

Some companies give data away to the public databases for free, but as we saw from the earlier example, those can be easy targets if you wanted to reverse engineer the data back to the person.

It would appear the only safe course of action is to have this data destroyed once your results are in. However, according to US federal regulation for laboratory compliance stipulates that US labs hold raw information for a minimum of 10 years before destruction.

Now, consider all that privacy concern in the context of what happens when your DNA data is compromised. For one, this kind of privacy breach is irreversible.

It’s not as simple as resetting all your passwords or freezing your credit.

If hackers don’t get it, the government certainly can; there’s even an instance of authorities successfully obtaining a warrant for DNA evidence from Ancestry.com in a murder trial.

Even if you’re not the criminal type who would worry about such a thing, the precedent is concerning.

Finally, if these companies are already selling data to entities in the biomedical field, how long until medical and life insurance providers get their hands on it?

I’ll be the first to admit that the slippery slope fallacy is strong here, but there are a few troubling patterns of behavior and incorrect assumptions already in play regarding the handling of your DNA evidence.

The best course of action is to take extra precaution.

Read the fine print carefully, especially what’s in between the lines. As less scrupulous companies look to cash in on the trend, be aware of entities who skimp on privacy details; DNA Explained chronicles a lot of questionable experiences with other testing companies.

Above all, really think about what you’re comfortable with before you send in those cheek swabs or tubes of spit. While the commercials make this look fun, it is a serious choice and should be treated like one.

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Opinion Editorials

How to deal with an abusive boss and keep your job, too

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Sometimes bosses can be the absolute worst, but also, you depend on them. Here’s how to deal with an abusive boss and, hopefully, not get fired.

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Nothing can ruin your work life like an abusive boss or supervisor. But when you’re dependent on your boss for assignments, promotions – heck, your paycheck – how can you respond to supervisor abuse in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your job or invite retaliation?

A new study to be published in the next Academy of Management Journal suggests an intriguing approach to responding to an abusive boss. As you might expect, their study shows that avoiding the abuser does little to change the dynamic.

But the study also found that confronting the abuser was equally ineffective.

Instead, the study suggests that workers in an abusive situation “flip the script” on their bosses, “shifting the balance of power.” But how?

The researchers tracked the relationship between “leader-follower dyads” at a real estate agency and a commercial bank. They found that, without any intervention, abuse tended to persist over time.

However, they also discovered two worker-initiated strategies that “can strategically influence supervisors to stop abuse and even motivate them to mend strained relationships.”

The first strategy is to make your boss more dependent on you. For example, one worker in the study found out that his boss wanted to develop a new analytic procedure.

The worker became an expert on the subject and also educated his fellow co-workers. When the boss realized how important the worker was to the new project, the abuse subsided.

In other words, find out what your boss’s goals are, and then make yourself indispensable.

In the second strategy, workers who were being abused formed coalitions with one another, or with other workers that had better relationships with the boss. The study found that “abusive behavior against isolated targets tends to stop once the supervisor realizes it can trigger opposition from an entire coalition.”

Workplace abuse is not cool, and it shouldn’t really be up to the worker to correct it. At times, the company will need to intervene to curb bad supervisor behavior. However, this study does suggest a few strategies that abused workers can use to try to the tip the balance in their favor.

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Opinion Editorials

Avoid the stack, conquer busy work as it comes

(PRODUCTIVITY) It’s easy overwhelmed with emails and a stack of real mail. But tackling as it comes may help to enhance organization and productivity.

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A few weeks ago, I was walking through my office (also known as my bedroom after 5 p.m.) and I noticed a stack of mail that I had tossed aside over the course of the last few months. While they were non-urgent, this collection of paperwork had been opened, read, and left unattended.

Now, this was a classic move of mine – leave a mess for Future Taylor to clean up. So, imagine my surprise when Present Taylor woke up and decided to put an end to “the stack.”

I sat down, went through everything, and took care of what needed to be done. Even though my wallet took a few hits, it felt great to have this cleared up and off my desk.

Right then and there, I made it a rule to let things only cross my desk once (unless there’s some extenuating circumstance in which it requires me to come back to it; i.e. my favorite sentence on this paperwork “This is not a final bill.”) There’s no point in drawing out the stress that “the stack” induce.

This led me to finally attacking something that’s been on my to-do list since I created my Gmail account in 2009 – create an organizational system.

I set aside some time to create folders (for individual projects, people I communicate with frequently, etc.)

While this is all stuff that you may have already implemented, my point is that this increase my productivity and lifted a weight off of my shoulders I didn’t acknowledge was there.

So, I encourage you to find one of those menial tasks that has been on your to-do list forever and tackle it.

This can include, organizing all of your electronic files into folders, updating your phone and email contacts, or going through all of your desk drawers to get rid of unneeded items. Organizing and freshening up your workspace can help increase your focus.

Once you’re organized and in gear, try the “let it cross your desk once” method. When an email comes in, respond to it or file it. When a bill comes in, pay it. You may be surprised at your rise in productivity.

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