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Opinion Editorials

NAR Losing The PR Battle?



Does This Yun Make You Look Fat?

NAR headquarters
NAR Headquarters
photo credit: dannyfowler

As a member of NAR, the bottom line is that it is a marriage. Some days we agree on everything and run along like a happy couple, other days, I look at the dress and think, yes, it does make you look fat- suddenly it blurts out of my brain through my mouth before I can take it back- today is one of those days…

I am reading a blog post in the Wall Street Journal and as I read down towards the comments I grow more and more alarmed at what the damage to the association may really be. As it goes, I try really hard to see the both sides of every coin but in this instance, it is getting harder and harder to believe NAR has a chance of regaining much credibility unless they make major change in the ranks at NAR, right now.

Sand is Slipping Through The Hourglass

It may be time for NAR to take a look at the source of the controversy in which it lost its position as “fact” in the real estate arena and once and for all acknowledge it and cut the losses.

As We All See It

Yes, NAR, Mr. Yun makes you look fat. Mr. Yun is fantastic at measuring statistics, but as a voice, he no longer has one. It may be time to move Mr. Yun to a new post within the same division and allow someone with a fresh voice to lead the conversation. It is now time to step up, clear the slate and regain control of the conversation before it’s too late.


I do not make these types of suggestions lightly. With all due respect to NAR, all you need to do is take a read of the comments in this Wall Street Journal post to realize that what consumers are reading is fast becoming “fact,” regardless of the truth.

My Suggestions:

  • Cut Yun from the public eye (Publicly remove him)
  • Replace Yun with a person of credibility with likable qualities
  • Regroup your public relations forces and enter into the media mainstream
  • Retool your online team to engage blogs, websites, and other forums where consumers congregate
  • Create and Social Media Marketing Team of outsiders to guide you

What is “Social Media” and why am I right?

(source wikipedia)

Social Media Expanded Definition: Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.

Social media uses the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies such as blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, group creation and voice over IP, to name a few…

I’m right because what is on television is no longer perceived as truth, what is found online is, and if you are not out in popular sources of media, only a fraction of consumers are hearing your message. If you need further proof, simply read the comments to this blog post and search around in other popular consumer media centers and you’ll quickly understand what we’re seeing.

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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  1. Chris Lengquist

    January 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Benn, love ya’ bud. But don’t agree with ripping the NAR on this point. (Though I do love to rip the NAR) Reading the article and through the comments shows a complete lack of understanding as to how housing can and should be used as an investment.

    But first, your personal home is just that. It’s a home. Not an investment.

    Second, buying investment real estate on speculation and not sound fundamentals will only lead to trouble, if only eventually.

    And lastly, I loved the comment by the professor that said, and I quote, “That’s insane. If one of my students made that calculation, I would fail them.”

    Why? Because they also did not take into account depreciation? Or cash flow before taxes. Or was it because they forgot to calculate principal reduction? I’m confused.

    Yes, there are closing costs. Maintenance. Agent fees. Leasing expenses. So figure those in. I’ll bet you find it exceeds the stock market. In fact, I’m confident of it.

    Want to see my wife’s 401K?

    Now the fact that the NAR has completely glossed over the downturn in much of the country is part of the problem. Just like it was part of the problem when they wouldn’t recognize the fact that appreciation was happening at unsustainable rates for a few years.

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Chris, and it wouldn’t be lovely if someone named Chris logged into that blog and millions of others and said “hi, this is Chris from N.A.R. and stated just exactly what you did and engaged the conversation. You’ve only made my point, Mr. Man!

  3. Chris Lengquist

    January 29, 2008 at 5:46 pm


  4. David

    March 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Great Post: check out:

  5. Sunny Jim

    March 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    The NAR engages in the despicable practice of jiggering their sales numbers to deceive buyers. This is not true only of their overall phony forecasts, but in delisting/relisting actual homes for sale to rig the “original” price and days on market.

    Because this is an important and newsworthy practice, I will cite a single and newsworthy example: the home of the NAR president. In 2006, the WaPo ran a story how the home of the NAR president was not selling. The paper-money blog picked this up and did some online price investigation. From the WaPo story and a simple Google search, let’s look at the business practice of delisting/reslisting using the newsworthy example of the NAR president:

    Purchase price (2001): $1.3 million.
    Assessed value (2005): $2.6 million.
    Original asking price (2006): $1.95 million.
    Reduced asking price (2006): $1.45 million.
    Really reduced, current price (2008): $1.2 million.

    Yet Redfin says that the “original” price is $1,285,000 when the true original price is $1.95 million from two years ago, as stated in the 2006 WaPo article. And in spite of sitting unsold for over two years, Redfin lists this as active for only 159 days.

    So realtors can and do jigger the “original” price and the days on market precisely through this delisting/relisting mechanism.

    Buyer beware. And thank goodness for the web — let’s all look forward to the near future when Google and others make the MLSP obsolete and reduce transaction fees from 6 percent to less than 1 percent.

  6. Bob

    March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Benn, I have been calling for Yun’s removal for sometime. Thanks for speaking up. It starts with credibility and as long as Yun has a voice, NAR has none.

    Sunny Jim, some MLS systems no longer allow for cancelling and then immediately relisting a property to manipulate market time.

  7. Hunter Jackson

    July 2, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I agree completely. Cut Yun from the public eye. He is the one everyone quotes and laughs. I am very interested to see how the Nar lawsuit judgment will start to affect everyone…

  8. John

    February 4, 2009 at 3:37 am

    The National Association of Realtors is a group of shameless liars. The cat is already out of the bag and isn’t going back in.

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Opinion Editorials

Freelance is the Future? I call bull malarky

(EDITORIAL) Some have predicted that due to company needs and employees’ desire for flexibility, and even COVID, freelance is the future of work. But I have reservations.



Freelance desk

Long gone are the days of punching a clock in Corporate America to be in your seat at your desk for an exact period of 8 hours on a day x 5 = 40 hours per week. If you work in an office setting now, usually you are expected to manage your time and finish your projects but companies have adjusted their strict butt in seat polices so that you can come in late after a doctor appointment or even leave a little early for Susie’s soccer tournament.

The truth is, with the advancement of technology and connected devices, many of us can work from anywhere (as long as there’s Wi-Fi or we have our hotspot). So, as long as your work gets done, there’s a little bit of room for “flexibility”.

When a company pitches this as flexibility, it’s really just a way of re-wording that you will work a lot so they will cut you some slack here and there considering most of us work well over our 40 hours a week. We can check email first thing in the morning, forward documents from the plane and even be on conference calls while in a line or in an Uber. You may work late on a Tuesday due to Wednesday deliverables which allows you to take off on Friday at 3pm when usually your projects are in a good place. There are also times where you will work on the weekend.

The opportunity to work anywhere has led to some considering that freelance is the future? I just don’t buy it. And this might be an unpopular opinion. I think that’s like turning the Titanic around. People rely on companies to offer a feeling of stability (or so we think) so that you know there’s a paycheck coming in every other week and you definitely have your fair share of projects (oh yeah, plus healthcare benefits).

If we all moved in to freelancing, we’d have a wide variety of clients, customers, teammates and paychecks that could be difficult to keep up with. We’d be forced to be the CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, CMOs, CFOs, oh, forget it, the entire C-suite of our own careers. It’s really difficult to generate new clients in the future while you’re working on a current project.

However, it’s equally difficult to have a lull so you have to be constantly engaged and pitching business (at the same time you have your current work). You have to be on your A-game at all times and out pitching yourself and your brand. You have to be creating content on all the social channels and be invited to participate in fancy conferences and meetings. This unfortunately is the life of freelance.

Does it seem like more people will do freelance? Yes. There’s lots of opportunity now thanks to the world wide web. But I predict they will do this in addition to their regular jobs. Is it possible that we may move to a gig economy? We are already there. You’ve heard of Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Fiverr and Upwork…It seems like that most people that have 2-3 gigs to make them whole are typically looking for full-time opportunities or would love to find something that can replace the others with more consistent work and not all the hustle. Are Small Businesses on the rise? Absolutely.

It seems that it depends on your desire for either slightly more predictable work and paychecks or if you’re a throw caution to the wind person and live that freelancer life. Also, if your skill sets are the ones employers are looking for on an ad hoc basis. No doubt many people live a freelancer life and love it. But I just don’t see it being the masses – I think it takes a special kind of dedication to rely on freelance and/or starting your own business. Plus, you’re off your parents’ healthcare at age 26. That’s when real the “real job” starts to sound really appealing.

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Opinion Editorials

Ways to socialize safely during quarantine

(EDITORIAL) Months of isolation due to quarantine is causing loneliness for many, but joining virtual social groups from home may help fill the need for interaction.




Quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home. We’re tired of hearing it; we’re tired of doing it. Yet, it’s what we still need to be doing to stay safe for a while longer. All of this can be lonesome. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the alone time is getting to even the most introverted among us.

Solitary confinement is considered one of the most psychologically damaging punishments a human can endure. The New Yorker reported on this in a 1992 study of prisoners in detention camps in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Vietnam veterans who experienced isolation. These studies showed that prisoners who had experienced solitary confinement demonstrated similar brain activity to those who’d suffered a severe head injury, noting that “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”

We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Your “pandemic brain” is real. That fogginess, the lack of productivity, can be attributed to many things, including anxiety, but being kept apart from other humans is a big part of it too. Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and join others virtually. Be it an app, a class, a Facebook group, a chat room, or a livestream, someone somewhere is out there waiting to connect with you too.

The good news? We are lucky enough to live in an era of near limitless ways to interact socially online. Sure, it is different, but it is something. It’s important. The best thing about this type of social interaction is being able to hone in on your specific interests, though I’d caution you against getting caught in an online echo chamber. Diversity of interests, personality, and opinion make for a richer experience, with opportunities for connecting and expanding your worldview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to socialize while staying home and staying safe. Communicating with other humans is good for you, physically and mentally.

Interactive Livestreams on Twitch:

Twitch is best known as a streaming service for video game fans, but it offers multiple streams appealing to different interests. This is more than passive watching (although that is an option, too) as Twitch livestream channels also have chat rooms. Twitch is fun for people who like multi-tasking because the chat rooms for popular livestream channels can get busy with chatter.

While people watch the Twitch hosts play a video game, film a live podcast, make music or art, mix cocktails, or dance, they can comment on what they’re watching, make suggestions, ask questions, crack jokes, and get to know each other (by Twitch handle, so it is still as anonymous as you want it to be) in the chat room. The best hosts take time every so often to interact directly with the chat room questions and comments.

Many Twitch channels develop loyal followers who get to know each other, thus forming communities. I have participated in the Alamo Drafthouse Master Pancake movie mocks a few times because they are fun and local to Austin, where I live. Plus, in my non-quarantine life, I would go to Master Pancake shows live sometimes. The chat room feels familiar in a nice way. While watching online is free, you can (and totally should) tip them.

Online trivia in real time:

There are some good options for real-time online trivia, but I’m impressed with the NYC Trivia League’s model. They have trivia games online on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The NYC Trivia League seems to have figured out a good way to run the game live while keeping answers private from the other teams. They run games on Instagram Live with a live video of the host, and participants answer via the question feature. Clever!

Online book club:

First I have to shout out my Austin local independent bookstore, BookPeople, because they are fantastic. They run book clubs throughout the year, along with readings, book signings, and all things book-related. BookPeople hosts several online book clubs during these lockdown days, and most people will find something that appeals to them.

I’m also impressed with this list from Hugo House, a writer’s resource based out of Seattle. This list includes Instagram and Goodread book clubs, book clubs for Black women, rebels, and poetry lovers. The Financial Diet recommends the Reddit book club, if you are comfortable with the Reddit format. Please note that it’s a busy place, but if you like Reddit, you already know this.

Cooking class or virtual tasting:

This is doubly satisfying because you can follow these chefs in real time, and you end up with a meal. There are a couple on Instagram Live, such as The Culinistas or Chef Massimo Bottura.

You can also participate in virtual tastings for wine, whiskey, or chocolate, though you will have to buy the product to participate in the classes (usually held over Zoom or Facebook Live). If you are in Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I recommend BeenThere Locals. The cost of the course includes the wine, spirits, or cooking kit in most cases, and all of the money goes to the business and expert hosting the class.

Look for your favorite wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate makers, and chefs that are local to you to find a similar experience. Most either prepare the class kit for pickup or delivery within a local area.

Quarantine chat:

To interact with another quarantined person seeking social interaction, there’s Quarantine Chat. Quarantine chat is one of the ways to connect through the Dialup app, available on iOS and Android devices. Sign up to make and receive calls when you want to speak with someone. The Dialup app pairs you randomly with another person for a phone conversation, at a scheduled time, either with anyone or with someone with shared interests.

Quarantine chat takes it a step further with calls at random times. When your quarantine chat caller calls, you will not see their number (or they yours), only the “Quarantine Chat” caller ID. If you are unable to pick up when they call, they will be connected with someone else, so there is no pressure to answer. It’s nice to hear someone else’s voice, merely to talk about what you’ve been cooking or what hilarious thing your pet is doing.

Play Uno:

Uno Freak lets people set up games and play Uno online with friends or strangers. Players do not need to register or download anything to play. Uno Freak is web-based.

Talk to mental health professionals:

If your state of loneliness starts sliding toward depression, call someone you can speak to right away to talk over your concerns. When in doubt, call a trained professional! Here are a few resources:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET, 800-950-NAMI (6264) or
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to this text line 24/7 for someone to text with who will also be able to refer you to other resources: U.S. and Canada: 74174, U.K. 85258, Ireland: 50808.
  • Psych Central has put together this comprehensive list of crisis intervention specialists and ways to contact them immediately.

There are many ways to connect even though we are physically apart. These are just a few real time ways to interact with others online. If you want something a little more flesh and blood, take a walk around the block or even sit in a chair in front of where you live.

Wave at people from afar, and remember that we have lots of brilliant doctors and scientists working on a way out of this. Hang in there, buddy. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.

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Opinion Editorials

Working remotely: Will we ever go back? (Probably not)

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Now that the pandemic has opened the door on working remotely, there’s no way we’ll put the genie back in the bottle. But, here’s some ways you can adapt.



Woman working remotely on her couch with a laptop on her lap.

When it comes to working remotely, will the toothpaste ever go back in the tube?

Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale…” By 2030, Zuckerberg anticipates that over half of Facebook’s workforce will be remote. Many other companies are jumping on the work from home bandwagon. Working remotely has helped many businesses manage the pandemic crisis, but it’s unsure what form remote working will take over the next 10 years.

We know that employees are responding positively to WFH, as reported in this article – Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees. As offices transition to a post-COVID normal, here are some things to consider about your office and remote work.

What does your business gain from allowing workers to WFH?
The future of remote work depends on a conscious application of WFH. It’s not just as easy as moving employees out of the office to home. You have to set up a system to manage workers, wherever they are working. The companies with good WFH cultures have set up rules and metrics to know whether it’s working for their business. You’ll need to have technology and resources that let your teams work remotely.

Can your business achieve its goals through remote work?
The pandemic may have proved the WFH model, but is this model sustainable? There are dozens of benefits to remote work. You can hire a more diverse workforce. You may save money on office space. Employees respond well to remote work. You reduce your carbon emissions.

But that can’t be your only measure of whether remote work fits into your vision for your organization. You should be looking at how employees will work remotely, but you need to consider why employees work remotely.

The work paradigm is shifting – how will you adapt?
The work environment has shifted over the past century. Remote work is here to stay, but how it fits into your company should be based on more than what employees want. You will have to work closely with managers and HR to build the WFH infrastructure that grows with your organization to support your teams.

We don’t know exactly how remote work will change over the next decade, but we do know that the workplace is being reinvented. Don’t just jump in because everyone is doing it. Make an investment in developing your WFH plan.

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