At the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Conference, a “smackdown” was staged between Mike Ferry and Matthew Ferrara, silk robes, gloves, and all. The merits of social media were the key takeaway for those of us willing to stomach the entire presentation.
In the spirit of debate, we reached out to Mike Ferry (via email 03.17.11, 5:04pm CST) offering him an opportunity to write a rebuttal article but he has declined.
This isn’t the first time Mike Ferry has come under fire, especially here at AG, but don’t worry- he’ll tell you on stage that it is because he is controversial and he’ll spin it into some scenario that makes him look so hip and edgy. At the Gen Blue smackdown, long time real estate coach and speaker Mike Ferry started the debate and reminded the attendees that he was super controversial in 1985 and in 1995 and was even “banned” from presenting at NAR conventions once upon a time (which he so cleverly said stands for “non active realtors” and that the R stood for “retard”) for undermining NAR programs. Umm, so? I was banned from IHOP in college because my idiot friend got in a fight, does that make me edgy?
We agree with Ferry wholeheartedly that productivity per agent is ridiculously low and survival rates are dismal, but when talking about being banned from NAR in the Cretaceous Period, he went into some bit about “truth is the discovery of reality” and told everyone to get naked and look in the mirror- “that is reality.” Simon Cowell would have called this oddly placed, possibly recycled joke “self indulgent” for sure.
Where I really take issue with Ferry:
Besides his air of self importance, I was really irked that Ferry claimed that he works with “every top producer” in America (except maybe that old Russell Shaw who is one of the nation’s top producers yet seems to be… oh, what is the word is opposite of fan? Yeah, that.)
Where I really take issue with Ferry is that he had this clever bit where he held up a copy of USA Today from January 1st that called 2010 the “year that no one talked” and he emphatically said that of course Realtors aren’t talking, they’re all tweeting and facebooking.
My favorite line that sums up Ferry’s position is “your only job is being in front of people because people don’t buy a home off Facebook, they don’t buy a home off YouTube, they don’t buy a home off what you twittered to them, they buy a home in face to face conversation because selling requires communication, communication requires conversation, conversation requires people talking to each other.”
Ferry repeats an old talking point that all agents are looking for a magic bullet, and his solution is “just talk to people.” Then he poo poos social media.
Dear Mike Ferry, WTF do you think Facebook, Twitter, Quora and the like are? It’s a fancy new fangled type of talking called TYPING. It’s more than picking up the phone to cold call that old lady up the street, it’s wide spread simultaneous communication, and social media is the ability to communicate and CONVERSE on a massive scale. How ignorant that you don’t understand this very basic technology?
With social media, I can talk to thousands of people simultaneously in an effort to gather those people offline. And I do. I’m really good at getting people offline to get to those conversations you covet, but most people I know would never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever take a cold call (unknown number on smartphone’s caller ID = voicemail for you), nor would they want a Realtor they’ve already closed with to call them on that dreaded phone (welcome to Gen Y, bro). Deal done = go away, I’ll call you when I need you.
Ferry talks about people not buying homes on Facebook and he’s right, but his delivery asserts that this point means Facebook is ineffective which is where he is wrong. I know hundreds of Realtors who garner and retain clients exclusively through social networking and hell, *I* refer out five to six hot referrals to Realtor friends online each week and that’s not even my job!
Even Realtor.com Sales Manager Chris Smith disagrees with the Ferry assertions. “The social graph is a marketers dream and if pounding the phones is the approach that you are going to use I think the access to information about people’s real life makes the calls convert at a higher rate.”
“Social media is stupid.” Uh no, YOU are stupid.
I’m sure the old Ferry camp saw the printing of the Gutenberg bible as a threat they didn’t understand, rather crap talked. I’m sure the phone was scary and seen as an ineffective tool once upon a time, followed by the fax machine. This mentality is a major disservice to Ferry clients and to the industry- go out and find out for yourself what works for you instead of blindly following someone who clearly has no grasp on the reality of the modern marketplace (try telling your listing client their home will not be online, I dare you).
I’m not here to sell anyone social media, but I would (and billions of dollars spent in 2010 alone) argue that social networks are not stupid, but for those like Ferry that believe they are, please, for the love of God, stay away. Please stay off of Twitter and Facebook because it will be obvious your ignorance of web culture where the hard sale is not welcome and you’ll make the industry appear smarmier than you already do.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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