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Creating Advantages



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A Level Playing Field

I was at Connection 2008 listening to a group of Nationally respected Mega-Brokers talk about Internet Marketing when the conversation wound its way around to the topic of MLS provided services. One of the participants from the floor began to talk about how these services could help level the competitive playing field.

One of the larger brokers responded, “I don’t want a level playing field. I have worked long and hard to assure that my company has every competitive advantage”.

Listening to the conversation , it occurred to me that the only people with an interest in leveling the playing field are those who feel they are at a disadvantage in the game. That led my mind back to a meeting of a local MLS many years ago, when I was a small, independent, start up company.

In that meeting, I was arguing passionately for a rule change to the MLS which would have leveled that specific playing field, listening to arguments from a much larger broker about why they didn’t want those changes. Frankly, I wanted the playing field leveled to benefit my agents and our company. As I compared those meetings, almost two decades apart, I realized yet again, that everyone wants the “fair thing” as long as it benefits their purpose.

We all Want an Advantage

The differentiation that we all strive for in our blogs, farms, listing presentations, marketing materials, etc. is important to us. Each of us are legends in our own minds and yet we all know that we can learn from others in our business; no one wants to re-invent the wheel. However even though we want to know what other people are doing , we’re not so quick to share our own “stuff” with competitors. After all, those things are designed to tilt the playing field, aren’t they? Who wants to give their best baseball bat to their competitors to use against them?

Why I love the Internet

In local marketplaces, brokers don’t share their ideas or programs because they want to retain a competitive edge. For many years, large national brokerages created brainstorming groups like the “Masterminds” or the “Dozen” (the 12 largest Real Estate firms in the U.S.) that met quarterly so that those business owners could have someone to talk to who shared their problems and concerns but did not compete with them on a daily basis.  Those people were so dominant in their own marketplace that they needed to travel across the country to find others who could and more importantly would share ideas with them.

National franchises created networks where brokers could seek help from franchisees outside their market and learn new programs or get ideas to advance their business. Independent brokerages didn’t have this luxury until the Internet leveled that particular playing field; now everyone can be part of a larger electronic community where we can interact and share ideas with people that we have much in common with but will never compete with.

Because of Web 2.0 we have friends and colleagues all over the country. We tweet, we blog, we podcast, and we create a national clearinghouse of information. I can email a broker in a marketplace across the country for information on his recruiting program, and he or she knows that I will never use that information to recruit one of their agents. I can learn about tools they use to list or sell property because they know that I will never use that information to compete with them for a piece of business. 

 Luckily many brokers and agents don’t get it yet, which keeps the field tilted in our direction – Hooray for us!

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  1. Paula Henry

    May 26, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Definately, Hooray for us! I was speaking with a colleague just a few weeks ago who told me, people in the industry do not like blogs or agents who blog. I asked why do they care? Her response was, they feel blogging creates an unfair advantage. I was amazed! Rather than take time to create their own online presence, they would rather complain about those who do.

    I have made more friends across the nation who would gladly share their knowledge, as I would with them. Therein lies the true advantage!

  2. Jeremy Hart

    May 26, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I find it laughable that a blog gives me a competitive advantage.

    Think of all that time I waste preparing posts, making sure I get the apostrophe in just the right place so that my mom won’t call me – AGAIN – to remind me it’s “its” and not “it’s”. Imagine how much time I’d have left over if I didn’t read all of those bloggers from around the world that write such uninteresting things, and don’t even get me started on the fact that I haven’t seen fame and fortune come about as a result of blogging.

    They’re right – there’s no competitive advantage. Think I’ll just give up now.

  3. Bill Lublin

    May 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Paula: People usually don’t like those who do more then they do – it takes away their excuse for not winning!

    Jeremy – I think you’re famous 🙂

  4. Jay Thompson

    May 26, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    This whole Internet thing isn’t an advantage, it’s just a passing fad and you’re all wasting your time…

  5. Bill Lublin

    May 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    @Jay; I know I’m wasting my time, but I need something to do while your arm is healing. 😉

  6. Russell Shaw

    May 27, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Killer post, Bill. Nice job.

  7. Jim Lee

    May 27, 2008 at 8:15 am

    As one of the early adapters to the www (which is different from the Internet) I’ve enjoyed an uneven playing field for many years now.

    At the current pace our fellow Realtors are “catching on” (NOT), I see that uneven field continuing for several more years.

    It’s (is that the correct usage Jeremy?) amazing to me that even though statistics show that over 80% of current home buyers use the www in their home searches, the majority of Realtors do not nor do they have an effective web presence.

  8. Jonathan Dalton

    May 27, 2008 at 8:52 am

    That same message can be applied to nearly any walk of life … it was that way when I was back at Schwab and metrics were the heart of my existence, it’s that way in baseball …

    Those who complain most about some having a competitive advantage tend to be those who take the fewest steps to negate that advantage. They’re waiting for their fairy godmother to come save them rather than taking the needed steps themselves.

  9. Jon Griffith

    May 27, 2008 at 10:57 am

    That’s it! I’m throwing my computer in the trash can.

  10. Vicki Moore

    May 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I’m reading along, nodding my head. Thinking of the depth of the post. Then all of a sudden: Hooray for us! LOL.

  11. Greg Broadbent

    May 27, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Maybe those other agents already know everything and are making too much money. I can see why the internet would be a waste for them.

  12. ines

    May 27, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    What’s amazing about the power of blogging is how uneven the field gets by the day! Sometimes I feel like I’m the top of a hill looking down – it’s a bit surreal and I can’t wait to see what comes next…..we’ll be here waiting for that train and will be the first ones on board.

  13. Late Night Austin Real Estate

    May 28, 2008 at 2:30 am

    Personally I think I have gained a lot more from the free exchange of ideas on the internet than I have from anything else. Its nice whenever I run into a problem I can poke around the interent and get some answer from other re folks who are experiencing the same thing.

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Conference Coverage

Techie’s guide to NAR’s mid-year meetings



Are you coming to NAR’s Mid Year Meetings in Washington DC on May 11-13? If so, here’s a quick and dirty guide to what to check out and where to grab a cocktail. If you are going to be at the meetings please be sure and let me know, in the comments or DM me @nartech. I’d love to meet the Agent Genius crowd IRL.

Follow Along at MidYear Live

Even if you aren’t going to be in DC you can still follow the action at Mid Year Live.

Midyear Live brings all the news and conversation about the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo direct to you. Visit Midyear Live between May 11-14 to check out Twitter and Facebook coverage, follow featured NAR members as they attend the event, and view news reports and recorded sessions.

From the Center for Real Estate Technology—Throughout the meetings…

Starting Tuesday, May 11, CRT is sponsoring the Wi-Fi area in the Marriott Wardman Park in the Maryland Foyer.  It will be available 24 hrs a day thru Saturday 2pm.
The Bloggers’ Lounge opens at the Omni in the Forum Room, Tues – Thurs 10am – 6pm and Friday from 10am – 4pm.

Wednesday May 12:  Business Issues Committee 10:00 AM-Noon, Marriott Wardman, Salon 3

This is where technology policy issues are discussed. If you have an interest in issues like data security and privacy, net neutrality and other tech policy issues, come and observe the Business Issues Committee and say hello. I am one of the staff executives for this committee.

Wednesday May 12: Tweetup 5:00-7:00 PM Marriot Wardman Park Lobby

To RSVP and more info.

Wednesday May 12 Raise the Roof Event 5:00PM-8:00PM Tabaq Bistro, 1336 U Street

Cocktails and Hors D’Oeuvres on trendy U Street. RSVP to with your full name and company by May 3.

Thursday May 13: Business Technology Peer Breakout Sessions 8:00AM-11:00 AM, Omni Shoram Ambassador Room

Garron Selliken, Todd Carpenter, Heather Elias, Keith Garner, Tina Merritt, Jeff Allen, Kelley Koehler, Dale Chumbley, Nobu Hata, Greg Carpenter, among others will be on hand to discuss tech topics that all real estate professionals should know about.  Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Market Stats, Converting web leads to clients, mobile apps, and other business tools will be discussed during these informal conversations.

Thursday May 13: Business Technology Forum 3:00PM-5:00PM, Omni Shoram Empire Room

Hear what industry thought leaders have to share about today’s and upcoming tech trends.
Jeff Allen, Heather Elias, Garron Selliken, and Aaron Wheeler share their experience & insights on how technology is impacting their day-to-day business.  Audience questions are welcome.

Friday May 14: LinkedIn Breakfast 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM, Omni Shoram, Bloggers Lounge

Join Todd Carpenter and other NAR LinkedIn members for coffee and danish. For more info

If you know of something I missed, please let me know in the comments. Hope to see you in DC!

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Conference Coverage

National Association of REALTORS Convention 2014



It’s Novermber 2014…

nar chicago…and we are all excited about the NAR convention this year.

I can’t wait to go through Finance World where we find the latest on nano-mortgage technology from Bank of United States (the company after the B of A/Citibank/ J P Morgan Chase merger) where an iris scan and fingerprints get done and the each borrower with less than 20% down get to do the new PMI, Person Mortgage Insurance, where they assign one of their friends or relatives as collateral until the loan gets paid down to 78%.

Ah, then the new key sharing device from GeBallMart (the merger result of GE, Major League Baseball and Wal-Mart) which makes your take the SATs again (paying the 475 Euro fee) in order to do a digital iPhone7.9 puzzle in order to be escorted into a property from a member of Blackwater Realty Security Services (a subsidiary of the CIA- a deal made in order to get people health care).

Ah, and the special speakers.  There’s inspiration on how to turn your life around when there are only 11 trashy women in your life that you sleep with.  Amazing how you can go from one sport to another and then to another and go from the lowest lows to the highest highers.  Yes, I am talking about Professional Bowling’s superstar, Tiger “Balls” Woods.

I can’t wait to hear was he has to say about life’s ups and downs now that my fellow agents and I have had the commissions we make revealed to the buyer before they even see a house and how the government maximized the maximum amounts to $500 for door opening/agreement and $1000 for door opening/agreement and settlement attendance.

Just like the mortgage brokers that got messed with in 09/10, we should have seen it coming but instead we lived high on the hog and laughed at the public and especially Congress.

But I can be thankful for the fact that I don’t have to fly on UseLess Airline and stay at the MarryRot in the beige rooms with the bed bugs that are the size of New York rats, I can stay home and see all that’s happening on my SuperMac 7 Apple computer with smellovision, video and scan-pay ability.

The best and the worst part is no real hangovers!

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Conference Coverage

Inman’s Got Enough Money. Let’s Give Some To MFFO



It doesn’t get any better than this – you can actually get Inman Connect Tickets and help a charity at the same time!  I was the lucky winner of Inman Real Estate Connect Registration Passes and with the creative help of some friends (thanks @tcar and @andykaufman) decided to auction them for charity.

Inman Connect San Francisco
I’m sure @jbern had no clue what was going to happen when he started the competition: What’s Your Tweet Worth? ….between Jay Thomson’s raffle and this auction, there are some creative minds at work to help our colleagues as well as great charities.

So here’s what I would love for you to do –

1.  go place a bid

2   spread the word  **tweet it! facebook it! email it! **

3. check on the bid

4.  spread the word again **tweet it! facebook it! email it! **

The highest bidder will win full registration to Inman Connect San Francisco (both Inman Connect and Blogger’s Connect passes) and proceeds will go to Mothers Fighting For Others (that’s a $939 value).  What are you waiting for??? Go Bid!  We will be announcing the winner before the weekend.

**thanks for the tix Inman!!  Let’s see how much money we can raise**

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