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Real Estate – Play That Funky Music

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beatlesIsn’t it interesting how a person can hear a song and feel as though it were written just for them?  Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Last week I talked about real estate’s influence on  literature, and today I think we should consider how some of the most famous songs in the world were influenced by our often undervalued profession. Here’s my evidence (would I lie to you?):

Happiness is a Warm Gun (A Brokers Open in South Central)

I’m a Loser (An agent with a bobble-head Omarosa on his dash)

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (A Beverly Hills agent on nine cups of java)

Please, Please Me (Refrain of the Greek Chorus at a Listing Appointment)

Another One Bites the Dust (Refrain of the Greek Chorus when your buyer tells you he recently “invested” the down payment money)

Eight Days a Week (A slacker week for an agent.)

Thriller (A 4% commission that requires no sexual favors)

Brown Sugar (A sweet deal that turns to s__t.)

Dancing Queen (A West Hollywood agent at COE)

Straight Outta Compton (A house with bullet holes for air conditioning)

Bang Bang (Name of the HVAC company that services Compton)

Knockin On Heavens Door (A contingency offer…that’s 20% under asking)

Don’t Let Go (Refrain of the Greek Chorus when your hands are around the neck of the guy that’s fighting you for procuring cause)

You Shook Me All Night Long (Twilight Open near the San Andreas Fault)

Would I Lie To You (An extra credit question on the state real estate exam – the multiple choice selection is: a) Yes b) Why Not? c) Does a turd float? or c) All of the above, bozo)

Got To Give It Up (Advice to the seller chained to his basement bar screaming, “Noooo – not the brewskis!!!)

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing Baby (Advice to the seller with the neon Elvis over his couch)

The Tracks of My Tears (The road from here to your last failed escrow)

Take All of Me (An agent’s plea while lying prostrate in front of a lender on day thirty of his vanishing deal)

Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy (The agent who used to sit at the desk next to yours.)

Light My Fire (New Jersey alternative to selling at a loss)

Chain of Fools (Seven wasted agents in a Limbo line)

La Vida Loca –  (Uber-obvious, no?)

Why Try to Change Me Now? (Most popular rehab center for agents)

Money, That’s What I Want  –  The first five words an agent learns in real estate…and the last!

(For more fun,  read Real Estate’s Influence on Literature:  Real Estate and Literature – Imitation is Flattery on Agent Genius)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    September 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Ha…funny how the titles can be so true.

  2. Gwen Banta

    September 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Yeah, it’s just fun Friday humor, Missy. I’m the court jester who is there for the entertainment portion of the program. But I think it’s important to have a few laughs because we have been subject to stressful times in our very challenging profession.

  3. Joe Loomer

    September 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Read this as I was heading out for my wife’s birthday! Now I’m in an even better mood!

    I would add:

    The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (what you hear walking down the street while showing the USMC retired Gunney and his pastor wife the home of his dreams)

    Burning Down The House (what you feel like doing when the Seller rejects an offer and recommends a LIST PRICE INCREASE because you got an offer within the first two weeks)

    Escape (need I say more? The home’s a s__t hole, a dear friend referred you to list it, they think it’s the Taj Mahal)

    How Deep Is Your Love (your best friend listed their house with you, you bring an offer, they ask if you’ll reduce your commission)

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  4. Gwen Banta

    September 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    These are fantastic Joe. – you made my day. I have my own take on a few:

    The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – West Hollywood agents fighting at a listing presentation (FYI: that’s our Castro section)

    Burning Down The House – Gwen Banta preparing food at a Brokers Open

    Escape – The gases emanating from the old man who won’t leave your open house

    How Deep is Your Love – I’m stymied here. We need to get Matt Stigliano in on this – it’s right up his rock n roll alley.

    Hello, Matt??? Hello, any of you other twisted Geniuses out there???

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Business Marketing

Hear me out – Google Alerts but for Facebook Groups

(TECH NEWS) Groouply is a new App that helps you find out what people are saying about your business in facebook groups, even closed groups

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Facebook groouply

Mike Rubini, an Italian developer focused on a portfolio of software-as-a-service offerings, recently announced the launch of a new Facebook tool, Groouply.

(Note: Groouply is not to be confused with the educational forum Grouply, the community management app Grouply, or the now-defunct company Grouply, which developed social networking and online forums for small businesses.)

Groouply lets you monitor Facebook groups for keywords of your choosing. Depending on how it works, this could be a big deal. There are plenty of online trackers. In fact, there are two or three distinct industries built on collecting and processing the vast amounts of information we generate online. SEO, social media management, and big data processing have all developed into large industries with their own dedicated firms, tools, language, and (in big data’s case) terrifyingly powerful hardware.

But so far, Facebook Groups haven’t been a point of focus. You can check search engine results pages, Reddit, Hacker News, Twitter, and public FB posts. But automatically notifying a user about specific mentions in FB groups is something new. The developer claims the tool can even collect data from closed groups.

The potential applications for this are striking. You could get a sense of who’s talking about your company, and what they’re saying. You could make course corrections based on how you’re perceived. You could learn about potential markets you hadn’t considered yet. You could step in to discussions about your company to correct misconceptions. (You could also get dragged into some pretty unprofessional arguments, if you aren’t careful. It is Facebook, after all.)

You pick a group and a keyword, as well as the frequency of your email updates. Options shown in the demo video include daily and hourly. Once you’ve set up the account, the company takes 1-3 days to set you up on the back end, and then you’re good to go. At the current pricing, a $99/month account lets you track 10 keywords across 5 different groups.

Some folks have raised concerns. People have inquired about how the tool collects the data, wondering whether it’s compliant with Facebook’s terms of service. Others have expressed hesitation over the price. Paying $99/month for online marketing tools isn’t unheard of. The popular SEO research tool ahrefs charges $99/month for their basic package, and claims that their $179/month package is their most popular option.

But ahrefs offers a week-long trial for $7 so you can test-drive the service. They’re also running a robust, proven service. Your $99/month gets you 500 tracked keywords, updating weekly. It also gets you keyword reports and batch analysis, backlinking alerts, and 10,000 pages’ worth of site audits.

Groouply’s arrival has generated some buzz. When it launched two days ago, it became the #4 Product of the Day on the tech forum Product Hunt. Depending on what happens next, it could fill a much-needed niche in the social media marketing toolbox.

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Business Marketing

Accessibility to your website could make or break your brand

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Some companies are making sure their websites have more accessibility, and are creating design tools that help simplify the process for other designers.

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In August, The American Genius reported that Domino’s Pizza had petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a case it had lost in the Ninth Circuit Court, in which the court ruled that the pizza chain was required to improve the accessibility on their website to blind and visually impaired users.

Last month, SCOTUS declined to hear the case, maintaining the precedent that the standards set forth by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) apply not only to brick-and-mortar business locations, but also to websites.

The decision was a major win for disability rights advocates, who rightly pointed out that in the modern, internet-based age, being unable to access the same websites and apps that sighted people use would be a major impediment for people who are blind or visually impaired. Said Christopher Danielson of the National Federation of the Blind, “If businesses are allowed to say, ‘We do not have to make our websites accessible to blind people,’ that would be shutting blind people out of the economy in the 21st century.”

Although legislators have yet to set legal standards for website accessibility, the Domino’s case makes it clear that it’s time for businesses to start strategizing about making their websites accessible to all users.

Many companies worry that revamping websites for accessibility will be too costly, too difficult, or just too confusing given the lack of legal standards. However, some forward-thinking companies are going out of their way to not only make their websites more accessible, but to create design tools that could help simplify the process for other designers.

A great example is Stripe.

If you have an online business, you may already be using Stripe to receive payments. Designers Daryl Koopersmith and Wilson Miner take to the Stripe blog to detail their quest to find the perfect and most accessible color palette for Stripe products and sites.

Color plays into accessibility for visually impaired users because certain color contrasts are easier to see than others. But making Stripe more accessible wasn’t as simple as just picking paint swatches. Stripe wanted to increase accessibility while also staying true to the colors already associated with their brand.

Our perception of color is quite subjective; we often instinctively have strong opinions about which colors go well together and which clash. To make matters even more complicated, existing color models can be confusing because there is often a difference between how a computer mathematically categorizes a color and how our eyes perceive them.

Koopersmith and Miner give the example that if the human eye compares a blue and a yellow that have the same mathematical “lightness,” we will still perceive the yellow as the lighter color.

To achieve their goal, Koopersmith and Miner created new software that would adjust colors based on human perception and would generate “real-time feedback about accessibility.” In this way, the designers were able to adjust Stripe’s pre-existing brand colors to increase accessibility without losing the vibrancy and character of the original colors.

Not every company can afford to hire innovative designers like Koopersmith and Miner to create new tools every time there is an accessibility challenge. But Stripe’s project shows gives us reason to be optimistic that improving accessibility will become steadily more … well … accessible!

Disabilities rights advocates and designers can work synergistically to set standards for accessibility and create comprehensive tools to achieve those standards. In our highly visual age, it’s important to ensure that no one is left behind because of a visual impairment.

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Business Marketing

10 inspirational print brochure examples

We believe that print is nowhere near dead, it is just changing as things go digital, and only the best stand out.

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Below are 10 inspirational print brochure examples that show print is not only alive and kicking, but when infused with a bit of creativity, can make an enormous impression. Gone are the days of horrid clip art and walls of text that overwhelm. Clean typography and design are the name of the game, and added flair can go a long way. Here are some ideas to get you started, click any of the images below to see more photos of each campaign and to dig deeper:

Craft Beer Field Guide

With this fold up brochure guiding Madison’s Craft Beer Week attendees, a vintage vibe is created through color and typography choices, with an emphasis on function and ease of reading. The guide is so enchanting, it is likely that most attendees kept the brochures, a dream for any designer or marketing team!

Italian Loft Brochure

In this Italian Loft Brochure, a classic Tiffany & Co styled blue and chocolate brown highlight the features of this luxury loft community, and is presented in a beautiful, heavyweight cardstock cover that keeps all additional papers that come along with tours. It’s more than just the brochure’s design, it’s the presentation, simplicity, and choice of materials that is eye catching about this print brochure.

Campaign for Freedom

Expressing the dire situation in North Korea, this campaign brochure uses simple to digest infographics and keeps to four colors – black, white, red, and yellow. It is effective for sticking to the point and using bold graphics.

Gourmet Natural Foods

Retailers often go overboard either by offering too many walls of words and facts, or by trying to be clever. Instead, this company’s design focuses on the simple ingredients that goes along with their streamlined, organic-looking containers. This brochure makes you want to go start eating hippie food, even if you’re a cow eater, just because it’s so aesthetically pleasing!

Graphic Designer Portfolio

When a seasoned graphic designer shows off, you can be sure that their presentation will never be an aged headshot of them with bullet points of their accomplishments. No, graphic designers show instead of tell, as below:

Typefamily Brochure

When introducing a typefamily to the world, a designer can choose to slap up a website, or go the traditional, and more elegant route of printing a type booklet explaining the type and giving buyers of the typefamily (font) a closer look at what they are buying. Brilliant.

Yahoo! Brochure

Yahoo’s brochure is a reminder that simple design elements can go a long way – a folding tab, white space, ditching clip art, and keeping consistency between pages all work in harmony to create a quality print brochure.

Antique News Format

In a very clever move, this commercial and residential space is being sold in the form of a large, folding antique- looking newspaper, complete with appropriate fonts and an antique layout, with surprisingly sharp and never cheesy images.

Architect’s Timeline and Story

Promoting an architect’s impressive timeline and story, this print campaign shows the power of red, black and white, making a dramatic impression at a quick glance. Using high quality photography and traditional movie poster tricks, the campaign is stunning.

Our Favorite: Lennar’s Old School Fun

Lennar’s new “Spencer’s Crossing” community brochures got a touch of old school, making the brochure a game that anyone can play. It’s more than a gimmick, it is consistent with their collateral that appeals to the youthful nature of the product and area.

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