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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

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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Opinion Editorials

How a simple period in your text message might be misinterpreted: Tips to improve your virtual communication

(OPINION/EDITORIAL) Text, email, and IM messages may be received differently depending on your communication style and who you’re communicating with. Here’s some ways to be more mindful.

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Black woman smiling in communication talking on phone and laptop in front of her.

Life is full of decisions, learning, hopefully some adventure, and “growth opportunities” through our careers and work. One that some of us may have never considered is how our text, email or IM communication comes across to the receiver – thus providing us a growth opportunity to take a look at our own personal communication styles.

It may have never occurred to us that others would take it a different way. After all, we know ourselves, we can hear our voices in our heads. We know when we are joking, being sarcastic, or simply making a statement. The way we communicate is built upon how we were raised, what our English teachers stressed, and even what we’ve been taught through our generational lens.

NPR put out an article recently, “Are Your Texts Passive-Aggressive? The Answer May Lie in Your Punctuation”. This article discussed what to consider in regards to your punctuation in text.

“But in text messaging — at least for younger adults — periods do more than just end a sentence: They also can set a tone.” Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and author of the book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, told NPR’s All Things Considered last year that when it comes to text messaging,”the period has lost its original purpose. Rather than needing a symbol to indicate the end of a sentence, you can simply hit send on your message.”

While it may seem silly that the receiver would think you are mad at them because you used a period, here are some things to consider in our virtual communication now that we are all much more digital:

  • There are no facial expressions in a text except for emojis (which, even then, could be left up to misinterpretation)
  • There’s no sound of voice or inflection to indicate tone
  • We are emailing, texting, and sending instant messages at an alarming rate now that we are not having as many in-person interactions with our colleagues

Gen Z (b. 1995 – 2015), who are the most recent generation to enter the workplace, grew up with much quicker forms of communication with their earlier access to tech. They’ve had a different speed of stimulation via YouTube videos, games, and apps. They may have never experienced the internet speed via a dial-up modem so they are used to instantaneous results.

They also have quickly adapted and evolved through their use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok. The last two platforms are designed for pretty brief attention spans, which indicates our adaptation to fast communication.

Generational shaming is out and uncomfortable but necessary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion are in (which includes ageism). You can’t just chalk it up as “those kids” don’t understand you, or that they need to learn and “pay their dues”.

So if you are of an older generation and even a manager, here are some considerations that you can take regarding your virtual communications:

1. Consider having yourself and your team take a DiSC assessment.

“The DiSC® model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and to adapt their behaviors with others — within a work team, a sales relationship, a leadership position, or other relationships.

DiSC profiles help you and your team:

  • Increase your self-knowledge: How you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
  • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict
  • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members

This quiz is designed to help you identify your main communication style. It helps you to be more conscious of how your style may come across to others. Does it builds relationships, or create silent conflicts? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change, but you can adapt your style to best fit your team.

2. Always ask your direct reports about their preferred method of communication (call, text, email, IM, meeting).

Retain this information and do your best to meet them where they are. It would also be helpful to share your preferred method with them and ask them to do their best to meet you where you are.

3. Consider putting composed emails in your drafts if you are fired up, frustrated, or down right angry with your team.

You may feel like you are being direct. But since tone will be lost virtually, your message may not come across the way you mean it, and it may be de-motivating to the receiver. Let it sit in drafts and come back to it a little bit later. Does your draft say all you need to say, or could it be edited to be a little less harsh? Would this be better as a meeting (whether video or phone) over a written communication? Now the receiver has a chance to see you and have a conversation rather than feeling put on blast.

And finally, be curious.

Check out Lindsey Pollak’s books or podcast on the best ways to work with a variety of generations in your organization. Lindsey is a Multigenerational Work Expert and she does a great job explaining her research to drive multigenerational workplace success. She gives ideas on what all employees, managers, and even corporations should consider as we experience so many generations and communication styles in the workplace at the same time.

You may laugh that your children or employees think you are mad at them when you use a period in a text. But there’s a lot more behind it to consider. It may take adaptation on all sides as communication styles and the “future of work” continue to evolve.

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